Lab 5: Game of Life




The Game of Life was proposed in 1970 as a simple, 0-player game based on a grid of "cells." The cells can only be alive or dead and cannot interact outside of their neighborhood. Cells have rules that define whether they live or die based on whether their neighbors are alive or dead. In general, if several neighbors are alive, then a cell will die due to starvation, and if there are not enough neighbors, a cell will die due to loneliness. A cell can become alive if the right number of cells are alive around it (if the right community exists). The basic idea of the game is to explore issues of population dynamics, and it has been used by computer modelers extensively since it was proposed. The image below shows the game of life in action. The black squares are "alive."

Game of Life

You can see a web-based version of the game here.

For this assignment you will be implementing a Game of Life simulator. The Cell and LifeGrid classes have been provided for you. Your implementation must use the JavaFX framework.

The LifeGrid class contains a two-dimensional List that contains the cells and manages the relationships between the cells. The Cell.SCALE constant defines the size of each cell displayed.

Hint: If you don't see the grid of cells, double check that the width and height values in your LifeGrid object are set appropriately (the degugger would be useful for this).


You should complete the lab 5 application to display the visual representation of the LifeGrid object. The following functionality is required.

you need to implement and/or modify the following components of the application:

If you choose to make use of an FXML file, you'll need to have your Controller class implement the Initializable interface and include the following method:
public void initialize(URL location, ResourceBundle resources) {
    assert gamePane != null :"fx:id=\"gamePane\" was not injected: check your FXML file 'game.fxml'.";
    lifeGrid = new LifeGrid(gamePane);

Note: Be sure that gamePane is the id associated with the Pane representing the game grid.

Just for Fun

Motivated students may wish to add another button that, when activated, provides an animation of the game of life going through a fixed number of iterations. The following classes may be helpful: Timeline and KeyFrame.

Curious students may find this presentation entitled The Art of Code which talks about Conway's Game of Life in the first ten minutes.


This laboratory assignment was developed by Dr. Derek Riley.

See your professor's instructions for details on submission guidelines and due dates.