Conway's Game of Life implemented in HTML5 canvas. canvaslife.js takes care of displaying and calculating the various states of the Game of Life universe, and allows you to interact with it through JavaScript.


See a full demo at, including over 1200 interesting patterns.


To start with, you need to include jQuery, and canvaslife.js, like so:

<head> … <script src=""></script> <script src=""></script> … </head> 

You also need a <canvas> element which canvaslife.js will use to display the grid of cells:

<body> … <canvas id="universe" width="900" height="500"> … </body> 

Finally you need to initialize the Game of Life Universe and tell it which canvas element to use, like so:

<script type="text/javascript"> $('document').ready(function() { 	life.initUniverse('#universe'); }); </script> 


You can populate the grid by click and dragging your mouse to revive/kill cells.

You can also interact with the Game of Life Universe through JavaScript, via the life object.


object properties

life.cellSize - The height/width (in pixels) of each cell.

life.onColour - The colour of living cells.

life.offColour - The colour of dead cells.

life.gridColour - The colour of the grid lines.

life.universe - A two dimensional array of booleans, representing the current alive/dead state of all cells in the universe. When making changes to this array ensure that life.isEvolving() returns false so that your changes are not overridden by the next generation being calculated.

object methods

life.initUniverse(canvasSelector) - Initializes a Game of Life universe. canvasSelector should be a jQuery selector that matches to the desired canvas element.

life.loadPattern(url) - Loads a Run Length Encoded format Game of Life pattern file into the universe from the specified url.

life.toggleLife() - Toggles whether the universe is in an envolving or static state.

life.isEvolving() - Returns true if the universe is evolving and false if it is static.

life.nextGen() - Evolve the universe one generation forward.

life.clear() - Kills all cells in the universe.

life.speed() - An integer representing the speed at which the universe is evolving. 0 is the slowest and 10 is the fastest.

life.changeSpeed(newSpeed) - Sets the new speed for the universe to evolve at.

life.paint() - Paints the current state of the universe.