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The Hack of Life
Developer Barry
Theme Programming Game, Cellular Automaton
Influences Conway's Game of Life
Status complete
Released 6 April 2010
Updated 12 April 2010
Licensing GNU General Public License
P. Language C
Platforms All
Interface ASCII
Game Length Varies
Official site of The Hack of Life
HackOfLife is a coffeebreak roguelike

The Hack of Life is an Out-of-Challenge 7DRL based on Conway's Game of Life. The player controls a generator that can move around the game grid and plant seeds which then grow into live cells. The object of the game is to take advantage of the rules of Life in order to ensure the survival of your cells over the cells of your opponents.

The Game of Life

The Game of Life is a cellular automaton that follows 5 simple rules:

  • A cell is either alive or dead.
  • Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbors dies, as if caused by underpopulation.
  • Any live cell with more than three live neighbors dies, as if by overcrowding.
  • Any live cell with two or three live neighbors lives on to the next generation.
  • Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbors becomes a live cell.

By applying these rules to an initial configuration of live and dead cells, the grid begins to grow, exhibiting all sorts of interesting and complex behavior.

The Hack of Life adds a dimension of ownership to the original rules, in the form of color. Each cell has a color, and when a cell is born or survives, it assumes the color of its neighbors. The winner can be determined by whichever color appears the most.


  • turn-based or real-time gameplay
  • single-player or multiplayer with up to six players
  • hotseat or network play
  • sandbox mode for life exploration
  • support for boards up to 10000x10000 cells
  • ability to define alternative rulestrings, such as Seeds or HighLife
  • support for nondeterministic rulestrings
  • ... and much more!