Game of Life text and image generator generator

I saw this image the other day on Hacker News and Reddit:

Golly Ticker

It’s a Game of Life pattern that prints out “Golly”. Neat, but I wanted my own. After about 5 minutes of playing around with the Golly logo pattern in Golly (a program for experimenting with the Game of Life), I gave up and wrote a program to do it.

The program takes the top and bottom portions of a template pattern (based on the Golly pattern) and positions them, then fills in the gliders between them for the correct number of columns. Then it duplicates the entire pattern for each row. Finally it “draws” some text (using the sample font from here) by deleting the gliders corresponding to empty space.

This was great, but I had essentially created a dot matrix printer that could draw anything, so it would be a waste to not draw images with it. A few lines of Ruby/RMagick code later, I had a program that did just that. Here’s an example using the Reddit Logo (watch it in HD for the best results):

The code is available on GitHub. It requires Ruby, and RMagick for images. Pass it “-s yourtext” to generate a text based pattern, or “-i imagepath” for an image pattern.

Download Golly to open up the generated “.rle” files.