Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drawing engine improved

Not so long ago one of my users wrote to me that there could be a room for improvement regarding CPU usage when running LivingCells. I looked at the code and decided that it would be nice indeed to make the drawing engine less CPU demanding.

So here it is! Now the drawing engine behaves completely differently, with less needless redrawing. The CPU won't be so busy and the battery will live longer. This should be more obvious when the speed is not high or the cells are large.

Also there are some other improvements. One of them is the status bar, which shows how many cells are on the field, what generation is, and whether the field has become static. It is not shown by default, you should look for it in the settings. Other notable changes include fixed orientation of the grid. No matter how you rotate the screen, the grid will remain mostly the same.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Turmites infestation has just broken out

No, not termites. Turmites. That's a new cellular automaton which I've just added to LivingCells. It is quite different from other cellular automata in the app. Other automata have fields of cells, which live, and this one has a field of static cells. However, there are these turmites, which move on the field and change cells.

How they affect a cell depends on the color of the cell and on the turmite state. All the actions are specified in the rule, and every combination of a cell and a turmite state has its set of actions. Actions which a turmite performs are as follows: it sets the cell to a new color, changes its state, makes a turn and walks one or more steps in the current direction. The results are some cool patterns.

One other nice thing about this cellular automaton is that it suits live wallpaper very well. Turmites eat the same amount of device resources regardless of the cell size or speed. I fact, it is better to set high speed for turmites and small cell size, this automaton sits particularly well with these settings. I've even made a new "very fast" speed setting for this.

So, hope you like this new automaton, and as always, if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

LivingCells gets a live wallpaper feature

I've just uploaded a new version of LivingCells - 1.1.0. I've been requested several times to make a live wallpaper, so here we go! This has actually become possible to set the application as a wallpaper. All settings for the wallpaper are set separately, so no need to worry about them when you are messing with the standalone app - experiment freely. :)

I should tell you though that even after optimizations every computation of the next grid state requires CPU resources and drains power. So don't make the speed too fast or the cell size too small.

There are other features in this release that I would like to introduce. It is now possible to erase cells when in the corresponding mode. Just make a long press on the screen to switch to this mode. Also you may double tap the screen to make a bunch of cells appear.

And finally some changes in the settings. I've already mentioned speed, it is now adjustable. There is also one intersting setting, which keeps grid non-static. You see, some rules are designed in such a way that cells eventually disappear from the grid and it becomes pretty boring. It's obvious that it's not the best behavior for the wallpaper. :) That's why there's such an option which makes groups of cells randomly appear on the screen should the grid become too dull. It is enabled for the wallpaper by default.

Hope you will enjoy these changes! Leave any requests, comments and questions below, any constructive feedback is welcome.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LivingCells hits the Market

At last, my LivingCells application appears on Android Market. This is a collection of several cellular automata, which includes at this point famous Conway's Game Of Life, its colored variant, and also a family of cellular automata called Generations, which includes widely known Brian's Brain.

There are several implementations of Game Of Life on Android Market by now, a few of them have really nice features. But in my opinion a cellular automaton implementation should, first of all, look cool. Even damn cool. So that's what I tried to achieve, and I sure hope I managed to accomplish this goal. Also it should be customizable and interactive - that's how I see it. In my app you can even drag existing groups of cells on the screen. Also it is fun to play with different rules, for Game of Life I recommend to try Day And Night and Walled CitiesGenerations automaton has even cooler rules like the amazing Star Wars rule (thanks to Mirek W√≥jtowicz for it) or Faders.

This applications runs on any Android device with OS version 2.1 or higher. Oh, and I also should mention, this app is, of course, completely free.

So, try it, tell me what you liked, what you didn't like and so on. I have a few suggestions what to add to this app, but I'd like to hear yours too.

Update: now I have one more automaton - Turmites. Help has been updated, and you can also read my newer post about this automaton.

Download this application from Android Market

Screenshots:
Generations - Star Wars rule
Colored Game Of Life - Conway's Life rule