Golly for IPAD !?!

For general discussion about Conway's Game of Life.
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Irakli111
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Golly for IPAD !?!

Post by Irakli111 » April 6th, 2011, 9:52 am

It would be a dream to see Golly on Ipad... maybe in some kind of Lite version..

Friends, lets ask author to make this miricale for us...

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calcyman
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Re: Golly for IPAD !?!

Post by calcyman » April 6th, 2011, 12:01 pm

Serendipitously, we (Dave Greene, Heinrich Köenig, and I) were contacted by someone who has released a Life program for iPad:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/emgol/id ... ?mt=8&ls=1
What do you do with ill crystallographers? Take them to the mono-clinic!

hkoenig
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Re: Golly for IPAD !?!

Post by hkoenig » April 6th, 2011, 10:24 pm

The key to any sort of touch/tablet version is the interface, and doing that right is not a trivial task. Some of the things you have to address are the fact that modality is different (no "right click") and your pointer is much bigger than a pixel, and will usually be obscuring what you are pointing at. Text input can be cumbersome, so you want little to no reliance on text files. There's really only one "window", and just porting over task bars and palettes and menus and other such UI elements may work, but that also shows little understanding of the platform's capabilities. For the iPad/iPhone also need to address the restrictive file system, and synchronization with other devices and applications, especially if you are writing a Life editing/engineering tool and not just something to display pretty pictures (which seems to be the emphasis of most of the currently available apps.)

I haven't looked at Golly to see how separate the interface is from the Life engine. If the latter is written in C or C++ and doesn't make any assumptions about the underlying machine, then should be possible to use that portion. (I also tend to avoid most so-called "open source", for a variety of reasons.) But again, the engine isn't part where you will be putting your effort, displaying and manipulating what goes into and comes out of the engine is what's important.

That said, an application that is designed for "Life engineering" would be great. I want one myself, especially for doing things like Glider constructions. Such an application would also be tied to a database of known constructions and construction fragments, along with commands specific to such work, like gestures for rotation/reflection/translation/phasing. (Again, menus/toolbars might work, and be relatively easy to implement, but that misses the point and beauty of the UI, even as it takes more work to do it right.)

I've played a bit with such an application off and on in my free time, one of many personal projects, and have a bunch of ideas about how it should behave, but am no where near having anything available for anyone but myself to use. (And I'm better at making other people's designs become apps than I am at designing them...)

(My job for the last few years has been as an iPhone developer, including on an app that has had over a million downloads and has been in the top ten free apps listing several times. Before that I've worked as a Mac developer for over a couple of decades, including at Apple and at the Not-as-Evil-as-Google Empire in Redmond. And I really do need to figure out how to get the mailserver for that domain working again...)

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Andrew
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Re: Golly for IPAD !?!

Post by Andrew » April 7th, 2011, 1:26 am

hkoenig wrote:I haven't looked at Golly to see how separate the interface is from the Life engine. If the latter is written in C or C++ ...
The latter is written in C++ and is quite separate from the GUI code. All the GUI code is contained in wx* files (where wx is short for wxWidgets), so it should be reasonably easy to replace Golly's UI with something else. More details can be found in the BUILD file included in the Golly source distribution.

I'm unlikely to do an iPad port of Golly, mainly because I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to mobile technology (I don't even own a mobile phone). I'm happy to answer questions or offer suggestions to anybody keen to take on that task, but I know almost nothing about Apple's iOS.

137ben
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Re: Golly for IPAD !?!

Post by 137ben » April 7th, 2011, 8:16 pm

Golly is meant to run large patterns, so the small amount of memory in an ipad makes it a poor choice for an ipad program. I know there is an iphone app for running life, as well as other selected life-like CA.

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