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Cart #pico_garden-5 | 2023-09-04 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Pico Garden is a slow-play, low interaction, screen-saver game.
It features a garden that evolves based on Conway's Game of Life.
There is some additional randomness and (minimal) player interaction.
It is a game for dreamers, grinders, slackers and thinkers.

The latest version adds an adaptive, evolving music track.

You do not have to do anything. Your garden will grow by itself.
However, you can occasionally tend your garden if you want to.
If you time this carefully, this will revitalise it so you can enjoy it for longer.

You can use the up and down keys to speed-up and slow-down time.
You can use the left and right keys to change the view.
There's even a fancy plot that shows how well your garden is doing.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your garden.


My brother created the music. The sound track channels can be freely mixed to create 624 unique patterns.
In order to maximise performance, the Game of Life rules are implemented by performing bitwise operations. This is heavily inspired by rilden's Game of Life.
The game also uses Felice's 32-bit integer to string conversion code.


Version 1.3

  • Adaptive music
  • Brighter/happier color scheme

Version 1.2

  • Only activate decay and mutation on non-lively layers
  • Only play sound effects for visible layers
  • Also add sound effects to flower growth

Version 1.1

  • Improve visual revive feedback
  • Add separate auto-play hi-score
  • Improve Game Over screen
  • Skip over empty views
  • Improve color scheme
  • Improve flower animation
  • Slowly ramp up simulation speed

Version 1.0

  • Speed up decay (so that static gardens die more quickly)
  • Add mutation (to prevent endless life when only gliders remain)
  • Show visual feedback on revive action
  • Show biomass and number of revives on game over
  • Add more sound effects
  • Animate flowers in UI

Version 0.9

  • First release
P#107251 2022-02-19 16:04 ( Edited 2023-09-04 21:12)

Love this! So just to confirm, it's multiple Game of Life populations running at the same time (it's very fast!!) but only interacting with their own "species"?

Love the population graph, and great colour scheme.

Great the Pico-8 is used for much more than just "games".

Excellent job - will have a good play around with this. Thanks! 😁

P#107320 2022-02-20 10:45

Hi Paul, thanks.

Yes indeed, it's four Game of Life species which in principle do not interact.

There are, however, two minimal interactions between the layers. The first is the revive action, the only action a player can perform. When you revive, the entire grid is scanned. Whenever there is a live cell in two neighbouring layers, it sprouts new cells in the other two layers. Often these new cells die immediately of starvation, but sometimes they initiate a flurry of activity.

Second, there's a decay algorithm which cleans up alive but static cells. When it does so, it will also clean up static cells in neighbouring layers. The reason is subtle. It prevents endless revives of static, multi-layer cell clusters. So it basically prevent you from cheating.

Btw, the calculations used in this game are heavily inspired by Rilden's Game of Life implementation. Overall, my game relies on many binary, bit-level manipulations to achieve the required speed.

P#107330 2022-02-20 12:21

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