I'm tying to build GOL on PICO-8, but the per-pixel manipulation is just too slow. Anything more than about 48x48 is unacceptably slow.
Initially I was reading/writing into temporary tables but that was really slow. This approach keeps all the state on the screen and in a sprite so there's about a quarter of the work from the table approach, but it's still slow.
I've started another experiment with peek4/poke4 but the coordinate wrapping is a total pain.
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