After seeing SuperCoquillette’s post on r/cellular_automata (and his online version here) I had to have a go at experimenting with it myself. It reminded me immediately of a more advanced version of Wa-Tor.
I spent a few hours getting my own version going and doing some high res test runs. The example images in this post are all 4K size. Click the thumbnails to see them full size.
The basic setup includes four “factions” that use the same settings, ie
This sequence started from a block of 4 squares of factions in the middle of the screen and grew outwards from there. None of the cells die once born.
And finally after approximately 27,000 steps when my hard drive filled up and crashed the program when it could not save any more frames.
Here is the same setup settings started from a random soup of factions with single pixel sized cells after running for a few thousand steps. There is some clumping of factions.
There seems to also be a bias to later factions in the method used in the source code. The factions are processed in order (first faction 1, then 2, etc). This is OK when each faction is surrounded by empty space, but breaks down once factions meet. This means that (for example) faction 1 may fight and take over a faction 4 location, but then once the faction 4 cells are processed the same cell may be taken back negating the original win. Overall this leads to the later factions being given a slight bias to spread faster and further than earlier factions. Or maybe it is just my version of the source code. I need to think about this some more and make sure the moving/fighting is fair.
Here are a few other color methods I experimented with. Firstly, average each cell color from which factions have visited. Cells are 10×10 pixels this time.
And the same, but with histogram equalization to get a wider range of colors.
Different faction colors and 5×5 sized cells.
I have added Cell Conquest as a new mode in the latest version of Visions of Chaos.