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 Snowflake Applet Page

Author: Gauri Nadkarni


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Source Code

This is a snowflake applet that shows various patterns of snowflakes similar to those seen in real snowflakes. The applet is displayed on a hexagonal grid, since all the molecules of a snowflake ultimately lie on a hexagonal grid. In the actual process of snowflake growth not every part of this grid ends up being filled with ice. The reason behind this is that whenever a piece of ice is added to the snowflake, there is some heat released which tends to inhibit the addition of further pieces of ice nearby, thereby giving rise to different intricate patterns.

Applet Description

This applet displays the seven-sum 3-state totalistic rules. The user clicks on any hex grid cell to set the seed. Then the user chooses one of the rules and hits start to view the pattern produces by that rule. This applet also provides the zoom facility which the user can use to zoom in and zoom out the pattern. The feature of clicking on any hex cell in the grid allows a user to play around and experiment with different seed values.

Hexlife  -  This is modeled based on Conway's Game of Life, but on a hexagonal grid. It applies rule based on the sum of 12 neighbors.


As seen from above figure, the first tier 6 neighbors are shown with red color and they have weight as 1.0 and second tier 6 neighbors are shown with blue color and have weight as 0.3. The following rule is applied :

  • A cell becomes live if this sum falls within the range of 2.3 - 2.9, otherwise remains dead

  • A live cell survives to the next generation if this sum falls within the range of 2.0 - 3.3. Otherwise it dies  (becomes an  empty space)

In the applet, BLUE color indicates that a cell is born and GREEN color indicates that a cell survives to the next generation.

Applet Controls and Operation

Click on any hex cell to set the seed first before starting the rule.

Start  -- Starts displaying the chosen rule.

Stop -- Stops processing the rule.

Resume -- Resumes processing from where it had left off.

Clear  -- Clears the grid.

Snowflake and Hexlife radio buttons - These are used to select what you want to display. Select snowflakes or hexlife to view by selecting the appropriate radio button.

Snowflake Rule comboBox  --  Provides a selection of snowflake rules that the user can select to view.

Hexlife  Pattern comboBox -- Provides a selection of initial seed population to start the hexlife rule. The user doesn't have to select any pattern. The seed population can be set by just clicking on the grid instead of selecting from the comboBox.

Load Hexlife Pattern - This button is used to load the selected hexlife pattern from the comboBox. This button will work only when hexlife radio button is set.

Zoom   --  Sets the zoom level of the hexagonal grid.

Delay   --  Controls the speed of the pattern display (default is set to zero delay). The user can increase the delay if he feels the pattern is displaying too fast.

My Favorite Rule is snowflake7




All NKS-SJSU Applets are Open Source Shareware, Papers are Copryight to their Authors.