What's new in Mirek's Cellebration?
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This Page lists all major changes introduced to MCell since the version 188.8.131.52
(17 Apr 1999), which was the first version thrown open to the public. The full history of
MCell can be found in MCell Help.
- User DLLs can be configurable and can handle the whole families of rules, not only single
- the existing CASetup() function was extended to be able to receive the rule
- a new optional DLL function CAConfig() can return an interactively specified rule
- rules setup dialog has a new [Configure DLL] button allowing invoking
DLL's interactive interface.
See “\MCell\UserDLLs\DLLs\Sources\D5_WeightedGen” project for an example
of a configurable DLL.
- User DLLs' configurations are saved in pattern files!
- New rules family - Weighted Generations, designed and implemented
by Brian Prentice as a configurable DLL.
- An accurate timer has been implemented what allowed for a better handling of animations faster than 20 ms.
- New drawing functions:
- Draw lines, shortcut <L> (press <Shift> to draw in orthogonal
- Draw rectangles, shortcut <R> (press <Shift> to draw squares)
- Draw circles, shortcut <C>
- Fill closed areas, shortcut <A>
- New “Draw” toolbar and "Draw" menu with all drawing functions.
- Rule field in the status bar shows the rule definition in the hint window.
- Removed obsolete commands:
- Fill selection (replaced by 'Fill area')
- Rectangle around selection (replaced by 'Draw rectangles')
- Changes in existing shortcuts:
- "Cells shape" <H> => <Ctrl-H>
- "Editing mode" <E> => 'Free-hand drawing' <D>
- "Center pattern" - no shortcut
- "Center around (0,0)" - no shortcut
- Support for "Margolus" family of rules, with many rules from Tim
Tyler and others.
- Support for "General Binary" family of
rules, with many rules from John Elliott and others.
- Extended 1D binary family - the family features now the history. All existing 1DBi rules are interpreted as
1-bit (2 states) rules.
- Birth on 0 neighbours is allowed in Life and Generations
- New "Diversities" dialog, with options for the Noise, Black Hole, SuperNova, and Input
- New "Period checker" function under the "Analysis" menu. Option allows automatic detection of
oscillators' and ships' periods and ships' speed.
- "Favourite folders", automatically filled with folders containing most recently loaded patterns.
- File manager - folders' panel and files' panel can be resized vertically.
- Save as... dialog - extra text control allowing editing the pattern description and checkboxes allowing specifying what items
should be saved with the pattern.
- Settings - possibility to specify that Save as... dialog should be always used for saving.
- Settings - possibility to specify if the current color palette name should be saved with the pattern.
- Settings - possibility to specify if Diversities settings should be saved with patterns.
- Settings/Rules - possibility to update one of user rules with the modified rule definition.
- Rules setup/configuration moved to a separate menu item "Rules".
- New button (#R) invoking the rules setup dialog.
- Random rules - possibility to specify if generated random rules are allowed to change the count of states.
- Random rules - possibility to specify max. count of states.
- New rules: Snake, Rake, Bustle, LavaLamp, Cubism, InverseLife, Glisserati, LowBrowFour, Mazectric, Circuit Genesis, BelZhab Sediment, MeteorGuns, Dragon, LivingOnTheEdge, FlamingStarbows, Empire, ModernArt, WireWorld, Colony, Knitting, Tanks, Wave, Honeycomb.
- New rules: Lines, SoftFreeze, Xtasy, ThrillGrill, Glissergy, Bloomerang, OrthoGo (Generations), RandomWalk, DLA (User DLLs), HistoricalLife (RTab), Snowflake, LogicRule (General binary), Hextenders, PipeFleas, Y_Chromosome (Wlife), Strata (Neumann binary)
- "Change state of all alive cells to..." option got a [Ctrl+F4] shortcut.
- Automation property Universe.Generation is read/write.
- General binary rules - possibility to import Life/Generations/Weighted Life rules.
- Rules setup dialog - new style of the page control.
- WLife rules setup - repaired "Symmetrical rule" function.
- Removed redundant "Running"/"Stopped" panel in the status bar.
- Single-click interface in the File Manager, switchable via file manager's local menu and the Settings dialog.
- Possibility to have underlined file names in single-click interface.
- View menu - options for showing/hiding all items of the user interface.
- Help menu - 2 new options: "View MCell's Web Page" and "Send me an e-mail".
- Many dialog windows got a "Help" button.
- Corrections in birth on 0 neighbors in Life, Generations and General binary rules.
- Removed bug with clearing S rules in Weighted Life.
- Removed bug with setting the grid color.
- Removed bug in opening patterns without changing current rules.
- Fixed errors in setup for 1D totalistic rules.
- Fixed bug making it impossible to rotate a pattern selection with a width of one cell.
- (OLE) Automation interface
allowing writing external applications communicating with MCell.
- Most MCell options were exported as properties and methods of 9 exposed objects:
theApplication, theUniverse, theWindow, theSelection, theUndo, theSeeding, theTransitions,
theCorrelations, and thePalette.
- The active color palette is checked in menus.
- User DLLs creation in MSVC is greatly simplified - the DEF
file is no longer necessary.
- New family - 1D binary CA.
- Over 30 1D binary rules, copied from the Martin Schallers library.
- Many new rules in Weighted Life and in Generations.
- New user DLLs: Rug, Hodge,
- "Create a bitmap" option got a [Ctrl+Shift+B] shortcut.
- User DLLs - bug causing the keyword 'ALLCELLS' sometimes to be ignored removed.
- Settings/Rules/Rules table - [Del] key resets the active cell to 0.
- "Create a bitmap" dialog - possibility to make a bitmap out of a defined
rectangular part of the universe.
The dialog can be now closed also with [Esc] key.
- User DLLs - CASetup function gets the board size information in the 'Misc' parameter as
a formatted string "SIZEX=x SIZEY=y".
- The 'Run' button no longer stays depressed when the pattern is running.
184.108.40.2069 Beta, 18 Dec 1999
- Colors bar - a new button allowing color palette selection.
- Settings/Rules/Weighted Life - rules can be also edited in a text field.
- Traffic CA - when no wrapping, the rule automatically generates cells to the left and to
the right of the board with probabilities p1 and p2.
- Colors menu - reorganization, count of colors/active state submenus changed to input
- Count of available states increased to 256!
- Redesigned Settings/Colors dialog and colors bar.
- Enhanced MCL files syntax that supports 256 states.
- Improved assigning of default extensions to saved patterns.
- User DLLs - if the keyword 'ALLCELLS' appears in the second text parameter the
evaluating function is called for all cells, without optimizations.
- The first attempt to loading bitmaps as patterns (File/Open special).
- Reduced memory consumption.
- Open button got a popup menu with the MRU files list.
- "File" menu - if there exist more than 5 MRU files, they are shown in a
- User DLLs optionally can contain a new exported procedure CAClose() that is invoked
before the DLL module is closed.
void __stdcall CAClose(int Generation, int Population)
- Statistics - the graph is displayed much faster.
- User DLLs optionally can contain a new exported procedure CAPass() that gets called both
before and after each cycle.
void __stdcall CAPass(int Generation, int Population, int PreFlag, char* Misc)
'PreFlag' is set to 1 in a call before a pass and to 0 after the pass.
'Misc' is a 255-chars long text buffer intended for future extensions.
- User DLLs can be also programmed in Borland C++ Builder.
- Many new rules:
Aurora, Busy Brain, Ebb&Flow II, Emergence, GreenHast, Hex Inverse Fire, Jitters,
PuttPutt, Simple, Simple Inverse, Simple Inverse Fire, Starbursts, and more.
- 'About' box - e-mail and WWW labels are active and, when clicked, the default mailer or
the browser initialized with the proper address is launched.
- "File" menu - options are reorganized, less often used options were put to
- File Manager, "File" menu - new option allowing getting only rules from
selected pattern files.
- File Manager, "File" menu - new option allowing opening patterns without
changing the active game and rule.
- Status bar shows for registered rules the rule name rather than its definition. The
definition is shown only for rules not predefined in the program and in the user rules.
- Settings / rules - possibility to specify if the modified game/rule parameters in the
board should be automatically popped to the settings dialog.
- New game - Larger than Life.
- Larger than Life game - many new rules copied from WinCA: Bugs, Bugsmovie, Gnarl,
Majority, Majorly, Waffle.
- Settings/Colors - colors can be dragged and dropped between panels.
- Transitions, Correlations - precision was increased to 6 dac.
- User palettes got automatic hot keys in the menu.
- Coloring method - Standard/Alternate, is selectable also via the "Colors"
- Much improved scrollbars handling and layout. Scrollbars thumbs' size represents the
proportion of the visible area.
- RunN - the cycle at which the animation will stop is shown in the left panel of the
- New rules: Bombers, Ebb&Flow
- #COLORING - new keyword in .MCL files allowing specifying the coloring method, 1
(standard) or 2 (alternate).
Example: #COLORING 2
- New "Neumann binary" game.
- New "Neumann binary" game rules (from Tomoaki
Aggregation, Birds, Crystal2, Crystal3a, Crystal3b, Fredkin2, Fredkin3, Lake, Plankton,
- Seeding - possibility to select the statistical / exact randomizing.
- Seeding - possibility to show density in % or as decimal values.
- Windows resources usage radically reduced (by 50%).
- Status bar - small buttons opening game/rule/speed popup windows.
220.127.116.111 Beta, 29.09.1999
- RunN dialog - possibility to run up to the end of the page - most useful in 1D rules.
- General settings - possibility to configure if randomizing should reset the file name
and the pattern description.
- Possibility to configure the minimal zoom level at which the grid can be displayed.
- New command-line parameter 'LOGGED' allows monitoring and logging the program startup.
- Correlations analysis.
- Correlations can be saved to and loaded from CRL. files (MCell\System\Correlations\
- Program got faster by 40% (big thanks to Johan Bontes for his tips!)
- Weighted Life rules settings - Shift-clicking the "Randomize" button does not
- Population log to an external .PLG file. File is loadable to Excel.
- New toolbar button for setting the grid on / off.
- Alternate coloring method for all rules without history (Life, Weighted Life, 1-D,
- Possibility to copy selection to the clipboard as semigraphics (.*oO)
- Semigraphics can be pasted from the clipboard to the board.
- Statistics - a new checkbox allows enabling/disabling updating.
- New Weighted life rules: CrossPorpoises, Bricks, Fleas, Hogs, MazeMakers, Stampede,
Simple hex crystal, Upstream, Vineyard, Vineyard2, Starbursts2, ZipperMakers
- "Undo all cycles" got a [Ctrl+Alt+Z] shortcut and a button.
- Error in RunN dialog initialization causing forcing "Run up to" option
- "Repeat last seeding" got a [Ctrl+Shift+R] shortcut and an entry in
- New "Colors" menu options: next / previous state, shortcuts '[' and ']'.
- New "Colors" menu option: Change state of all alive cells to...
- New "Colors" menu option: Change state X to state Y...
- New "Colors" menu option: Swap two states...
- Renamed Traffic CA parameters: Epsilon->Alpha, Gamma->Beta.
- Traffic CA new syntax: TRCA,A,B,D1,D2
- New "Animation" menu option - Run N cycles, that runs the animation using
settings in the RunN dialog.
- New button "RunN cycles".
- RunN dialog contains now two action buttons:
"Ok" - accepts changes and closes the dialog,
"Run" - runs the pattern, the dialog stays open.
- All dialog windows save and restore their last screen positions.
- RunN dialog window is non-modal.
- Dialog windows open when program terminates open automatically upon next startup.
- RunN, Randomize dialogs - action buttons renamed to "Apply".
- Statistics dialog - possibility to show bar for state 0
- Statistics dialog - option for statistics of a defined area
- Statistics dialog - option for statistics of current row in 1D rules.
- Colors bar - Shift-click on any color panel sets the count of states.
- Alternate coloring schemes for Traffic CA. Selectable via Settings.
- Settings - new button allowing to reload settings from the program.
- Statistics - possibility to show distribution as % or as a decimal number.
- Transitions analysis
- 'Run' button stays depressed while the pattern is running.
- Transitions definitions are preserved between sessions.
- Transitions can be saved to and loaded from .TRN files (MCell\System\Transitions\
- New "Analysis" menu with Statistics, Transitions, and, soon, with logs.
- Improved detection of non-standard RLE files.
- Hot key for the Colors Bar (F2).
- Error with bad names of seed files removed.
- Possibility to configure randomizing rules tables sparseness.
- Many new rules: FrostM, FrostN, Cars, Pond, Cheops, Cooties 2, Crawlers, EcoLiBra, Fire
sticks, Ladders, Piranha, RanBrain.
- Beta-testing of version 2.0 is Over!
18.104.22.1682 Beta, 21.07.1999
- Error with saving color palettes removed.
- New "Career" and other rules patterns.
- User DLLs can be programmed also in C. Included are projects for MSVC.
- New "DNA" rule by Christopher G. Langton.
- User DLLs handle also 1-D rules.
22.214.171.1245 Beta, 11.07.1999
- Subzooms 1/2 .. 1/64 (where single screen pixels correspond to more
that 1 cell).
- Undo activity was not restored from previous sessions.
- Esc and Help are handled in RunN dialog.
- File Manager - new options in a local menu: Rename file and Delete file.
- File Manager - list of files is updated after "Save as...".
- Lines marking the universe border are thicker.
- "Generations" game rules can be defined using Rudy Rucker's NLUKY
- "Rules" settings - additional spin button allows easy game selection.
- "Board" settings - Optimized redrawing in subzooms. Faster, but of lower
- #PALETTE - new keyword in .MCL files allowing specifying color palettes.
Example: #PALETTE 2_2_1
- When grid is not displayed, cells fill the whole fields, without 1 pixel gap.
126.96.36.1991 Beta, 04.07.1999
- New colors bar, easy active state selection.
- Reorganization of menus, new "Colors" menu.
- New module creating bitmaps: either of the window, or of the whole universe.
- Randomizing dialog: circular areas, interior/exterior, saving/restoring sets.
- Program properly restores the window size after terminating in maximized mode.
- Width of the File Manager is saved and restored.
188.8.131.520 Beta, 27.06.1999
- MCLife name changed to Mirek's Cellebration (MCell). The author of the new name is David
Griffeath - many thanks!
- New logo and program icon.
- Removed bug with <Tab> and <arrows keys> usage in dialog windows.
- New rule "Sticks" (3456/2/6) from Rudy Rucker.
184.108.40.2068 Beta, 25.06.1999
- Easy color palette selection from the 'Colors' menu.
- A new "Run n / Run to n cycles" dialog, possibility to specify how often
should the board be redisplayed.
- New rules.
2.00.0.240 Beta, 02.06.1999
- New rule "Transers" (345/26/5) from John Elliott.
- Possibility of selecting the active drawing state/color.
- The "Colors' button" allows looping between available states/colors.
- Shift-click activates the previous state (color).
- The active color is displayed in the status bar, before the count of colors.
- Drawing with the Shift key pressed clears cells.
- Drawing with the Ctrl key pressed creates cells with state 1, regardless of the active
- Count of states increased to 25 (24 alive + 1 dead).
- "Faders" rule definition changed from 2/2/8 to more accurate 2/2/25
- New "Rules Table" Game, supporting Moore 8/9 and von Neumann 4/5
- Weighted Life - buttons clearing all S or B rules from the list. Shift+Del button is no
- Rules Table - button Clear;
- Randomizing the Rules Table.
- New David Griffeath's "Cyclic CA" Game.
- New Statistics dialog, the distribution graph. Shortcut: F9
- New pattern randomizing dialog, with many options.
- Shift-clicking the "Randomize" option performs randomizing using last
settings, without opening the dialog.
- First "Cyclic CA" rules: CCA, 313
- Greenberg-Hastings Model in Cyclic CA.
- New "Colorize the pattern randomly" dialog. Shortcut: F4
- Possibility to save/load user color palettes
- Many new Cyclic CA rules: Perfect, Maps, GH Macaroni, Turbulent phase, Fossil debris,
3-color bootstrap, Stripes, Cyclic spirals, GH, GH Weak spirals, GH Percolation mix, GH
- New "User DLL" Game - MCell got programmable from outside!
- Many new rules
- F5 refreshes also the list of files in the File Manager.
- The board does not have to be a square, x size can be different than y size.
- Increased board size, up to 100,000 x 2,500.
- Possibility to configure the max. count of cells in the universe that can go to Undo.
- The notation of the max. count of colors has changed - now it includes also 0, and is
greater by 1 than in previous versions.
- New game type - "Specific rules", that contains hard-coded rules, otherwise
impossible to specify.
- Traffic CA, 1-dimensional rule in Special rules game.
- Next big extensions in Random patterns generator.
- New concept of pattern seeds; available in the new option "Seed / randomize"
- Scroll bars added to the lattice area. The visibility of scroll bars can be set in the
- Settings - possibility to specify that only the top line should be saved in 1-D CA.
- Faster redrawing of large patterns
- New von Neumann neighbourhood rules: Parity, Pictures, PicturesH.
- Context-sensitive help in most dialogs.
- Weighted Life rules settings Shift-clicking the [Del] button clears all values in
- Two new Undo events: open pattern, new pattern
- Possibility to switch on or off (default) clearing Undo list on opening patterns and new
- Bug with FFFFFF address access at startup removed.
- Bug with symmetrical rules tool removed.
- Undo list shows also the pattern name.
- End of Beta testing!
- Rules in settings are not reloaded every time the Settings dialog gets focus.
- Bug with "Smaller cells" button removed.
- Possibility to freeze areas - 'Drop selection before running?' option in Settings.
- Loading the clipboard contents as a new pattern. Shortcut: [Ctrl+Shift+V]. The pattern,
game, rules and the description are loaded.
- Empty lines at the beginning of life files are ignored.
- Pattern description dialog shows the count of cells in each state.
- Redisplaying of the board containing more than 1 color is much faster.
- Bug - Alt+F4 terminates the program again.
- Bug - the first file in the File Manager has also the local menu.
- Corrected loading of patterns filling the maximum board size.
- New bitmaps for 'run faster / slower' buttons
- Right clicking on 'Speed' and 'Cell size' buttons opens the corresponding local menu.
- Improved Undo, better events detection
- Possibility to switch off confirming starting the new universe
- New Undo event: game / rule change
- Loading RLE patterns with Mark D. Niemiec's extensions - x, y, and z states.
- If the universe is modified and Undo is called, current universe is appended to Undo as
an Undo event.
- A bug causing adding leading blanks to comments in MCL files removed.
- System color depth detection, proper first-time initialization
- Weighted Life - weight range increased to -256..256, max. rule range increased to
- Weighted Life random rules are automatically sorted.
- Toggle the 'Wrap at edges' option added to the 'Settings' menu, shortcut: Ctrl+W
- Error with auto incrementing the count of colors removed.
- Improved 'Best fit' accuracy.
- Sporadic 'ghost cells' in selection technique removed.
- Best fit on an empty universe resets zoom and centers (0,0).
- Marking - square selection with Shift key pressed.
- Fill selection with random pattern removed, since 'Random fill' fills the selection, if
- Fast speed selection shortcuts 0..9 need now the Ctrl key, as they locked some keyboard
input in non-modal dialogs.
- Settings - rules can be typed using the keyboard.
- File Manager popup - 'view the pattern in Notepad' option
- Pattern description is shown as Hint of the Pattern Info button.
- When a pattern is dropped while Ctrl is pressed, pattern is appended to an existing
- Drag and Drop from the file manager.
- Different sounds for file open and file append operations.
- Count of colors selection in the user interface is disabled in 'Generations' and
'Weighted Life' (count of colors belongs to the rule in these games).
- The help file is attached to the program.
- dbLife (.L) file type separated from .RLE in Open dialog.
- Home, End, PageUp, PageDown pan the board diagonally.
- Num pad '5' centers the universe
- If the universe is smaller than the board, its borders are marked.
- If the universe is smaller than the board, zooming keeps it fully visible
- RLE loading: redundant #C and #D after '!' are removed
- Open next/previous file shortcuts changed to '>' and '<'.
- Rules settings - count of colors hidden in 'Life' and 'Vote'
Last update: 19 Sep 2001