muzik wrote:This gave me an idea for another forum game though: build onto and extend a structure that completely destroys itself.

That does sound like fun. Here's a possible place to start -- something I put together for no good reason at all, on 12 April 2003:

`#C pseudorandom Herschel soup`

x = 146, y = 71, rule = LifeHistory

35.2A$35.A.A10.A$36.A.A8.A.A$37.A9.2A30.2A37.A$79.2A36.A.A$118.2A2$

69.2A25.2A$69.2A25.A.A$97.A.A$98.A27.A$83.2A40.A.A$83.A.A39.2A$52.2A

30.A$52.A.A$53.A68.2A$122.2A2$39.2A$40.A$40.A.A87.2A$41.2A45.2A40.2A$

60.2A26.2A$49.2A9.2A$12.A36.2A$10..A.A$11.A.A8.2A$12.A9.2A7.2A109.2A$

5.A25.2A52.2A55.A$4.A.A78.2A18.2A36.3A$5.A99.2A38.A4$17.2A.A88.2A$17.

A.2A39.A48.2A$41.2A16.A.A$2.2A37.2A17.A.A$2.2A57.2A2$9.2A$9.2A$43.2A$

43.2A13$2A$2A$38.A49.2A$37.A.A48.2A$36.A.A54.A$36.2A54.A.A$92.A.A$93.

A$103.2A$103.2A$11.2A$11.2A86.2A$99.2A$5.2A$5.2A!

35.2A$35.A.A10.A$36.A.A8.A.A$37.A9.2A30.2A37.A$79.2A36.A.A$118.2A2$

69.2A25.2A$69.2A25.A.A$97.A.A$98.A27.A$83.2A40.A.A$83.A.A39.2A$52.2A

30.A$52.A.A$53.A68.2A$122.2A2$39.2A$40.A$40.A.A87.2A$41.2A45.2A40.2A$

60.2A26.2A$49.2A9.2A$12.A36.2A$10.CA.A$11.A.A8.2A$12.A9.2A7.2A109.2A$

5.A25.2A52.2A55.A$4.A.A78.2A18.2A36.3A$5.A99.2A38.A4$17.2A.A88.2A$17.

A.2A39.A48.2A$41.2A16.A.A$2.2A37.2A17.A.A$2.2A57.2A2$9.2A$9.2A$43.2A$

43.2A13$2A$2A$38.A49.2A$37.A.A48.2A$36.A.A54.A$36.2A54.A.A$92.A.A$93.

A$103.2A$103.2A$11.2A$11.2A86.2A$99.2A$5.2A$5.2A!

As it stands, it's a stable constellation, but if you pick the right place to add a single cell, it will completely self-destruct in 904 ticks.

If anyone needs it, the location of the cell is hidden in the RLE in a fairly obvious way, that LifeViewer and Golly can't see (pun intended) without a little help from a human editor. Here's the original description:

A long time ago, dvgrn wrote:I was reminded that I wanted to check to see how easy it was to convert the average Herschel conduit into a clean-burning fuse. One horrible thought I had was a Game-of-Life equivalent of those mate-in-four chess problems that I always hated [just because the board positions generally seem so contrived, and it's usually easy to mate in five or six...] In this case it would be:

"Add one ON cell to the following pattern to produce an empty universe in less than 1000 generations."

Along those lines, here's some pseudorandom soup I just cooked up -- modified pieces of the first four conduits I tried.* It fails a number of randomness tests -- too many boats and long boats; I was using them to reflect gliders, but I should really have used larger random-looking constellations like the one on the lower right.

But I don't want to make this into an attractive-looking puzzle, for fear someone might like it and produce more of the darn things. Life is hard enough already.

It's obviously very easy to throw together miscellaneous debris that

can catalyze Herschel reactions. When I find an actual use for this

idea, you can be sure I'll post it --

...

* For the record, in order of use, the conduits are:

1. An R-to-Herschel converter

2. A Herschel transceiver

3. A 166-step conduit

4. A Herschel-to-4-glider converter [posted by Paul Callahan on 11 Nov 1996].

Luckily nobody encouraged me at the time, so no more similar puzzles were forthcoming. Eventually the idea evolved into Demonoid self-destruct circuitry... but now it looks like

simeks' search program can do a much more efficient job of this kind of Seeding for Destruction, than I could ever manage.