Self-synthesizing oblique loopship

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Self-synthesizing oblique loopship
Self-synthesizing oblique loopship image
Pattern type Spaceship
Number of cells 580460
Bounding box 3903968 × 3903985
Direction Oblique
Slope 16461006/16460963
Period 75568091
Mod 75568091
Speed (16461006,16460963)c/75568091
Speed (unsimplified) Unknown
Heat Unknown
Discovered by Goldtiger997
Year of discovery 2021

The self-synthesizing oblique loopship, or SSOL, is a self-constructing adjustable spaceship assembled by Goldtiger997 on August 2, 2021.[1]

This pattern was voted Pattern of the Year for 2021 on the forums.[2]


Like other loopships, the SSOL consists of a signal storage loop that moves by sending out two copies of a glider construction recipe. The first copy of the recipe is used to construct a new signal storage loop some distance from the original. The second copy is then directed into the new signal storage loop to allow the cycle to repeat. The previous loop circuitry self-destructs cleanly after it has emitted two copies of its contents.

The SSOL is the first loopship to use the new crabstretcher-based elbow push mechanism from the Speed Demonoid. It is also the first loopship that travels in an oblique direction. Perhaps most important, it is the first Conway's Life spaceship of any kind that is a non-trivial SMOS (spaceship made of spaceships): several of its phases consist of nothing but gliders, and yet the overall spaceship's velocity is different from the velocities of any of its component gliders. More generally, it is also the first self-synthesizing pattern constructed in Life, producing its own glider recipe in its evolution sequence.

Changes from previous loopship design

The previous orthogonal loopship was constructed before crabstretcher technology became available, so it used Cordership-based elbow pushes in a glide-reflecting design to allow for re-use of some of the corners of its signal storage loops.

This was necessary because Corderships travel slowly enough to make it more difficult to store a recipe for a simple diamond-shaped memory loop inside that same loop. Too much empty space is needed in the recipe, due to the need to wait until each Cordership gets far enough away before shooting it down to produce a target elbow; with a naive design, no matter how big the loop is made, the required wait times require such large gaps that there's no room left to store the actual construction recipe.

The new SSOL's crabstretcher elbow pushes move at c/4, and therefore requires much shorter gaps which leaves plenty of room for the rest of the recipe.

Infinite family of related spaceships

A script has been written to construct SSOL variants with signal storage loops of different sizes and shapes, and consequently different spaceship velocities.[3] There are two primary degrees of freedom, corresponding to the NW/SE diameter and the NE/SW diameter of the signal storage loop. Many other timing adjustments can also be made, for example by adding or subtracting space between different components of the single-channel recipes, but it's not clear that this would result in any significantly new behavior.

Self-synthesizing glide-reflecting loopship

On March 8, 2022, Goldtiger997 completed a self-synthesizing spaceship with a design similar to the SSOL, except that it turns 90 degrees after every cycle and produces a mirror-image copy of itself.[4] As a result it travels orthogonally in a zigzag pattern at a speed of 30985960c/144171206, which is approximately c/4.65. As with other loopships, the speed can be easily adjusted.


  1. Goldtiger997 (August 2, 2021). Re: Self-Synthesizing Spaceship (COMPLETED) (discussion thread) at the forums
  2. Pavel Grankovskiy (April 6, 2022). Re: PotY 2020 Voting Thread (discussion thread) at the forums
  3. Dave Greene (August 14, 2021). Re: Self-Synthesizing Spaceship (COMPLETED) (discussion thread) at the forums
  4. Goldtiger997 (March 8, 2022). Re: Self-Synthesizing Spaceship (COMPLETED) (discussion thread) at the forums