A puffer (or puffer train) is a pattern that moves like a spaceship, except that it leaves debris behind.

The first known puffers were found by Bill Gosper and travelled at c/2 orthogonal (see puffer 1 for the very first one, found in 1971). Not long afterwards, c/12 diagonal puffers were found (see switch engine). Discounting wickstretchers (which are not puffers in the conventional sense), no new velocity was obtained after this until David Bell found the first c/3 orthogonal puffer in April 1996. Since then c/5 orthogonal puffers have also been found, the first by Tim Coe in May 1997. Jason Summers built the first c/4 orthogonal puffer in January 1999, and the first 2c/5 orthogonal puffer in February 1999. In February 2004, Hartmut Holzwart found a c/4 diagonal puffer, and in September 2010, Matthias Merzenich found a c/5 diagonal puffer.[1] In December 2013, Ivan Fomichev discovered a 2c/7 puffer,[2] and in 2016, c/10 orthogonal puffers were found.[3]

Puffer engine

A puffer engine is a pattern that can be used as the main component of a puffer. The pattern may itself be a puffer (e.g. puffer 2), a spaceship (e.g. the Schick engine), or even an unstable reaction (e.g. the switch engine).

See also


  1. Adam P. Goucher (January 26, 2011). "New c/5 diagonal technology". Game of Life News.
  2. Ivan Fomichev (December 26, 2013). Re: Weekender Reactions: Building a 2c/7 Puffer (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
  3. Nico Brown (March 20, 2016). Re: is this c/10 spaceship known? (discussion thread) at the ConwayLife.com forums
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