|Trying to be a bit conservative, I've recently been saying that this little project is still providing a couple of surprises a week and keep wondering silently just when the supply of surprises was going to dry up.|
I need to emphasise here that I am applying a very narrow methodology, starting by isolating minimalist seeds/patterns that have been seen to appear naturally in The Wild, mostly seeds produced by common collisions.
Of all possible collision geometries involving just two common ships there are only two viable asymmetric seeds produced: the head on one now known as Whoa and an orthogonal one which I had not looked at again since I stopped and saved it at 22,000 iterations way back on 4th November, a fortnight before I posted anything here.
There are also a class of seeds like MargLyn which are mirror symmetric (horizontal or vertical) around a cell boundary line (rather than around a single row of cells) which quickly produce similarly symmetric block trail laying engines on their axes, trails which soon collect often elaborate but still strictly symmetric adornments which I gather in a directory called snake pit.
On Saturday night I left the commonest* of those seeds running from 20,000 to 60,000 and in the morning spotted the aftermath in the form of another non 45° rake formed following period 42 hollowing out of an eight track wide anaconda which is another story and a target for the next version of the animation software. (*I ran four separate seeds for the pattern to 10,000 before realising they were equivalent.)
Late on Sunday night I left the orthogonal ship collision seed running towards 70,000 with an expectation of getting up in the early hours to check running speed before setting an overnight target. Every intention of doing the target reset without waking properly blew out the window when I was hit in the face by evidence of two asymmetric tagalonged tail erosion processes which I had never even contemplated.
The first had left a Delta-like unmatched pair of braids of rakes, but all with their constituent ships at an interval of 192 cells, double the common puffer rake period which suggested a lot of wrong possibilities until I actually looked back to when the eroding tail/puffer engine was running and discovered p.128 tail erosion period tripling before the first rake ships are produced.
The second after some outer tagalongs had been stripped away after they caught up and reacted with a ship was simpler but still surprising. The three remaining track tails eroded with period 48 leaving a trail with a common 8 cell 'zero' every 24 cells. That trail is still forming behind the darker tagalonged track in the compressed rendering below while the braided rakes of the more complex mechanism are almost complete though still forming in the reducing periodic middle of the Delta/Rugby-like narrow tapered active zone.