lights_out_opengl, a C code which sets up the "Lights Out" game and allows a user to try to solve it.

The Lights Out game is played on a rectangular board of squares, each representing a light that may be on or off. Clicking the mouse on a light switches it from on to off and vice versa. However, when you switch a light, you also switch the lights to the immediate left, right, above and below. (There is no "wrap around" however, in this basic version of the game.)

You start the game by specifying the width and height of the board to be used, and the number of moves the program should make in setting up the inital board. Specifying 10 moves, for instance, means that the program, starting from a board with all lights off, will randomly switch a light and its neighbors 10 times.


lights_out_opengl width height moves


The computer code and data files described and made available on this web page are distributed under the MIT license


LIGHTS_OUT_OPENGL is available in a C version and a C++ version and a MATLAB version.

Related Data and Programs:

FERN_OPENGL, a C code which uses OpenGL to display the Barnsley fractal fern.

FLOOD_OPENGL, a C code which uses OpenGL to allow the user to select regions of a 2D image and flood them with color, by Art Wetzel.

LIFE_OPENGL, a C code which uses OpenGL to display the evolution of John Conway's "Game of Life", by Simon Green.

opengl_test, C codes which illustrate the use of the OpenGL graphics library;

SCREENSHOT_OPENGL, a C code which shows how a program using the OpenGL graphics library can save a screenshot of the graphics being displayed.


  1. Marlow Anderson, Todd Feil,
    Turning Lights Out With Linear Algebra,
    Mathematics Magazine,
    Volume 71, Number 4, October 1998, pages 300-303.
  2. Edward Angel,
    Interactive Computer Graphics, a Top-Down Approach with OpenGL,
    Addison-Wesley, 2000,
    ISBN: 0-201-38597-X,
    LC: T385.A514.
  3. Oscar Martin-Sanchez,
    Two Analyses of Lights Out,
    Mathematics Magazine,
    Volume 74, Number 4, October 2001, pages 295-304.

Source Code:

Last revised on 01 April 2023.