New Tool (2.8): Game of life

4009 Game of Life Screen Shot.png

A simulation of Conway’s Game of Life

Not really a tool as it doesn’t really do anything useful, but I’ve always been fascinated by this kind of thing so decided to have a go
Usage: Select a seed or use random, press go and click on the grid to plant seeds and watch them evolve. When colour mode is active it takes the colours from tracks 1 (youngest cells) and 2 (oldest cells), it’s also slower when colour mode is on.

I’m not really sure how this could be applied musically, maybe switching dsp effects? Any suggestions?

afta8, if you have an iPad, check out “WOPR” (the synth, not the Wargames movie match-3 tie-in).

WOPR uses GoL to modulate knobs. For pretty much anything. It’s awesome, IF you know how to make the GoL make repeating patterns. If you have no idea what you’re doing, you’ll be peeved when your knobs stop twisting mid-song b/c all your pixels died :D


Draw a piano roll on the left side.
translate that to pattern data.


I tried to do something like vV suggests back in the 80’s on my Atari, sending out MIDI, but I couldn’t really make it work in a way it did something interesting. I definitely would love to see you have a go on it!

(Then I went to an idea based on the moves of the knight in chess, moving on a board by some given rules, where the squares had MIDI values assigned to them. This wasn’t too bad, really. Maybe I could emulate this some day… or maybe not… ;) )

Hey odyle, thanks for the tip, just purchased it. I quite like how it separates the grid into zones and how it uses that to something with oscillating patterns. I think I’ll try something similar.

Oh yeah, didn’t think of that! How would that work though, constantly updating pattern data based on the grid, or use the tool itself to do the sequencing. Another concern I have with this is that it might just sound a bit random and not capture the different objects you get on the grid like gliders.

Thats interesting, maybe the way to do it is to create a different rule set, I’m thinking that the rules that define a musical scale could in someway be used to influence the grid pattern… I dunno, I’m gonna experiment and see how it works (if you don’t mind I will try that chess approach )

Cool, I would love to see what you do with it

Of course! I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first one who came up with this idea anyway. :)/>

On gliders etc., yes this would be awesome to translate such patterns to not-so-random musical “objects”.

Edit: Did a cassette hunt in the basement to show you what it sounded like: Kanon 251

End of off topic. ;)

Very cool tool! Reminds me of the Automaton vst. (I’ve never actually tried that since I’m a cheap bastard)

And another example

Today I came across this Monome video:

Cool! Some great examples there, I’ve been tying something similar to Automaton, with fairly mixed results, I would love to get something like the monome example working but I can’t get the lua API to trigger notes in real time.

I also discovered Fingerlab Musyc recently, it’s physic based but has some great approaches to generative music, it’s well worth checking out if you have an iPhone or iPad.

Nice work afta8. Great tool!

I’ve been working on a similar tool for quite some time. I’m very interested in generative music like some posters here.

My tool is incomplete but I thought I’d post it here as it can run scripts on the cells in real-time (synced with playback). Maybe you can highjack some code bits?

Dude, that is seriously awesome! and inspiring!

Love the extra rules as well, I will definitely be hacking away at it… One thing I couldn’t work out is the Cell to Renoise section… how does it work? I can’t get it to do anything…

Thx afta8, glad you like it. I’m missing your toroidal array though, Your boundary handling is awesome.

You need to have recording on (in the transport, you know rec.) to allow the scripts to write to the pattern editor. This is confusing/hidden but useful.

You also need to color the cells to a “script group” … this is a bit complex to explain in words.

I’ll make a video as a simple tutorial.

Thanks, it was quite simple to do in the end, the modulo operator (%) is your friend, I used to do things in a really convoluted way until I got my head around it.

I’ll have another go on it tonight, a video would be great :)

I remember getting my head around that, then trying to recommend somebody else use it and explain it and being completely unable… ;)

Haha, I don’t think I could explain it either, I think I got it after messing around with a spreadsheet and plugging in numbers to see what happened, also lua counting from 1 doesn’t help either!