Life, ants and Brain. Just tossing an idea!

(Andrea A.G. Grossi) #1

Hello Rackheadz!
This is a out-of-the-canon topic, I guess. PREAMBLE: I am not a programmer, not even a bit. I cannot work on it. Damn. This is just the offer of an idea.

I have seen a lot of nice plugins that generate casual or pseudocasual impulses and I have a lot of fun with them. Some of them are even pleasant to watch!

Now, yesterday evening I was playing with an Android app that replicates the Conway’s game of “LIFE” (’s_Game_of_Life) as well as other cellular automata like Langton’s ant (’s_ant), Brian’s Brain (’s_Brain) and so forth.

And I had the idea you already know by now: why not apply these automata to VCV?

The concept is really not new nor difficult, as far as I have seen: a toroidal square grid ( of a given dimension where cells can live, move, breed and die accordingly to the rules choosen: Conway, Langton, Brian or whatever.

The impulses can be driven in a way like NYSTHI BOH!NGLER does but:

  1. the grid must be a torus (it can be a plane as well but a torus is way much cooler and let the cells live indefinitely AND produce indefinite sounds)
  2. the grid must be a little bit bigger than the BOH!NGLER…

I don’t really know how BOH!NGLER works so I am just poking in the dark but:

  1. moving cells can produce impulse, accordingly to their X,Y positions
  2. the death of a cell COULD (or could not, not really sure about) produce a sound
  3. the birth of a cell produce a sound, both because of its birth and accordingly to its positions

A lot of CAs (Cellular Automata) also uses colors to underline the generations: a generation is the state of the whole system after a certain amount of time: what cells are alive, what are dead, what have moved and what are in a stable system. Cells of generation #7 will be differently colored from cells of generations #1. Colors are used also just for aesthetic purposes, why not?

This could be applied to FM, PITCH, whatever (different colors = different values) and it is a discrete internal state (it is not a continuous VC flow) so it can be used in very different ways (like a discrete counter).

It could be awesome to LOAD preconfigured “DPD” or DIGITAL PETRI DISH where a certain amount of cells are pre drawn and once they are loaded they start to grow and evolve.
This has been inspired by the music of Jerobeam Fenderson ( he makes music that “DRAWS” oscilloscope pictures so I asked myself why not make music that DRAW CAs patterns instead?

The challenge is that CAs can die and, of course they should not: they should survive, they should be pleasant to watch and to listen to and, if colours should be used, they should also be good looking coloured!

Too bad, as I stated at the beginning, I am no good at all in coding or I would have started to work on that because I have searched around and there’s nothing similar about this thing. It’s something unique, new.

I have one and only one request: IF someone will start working on such project, I would love to be remembered and credited as the one who suggested it first. Yeah, a bit narcissistc from me but that’s the only request.

Following, there are some links of CAs you can watch and play with to have an idea of what these things are and how they work.

And now I can only watch and stare, dammit! :disappointed_relieved: Or maybe keep on learning and in a couple of years trying to make the plugin by myself… Dunno… First let’s talk about it. :wink:

(Nikolai V. Chr.) #2

Good idea.

The open-source software modular Wren already did something similar as a sequencer, I don’t think it is in a torus playing field though, don’t know.


(Andrea A.G. Grossi) #3

Uhm… That “WRAPPED” tickles the idea that it could be a tours but, apart that…

Frustrating. I haven’t got an original idea! :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

Well, that’s the boost for eventually make it way much better than Wren did, right? :wink:

Oh, BTW: thanks for pointing it out, @Autinn!

EDITED: I am playing with Wren right now. It’s pretty far from what I have in mind. This one don’t use colors, for istance, to eventually modulate extra stuffs like FM or pitch but on the other hand it allows to draw directly on the grid, something I totally forgot. Meh.

Other utilities like the binary sum of the active cells, the count of the active cells and so on could be cool but… Uhm… Really useful? I’ll leave the decision to whom eventually will work on it.

The right click to save the cell state is pretty rad.

I’m so pissed off right now… I was hoping to have “THE BIG IDEA”… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

(Paul Piko) #4

Have you looked at JW’s NoteSeq?

" Life Switch: when switched to the right this turns on conway’s game of life"

(Andrea A.G. Grossi) #5

Nope, I didn’t see it.



Thanks for the indication, anyway… I’m going to play with it a little. :disappointed_relieved::sweat:

(Lars Bjerregaard) #6