Life, ants and Brain. Just tossing an idea!

A quick test using 4 ants:


(just popped a limiter over the master track in Reaper)


TEASER!!! :smiley:

Sounds yummy! And looks so very Sci-Fi! Can’t see the moment I could put my fingers on it! :smiley:

Hello there! Any news from the Ant’s Farm?? :grinning:

Beta soon!


Hi guys,

I nervously provide you with links for the beta plugin of the Musical Ant for VCV Rack v1.0+. I say nervously because I know there is at least one bug still in the code which will crash VCV Rack. So just keep that in mind. I haven’t tested much on Windows apart from confirming the binaries superficially work. My hope is that the crash I have been experiencing is Mac-only… Even better if it is localised to my OS version (Sierra). It has been driving me crazy trying to troubleshoot :crazy_face::angry::crazy_face:

FYI - The crash seems to happen intermittently in the following situations:

  • duplicating the plugin
  • loading/changing patches
  • using Cmd-Q to “hard-exit” VCV Rack when the plugin is open

Anyway, I’ll follow up with a little “quick start” guide on the plugin itself shortly.

Download links:



Configuring the plugin:
Extract the zip file to your /Rack/plugins-v1 folder. The folder structure should look like:

Functionality/bugs left that I would like to sort out before actual release:

  • fix the aforementioned crash
  • add ability to pick up and drop ant/shadow-ant
  • make the output in the LCD read-out in the bottom-right more useful. Eg. currently the Scale (SCL) knob displays integers 1-18 which is not very helpful.



Basic rundown of functionality:

I left out the obvious ones. Eg. Ant X, Y and Shadow Ant X, Y V/Oct outputs, Poly output, etc.


Thanks 1000 times!!!
Testing it extensively!! :smiley:

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Here some first tests on Win10 64b!
I’ve CTRL+D the plugin and no crash.

It crashes when I load a previously saved patch and VCV forces me to clear the patch and start over. After that I can load the plugin and it works properly.

If I CTRL+Q while the patch is loaded, when I open VCV and load the patch it crashes. Then when I reload VCV it forces me to clear the patch and start over. Then I can reload the patch and it works fine.

I really like the double gate output! And I have to say it produces some really amazing patterns!

In my humble opinion, you made a really great plugin and not because I am fond of Life but because it really works fine! :heart_eyes:

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Here is my 1 minute patch, just to have a quick fun out of it! :grin:

life.vcv (298.9 KB)

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If you want to work on how and when the module is crashing you can open your autosave file and remove the module from the save file and reload it… It will load all the modules except the one you removed via text so you can test scenarios using the one you had when the module crashed.


Glad you’re enjoying it! @SkwareUawe. Yeah, I agree, the rhythms from the Ant Left and Right Gate outputs are fun to play with :slight_smile:

FYI - If you upgrade to the latest Rack version, 1.1.4, you will need to make a small update to the plugin.json file so the version line looks like:
"version": "1.0.0",

It looks like Rack 1.1.4 is validating the version number in plugin.json for inclusion on load. I wasn’t clear on whether that was the plugin version or the Rack version the plugin is compatible with. Looks like it may be the latter.

I’ll keep hunting for the bug causing the crashes. It is annoying. If I hit a dead end I’ll ask for help from the plugin pros on this forum.


it is the plugin version. but rack requires plugins to indicate compatibility in their version numbering. so, 0.6.x plugins were compatible with rack 0.6.x, and 1.x plugins are compatible with rack 1.x.

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I wonder if this is the same thing I discovered with chronoblob?

Ooooh. Thanks for the heads-up @TroubledMind! I’m just digging into that thread and I can see a familiar theme to the crashes I’m seeing in my plugin.

Much appreciated! Fingers crossed it is the same issue because the fix looks simple.


Yep, think you’re on the money @TroubledMind Now I’ve added getters and setters rather than referring to relative globals in my process method and I haven’t been able to crash Rack again.

Pretty sure I read something in the plugin dev guide saying that the GUI and the engine process should not depend on each other (or something thereabouts)… This may be what was meant by that. Rookie error!

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That’s great news! At least you managed to spot the bug before releasing it and that you were able to fix it. Looking forward to trying your module.

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Hello there! I am still playing with this plugin and it is BIG TIME FUN!!
Yeah, it keeps crashing from time to time for the aforementioned reasons but nevertheless I can’t get enough of it!

Now… I have a small wishlist, if it is even possible… :wink:

  • Could it be possible to choose other cellular automata?

  • Could it be possible to set/customize the rules of those automata?

I know I am asking quite a lot and I am ready to take a “no” as an answer. I really think this plugin is awesome as it is but… :star_struck:

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  • No, not for this module sorry.
  • Yes, maybe… I want to do this but not 100% decided on how to implement from a GUI standpoint… No.1 priority is to make the silly thing stable. Crashes are embarrassing.
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I totally understand. :grinning: Ok, thank you for the answer and… Well, I can only help encouraging you! If there is something else I can do (apart coding), please let me know!

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Happy New Year all!

With the assistance of the smart folks in the Rack community I managed to locate and fix the crashing bug and have now released 1.0.0 in the Rack Library. Just search “Aunty Langton” to install :slight_smile:

Looking forward to exploring additional features and modules in 2020!