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Show HN: I shipped: WOPR - Game of Life in a synthesier
2 points by scrumper on Nov 9, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments
This is the very first side project I've ever finished on my own, let alone shipped, and that makes this a very big moment for me.

WOPR (an early build looked a bit like the computer in War Games) began as a simple Game of Life implementation and it turned into something much bigger. Along the way I got interested in synthesis programming and DSP, so I decided to combine the two and create a virtual analog synthesizer for the iPad. There are a few of these out there but this is the only one I've found that deviates a little bit from the classic synth architectures of the past.

WOPR uses the Game of Life to modulate (ie control) the synth's parameters. Rather than twiddling the various knobs directly, you can link them to zones on the Life grid and have the number of living cells decide the parameter's value. The 16x16 wrapping Life grid is unusual in two respects: it's size is very small for a Life implementation, and it has an 'immortality' feature used to fix cells in place. This leads to some very interesting repeating patterns which are excellent for rhythmic modulation. Other than that there are a few interesting things: the synth architecture is dynamic, with the signal flow being linked to parameters which themselves can be modulated. This can lead to some pretty wild and rapidly-changing sounds. The synth itself is also pretty powerful, with 6 note polyphony, full stereo and two oscillators per note. The matrix window which links parameters to the Game of Life grid is also a great way to build custom control panels for performance.

There are more details at:


and on the store:


It works on iPad 2 or new iPad. I haven't tried it on an iPad 1 but it's close to limits on the 2 so I doubt it'd work well.

Thanks for reading!

Nice, congrats on getting this out the door. I'm thinking about creating a curated list of music related apps and websites. I'll add this bad boy to the list. Congrats again.

Thanks, didn't see your comment. Appreciate it.

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