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DarwinTunes 2.0 Revealed Today

27 September 2013 830 views No Comment

There’s a new DarwinTunes, and we’re going to reveal it today at the Discovery Festival in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven.

So what is DarwinTunes 2.0? It’s a music evolution machine, wrapped into a shiny web app, in which a community of music lovers can breed musical loops. This community is going to be the visitors of the three sites of the discovery festival tonight, and when everything goes well, we’ll announce the URL at midnight Central European Summer Time, so the whole world can join.

Some of you may know the original DarwinTunes, with which we successfully evolved pleasant loops (see SoundCloud) and which led to a super scientific paper and even a prestigious prize (I reported). But in the original, voters could only say whether they liked a tune, which means slow evolution that is hard to show off in a science festival night. So we needed something new.

For the new DarwinTunes we left the audio engine pretty much untouched (except for very few new effects and some optimisation), but we completely re-designed the way a user interacts with the music: it’s now a breeding paradigm: the user chooses, from a pool of other peoples tunes, the one he/she would like to mate with their own tune. This has two benefits:

  1. it allows more targeted mating of loops that fit or complement each other, and hence will speed up evolution
  2. it’s much more fun to play!

Plus: it actually looks so much better (see screenshot).

Now this all was possible because Bob MacCallum (DT inventor and coder) liked my idea of the breeding thing, and we got two fab software engineers onto the project: Steve Welburn and Carl Bussey, both at Queen Mary. Carl is the main designer of the great interface, and Steve is our general software and server wizard, he worked on optimising Bob’s old code, fixing compatibility issues, and the scoreboards. I did a bit of work on audio optimisation, design, and random organisational stuff.

A great team!

So tonight is the hour of truth: will it actually work, with 20, 30, 40 people interacting all at the same time? Well, we will see. I will do some live commentary on the DarwinTunes Facebook site.

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