Flash, iOS, openFrameworks
comments 5

unVerse – Created by Ian Snyder and ported to iOS by Lucky Frame


unVerse is a generative music generation system created by Ian Snyder and ported to iOS by Lucky Frame. It uses a minimalist system of white points floating on a black screen. When two points approach they connect and push each other away, generating a musical tone. The app was submitted to the AppStore and rejected, now only available as a source download from GitHub.  

The app, available as open source from GitHub, was created using openFrameworks. Jonathan Brodsky, who created the port, describes it as “quite simple”:

There are a bunch of dots floating around. When they get within a certain distance of each other, they get pushed away from each other and play a sine tone. When you drag your finger, the speed of your finger is added to all the dots within a certain distance. You can modify collision and touch distance as well as maximum speed and maximum number of dots on the screen.

There is a dot class that handles updating the position of the dots, and a soundcontainer class that handles all of the tones that are playing and the echo and mixing. The tones themselves are produced in the tone class. There is also a title screen that has all of the initial positions for the dots and lines. The rest of the logic (collision detection, touch updating, and tone picking) happens in the testApp.mm file. The testApp.mm also handles the FBO that does the sorta motion blur effect.

Unfortunately, Apple rejected it on the grounds it needed “more features” resulting in Lucky Frame abandoning the submission and releasing it as open source. You can read more about the submission on their website including some thoughts and opinions about the process.

..how we evaluate creative output, and it’s a problem that could be applied to any number of situations, from apps to music interfaces. An unfortunate byproduct of consumer-focused digital media is that perhaps more than ever it prioritises adding “stuff” rather than trying to really explore and experiment with specific interactions, reactions, and interfaces.

We couldn’t agree more with Lucky Frame.

In any case, the team has made the app open source, available at the link below. If you are registered as iOS developer you can deploy it to your iOS device. Alternatively, you can have a play in the iOS Simulator but for this you need latest version of xCode available from MacAppStore and 0.7 version of oF.

Source on GitHub
Tested, fixed and made working with openFrameworks 0.7.
It is using the following addons: ofxShapeBatchRenderer and ofxUI (included in the source to make it easy for those new to oF)

Project Page | Ian Snyder’s Flash version | Lucky Frame | Ian Snyder

  • squirrel squirrel squirrel

    It seems to me that Apple should institute a new “Art” category of apps to avoid such needlessly judgmental rejections in the future. The “Art” category would be known to contain pieces that exist for their own sake.

    It would be absurd if Apple were to disallow La Monte Young pieces in the music store because they were deemed to be needing “more notes.”

  • I dont think new “Art” category is needed as you should be able to put art apps in “News”, “Lifestyle” and even “Business” categories. More importantly Apple needs a little more qualified or educated people making these decisions.

  • squirrel squirrel squirrel

    I understand Apple’s want for quality control because 95% of users will be just wanting a robust news reader for example.  That’s fine.  Seeing as there is clearly a problem with reviewers not understanding and appreciating the purpose of an app, a category which is specifically flagged as something for creatives may help the reviewers come to a better conclusion.  It would be difficult to expect one person to expertly judge the merits of both unVerse and a CNN app without further guidance. An “Art” category is not an ideal solution, to be sure. I merely suggest it to help keep the art moving.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat =)

  • Considering what is generally considered as “Art” in the AppStore, if there ever was Art category it would be mostly populated by things that are not art at all.

  • NetscapePizza

    Utterly ridiculous, a simple glance at the app store will see hundreds of spam apps that do less than this. Developers who have submitted 200 RSS feeds for individual sites skinned into separate apps. Misleading garbage apps to trick naive people that they can get custom lockscreens and other such trash.

    Yet they wont allow what is technically a generative instrument? Maybe try resubmitting in a different category or appealing to them, might have just got a jerk as a reviewer.