Created by Andy Wallace & Dan Friel, Bleep Space is a free sequencer toy that uses stark geometry to allow users to create noisy beats by assembling 15 sounds accompanied by motion graphics and procedural animations.
Bleep Space is inspired by Andy’s experience playing with a friend’s Korg sequencer, and the joy he found in creating music while exploring a device that he didn’t fully understand. Meant above all else to be accessible, there is no way to make a mistake in Bleep Space, and any input will be rewarded with another layer added to the beat as the visual field moves from a stark off-white to a flowing, lively assembly of shapes. Pressing different parts of the screen will spark swirling geometric shapes and saw-wave samples that loop and form a beat, all set in a stylish, monochromatic space. Experimentation is prioritized over perfection.
In addition to the free digital release, Andy worked with the Death By Audio Arcade to create a tabletop installation to house the game featuring light up tactile buttons and a round screen. This device is currently touring different locations in New York and was debuted at the 2017 IndieCade festival in L.A where it was a finalist.
Bleep Space was written in openFrameworks and the software running on the tabletop installation is nearly identical to the general Windows build of the game, but there are some changes when the ARCADE_MODE flags in the code are turned on. Some features are also disabled – most notably, the more complex Step-Mode is inaccessible in the arcade build. Although Step-Mode gives users more control, it has more of a learning curve and is not well suited to a toy that Andy wants to be very approachable. There are also a few other arcade-only settings, such as a timer to clear the screen after inactivity, and a message that displays whenever the clear button is pressed that can be set via a text file that lives next to the app on the computer. This lets Andy make minor changes without having to make a new build. The major difference is that the beat markers change position. In the normal build, they run along the bottom of the screen, but since the arcade screen has been masked to be round, Andy changed them to run radially around the edge.
Created with openFrameworks, tabletop uses Arduino, I-PAC for input buttons, 16 light-up square buttons from Adafruit and more. More info on how Bleep Space was developed is available at andymakesgames.tumblr.com.