Snakes and Ladders (in development one rung at a time)

This is part of an on going project making music from games.

The video shows a self generating game of snakes and ladders for 4 robots. The robot must roll a 6 to start and must land exactly on ‘100’ to finish otherwise must retreat the remaining number of ‘spaces’. Double flashes show extra moves from rolling a six or landing on a snake or ladder.

Obviously this turns out different each time, but not in this pre-recorded video.

For the moment this visualisation of the rule/chance programming feels oddly beautiful in its own autonomous way!

The programming behind this video will be used as a basis for computer music composition, as things like position on the board, number rolled, difference between last roll or position can all be mapped to things like pitch and volume but also choice of sample and pull out some of the innate structure of what is going on. The basic chance, decision making and rules have been set up, now comes the opportunity to take those processes and apply them to something even more interesting than repetitive flashy lights (which in my experience can take some beating!).

I have been recording audio from various games of Snakes and Ladders and plan to use those audio samples as the basis for the musical material, eg the rhythm and spatial elements of the dice rolling, the fine differences of the tapping as pieces progress across the board and the precise sliding gestures of moving up or down via a ladder or malevolent serpent! The hope is that when scaled up, it will eventually drive a stochastic piece of electroacoustic music based upon the sounds of a game of snakes and ladders on a wooden board.

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Thanks to the ever silly Mike Kirkpatrick for helping with the audio (not included on the video…. yet!)

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This evening

I had a great night this eve, performing as part if Electroacoustic Wales. Fantastic to see so many people there and amazing to hear the piece that the kids from Ysgol Talwrn (for whom I have been running workshops) premiere to such a good reception.

It was also wonderful to get some work of mine out into the light of day again and I’m massively grateful to all the people who helped set up and pack down.

Most of all I enjoyed hearing Roy Wood’s most recent and last piece. Rest in Peace, but based on your 4’33” of noise (to quote your esteemed PhD supervisor) I don’t think you’d be up for that. Cheers mate I raise my post gig wine glass to you. Nos da!