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Rating: 4.7/5 (160 votes)
| Comments (52) | Views (1,504)

MikeOtomataIt's the Era of Automation! We automate everything from manufacturing, to financial transactions, to blog updates. So why not automate creativity as well? Okay, that sounds horrible, but there is something fascinating about pre-configured, automatic processes that produce beautiful and seemingly random results.
Otomata, a musical webtoy from self-described computational sound artist Batuhan Bozkurt, is one such project. Somewhat similar to iNudge from a few years ago, Otomata lets you use a few moving, colliding "cells" to create musical compositions that approach infinity in length.

Click a cell on the square grid to activate it; click it again to change the direction it will move. Click [spacebar], or click the play/pause button to start or stop the composition. You can always add more to your piece, or clear the grid and start anew. When cells hit a wall, they produce a defined pitch, depending on what part of the grid they are in. When they collide with each other, they rotate clockwise and proceed in a new direction. If you can get two cells to overlap and move in the same direction, you can also creating rotating oscillators, which interact with the composition in interesting ways.

Depending on how you start your composition, you can either create regular repeating patterns, or patterns that subtly shift in interesting ways. It can be difficult to predict how a given setup will act, but that is part of the joy of Otomata. According to the developer, these patterns could spin out for billions of years without repetition, and like Fractal images, it is amazing that something of such aesthetic complexity can be generated from a few simple parameters. It also helps that the music is invariably interesting, as the developer selected his pitches such that even the crudest musical talent can produce something cool.

One more thing: You can also click the "Copy piece link" button to copy a URL of your music into your clipboard, so you can paste it anywhere you want to share it. Play Otomata, then paste your creation in the comments section below and show your genius to your fellow JIG readers.

Play Otomata


Quite a nice game. But I wonder if not all songs must sound very alike..

Here is my composition ;-):



Wow. This is impressive. Just messing around with the thing for two minutes, I got this, which I think totally needs a violin track and a bassline. I'm not even sure if it's properly periodic, but it's 4/4 (not sure if anything besides 4/4 is possible, but we'll try, won't we?).

Nevertheless, this thing is awesome. A cellular automaton making music, who'd have thought of that? I'm going to go and play around with it some more. 5 out of 5 from me.

The Logical Ghost April 25, 2011 1:55 PM

Very fun!

I know this is somewhat simple, but after playing with it for about ten minutes I came back to this one.


Littleghost April 25, 2011 3:24 PM

My first try was this nice little background rhythm:

Littleghost April 25, 2011 3:33 PM

This is a really fun game! A great mix/match between visual and audio art. I think the next logical step for this is separate 'tracks' and styles of instrument. This one I made just screams for it:

Littleghost April 25, 2011 3:39 PM

Or also saving your own pieces by cookie.

kirbywarp April 25, 2011 4:01 PM

I love this thing! Different tracks or instruments would be a great addition, though there is beauty in simplicity.

Here's mine.

Anonymous April 25, 2011 4:20 PM

Very fun webtoy.

I wound up making a pretty decent song on this thing:


Armyofnone April 25, 2011 5:27 PM

http://earslap.com/projectslab/otomata/?q=4x736j4109407d743u This one was based off using a glider and a couple other Conway's Game of Life things that has become a really nice little, constantly changing, riff.

cool toy :)

anthony otte April 25, 2011 7:14 PM


i like games like this where you can do whatever you ant and end up with something beautiful. hope no one has done what im posting already



That one is very simplistic and yet never loops. I have been listening to it for an hour and a half now. I repeat IT NEVER LOOPS!



Accidentally stumbled into a groove after placing random squares. This is pretty cool.


Great fun!

I love this kind of toy, and after only a minute or two experimenting got this little gem:

Nice one!

Anonymous April 26, 2011 10:17 AM

I want the creator of the game to take all my money.

My Money.


repairmanman April 26, 2011 12:20 PM

I don't really know what I made, but here:


Suddenly, I want a musical version of Etrian Odyssey where the FOES make noise ;_;

kevinb1229 April 26, 2011 1:54 PM


This piece repeats every 5 beats.
Any other way of creating irregular beats?


Try my latest creation:
1. A little melancholic music repeating forever with fast changes, that you're not thinking about boredom! BELOW:
2 not so good as previous one, but still nice one (very sad theme, be dry while listening):
I think both of them can be implemented in mainstream titles, lmao!!!


This was just random, but I liked it so here:


Elijah2200 April 27, 2011 2:13 AM

Managed to come up with this. It has an ambient feel to it.

HyperSonicGuyDude April 28, 2011 3:39 AM

Just made this one.. kinda peaceful.
Although, i guess all of them are..


HyperSonicGuyDude April 28, 2011 3:51 AM

i've got a pretty nice beat goin' on here


This is awesome, and I can't wait to try some of the other links here.


Wow... Has anyone tried playing this thing in 2 tabs at the same time? Awesome results!


I just keep coming back to this over and over again. Love it.



The person who made the game says they're going to be adding MIDI support.

I wonder if I might figure out a way to tinker with the MIDI so the vertical walls play a different instrument than the horizontal ones... maybe one is a drum or bass track?


Seeing this again in 'top rated' section got me back here :)

I call this one 'Mundane day of a King (with some intrigue)' ; based off a chess king's movement:


Daa-da-da DAA--da-da, DAA-da-da daa-da-da!
(yeah, that's about the extent of my computer-music ability):)


Oh, Oh! I made an actual tune!
This one's like Tetris!
It's really annoying after awhile! :D


I should also point out that you've got an outdated version on here; there's a much improved second version.


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