Monday, 12 November 2012

Where To Next?

It's been a few days since BeatEvolve hit the app store and now seems like a good time to consider its success (or lack thereof) and where to go from here.

Considering we've had no marketing budget what-so-ever, our little app hasn't done too badly on the face of things. However, it has to be said that anyone who thinks that putting out an app is going to make them rich should probably think again. I'm not saying it's impossible - just that you need a great app combined with a lot of luck and probably a large marketing budget to boot.

Quite a few sites have mentioned BeatEvolve, either through me making them aware of it or because they came across it themselves and I am very thankful to everyone who has helped to put the word out there. We haven't yet had a review as such but have received a few bits of personal feedback which have been very insightful and generally very positive. This may indeed be the first app ever to combine a matrix synthesizer with cellular automata rules which is very exciting!

The responses I've had from people in the digital music industry have been particularly interesting. BeatEvolve was never meant to be a serious music app. It's a musical toy for playing around and making tunes with the interesting (to me) focus on Game of Life style rules that let the music 'evolve' over time. And yet the serious musicians out there would actually be quite interested if only BeatEvolve had midi support, the ability to export to mp3 and so on. One potential reviewer even described it as a missed opportunity.

Unfortunately for me, BeatEvolve has been developed in Game Maker - a wonderful piece of software but definitely far more equipped for making games than music apps. As far as I know, there is no way I can add the ability to export music unless I wrote the app all over again from scratch in a different engine. (If anyone does know how to do this using Game Maker, I'm all ears!) I chose Game Maker because I know how to use it and am planning on making games with it in future so I have no regrets but it does, of course, put limitations on what I can do with BeatEvolve in the future.

So is this it for BeatEvolve? I hope not. I would sincerely like to add an update and have a couple of ideas to make it more awesome without having to rewrite it completely. In particular, I'd like to improve the sound quality of the samples and add an unpitched percussion instrument. This new instrument would actually feature 16 different unpitched percussion instruments as you move down the screen (differing instruments to replace the differing pitch). The more people that buy it now, the more possible this update will be.

The general feedback has actually been really good and I think it's a great app for casual players who want a bit of creative, musical fun in their lives. If I can figure out a cost effective way of making it more viable to serious musicians then, believe me, I will.


  1. When Martin Gardner in his Scientific American maths column showed us John Conway's game of Life I was captivated. I wrote a program in Algol which worked at the bit level so an array [A1:D64], say would form a block 4 characters across and 64 down i.e. 64 bits x 64 bits. That would be the world. I gave a presentation to senior management where I talked in terms of the primeval mud with weird creatures emerging. Unfortunately they thought I was mocking them and were very upset. So I'm intrigued by this App. Do I have to have an iPhone to get to it or will it run on a pc?
    I wish you well Anya.

    1. Hi Ken and thank you for the awesome comment and support. Nice to hear from someone else who is into Game Of Life rules!

      At the moment, it is only available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. However, if you message me from the contacts form on our website ( I can send you my personal PC version that I used for testing.

  2. Hi Anya

    I love this app. A cheap way to find out if you have any talent for the tenori-on! I'm having one problem though. If I leave the app for another, notably you tube, then flip back, I find I've lost all sound. The only way I can then get it back is by restarting my iPad! Can you help please?


    1. Hi Gary.
      Glad you like the app. Thanks for letting me know about this problem as it is the first I've heard of it. Any chance you could tell me which iPad version you are using and which OS? I'm not getting this bug on the iPad 3 but perhaps it is an issue with earlier iPads.

      Unfortunately, an issue like this is largely out of my hands as it is likely to be a problem with Game Maker (the engine I used) rather than my code but I will look into it and include a fix in an update if at all possible.

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