Beat Zero (by Gabriel Turow)
Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a drummer? Play Beat Zero, and you can make funky beats and learn the basics of programming at the same time. Use the fewest possible lines of code to solve each rhythmic puzzle. Zero (the robot drummer) will play any beat or fill you tell him to. No previous musical or programming training required!
Previews at beatzero.us.
LEARN TO PROGRAM WHILE DRUMMING
Master the loops, splices, sequencing, and data structures common to programming and playing the drumset
Learn new drum beats and programming concepts with 4+ hours of gameplay in Story Mode.
Perform at the world's greatest venues with your band Funk Machina.
Explore how easy it is to generate your own grooves and drum fills in Free Play Mode.
This game presents a system where you can be very efficient. For example, if you wanted to write a beat with 30 notes total, in this game you can learn a way to write that beat with 3 or 4 lines of code, rather than manually writing out all 30 notes individually.
LEARN HOW TO PLAY A REAL DRUMSET
For an analogue twist, play a real drumset along with each game level, and learn the beats as you go.
Watch Zero drum each beat in 3D from any angle
Modify the tempo of any groove or fill to observe the drumming animations at slower or faster speeds.
The way it all works, is that the system reads through your code, it outputs one or more notes to the top of the screen, and Zero then reads those notes and plays them in real-time.
DISCOVER NEW WAYS TO THINK
For more discussion of the connection between rhythm and programming, please see a short essay I wrote to explain how this game relates at www.beatzero.us.
If you want to read something more academic on this game, you can see my dissertation, Four Dimensional Thinking: Using Rhythm to Network Domains of Knowledge, published through Columbia Teachers College, available for download at http://www.4dgames.co/writing/
My name is Gabe Turow and I have a doctorate (Ed.D) in Educational Videogame Design from Columbia University Teachers College. I am also a professional drummer. I live and perform in New York (noircar.nyc). Beat Zero, for me, is a synthesis of my interests and passions: an effort to teach programming through drumming, in a way that is not intimidating.
My intention was to continue the many great ongoing efforts to de-mystify programming, and to show how programming shares a variety of thinking with other subjects, like playing the drumset. For my dissertation, I wrote about how the thinking involved in keeping track of very fast percussive rhythms has a lot to do with how you think through rapidly executing programs.
Briefly, the trick is to see them both as rhythmic systems that occur in time and use time strategically. This means it is often helpful to slow down or speed up these systems in order to understand each accented phrase or function. A person can learn to look for common loops and patterns, and how to summarize them elegantly.
Play my game to see how this works... For more Videos see beatzero.us.
For this project I was a one-man operation. I programmed, designed, and implemented everything you see here. I played the instruments on the music tracks and recorded myself analogue, and in midi. The models were created in Cinema 4D, the game was programmed in Unity3D. It was more than 2 years of work to put this all together.
But after all that, I really believe this game demonstrates a new way to think about the relationship between music and programming.
I'd love to hear from you so please contact me through my site with any comments or bug reports, and if you enjoy the game, please write a review on iTunes.
Thanks so much and enjoy!
Gabe Turow Ed.M., Ed.D.
Fourth Dimension Games
Joined: Jun 2012
Joined: Jan 2013