Angel Harp (is the Weirdest Instrument)

It was a joke, back in September. A goofy idea, amidst a brainstorming session of merely silly ideas. It’s a heavenly harp! And when you turn it upside-down, it becomes a Devil Harp! Ha, ha.

The YouTube trailer would probably look something like this:

I hacked Angel Harp together in my spare time. Four long months! The plan was to finish by Halloween of 2011, but it took considerably longer than expected. The synthesis was completed in one week, the sound effects in another week. Standing on the shoulders of Twang, Angel Harp produces somewhat-realistic tones (like an actual harp! Complex filtering!) And it has 3+ dozen strings, for serious plucking power!

And, the graphics… Let’s talk about that.

Once the Halloween deadline became improbable, I decided to hack each feature until it was “good enough.” If any feature became an eyesore, then I’d revisit it — either for version 1.0, or a future release. The clouds were redone a couple times. I had grand plans for the harp itself, using an (awful, buggy) harp modeling tool; in a future version, you can draw your own harps, and skin them with fancy materials, I think.

Angel Harp! Heaven!

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Here Comes the Metal Mouth

My first iPhone app has been submitted to the app store for review! Metal Mouth is a text-to-speech synthesizer that mimics the talking devices of the 80’s (Speak & Spell, “Wizard needs food, badly”, etc.) The functionality is similar to my Synthetic Speech In Flash demo, but with many new features (male & female voices, auto-tune, pitch & time scratching) and a snappy interface with talking robots.

Hello, Doctor.

I'm inside your phone.

This took about 5 weeks to develop. Meanwhile, I’ve started another app, and I envision releasing Metal Mouth 2.0 in a few months, with more voices, and the ability to record audio.

Fixin’ for a Pixen

Pixen is poised to become the reigning champ of OS X pixel editors. It supports layers, tablet pressure, and animation. But Pixen has a bug that interrupts my creative flow — if I tap a palette color using my Wacom tablet, it always highlights the color, but usually fails to apply the color. What the…?!

Fortunately, the developers made the source code available. I had almost zero Cocoa experience before opening the source, yet the code was well-organized, and I was able to fix the bug!

Download Pixen v3.1b with the palette fix.

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