Tank Notes

Inspired by the classical Tank Wars game from the 90’s we set out to build a two player synthesizer game with a physical interface during this two day project.


Two players can synthesize their own music by hitting each other's cannonballs, which in turn adds a note to the synthesizer. The pitch of the note depends on the height of the impact, while the length of the note depends on the velocity of the two notes on impact. The colour of the cannonballs change based on the pitch of the note. Using the physical interface, players can set the angle by tilting the tank’s gun and the cannonball’s velocity by using a motorized slider. The slider incorporates haptic feedback to the user.

How it works

The physical interfaces (tanks) are controlled with a Teensy and the custom Motors & Music PCB which sends data to a Processing sketch which runs the custom game we created. When two cannonballs (or notes) collide, Processing sends the note pitch and length to Ableton which adds it to a looping synthesizer. Ableton plays the music and relays the notes back to Processing through a MAX/MSP patch. The Processing sketch visualises the playback of the notes as individual stars.