Flou (pronounced "flew") is not exactly a game; you do fly a ship through space, but you cannot shoot anything, score points, or win or lose. The focus, rather, is on the soundtrack: as you navigate through a 3D world and zoom through objects in space, you add loops and apply effects to an ever-evolving musical mix. You can also design your own worlds to fly through and share them with other Flou users.

System requirements

Java 1.5+
Windows XP or Vista, Mac OS X, or Linux
Minimum 768 MB RAM and 1.5 GHz processor
Fast graphics card
Speakers or headphones

Basic navigation

Use the w, s, a, and d keys to move forward, backward, left, and right.



ship-left_textmediuma                 dship-right



Use the arrow keys to rotate the ship up or down.



You can also use most USB joysticks to navigate through Flou.

Collecting objects




As you navigate your ship through the 3D world, you will encounter audio objects, which represent audio loops, and effect objects, which apply audio effects to all currently playing loops.

As you approach an object, you will hear a preview of it, and a gravitational force will draw you in. To collect the object, simply fly through it: a small token representing the object will float around your ship.

Over time, audio objects will fade out and eventually disappear from your collection. You can remove them sooner by flying back through them. To remove an effect object from your collection, fly back through the effect object, or else fly through a different effect object to use it instead.

Main menu

Press the esc key to open or close the main menu.

Loading and Saving Worlds

A Flou world is a particular arrangement of audio and effect objects in space that can be loaded, edited, saved, and shared.

• New World: Creates a new, empty world with no audio or effect objects. Use this if you want to create a new world from scratch using edit mode.

• Load World From File: Opens a Flou world file stored on your local computer. Use this if you want to open a Flou world file that you previously saved to your local disk.

• Load World From Server: Opens a Flou world stored on the Flou server. Use this to load worlds created by Flou users and by the Flou developers.

• Save World To File: Save the current world to a file on your local computer. Use this if you want to save your world but are not ready to share it with other Flou users.

• Save World To Server: Save the current world to the Flou server. Use ths to share the world you designed with the Flou community.

Operation Modes

• Play Mode: This is the default operation mode for Flou, in which you navigate your spaceship through a world and collect sound and effect objects.

• Edit Mode: In this operation mode, you can add, delete, and move audio and effect objects to design your own world. For full details, see the next section.

• Resume: Hides the menu and returns to the active mode (play or edit).

Other Options

• Help: Shows this web page.

• Audio Record Start / Stop: Captures the music you create in Flou to an audio WAV file on your local computer. We encourage you to convert these to MP3 files and to share them online.

• Exit Flou: Quits the program.

• Navigation Speed Slider: Changes the sensitivity of the keyboard navigation controls in play mode.

Editing worlds

Use edit mode to add, delete, and move audio and effect objects to design your own world. Then use the main menu to save your world to a file or to the server.

The editing mode screen is split to show views of the 3D space from above and from the side. Press and hold the arrow keys (↑, ↓, ←, and →) to pan and zoom the view positions.

Adding Objects

Click the empty space in the window where you wish to add an object. A dialog box will appear showing all available audio and effect objects. Objects already included in your world are noted with a bullet point ("•"). To hear a preview of an audio object, simply click on it. To add a new object to your world, check the box next to it and click the "add checked" button.

At this time, it is not possible to upload your own sounds to add as audio objects in the space; our server space is limited. You can only choose from the sounds listed in the dialog box.

Moving and Deleting Objects

To move an object, simply drag it. If the object is a sample object, you will hear a preview of the sound while you are positioning it. The name of the object is displayed in the bottom right corner of the screen while you drag it.

To delete an object, right click (or on Mac, control-click) it.

Live performance

We are currently developing a live performance version of Flou in which multiple laptop musicians will navigate through worlds designed by Flou developers and users to create real-time music and video in performance.

Flou is a 2007 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., for Networked_Music_Review. It was made possible with funding from the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney general at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.