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 Post subject: SingSong: Karaoke
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:29 am 
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The game is karaoke with a twist, the game tracks the notes the players sing and scores them against the notes they are supposed to be singing.

I've been working on this for some time now and have finally prepared a demo I can share. The plan is to make this a commercial game with a trial version that includes just a few (open source) songs. The full version will support any of the songs we have created lyrics/note data for (you have to supply your own MP3 files though). And if we don't have the data for a song you want to sing, the full version comes with an editor that allows you to easily create the lyrics/note data yourself! The editor is very powerful and is really key to the whole thing. Hopefully we'll quickly have a database of thousands of songs.

Some key features:

* Sing scored karaoke with ANY song in the world.
* Supports any number of simultaneous players (limited only by CPU).
* Players singing at the same time can sing different lyrics (eg, a duet or lead/backup vocals).
* Powerful tools to quickly add support for new songs.
* Cross platform: Mac, Linux, Windows

So here it is, this is a preview of what the trial version will be. It comes with two songs. I recommend trying the "Jemex - Square 1" song first, unless you have a large lung capacity. :)

http://www.singthegame.com/trial.jnlp

Comments and criticisms are very much appreciated!

This preview doesn't include the lyrics editor, but here is a screenshot:
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:11 pm 
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Really really really polished.

I think it's broken tho, it thinks I can sing... oh, wait.

Kev


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:40 pm 
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NateS that is excellent. The idea alone is very very cool and a great application/game starts with a great idea.

I'm going to make no comment on what I scored ;) but I did notice that if I used the internal mic on my Mac and had the sound coming through the speakers I could get 30% + without singing a note as it picks up the sound from the speakers. Not surprising it does that and I wondered if you are going suggest headphones for people, although that would not help when more than one person is singing and needs to hear the music.

Graphics are sharp and polished and really add that pro touch to the game.

What is the plan for holding the scores. It gives a % at the end of the song but does this get stored somewhere so you can monitor your progress?

Getting the option to pick your resolution before you play would be good. My screen is 1900 x 1200 and whilst it looks really crisp at that resolution the screen when singing looks a little empty with the picture in the middle and the words notes scrolling past. Offering the player the chance to pick the resolution before playing would be nice.

Are there going to be options to let you select a track with and without the singing?

That is all I can think of at the moment. The execution on this is excellent and as I said the idea itself is very very clever. I think that could be a good success for you once finished.

Great work :D

MikeD

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:47 pm 
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Thanks guys. :D Yay Thingle! :D

To be honest, similar games exist for the PS2, PS3, Xbox360, etc. These games have a limited track listing or make you buy songs at $1.50 each. There is also an open source PC game called UltraStar that does pitch detection. My goals are to improve upon the gameplay features of these other games, have better pitch detection, and be able to use any song.

On the Settings screen you can set the "threshold" for the mic. The higher the threshold, the louder the noise must be before the game does any pitch detection. You can use this to keep it from picking up the music playing. However, if you do sing into the mic, your voice is going to be louder and while you are singing it will pick you up and not the music.

I don't like the term "threshold" and I doubt anyone will figure out what it is without reading documentation. I have thought about setting it to 10% or so and hiding the setting from the user, but then someone may want their music very loud and they might need to change the setting... :?

I'd like to do a lot more statistics like highest score on a song, etc. I'd also like a point system in addition to the percentage, then we can have bonus notes, etc. Maybe even internet scoreboards. All this after the first release. :)

You can change your resolution on the Setttings screen. I also have a 1920x1200 high resolution monitor (though I use it at 1200x1920 for awesome coding!). I would like it to look good even at high resolution. Maybe I could have a max width for the "sing bar"? That way at super high resolution it would only be maybe 1200 pixels wide, with a gradual fade at each edge and centered on the screen...

The only way to sing without the artist singing is to use an audio file that is just an instrumental. I have found that most people enjoy having the artist singing as it makes it easier and others can't hear you so well. ;)

Did the words scroll very smoothly on the Mac? They scroll based on song position, so I'm at the mercy of Java Sound and I'm worried that on some OSes it won't be so smooth.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:19 pm 
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Hi Nates

That all sounds good for the continued development of this game :D

Just because it has been done before does not mean it cant be done better, so I think SingSong is a great start and looking very good already.

The scrolling was not bad at all on OS X. It was not perfectly smooth, but as you say, to tie it into the sound its the sound that is driving the position of the scroller.

I would say the scrolling is perfectly ok for the game, so a thumbs up from this Mac fan.

MikeD

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:47 pm 
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*handclapping* @ your project 8)


*booing* @ my score :x


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:40 pm 
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The game is now officially released and documented:
http://singthegame.com/

It has improved a lot since the demo above! 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:45 pm 
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Awesome! I'll have to try it sometime soon when I get a chance. Just checked out your website here's some feedback:

1. Looks clean and simple, could make it a little flashier so it "pops" but it's pretty good.
2. Consider making the demo more prominent (first item you see)
3. Not sure how to handle the purchase info.
o Possibly make it more prominent (thus encouraging purchases)
o Or remove it to another page (thus reducing clutter and encouraging demo; do this if the game has a good upsale mechanism)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:27 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback. :)

1. Would love to make it flashier. I suck at graphic design though!
2. I changed the "play" button to look a little nicer. I also moved the trial higher on the homepage.
3. The game could use more in the upsale department. I figure it is ok for now, I think it is important to get it out there so the community can start to form. I was worried making it too prominent could stop some people from ever trying the demo. Right now it is on the homepage at the bottom and on the download page.

I'm adding a song list page now. 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Well I'm not sure what goals you've set. But my understanding is that upsale is probably one of the most important things to do right if you're looking to convert trials to sales. Based on what you've said I would continue to solicit user feedback but would hold off on publishing this to larger channels until you've fine-tuned upsale. You only get one chance to introduce yourself. I would also consider adding a "Beta" claim somewhere so that users can adjust their expectations slightly. Finally, I would add a prominent section to your site for users to leave feedback and possibly even build that into the game.

Judging from some of the stuff I've seen on your site, in-game, and in screenshots you don't seem to have trouble making cool looking things with Photoshop. I would try to parlay that into a slightly nicer web site since the impression it leaves has such an impact; if it only looks OK I might not click on any links, I might not trust you to purchase something from you, I am less likely to tell friends, etc.

Your site is very simple, I mean this in a nice way. It simply is a few pages and probably has little or no dynamic content. Therefore, it should be easy to redesign, especially if you've been using HTML/CSS correctly. I would just pick a site you like and try to knock off as much as you can.

Here's a site http://git-scm.com/ which I think does a very good job organizing some important information.
* It looks really cool
* It immediately tells you what it is, that people you know are using it, and how to download it
* It also concisely presents the core tasks people want to do

You should think about how you can organize your content in the same vein. I.e. "What is it", "Here, download it", "Quick Start to get Jammin'". Something like that, maybe a simple two-column layout in your case. You've got that cool music metaphor going, so maybe leverage that? You're game is looks really great and and I'm sure you spent a lot of time on it so it would a shame if no one played it because they didn't take it seriously.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:29 pm 
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Hey NateS!

First off let me apologize I haven't gotten back with any serious feedback on the pm's. My girlfriend moved to the US shortly after our communication, so there's no way for me to test her out on this.

What I'd like to press on however is the one thing we did mention; the lead vocal track already being in place.

Both her and I would very much like to see the possibility to not having to listen to the original vocals as well. And this is a major issue as we see it. I believe there's a reason the successful games like singstar for example, does it that way.

Now, we could spend hours arguing the pro's and con's for both having it that way, and not having it that way. But it's better to focus on what's doable.
I'm curious, do you see any way of making this possible, or would it be too much work? First off you'd probably need vocal-free tracks. Perhaps there is some large (and preferably good) karaoke track database available to purchase into?

I think you should at least give it some thought, and if it's nowhere near doable then just skip it.


Other than that, I'd like to both agree with what manunderground said in the previous post, and congratulate you on a job very well done so far!
The game looks really awesome!
I can't imagine how you're doing the pitch detection and stuff like that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:21 am 
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Thanks for the feedback! Keep it coming! :) I'll run through the points each of you guys brought up in order so I don't miss any.

I will look into more upsale in the trial. It definitely should be clear on its own, without reading the website, what a customer is looking at and what is possible in the full version. I don't think a beta claim is necessary as I feel the game is pretty polished and quickly becoming even more so. Feedback can be left in the forums. I don't think having forums in-game is really feasible.

What you see on the site is the best I can do art-wise. I actually take it as a compliment you think it is nice as it is. :) I don't think I can make it any nicer really, I wish I could. The site is designed well and could definitely look different, the challenge is how it would look. Ripping another site for design ideas is good, but I can't exactly take all their art. I can only rip ideas that I could reimplement myself, which is the real limiting factor.

Not sure I'd say the git-scm site looks really cool. Is that a brown tooth eating trees? ;) It does present information clearly though. I'll give some thought on how to make the homepage convey the information more clearly.

tackle, no worries. I figured you got sidetracked by real life. :)

The best way to sing with the original artist's vocals is to use a music file without vocals. SingSong supports a naming convention for this so you don't need a set of lyrics files for both the regular and the instrumental version...
http://singthegame.com/faq.php

The only other solution for this is what karaoke machines do: Analyze the stereo music and reduce in volume the frequencies in the human vocal range that are present in both the left and right channels. This works because generally the lead vocals are located in the center of the mix. It really isn't very good though, because it can ruin certain music like a guitar solo and doesn't work well at all if the vocals are panned off-center.

Considering the effort needed to implement my own voice removal, at this early point in the game's life I don't feel like this is enough of a must have feature to spend so much time on. Plus there is a workaround: I'm sure there are free programs out there that can modify a regular music file and produce a new file with the vocals toned down or even remove entirely (in the best case).

For those that are really into it I can see not wanting original voices. Personally though, I need the original voice there so I have some idea of what I need to do. Also it helps mask the player's voice, which helps a lot of people get over the embarrassment. :)

Right now I want to focus on making it available and building a community. After that I want to add multiplayer modes where you can play in teams, play king-of-the-hill, pass-the-mic, tournaments, and other fun multiplayer games like random effects such as sing without lyrics or without note bars or arrows. After all, karaoke is the most fun with a group of people!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:05 pm 
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I've improved pitch detection by an order of magnitude. It is very sensitive now and makes playing a lot more fun. Other than that I've been mostly doing polish and bugs fixes. The trial now allows you to play any of the 4 free songs, or you can provide your own MP3 file to sing Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven, Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive, or Madonna - Like a Virgin. After consulting a lawyer, we determined that I could legally include the note files with the full version of the game, so it now comes with 344 note files. All you need is a note file and corresponding MP3 (or OGG, etc) file to karaoke a song.

Most of my recent work has been on supporting Mac OS X a lot better:

Image

The red is my singing. Not bad! ;)

Java Sound microphone support on OS X is terrible. Opening one microphone had issues, and opening more than one caused a JVM crash. I wrote a new native lib in ObjectiveC for mic handling and I think it is working pretty well. I'm definitely looking for feedback from Leopard and especially Tiger users on if/how well it works with both the internal and external mics.

Here is a screenshot of it running on Ubuntu:

Image

The green is where the game detected the notes in the song. It did very well here, but not all songs can be parsed so accurately.

And of course Windows:

Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:43 pm 
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this game is so much fun! my wife and I were having fun trying to sing a long to the chipmunks!

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 Post subject: Re: SingSong: Karaoke
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 4:14 am 
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I love to spend night in bars and enjoy there with friends. In a busy schedule when everyone are busy. One in a month still we manage to book venue space nyc to enjoy there.


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