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Frets on Fire - Guitar Hero for Linux/Windows 69

Posted by Zonk
from the flailing-on-your-keyboard dept.
abyssi writes "Frets on Fire, for Linux and Windows, play with your keyboard-alternative to the ever-so-popular Guitar Hero, has been released at ASSEMBLY '06 demo party's Game Development competition together with 13 other experimental, indie games including a new game from the creators of the popular Dismount series. ASSEMBLY '06 runs from 3rd to 6th of August in Helsinki, Finland and enjoys over 5000 persons in attendance. A 24h/day webcast is available at AssemblyTV.net starting Thursday 3.8.2006 at 14:00."
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Frets on Fire - Guitar Hero for Linux/Windows

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  • The charm in games like Guitar Hero and DDR is in the novel way that the player interacts with the game. If you take that out, you're literally left with hitting keys in time to music. What's the attraction? I've never understood games like this or Stepmania or the various other clones.
    • Re:...why? (Score:2, Informative)

      by CapnARRR (979270)
      Usually for games like this (stepmania comes to mind), they have a joystick option. If this program doesn't currently support this feature, it's probably not too far off. If you have a PSX - USB converter, you can use your guitar hero controller on your PC and make your own tracks, etc. I guess you could also hold your keyboard sideways too...
    • USB Adapters, that's why!

      Just grap a USB adapter from a vendor like Lik Sang [lik-sang.com] and you can use your Guitar Hero Guitar or DDR dancepad on the PC, making it more like the original that they're cloned from.

      • by merreborn (853723)
        My dad's got two really nice metal DDR pads (in the $150+ price range) hooked up via a USB adaptor, like the parent mentions, which he uses in combination with a digital projector to create the sweetest DDR rig I've ever seen. The major benefit of step mania, is there are thousands upon thousands of songs available, whereas with regular DDR, you're stuck with the few dozen on each CD/DVD.

        However, anyone who's ever tried to use the guitar hero controller with any non-guitar hero game knows that it does some
        • (And good lord, am I hoping someone will work it out -- if there was an open source guitar hero with thousands of songs available, I'd never leave the house)
        • I hooked up my SG controller to my PC via a usb adapter and had no issues with "alternating button presses at regular intervals, even when no buttons are being pressed". I quickly hacked together a simple midi program to play music with it. I found the controller responsive and stable when connected to a PC. Maybe you have a defective controller?

          • That's entirely possible -- I had some issues with it beforehand. All I know is I hooked the thing up when there was a DVD in the PS2, and suddenly it started switching back and forth between menu items.
    • Re:...why? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Short Circuit (52384) *
      People use Stepmania with pads all the time. Usually, they use a Playstation->PC adapter. I've even done it myself, using an X-Box pad modded to use a standard USB end. For a couple months, my exercise regimine was playing Stepmania on a similar system.

      It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see the Guitar Hero controllers working with those same Playstation->PC adapters.
    • Re:...why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Quino (613400)
      I'll stand here and admit that I think Guitar Hero is tons of fun (yes, I'm an adult and I play with a toy plastic guitar! And I get into it!).

      Before that, I actually also got hooked on "frequency" and "amplitude", the precursors that were played with the regular ps2 controller. These were also tons of fun, also very addictive, and also gave you the sensation of "playing" the song. Admittedly, I haven't played either of the earlier versions since the guitar does add a lot to the experience, but I imagine
    • Re:...why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by merreborn (853723) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:41PM (#15836888) Journal
      I actually downloaded this and played it, and I have this to offer:

      1) They came up with a novel control scheme that's not too far off from being as good as the guitar hero controller:
      Pick up your keyboard. Place your left hand under the F1 - F4 keys. Your right index finger should fall on F1 -- this is the "First Fret", F2 is the second, etc. Hold the keyboard like you would the neck of a guitar.

      The default "Pick" key is enter, but I think I'd suggest space.

      However, I was unable to actually play this game correctly, as I'm on a laptop, and as such, cannot "pick up" my keyboard as described. I've got keyboards around, but none of those damn PS/2 to USB adaptors.

      It's really pretty decent -- it seems to respond to input almost identically to guitar hero, and it has a song editor built in, so it could potentially take off like Step Mania did. However, it only ships with 3 songs, and I couldn't find any user contributed songs via google.

      Anyway, the aforementioned control scheme makes this a lot closer to playing guitar hero than playing step mania on the keyboard is to playing DDR.
      • Re:...why? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by advocate_one (662832)

        1) They came up with a novel control scheme that's not too far off from being as good as the guitar hero controller: Pick up your keyboard. Place your left hand under the F1 - F4 keys. Your right index finger should fall on F1 -- this is the "First Fret", F2 is the second, etc. Hold the keyboard like you would the neck of a guitar.

        The default "Pick" key is enter, but I think I'd suggest space.

        However, I was unable to actually play this game correctly, as I'm on a laptop, and as such, cannot "pick up" my

        • Or you could just buy guitar hero and save yourself hours of time and effort to play 3 songs.
          • actually I went out and got a wireless keyboard... (not optical)... finally had a reason to shell out for one... my teenage daughters are now giving me very strange looks... personally I think they wanna a go, but they're a bit embarrassed by dad looking a prat rockin out with a keyboard

            I'm saving the actuall wooden mock-up guitar controller project for later :)

      • 1) They came up with a novel control scheme that's not too far off from being as good as the guitar hero controller:
        Pick up your keyboard. Place your left hand under the F1 - F4 keys. Your right index finger should fall on F1 -- this is the "First Fret", F2 is the second, etc. Hold the keyboard like you would the neck of a guitar.


        -1, Batshit Insane
  • Makes me wonder... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by verbatim_verbose (411803) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @07:30PM (#15835980)
    There are MIDI pickups available for regular guitars which will transform what you play into MIDI input for a computer. Maybe someone should make a game like this which can be fun like Guitar Hero, but actually use a real guitar!
    • MIDI musical instruments are much more complicated than the sounds of MIDI music you've listened to. I'm not sure how useful parsing all that data realtime is for gameplay.
      • It wouldn't be a problem. MIDI controllers send the exact same data that a MIDI file contains.
        • As I understand it, most midi guitars send a single sound message, and it'd be somewhere between hard and impossible to turn that back into anything resembling a button press or a set of notes played simultanesously.
          • Nope. That's why it's a MIDI guitar rather than just a synth guitar. I believe that some may also have an onboard synth, but they should all be capable of sending MIDI messages as well.
    • There are MIDI pickups available for regular guitars which will transform what you play into MIDI input for a computer. Maybe someone should make a game like this which can be fun like Guitar Hero, but actually use a real guitar!
      Or better yet, just hack one of the Guitar Hero controllers. I'd kick out $30 for an adapter.
    • I thought about doing this as a piano tutorial. My friend wants me to call it Liberace Hero
    • by Almahtar (991773)
      Midi guitars have been around a while, yes. There are actually a few bands ("Bela Fleck and the Flecktones" are rumoured to be among them) whose drummers are actually just using a midi guitar. They'd have to go down a lot in price to be shipped as an accessory for a game like this, though.

      Midi's pretty old technology, though, so I bet the price could go down a ways if a larger market developed.
    • by grolschie (610666)
      Obviously you've never seen the price of a guitar with a MIDI pickup? The market for such a game would be tiny.
      • A MIDI pickup isn't all that necessary. Use a regular audio patch cable to hook up the guitar to Line In, and run a Fourier transform or whatnot to determine what pitch the use is playing.
        • ha ha.
          that works only if you play one string at time, no bends, no vibrato, no whammy.

          music recognition doesn't work with polyphonics. that's why midi pickups are needed. those actually are six pickups (one for each string) in a single case.
          • music recognition doesn't work with polyphonics. that's why midi pickups are needed. those actually are six pickups (one for each string) in a single case.

            I know very little about MIDI, but I have to ask: why doesn't it work ? After all, the strings are all vibrating at different frequencies (that's why you have different strings to begin with :), so it should trivial to separate each ones contribution to the overall sound wave. I'm sure an experienced person could just look at a graphical representatio

            • you cannot (with current algorithms and current processing power) recognize polyphonics, which means different sounds together at the same time. when you have different waves together, some parts of them add, some other cancel each other so the waveform shape won't look like your sine anymore (and i am not talking about all the overtones yet). two tone polyphonics could be manageable, but as you use 6 strings you can make 6 tones polyphonics.

              then you have the problem that you can make the same tone on diffe
              • I could see big problems with trying to get MIDI notes out of a real guitar's (or really any instrument's) output due to the aforementioned issues with polyphonics, vibrato, and other massive amounts of combinations/differentials.

                However, what if you had a program where you could take a guitar, and tune it to the application rather than the other way around, with possibly a bit of back-tuning to compensate for guitar/string differences. After all, all the app needs to know is if the input, with a variatio
                • you can go straight with hexaphonic pickups while you are at that.
                  the pickups themselves aren't that difficult to make, with 6 piezo elements and a couple of hours with a soldering iron you can even make one yourself converting it to midi is the difficult bit.
              • Yes you can. That's the Fourier transform [wikipedia.org] I was talking about. It's a mathematical algorithm known for hundreds of years that can represent any waveform as a (possibly infinite) sum of sine waves of differing frequencies and amplitudes. Just take the amplitudes that are over a certain threshold, and apply a recognizer that knows how guitars give off harmonics. I have a freeware program (don't remember the name, it's on my other computer) that makes a graph of frequencies from a given .wav file in real time
      • Speaking as a guitarist, $250 isn't jack shit to pay for a good humbucking pickup, let alone for a humbucking pickup that transforms what you play into MIDI (I'm talking about the Roland GK3 set for $219.) Being able to create one's own MIDI tracks without the need for a synth and a shitload of arrangement software such as Guitar Pro is a godsend to many of us who still do their work in other formats.
        • As a guitarist, US$250 is a hell of alot of money to pay for a pup. And it's very unlikely that a guitarist would shell out $250 and modify his/her axe to play a low quality video game.
    • Better yet, I want a keyboardmania clone that I can play with my MIDI keyboard (and unlike MIDI guitars, MIDI keyboards dont cost the earth :)
      • If by keyboard mania, you are referring to BeatMania, the game with seven keys laid out like the F-F#-G-G#-A-A#-B, with a turn table on the left (or right), there already is one. The game Delight Delight Reduplication has a BeatMania mode available, and it does support MIDI keyboards as an input method. I have played several songs using a MIDI keyboard for input, with the mod wheel as my turn-table. Unfortunatley, most support for the game, incuding songs, is scattered across websites that are in Japanes
        • No I dont mean Beatmania, I mean Keyboardmania which is also produced by Konami and features an actual keyboard for each player with 2 octaves worth of keys. I think the aim of the game is to press the keys (and use the pitch wheel) in time with what it shown on the screen.
          I want to see a PC game that is like Keyboardmania that I can connect my MIDI keyboard to and play that way.
      • you can buy some used casio midi guitars, they aren't horribly expensive anymore.
  • by brkello (642429) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @07:40PM (#15836049)
    If you are an indie, make something new and interesting...don't rehash what already is out there and done better. Most of fun of Guitar Hero comes from using the controller. For awhile, my guitar wasn't working...after messing around a bit I found that I could play the game with a regular controller. It was interesting to figure out the controls...but it would make a horrible game. Taking this and putting it on the keyboard is pointless. It would be like taking a game that is designed for the Wii and its controller and putting it on the PC with a keyboard. Sure, it can be done. Should it...I don't think so.
    • From here, though, it shouldn't be hard to add controller support. All you need is a cheap PS2-to-PC converter and gamepad support on the game. It's not really that hard at this point. The game logic is the tough part.

      (Actually, that's not true at all. The graphics and music is the tough part.)
    • I know what you mean, but at the party, this got GREAT reviews - especially as the tutorial was very funny. As you said, though, it's a rehash of a rehash, and although it does a good job, it is tiresome on ingenuity fronts.

      If you get the time, look at tAAt's entry, which has an INCREDIBLY funny video ;)

      Matthew Walster
      AssemblyTV.net monkey =)
  • by Kesch (943326) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @07:41PM (#15836057)
    The real question is, "How do I do windmills with my keyboard?"

    Perhaps it wold work if you picked your keyboard up and held it like a guitar. (Warning: This may get you strange looks.)
    • "Perhaps it wold work if you picked your keyboard up and held it like a guitar. (Warning: This may get you strange looks.)"

      That's actually what they suggest you do, and that's what the default keymap is setup for.

      Here's the official site:
      http://louhi.kempele.fi/~skyostil/uv/fretsonfire/

      And the demo video:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5rANYBQvF0

      Their logo is a guy holding the keyboard upside down.
    • Perhaps it wold work if you picked your keyboard up and held it like a guitar.

      Ja but you even doing that you would not be able to play like mich because you SUCK.
  • I tried to play it on my Windows Vista with Radeon Mobility X1400. I got a resolution change and then got this error in the log file:

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "FretsOnFire.py", line 28, in ?
    File "GameEngine.pyo", line 101, in __init__
    File "Video.pyo", line 52, in setMode
    OpenGL.GL.GLerror: [Errno 1280] invalid enumerant

    I then tried it on my Windows XP with Intel GMA 900 and got a similar error:

    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "FretsOnFire.py", line 28, i

    • Second error (1282) matches mine on an Intel GMA 915GM. I noticed a second log file in the folder, which read:
      (W) GLEWpy not found -> Emulating Render to texture functionality.
      (D) Initializing audio.
      (D) Audio configuration: (44100, -16, 1)
      (D) Initializing video.
      With that in mind, I installed GLEWpy (after installing Python itself, which the GLEWpy installer looks for), but that didn't help. Anyone with other ideas to help pin this down?
      • i believe this is a result of your graphics card not being good enough. they recommend a fast openGL graphics card. my latitude d620 and opti gx520 both have integrated video of some intel flavor and get the same problem.
  • My brother is quite a talented guitarist but I don't think this would automatically mean that he would "pwn" at guitar heroes (At least that's my theory; feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). I did read that earlier article ( Guitar Hero Hacks [slashdot.org]) but I still think the mechanics are too different to the actual thing. However I believe that people who are proficient drummers would "pwn" at DrumMania because the mechanics are pretty much the same. Of course Guitar Heroes is made to be a game but I think it woul
    • I live with a couple of mates, me (a very BAD guitarist, but have played guitar), a friend who is a very good guitarist, and another friend who is a good pianist, but has never played guitar. The guitarist just completed expert (the game came out here a month ago, and he's been stuck on the Cowboys from Hell and Bark at the Moon for a week), and has 4 stars on most of the expert songs. I can get through most of the first 15 songs on Hard, and my pianist friend is probably stuck on the middle medium songs.
      • I think with a lot of games like Guitar Heroes and DrumMania it really just comes down to practice. I spend a bit of time at the local arcade in Perth, Orbit, which has all of the "instrument games" (Including that piano one whose name I cannot remember). I only really go there to play either Virtua Cop or maybe a bit of Capcom Vs. SNK but there are some people there who are pretty much regulars and are always playing DDR or DrumMania. Some of my mates get pretty pissed because they never get a chance to pl
    • My brother is quite a talented guitarist but I don't think this would automatically mean that he would "pwn" at guitar heroes (At least that's my theory; feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)

      You are wrong, but for the right reason: Guitar Hero is nothing like playing a real guitar. However, it uses two skills that every guitarist must have: good rhythm, and good finger dexterity. I would similarly expect a pianist to do quite well at the game, even though the actual action of "playing" is completely diff

  • My prayers have been answered, finally Guitar Hero without having to throw money Sony's way!
    • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Informative)

      by nb caffeine (448698)
      AFAIK, this isn't the first guitar hero PC clone, though it does look nicer than the one i've been playing:

      http://www.hardkore.org/~ohsnap/ [hardkore.org]

      That one actually uses the GH miniSG controller via ps2->usb adapter. Its pretty sweet, and theres tons of songs available already. Too bad most of them are wicked hard and I'm average at best.
  • I downloaded this game and was amazed at the polished quality of it. That and it was an immense amount of fun.

    I do find it rather discouraging, though, that a demo hacked up at a conference can be better than 90% of other linux games, most of which have been in development for months or years.

    Perhaps we need to start sponsoring more promising coders to go to these kind of events.

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