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Guitar Hero Hacks

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the really-extreme-programming dept.


Edge Online has a short blurb mentioning a project at the University of California turning the Guitar Hero guitar into a real instrument. From the article: "For the final project of their Computer Audio course, University of California students Travis Chen and Sunny Chan have created Guitar Hero Hack, a plugin for sequencing software Max/MSP that lets players assign switchable banks of samples to each of the controller's buttons, utilizes its tilt switch as a way to clear current audio on any given track, and, the two hope, might be on its way to a fully functioning live instrument." His incredibly impressive demo video is well worth watching.

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Easy? (2, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100699)

...don't miss the accompanying video, in which Chen, like every proficient player, makes it all look far too easy to produce a surprisingly nice tune in just seconds

Ain't that the truth. I wish I had that much talent - if I tried that it'd just be a random sequence of sounds. Awesome proof of concept.

Your sig (-1, Troll)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100754)

You are now on my foe's list. AFoes are modded -6. I don't read you, I don't mod you, I don't see you. Don't like it? Don't be an asshole.

Re:Your sig (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15100767)

Who the hell cares being on some slashbot's foe's list?

Re:Your sig (1)

RandomPrecision (911416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101334)

That would potentially amuse Southpaw, if he could see it. :)

OT:Your sig (3, Informative)

Joe U (443617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101480)

His loss.

Read at -1. The site is much more entertaining that way and I recommend it for everyone.

Seriously, there's a lot of interesting stuff going on below 1. Modding at higher levels does Slashdot a disservice.

Re:OT:Your sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15106211)

The funniest part of all this is that ACs don't see signatures.

Re:Your sig (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101649)

Who the hell cares about being on anyone's foes list?

Of course, back to the original point, to think that the opinion of or facts contributed by someone that didn't bother to create an account are any less valid than those of someone that did bother to create an account that is not necessarily any less anonymous than posting as AC is ridiculous. Somehow, I don't think 'Southpaw018' is his or her real name, and if it was, I doubt his posts would be any more worth reading than they already are.

Re:Your sig (2, Funny)

Liselle (684663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101046)

I have an anti-AC sig, too, although mine just implies that ACs are stupid. Can I get in on this one?

Re:Easy? (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101399)

I wish I had that much talent - if I tried that it'd just be a random sequence of sounds.

Hmm. I just watched the video and it pretty much is a random sequence of sounds. It's really hard to go wrong when you only have five tones to choose from for each instrument, especially when they're all in the same key. The rhythms/beats of the different tracks he was laying didn't match up at all, though. So, ummm, yeah. Still, an incredibly cool hack for the guitar hero controller though. I gotta give him tons of credit for that. And I'm sure some of the tracks he's spent more time honing sound great too.

The hack we really need is (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100715)

a device that electrocutes the guitarist as soon as it detects the first notes of Smoke On The Water...

Re:The hack we really need is (1)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100997)

We've made it a point to sing along with Smoke on the Water as poorly as we can. The song is still WAY too long, but it helps pass the time while whoever picked it feels terrible about themselves.

Re:The hack we really need is (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101150)

Come on, there's nothing wrong with "Dun dun duun... dun dun dunduuun... dun dun duun dun duuuuuuuun..."

Yeah, ok, I see your point. So what kind of voltage should the guitarist recieve?

Re:The hack we really need is (4, Interesting)

RandomPrecision (911416) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101377)

You might not like this program then...I thought it was funny at the time.

#include <windows.h>

void main()

Re:The hack we really need is (1)

McWilde (643703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104202)

That timing is way off. It looks like it'll play like one of those "musical" greeting cards that only have "long note" and "short note", thus rendering any song like crap.

How do you render somthing like crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15114579)

And at any wave rate, what does the crap look like? Is it bird crap, somthing like a noodle in an egg-white; is it dog crap, somthing like chunky brisquettes that collapse on one another; is it cow crap, somthing like a pancake; is it hominid crap, somthing like a long bananna-shaped tauros; is it like wild dog or wild cat crap, somthing like a torpedo with a fine duck-tale hairy head; is it like sea cucumber crap, somthing like a long length of crap in the shape of the mono-directional intestine; is it like your mom?

Feverish Slashdoubters really want to know!

Logged-in users aren't forced to preview their comments. Create an Account! To confirm you're not a script,
please type the word in this image: unpacks

Re:The hack we really need is (1)

chrisatoremus (956200) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102943)

or freebird

Re:The hack we really need is (1)

irablum (914844) | more than 7 years ago | (#15107219)

Stairway to Heaven?

Sequencing software, eh? (4, Informative)

croddy (659025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100765)

"Sequencing software" wouldn't be my first choice for describing Max/MSP, but at any rate it's much more than that. Max/MSP is a very powerful modular synthesis environment, allowing the user to assemble very interesting and complicated instruments and processing chains using a graphic interface. Miller S. Puckette (the MSP in the name of the software) has also released a similar package called 'pd' under an open source license (or, at least, it is distributed as source code).

Re:Sequencing software, eh? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15101295)

You're close, but I'll offer a bit more.

Max/MSP is essentially a graphical programming environment, built primarily to coordinate interaction between a live performer and a computer. It was originally written for composers and musicians, but has since proven general enough in functionality to be used for dance, video, and other genres.

It *can* function strictly as a sequencer or a synthesis environment, but using it that way is somewhat unusual, as its forte is interactive performance. Check out [] for more info.

Re:Sequencing software, eh? (1)

CompSciStud4U (877987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103272)

Pure Data (PD) is definitely worth checking out if you're into computer-aided performance. You can get PD for free (it runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux) at [] . Another one to try if you're more into writing actual code is Supercollider. It's an object-oriented music synthesis language based on Smalltalk. I use a Windows build that I get from [] , but it runs better on OSX and it interfaces with Emacs if you like on Linux.

MIDI is Great! (2, Insightful)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100768)

Lots of groups have adapted non-instruments into musical instruments, by hooking them up to MIDI [] , a digital interface for electronic music instruments. It's quite easy, extensible, and everything electronic and musical supports it (after like '85 I guess).

I'm not so great with a guitar, bass, drums, and definately not keyboards. MIDI sequencers (computer and embedded) let me play the notes as I want them to be played, instead of relying on my fingers to actually play the bass [] . I can then focus on where I want the tune to go, rather than this solo I can't play right. Just figured I'd toss that out there. MIDI is great!

Re:MIDI is Great! (1)

urbster1 (871298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103990)

MIDI is pretty awesone, but on the other hand, sometimes I feel like it's getting old and deprecated-- it was invented in the 80's, just as music devices began to interface with computers, and musicians couldn't have seen where electronic music was going from there. I have no idea what we'd replace it with, though.

Re:MIDI is Great! (1)

Grench (833454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104329)

Yamaha XG-MIDI is pretty damned nice as an extension to what MIDI can do.

Even a cheap XG tone generator is a great add-on to your PC, and makes even GM-MIDI files actually sound quite nice.

The extra XG commands and effects bring MIDI up to speed.

Synthaxe Drumitar (1)

McGregorMortis (536146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100827)

This kinda reminds me of the Synthaxe Drumitar [] , played by Future Man of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Re:Synthaxe Drumitar (2, Insightful)

rbochan (827946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101018)

The Synthaxe [] , is simply a midi controller. The only difference between that and the more 'traditional' keyboard style controllers is that it's held and can be played like a guitar. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth [] was one of the early pioneers of it's use back in 1985 or so. It's all over the album Metal Fatigue [] , and others.

Like any other midi controller, you can connect it to any DSP device you want, not just drum machines, but any synthsizer that you can get a cable connected to.

Re:Synthaxe Drumitar (1)

fleck_99_99 (223900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15105011)

I think where Future Man really stands out in his use of the instrument is in his very distinctive style of playing it (how many Flecktones tracks actually use some sort of a snare-as-ride effect?), and his work in creating his samples. Many of the drum sounds he uses are layered composites of many variants of a drum, and of course he occasionally throws in the entirely non-percussion sound. (The info about the samples is from talking to him -- they're a fantastically approachable band, if you go see them in concert. I don't think I've ever seen them NOT stick around to chat with the audience for at least a few minutes afterward.)

Moment of cognitive dissonance (0, Offtopic)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15100984)

I'm thinking, 'WTF happened? [] ' is about financial stuff...'

Oh, Edge Online. Got it. First day, new eyes.

On topic, this sounds kinda cool. What they need is a Joe Satriani endorsement. Or, maybe a David-St.-Hubbins-trying-to-be-Joe-Satriani endorsement, like a "Satch Tapes" outtake. That would be teh junk.

Frippertronics (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101165)

My first thought when I heard it start looping was "Frippertronics Hero". :)

Garage band? (1)

confu2000 (245635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101431)

Not to diminish what these guys have done, but this sounds like what Apple's Garage Band application does. Namely, record one track, loop it, then record a second/third/nth track on top.

The only difference being this uses the guitar hero controller to input notes.

Re:Garage band? (1)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101534)

Um, I don't think anyone was claiming the invention of looping samples.

Would've been a lot cooler (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15101827)

if they created a Guitar Hero for the PC. I'd die to play it, but I won't throw a cent towards Sony.

Re:Would've been a lot cooler (1)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104379)

Because? The CEO killed your wife and raped your dog?

Re:Would've been a lot cooler (1)

Bobsledboy (836872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15104533)

He also exposed himself to my neighbour!

Trackers anyone? (1)

octopus72 (936841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102125)

I sometimes used similar technique to make music in Fast Tracker 2. That application did have the possibility to use keyboard as instrument with selected samples. Later you just switch audio track(channel) and record another instrument. Very effective and quick, it was possible to make very good sounding tunes (and if needed adjust them later).

University of California? (1)

ntropi (804745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102904)

Isn't saying "a project at the University of California" kind of like referring to the "country of Europe"? There's like twenty-something of them.

Re:University of California? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103693)

Usually though, just University of California refers to the Berkeley campus, although you can never really be sure.

Re:University of California? (2, Informative)

TheGuano (851573) | more than 7 years ago | (#15106340)

I guess a big difference is that "University of California" is actually real.

Isn't saying "a project at the University of California" kind of like referring to the "country of Europe"?

Re:University of California? (2, Informative)

zfalcon (69659) | more than 7 years ago | (#15109507)

Nope, the University of California refers to the original.

University of California = UC Berkeley = Cal

We tried something similar, actually (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103886)

Check out the presentation from the experimental gameplay workshop at GDC 2006. ml []

Basically, we tried using banks of samples which would be keyed off of the first key the player hit. Additionally, we authored licks which fit the button presses, so that the player had complete control but everything they played would be at least somewhat musical. Likewise, the first fret you pressed determined which key you were in until you finished that lick. Add in distortion by tilting the guitar (which broke in the demo, so Eric smashed it onstage), sustains, whammy, etc, and you had a nifty system.

The slides explain why it didn't go in, and everyone in the audience that listened to the demonstration will back up that choice.

Cool hack though, and kudos to Travis and Sunny for making it! We never thought anyone would go to the lengths they have with this game. It has been truly awesome to watch all of these people make the game their own... Just like rock.

Just a tip... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104275)

If you're going to create a demo film, spit out your gum!

An even cooler hack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15104543)

Would be if they made a Guitar Hero hack that actually teaches people how to play a real guitar. Maybe then we can get out of this funk of boy bands and pop music and emo as more people, inspired by their newfound talent, start to create their own music.

Cannon fodder played on game controllers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15108433)

PRESS PLAY ON TAPE [] have released a video of them playing the theme song from the game "Cannon Fodder" [] ("War, never been so much fun...") on various game controllers (PS2, Xbox, the Arcade, Donkey Conga, dance mat, etc...)

See it here [] .
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