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  1. #1
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    While you're improving the music system, how about getting closer to the ABC music standard?

    While you're at it, how about changing some of the base programming related to the ABC music standard?

    Auto Instrument Assign
    How about automatic assigning of instruments, if the person playing the song has the instrument in their inventory and the skill to play that instrument?
    X:1
    K:Ab
    L:1/4
    Q:1/2=60
    %%score {Soprano Alto Tenor Bass} [piano1 piano2] <-- This just sets formatting for printed music, voices with a big "{" on the left, etc.
    %%MIDI instrument 1 3 <-- this says to take the first voice/instrument/part and assign it to instrument 3
    %%MIDI instrument 2 40 <-- this says to take the second whatever and assign it to instrument 40
    [V:Soprano] abc'd'|f2g>a|
    [V:Alto] ABc...
    You could have the MIDI command look to the score command as to which is the "first" voice/instrument/whatever.
    This way, a person could even swap instruments in the middle of a song!

    Grace Notes
    If I remember correctly, because I don't think I've played in about three years, {b} didn't work as a note. Grace notes should be super quick before a note, and a somewhat lower volume. The standard says:
    The presence of gracenotes is transparent to the broken rhythm construct. Thus the forms A<{g}A and A{g}<A are legal and equivalent to A/2{g}A3/2.
    Maybe you want to tweak that for LOTRO, I don't care, it would just be cool to have real grace notes instead of trying to get close with g/32 or whatever, especially when you're trying to implement Handel's Messiah and have crazy chords with all sorts of notes being held longer than another note.

    Note sustain, starting new notes and multi note size
    It would be great if we could start/sustain multiple notes at a time. Something like "[a/4b/4-c/4d/4-][g/4b/4d/4-][c/4d/4-]d/4" gets pretty ridiculous. "But how often do people want to do that?" Handel's Messiah? Christmas? It happens more often than you'd think, I believe. Speaking of which, how about a single value outside the brackets for the notes inside? All in all, I'd like to see something like "[ab2cd4]/4 g/4 c/4 z" This would mean "the first chord has a relative duration of 1/4. The a and c in that first chord will thus be sustained for 1/4. The b will be sustained for 1/2 and the d for 1. Then no new notes, the d is still going. "But the LOTRO music parser would have to..." Ok, how about we put the value in front? "/4[ab2cd4] g/4 c/4 z"

    Triplets and whatever-ets
    How about allowing duplets/triplets/whatever-ets? (3abc <-- normal ABC triplet a2/3b2/3c2/3 <-- LOTRO ABC triplet

    Decorations
    !arpeggio! Wow, that would be nice, no more A,/32B,/32C/32D/32E/32F/32G/32A/32B/32c/32d/32e/32f/32g/32 just !arpeggio![A,B,CDEFGABcdefg]
    While we're at it, let's change to !fff! instead of +fff+. Or not, whatever. But please add in arpeggio, whether that's +arpeggio+ or !arpeggio!

    Regarding ! or + the ABC music standard says: "Decorations were first introduced in draft standard 1.7.6 (which was never formally adopted) with the ! symbol. In abc 2.0 (adopted briefly whilst discussions about abc 2.1 were taking place) this was changed to the + symbol." I applaud Turbine for being so willing to jump in and adopt where the standard looked like it was going, but maybe it's time to change that.
    Last edited by Banaticus; Nov 18 2014 at 04:34 AM.
    2017: 6 levels and an instance! As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he joined the Smaug The Dragon raid. Then he asked for leadership, looted the chest, assigned himself the 1st age Arkenstone and mailed it to an alt (Bilbo's a VIP so can mail from anywhere). They did some PvMP and an Epic Battle, then he apologized and gave the Arkenstone back because it wasn't BoA. He kept the pony.

  2. #2
    These are cool suggestions. Unfortunately, after all the nasty things said about the attempt to upgrade the music system, I'll be shocked if Turbine gives us any future upgrades at all.

  3. #3
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    I agree with XinaLa. Besides, rather than messing about improving abc why not just switch to midi instead, it would probably be easier.

    Anyway, never going to happen now and I am so disappointed with what's been said on these forums that have led to this rollback decision.
    Jobbing musician that resides in Bree. Frequenter of Taverns and places of ill repute

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keli View Post
    why not just switch to midi instead, it would probably be easier.
    That's essentially what we have now. The game's music is built on... it's been years so I don't remember, but Direct8? Direct9? Anyway, it ties into some Windows music stuff. The question is how much we as players are allowed to access. If Turbine ran with the full ABC music standard, we could basically have full access to everything MIDI, including all the instruments in the general MIDI bank. Presumably Turbine would rather tweak things than completely rewrite everything, so baby steps. What I outlined above would basically give us the keys to the kingdom, to use a colloquial phrase. We could pretty much make any sound.

    There's even a violin and a viola in the general MIDI bank of instruments. If we had a couple of each, and threw in /32 notes to make grace-like notes leading up to real note changes, with varying loudness levels all over the place, we could make pretty passable violin/fiddle music. It wouldn't be as good as live violin music, and it would require a lot of work on every music piece, but it could be done. This is basically the first time since the game launched that anyone at Turbine has really looked at changing any part of the music system, that I know of.
    2017: 6 levels and an instance! As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he joined the Smaug The Dragon raid. Then he asked for leadership, looted the chest, assigned himself the 1st age Arkenstone and mailed it to an alt (Bilbo's a VIP so can mail from anywhere). They did some PvMP and an Epic Battle, then he apologized and gave the Arkenstone back because it wasn't BoA. He kept the pony.

  5. #5
    First of all,

    they had to find a solution to get a format that is editable by humans. Defining their own subset of the ABC-standart (and even violating it like with the multipart-abc files) is a perfectly fine choice. All in all it had to be managable in terms of developer time and complexity.
    What Turbine managed to build there is a robust system that operates perfectly within it's scope and the known limits, it doesn't break the game and it allows to do all sorts of things using some "tricks". What more do we need? I think if they change the ABC interpreter there will be new bugs we'll have to struggle with. So I don't see any reason to change anything with the ABC notation. Just use a good text editor with some macros or a program that does the conversion for you and you're fine, don't complicate something that works as it is and will not offer anything new if it's changed - you could also just write your own ABC-to-lotro-ABC converter.

    To the midi idea:

    To my understanding a huge part of the "success" of the pre-U15 player music system is that it's far from perfect, but with some effort it can be made to sound better. And that is pretty much a direct feedback, so fiddling around with adjustments and listening to the changes gives a fast success experience (even faster in Maestro and other arranging programs). In a music system that would allow the playback of midi files directly that personal success would be greatly diminished. It could be too easy then - and then our personal reward system wouldn't appreciate it - it would be boring. To me the pre-U15 system is a good balance of effort and reward.

    Quote from before:
    I am so disappointed with what's been said on these forums that have led to this rollback decision.

    I don't think that anything that has been said here in the forums led to that roleback decision - if any of our comments would have had an effect this bugged music patch would have never gone live. A thorough analysis of all the modifications that were done to the U15 music system leads to the only conclusion that it is easier to go back and start all over with modifications. And this is because rechecking every single change will cause more effort. So don't blame ppl who write their honest perception of how bad the music system has become.
    Bruzo, Dwarrowdelf Minstrel ~ "A Rock & a Hard Place"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchorschiSchrumpf View Post
    Defining their own subset of the ABC-standart (and even violating it like with the multipart-abc files) is a perfectly fine choice.
    No, multi-part ABC files are perfectly in keeping with the standard. That's why there's that X: field that's supposed to be the first thing in every tune, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by SchorschiSchrumpf View Post
    What more do we need?
    I could write a very long post about all the cool things that can be done with ABC notation that can't be done in LOTRO. There are ABC-to-LOTRO converters already. That's not to say that they couldn't be immensely better if we could do more things with the music notation in LOTRO.
    Quote Originally Posted by SchorschiSchrumpf View Post
    In a music system that would allow the playback of midi files directly that personal success would be greatly diminished.
    Oh, no, real decent midi files take an immense amount of effort. That being said, I haven't advocated dumping in straight MIDI files. For one, they're not human readable and it takes a lot to learn how to work with them. I'd prefer keeping a buffer between my code and MIDI code.

    That being said, let me address the question of ease. As it now stands, people can find a midi, run it through a converter, and boom they're playing that song. "Well, how often does that happen?" From examining music sound files, it happens a heck of a lot. It's not that difficult to tell the difference between an auto-generated song and a song put together by hand. Let's not be like Sony and purposefully make the system difficult to program for in the hopes of driving off bums and only getting decent programmers -- you end up with a serious lack of "games" (as they found out to their detriment).

    Good discussion.
    2017: 6 levels and an instance! As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he joined the Smaug The Dragon raid. Then he asked for leadership, looted the chest, assigned himself the 1st age Arkenstone and mailed it to an alt (Bilbo's a VIP so can mail from anywhere). They did some PvMP and an Epic Battle, then he apologized and gave the Arkenstone back because it wasn't BoA. He kept the pony.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Banaticus View Post
    No, multi-part ABC files are perfectly in keeping with the standard. That's why there's that X: field that's supposed to be the first thing in every tune, etc.
    Strictly speaking multipart pieces (in ABC they are called files with multiple voices) are one track starting with X: and within the multiple voices would have to be started with a V:, which is exactly what you have to adjust to run a lotro ABC file through the reference abc2midi implementation to get a midi file back. If you run a multipart-lotro-ABC through abc2midi you get a seperate midi file for every track. So lotro is really not following the standard there.

    [QUOTE=Banaticus]
    As it now stands, people can find a midi, run it through a converter, and boom they're playing that song. "Well, how often does that happen?"
    [\QUOTE]
    Almost never happens to me, but the few times it happens it's an extra personal success because I'm using a converter I coded myself ( lol I guess ppl already would say that I'm too convinced of BruTE and should shut up about that )

    I have to admit that it might be an idea to use midifiles directly, but on the other hand the music system has a lot of restrictions, like a minimal tone duration, a maximum number of tones that can be played at the same time and the limits in octaves. So if we could feed midi files in directly we'd still have to make sure that they don't violate those restrictions. And I guess removing those restrictions in the current system may lead to the game freezing/crashing because the normal sound system is used to play the music (yes if you have background noise from ppl clapping/cheering/dancing it'll cut out tones from the instruments in some cases).

    Of course it would be nice to have much shorter tones ... it would give us the ability to have speech synthesis through our music system (there is papers about how to do that with midi tones) - imagine a band playing something that sounds like Gandalf saying: YOU CANNOT PASS! ... but I should stop dreaming and focus on the things at hand.
    Bruzo, Dwarrowdelf Minstrel ~ "A Rock & a Hard Place"

  8. #8
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    I think there are some good suggestions here, and a few that don't make practical sense.
    Extending the parser to handle triplets, decorations, grace notes, etc, would be wonderful, and not without precedent.
    After all, early implementations of the music system didn't even do chords.

    As for multi-part, I think that's problematic. That would require far more complicated mechanics to identify a part with
    a player/instrument, and what if there were more parts than players? Which get dropped? And that mess doesn't even
    consider the additional complexities of the client-server architecture. Its fair to certain you'll break more than you fix
    trying to implement multi-part in MIDI fashion.
    Lle merna aut farien?
    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as ABC!

    Warders of the Weald
    Landroval: Northwoods, Hjogii

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchorschiSchrumpf View Post
    Strictly speaking multipart pieces (in ABC they are called files with multiple voices) are one track starting with X: and within the multiple voices would have to be started with a V:, which is exactly what you have to adjust to run a lotro ABC file through the reference abc2midi implementation to get a midi file back. If you run a multipart-lotro-ABC through abc2midi you get a seperate midi file for every track. So lotro is really not following the standard there.
    It's just a matter of how different MIDI bits are assigned to particular channels within the DirectX system, as I understand it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Northwoods View Post
    Its fair to certain you'll break more than you fix trying to implement multi-part in MIDI fashion.
    If you go look at all the dev quotes pertaining to the music system, this seems to be what they're trying to do. Remember when they said that they might be able to implement more instruments as far as just playing music goes but that this wouldn't translate into custom recorded files such that Minstrels could run into battle with a violin or something? When a fellowship syncs, the ABC music files from each person are translated into MIDI channels, such that if one person drops out then that channel is dropped. Well, there's nothing inherently stopping the game from assigning multiple MIDI channels to a single person, just like there's nothing inherently stopping the game from letting our characters move through the air in a z direction (actually a y direction if I remember right, I think the game internally uses a coordinate system with x and z as the flat ground and y being distance above the ground, which is fairly common in MMORPG's) with a walking motion instead of walking along the ground, to choose something that on the face of it seems equally fantastical but which would just be a simple tweak to not have our character models checking to see whether or not there's physical ground under us and then moving the character downwards until there is.

    You might say, "Flying, ###, your suggestions are ludicrous." No, no, I'm just using it as an example. There are things that we innately think are solid blocks in the game, but that's just what we're used to. I don't really want the developers to spend the time to implement flying -- it's a metaphor, don't take it seriously.

    You might say, "But then you wouldn't be 'playing' music, your character would just be the channel, the avatar if you will, for a MIDI orchestra which is being run purely by ABC files or whatever else is implemented." Yeah, that's a pretty apt summation.

    By the way, I'm not sure where this "the early music system didn't even do chords" came from. I'm a lifetime member and I glomped onto abc music files pretty early in the game. The way I remember it, we were always able to do chords. You still can't really do chords if you try to "play" an instrument in game by actually hitting the 1-0 number keys and playing the sharps/flats of those, but with the game parsing music files you were always able to play chords.
    Quote Originally Posted by SchorschiSchrumpf View Post
    I have to admit that it might be an idea to use midifiles directly, but on the other hand the music system has a lot of restrictions, like a minimal tone duration, a maximum number of tones that can be played at the same time and the limits in octaves. So if we could feed midi files in directly we'd still have to make sure that they don't violate those restrictions.
    Are those restrictions strictly necessary? If they've been put in so that we don't see black MIDI files, that's fine -- let's just get the restrictions explicitly laid out and then we can work within them -- Turbine could tell us, "No matter what you feed in, the shortest note duration will be X and all notes will be held at least that long, you can only play X tones at the same time, etc." But if the music system is parsing our files, then it wouldn't be much extra work to have it ignore some of what it parses.

    I'm glad we've been able to have this little discussion, let's continue to explore the issue.
    2017: 6 levels and an instance! As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he joined the Smaug The Dragon raid. Then he asked for leadership, looted the chest, assigned himself the 1st age Arkenstone and mailed it to an alt (Bilbo's a VIP so can mail from anywhere). They did some PvMP and an Epic Battle, then he apologized and gave the Arkenstone back because it wasn't BoA. He kept the pony.

  10. #10
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    bumpity bump

    I noticed that fiddles have come in since I last played. Any changes to the music system?
    2017: 6 levels and an instance! As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he joined the Smaug The Dragon raid. Then he asked for leadership, looted the chest, assigned himself the 1st age Arkenstone and mailed it to an alt (Bilbo's a VIP so can mail from anywhere). They did some PvMP and an Epic Battle, then he apologized and gave the Arkenstone back because it wasn't BoA. He kept the pony.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Banaticus View Post
    I noticed that fiddles have come in since I last played. Any changes to the music system?
    I believe the only changes in the last four years have been additions and adjustments to the instruments. I don't recall any changes to the music system itself.

 

 

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