NoshBar's Dumping Ground

Good-bye Lhythm. Good-bye trying to be professional.

I wanted to see if I'd enjoy drumming, as before I had tried playing the piano and guitar to varying degrees of outstanding non-success.

Being paranoid when it comes to doing things that make a noise (especially as a foreigner living in a flat), a real drum kit was out of the question.
Electronic kits are awesome, but quite expensive for a test to see if I can indeed move my arms as if they're not joined at their sweet little siamese hips.

It all went down a little something like this:

  • Bought an el cheapo Wii USB Rock Band 1 drum kit off Amazon (12GBP) just over a year ago, to use with FoFiX.
  • FoFiX turned out to be great! I themed it to hell and back, got songs of bands I love... but I needed more.
  • Bought Rock Band 1 for the Wii, which scored me more harshly, but slowly I managed to get up to medium difficulty without the TV throwing up.
  • Sucked it up and bought a Roland HD-1 VDrum set, as I was now sure that I would enjoy this whole beating-things stuff.
    (the set remained untouched for a year though)
  • Bought the Roland HD-1 drum tutor thing. Burnt the CD with salt and holy water and went to my happy place. The interface just didn't work for me.
  • Then I thought "Hey! I want FoFiX on the TV!"... my first generation AppleTV (sitting in a puddle of its own tears) stuck its hand in the air screaming "OOH OOH! PICK ME!"
  • So I went through the absolute hell of trying to compile FoFiX, giving up, and eventually copying the OSX binaries over to the AppleTV, working through each one of the missing libraries it required one by one... eventually, it was _almost_ playable.
  • No matter what I did (loads of setting tweakery), I couldn't stop the frequent stuttering, which really affected the awesome scores I otherwise undoubtably would have received.
  • As is the natural next step for any coder, I thought "I'll make my own clone! It won't use any CPU power at all, and it will draw sprites using a thread in another dimension! And it'll be radder than anything else ever! Perhaps an MMORPG version..."
  • An hour an evening for a week was spent on creating the world's suckiest FoFiX clone, I posted a video of it, and I was proud that someone as stoopid as me could get it right.
  • Bought the Band Hero package for super cheap (thanks HotUKDeals) and danced with glee like a little schoolgirl to the sight of the extra cymbal.
  • Eventually-will-be-related: O2 had a sale on Jogglers, so I bought 2, in case one got dirty.

Then a year of hell passed in which not much except crying happened.

  • I bought Rock Band 3 and the MadCatz MIDI adapter and plugged my Roland HD-1 into it
  • I was temporarily happy
  • Needed more songs, so Lego Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band were bought for their content in Rock Band 3
  • But still... needed... more songs... and wanted to start learning how to use both feet at same time (hi-hat and bass)...
  • Thought, "My Joggler! I can stick it to my drumkit with pretty ribbons and use it as a teaching aid!", and it's a perfect low-powered PC target (being a crusty 1.3GHz netbook with a touchscreen)

So I finally went back to my FoFiX clone, spent an hour an evening for a week on it again, rewriting it mostly from scratch (seeing as the possessed side of me seemed to have written the first version), testing it on my Joggler, and that's where I am today.

Drumpster is an awefully poor choice of name for this project, as looking at the code reveals that I could easily cater for other instruments, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it (which, let's face it, will be approximately: never).

As it is right now, Drumpster is nothing but an unfinished MIDI to Rock Band display converter.

Things it does right now:

  • Accepts any "real" (GM notes) or FoFiX (different difficulties, 4 tracks only) MIDI file
  • Displays real drum notation as Rock Band 3 Pro style tracks
  • Caters for open and closed hi-hat (eat THAT Rock Band 3)
  • Has a small footprint (~90Kb on Windows and Linux) and runs smoothly on low powered devices

Things it doesn't do right now, but will "soon" (all present and working in the old code, needs to be ported/rewritten):

  • Let you pick songs (with this in place, I will release the first beta version)
  • Accept any input (native code and RtMidi)
  • Score
  • Have any sound output at all (PortAudio and Tremor for OGG)
  • Be pretty enough to be able to look at for longer than 10 seconds before weight loss initiates.
  • many other things I am keeping secretive about because they're so unique that no one else could ever think of them and would just steal them because I am a unique and beautiful snowflake

TL;DR: Basically I aim to have something that lets you play FoFiX or plain MIDI songs displayed as Rock Band 3 style tracks (but with open/closed hi-hat), optionally accepting input from computer keyboard, MIDI instrument or joystick (or all 3 at once) and scoring you on it.

To the CodeMobile [tm]!

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Being stupid is a wonderful thing: you discover new things every day.
I bought a Velleman USB Experiment board from Maplin as an exercise in learning how to solder.

One embarrassing turn led to another, and eventually I "discovered" that piezo buzzers generate current when you mash them.

That sparked the idea to use the piezo buzzers as a drum pad by converting the voltage into velocity sensitive MIDI notes.

Sadly, it had all been done before, many, many, many times.

But this is for all you Velleman owners out there.

See or if that ever works again.

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Lhythm is a work in progress of a clone of the current spate of music games out there, born out of the frustration gained from watching loading screens, and a curiousity of the technologies involved.
Right now, it's heavily focussed on the drums aspect, but that's only because right now I'm buzzing about drums.

Lhythm is being written from scratch in C++, with as minimal help from 3rd party libraries as possible, just because I like being difficult learning (and to reduce dependencies).
Right now I've learnt the MIDI file format, and how MIDI events work in general, how to stream and mix sounds, how much I suck at maths, the works!

However, some libraries I am using for convenience:
Tremor OGG library

FoFiX does a much better and prettier job right now, and probably always will, but it does however demand quite a modern PC (my 3rd world laptop chokes, and the AppleTV juuust about runs it OK).

But if I'm making this, I might as well share it, right?

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I have a machine stashed behind my TV, it never has a keyboard or mouse plugged into it.

It does, however, have a bunch of different USB devices that get plugged into it when I want to play a different game, e.g., USB Dance Mat for StepMania, USB Rock Band Drums for FoFiX.
Finding and plugging a keyboard in to launch an application and then swap it out with e.g., drums is a pain.


  • Click the "Add" button
  • Type in a friendly name for the entry
  • Locate an executable to run
  • Plug in the USB device you want to trigger execution of said program
  • Wait for the PID and VID boxes to populate
  • Accept the entry.

And hey presto, the next time you plug that USB device in, the program you've associated with it will launch.

Attached is the first version of the tool, it works for me, but I cannot be held liable for any damages it may cause. I can't stress enough how quickly and poorly these were coded.

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Lack of repeat business meant the Suicide Bar
had suffered some cutbacks.
(click the image for a larger version)

Modelled in Sketchup
Rendered in Kerykthea

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