Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

We are always looking for new tools to create to help facilitate the table top gaming experience. Let us know if you have an idea for a new gaming tool you'd like to see. (Note: this is NOT for feature requests on existing tools!)

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Threid
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Just Use Ventrilo

Post by Threid »

Azhrei wrote:If there is going to be some type of audio support, Ogg is probably the way to go.
I, too, don't predict a very large user base for a Musictool, especially if it only supports Ogg; the work:usefulness ratio is too high. Ogg's a good format, but most users are tied to the ever-popular mp3 and aac formats.

As others have mentioned, Ventrilo can be a fine program for sharing voice/music. Most anyone who could handle converting mp3s to Ogg files would have no trouble configuring a Ventrilo server to broadcast music.

h3lrav3n
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by h3lrav3n »

I came across this RPG sound mixer. It would work very nicely for the Ventrilo & USB headsets approach suggested earlier in this thread.

http://www.stefanisberg.com/mutant/Mixer_eng.html

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Azhrei
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Re: Just Use Ventrilo

Post by Azhrei »

Threid wrote:
Azhrei wrote:If there is going to be some type of audio support, Ogg is probably the way to go.
I, too, don't predict a very large user base for a Musictool, especially if it only supports Ogg; the work:usefulness ratio is too high. Ogg's a good format, but most users are tied to the ever-popular mp3 and aac formats.

The problem is the patents that cover those music formats. They would prevent us from distributing sound files in those formats and may (perhaps) prevent even using an algorithm that can decode them (I haven't looked into the legalities of sound formats in the last few years; perhaps the patents have expired?). There's a reason that players such as mplayer come from Hungary. ;) (At least, I think that's where the development is done.)

If an open source/free software tool is going to support some kind of sound format it will ultimately be a sound format unencumbered by legal restrictions on its use. Both MP3 and AAC are not that format. If a MusicTool application does come about, users will have to decide if they want the sound support enough to use a free (as in libre') format.

dungeonmaster45
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by dungeonmaster45 »

If it was me what I would do is use a freespace like tripod or something and upload an html file with the <object><embed> ( you can search google for embed audio in html ) functions. This would be like you being able to link your players to a certain page with the music player on it. So when they clicked the link it would popup a browser would stream the file of your choosing.

You would need to open notepad , find the embed html code from google, paste it to notepad, change the src= to your uploaded mp3 file or sound bit, save as index.html ( or whatever file name you want ) , then upload it - then link people to the page.

That's probably the easiest way to do it without having everybody install a program/having to setup your recording controls.

Hope this helps.

Gralamin
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by Gralamin »

Well, there is a networkable, but non-internet program called RPG Deck. I imagine that it'd be a good start for designing such a tool.

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Azhrei
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by Azhrei »

Well, they sure have a fancy looking home page. ;)

That tool supports only MP3 and WAV, but that's probably enough for the simple stuff. The JLayer web site (which RPGDeck is based on) mentions support for Ogg is available in a companion tool.

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wyrmwood
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by wyrmwood »

I have to pipe in here :) MIDI doesn't sound like anything (good, bad or indifferent). MIDI is a language :) The GM soundset on your onboard audio chip, now that might sound like crap :) Songs recorded by computer nerds, rather than musicians, sound clinky because they usually don't "play" anything, rather they program the music so, of course it's extremely boring. MIDI actually has the resolution to record some very expressive material, though it starts using large amounts of data to record expressive controllers, but not much compared with actual audio recordings. With a decent musician performing for the recording and a decent GM sound set on your sound card, yeah, MIDI recordings sound pretty nice and take up very little bandwidth.

Anyways, I think the idea of streaming mp3s, et al sounds great, although I can't imagine streaming loss-less audio wouldn't eat up all the bandwidth. Raw audio is 10MB per stereo minute, so 1.3Mb of upload bandwidth would be necessary to multicast. Perhaps it wouldn't be too bad if the GM/server has a 10Mb connection, but I'm only using about a 750Kb upstream connection.

Chrest
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by Chrest »

I just recently started thinking about playing sound effects/music over voice chat, and I came up with this Mac OS X-only solution; it's nastily complicated, but it's pretty powerful, so I thought I'd post. This may not be the best way to set this up--there are some other programs that I haven't played with yet that I suspect may simplify matters substantially, like JACK, QLab, and SeqCon.

--Edit-- As expected, JACK makes everything much simpler, no cables or specific equipment required. Just hook everything into JACK, route your microphone and sound effects program into AU Lab's inputs, route AU Lab's output to your voice chat program's inputs, and you're done. This solution should also work on other platforms, provided you can find a digital mixer program similar to AU Lab.

Programs / Equipment required:
-USB audio device with 1/8" input and line output (I'm using a Griffin iMic).
-1/8" stereo patch cable.
-A Mac with line in/out.
-Some sort of microphone with 1/8" output (which must be the same type of output as the USB audio adapter's input); this can be a non-USB headset.
-Apple's AU Lab program (comes free with Developer Tools--steep learning curve).
-Ventrilo or whatever voice chat software you prefer.

Patch:
-Headset microphone cable --> iMic microphone input
-Headset headphone cable --> Mac headphone output
-iMic line out <--> Mac Line In via 1/8" stereo cable
-In AU Lab, start a new document using the iMic as your input/output sound device (sadly, AU Lab is limited to using the same device for input/output, hence the patch cable).
-Set voice chat software to use the Mac's Line In input.

Benefits:
-Add real-time effects like reverb and echo to your voice and any sound effects you play.
-Loop sound effects in the background, and set the volume and effects for each sound file individually (so you can have dripping water in a cave have reverb, but ominous music not).
-Play multiple sound effects at the same time.
-Plenty of AudioUnits effects plugins available on the internet.
-Sound effects are mixed together with your voice, so you can adjust the levels until you are audible to your players.
-No added software needed for your players.

Limitations:
-It's complicated.
-Doesn't allow you to apply effects to your players' voices. You could mimic this by setting up a separate computer with AU Lab, and having that computer log into the Vent server as a dummy user, apply effects to everything coming in over Vent, and then spit it back out over Vent (if you did that, I think you could just use SoundFlower for input/output on the dummy computer, and avoid all the patch cable nonsense). If you had all your players mute everyone except the effects computer, they'd hear the effects you applied to the players' voices along with any background effects, so you could add reverb to everyone's voice and play dripping water in the background to mimic a cave, for instance. The main problem with this is that the player who is talking would hear themselves talking with a delay, which can get really annoying. You might be able to mitigate the problem if you had the effects computer output only the reverb (i.e. 100% wet mix in AU Lab), because then the person speaking would only hear their own reverb, although it would still be delayed.

This may have just been an pointless exercise in audio geekery, but hopefully someone will find it helpful.

Nonsapient
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by Nonsapient »

Gralamin wrote:Well, there is a networkable, but non-internet program called RPG Deck. I imagine that it'd be a good start for designing such a tool.

This is how I plan on doing it. Use Ubuntu Studio to patch this in as a user in Ventrilo, and everything is awesome.


On another note, the designer of RPGDeck is a really nice guy.

that was rad
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by that was rad »

In other words, what you want to do is create an internet radio station where you are the DJ and you control what your listeners (your players) are listening to. This lets you change the volume, the track, etc and all of your listeners will hear those changes. Are you charging into battle? Fire up the battle music. Did someone just die? Quickly switch over to the appropriate track. Are your PC's at a carnival? Cue up the carnival music.

And you want to do it for free? No problem. Here's how to broadcast your iTunes (or whatever app you use to play your music) on your Mac (OS X 10.4 and up) over the internet, live.

Caveat: You will broadcast all sounds your machine makes, like volume up and down "blips." This also means that you may have to juggle the volume on iTunes if you chose to use a program like Ventrilo or Skype to speak with your players, otherwise they may not hear you over the music. As of this date (Fri, 8 Jan 2009) I haven't yet been in a game where we did this whole music thing. I have a game tomorrow night and I'll let everyone know.

Quick overview: Once you adjust the needed settings, you create a file that your listeners must open to access your radio station. Share the file with whomever you want, start playing your music, then start broadcasting. They can listen in to your broadcast by opening the file you shared with them.

Just start at the top and go down, skipping things you've already done:

Prep:
If you have OS X 10.5 or higher, download Soundfly http://abyssoft.com/software/soundfly/
If you have 10.4, get the 10.4 compatible version of Soundflower (scroll down): http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/14067

-Launch either Soundfly or Soundflower. If you downloaded Soundflower, launch it and in your status bar enable "Built-in Audio" under Soundflower 2ch.

Creating the settings:
-Launch Quicktime Broadcaster http://www.apple.com/quicktime/broadcaster/
-In the Audio tab, set the following:
---Preset: custom
---Source: Soundflower 2ch
---Disable "Play-through speaker"
---Gain 100
-In the video tab, disable any video.
-In the Network tab, set the following:
---Preset: custom (or "audio streaming")
---Transmission: Multicast
---Click "Generate IP Address"
---Buffer delay: 3 (this means that there will be a 3-second delay between what you do on your machine and what everyone else hears)

Saving the settings:
File>Save Broadcast Settings
Open this file when you want to broadcast and it will open Broadcaster with all the right settings ready to go.

Creating the file that your listeners need:
File>Export>Movie
This is the file that listeners need to open to listen to the radio station. Make it a simple name. You must send a copy of this file to anyone you want to listen in on your broadcast. I believe they need Quicktime version 7 or higher to listen in.

Broadcasting your music:
-Open the broadcast settings file. Will launch QT Broadcaster.
-Launch Soundfly/Soundflower
-Open Sound Prefs (via System Preferences) to make sure the input is Soundflower 2ch
-Launch iTunes (or whatever else you like)
-Play music on iTunes
-click Broadcast in QT Broadcaster.

Listening in:
-listeners must open the mov file to listen in

cqtlc
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by cqtlc »

Hi there for myself I created my own SHOUTcast server.
It supports Windows and Mac OS.

Quite a mess to create though, but when you succeed, it quite easy to
play music in your game, players only have to connect to your SHOUTcast server
using SHOUTcast ready app like Winamp.

(http://www.shoutcast.com/download )

dstidolph
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Re: Music Tool or does anyone know of any programs out there?

Post by dstidolph »

This is NOT for streaming - but for playing music. I leave it to others to figure out best way to stream the resulting sound...

http://softrope.net/

This is a freeware sound mixer designed for windows that is awesome.

With it you set up "scenes". Each scene has an icon and which clicked it playes. A scene has one or more sounds that can play play simultaneously or sequentually.

I used it for a recent dungeon run. The back story was a music box that had been dug up and was possessing people (their eyes lite up red and all that) and making them restart an evil temple. I created a number of "scenes" for it:

1. Top of the stairs to this hidden, underground evil temple - they could hear the creepy music faiintly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCtgTpxgwjc) looping.
2. Bottom of stairs hear same music louder, but added faint whispers (men chanting).
3. Louder creepy music and chanting (looping) and the grinding of a stone door opening (for when the players open the first door).

There was more, but you get the idea. Run was awesome and everyone had a great time!

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