Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MusicRacer: Another Unique way to Experience Music

I've recently spent some time looking for music visualizers; this is my second post on the topic, and I've found another software project that holds real promise.

Music Racer is a FREE simple shooter game with a musical twist, in which you move a spaceship back and forth on a track to pick up bonus points and avoid negative points. What makes it fascinating is that the placement of the point items and even the design of the track on which you race is based on music of your choice. You select any song on your computer (supports MP3, OGG, FLAC, WAV; AAC and WMA not supported due to DRM issues) using the built in media browser, and the program analyzes the audio data and generates a track. I contacted the developers on their Facebook page for more detail on how the track is created, and here is their response:
The track generation is deterministic. Curves are generated from the stereo offset, slope from the average number of beats. So the track and beats will always be the same for a particular song.
The game offers 3 play modes that effect the placement of bonus point items. "Catch All" offers only positive point markers and you try to catch them all. "Points" has positive markers that you collect and negative red markers that you avoid. My favorite is "Hold Speed" mode, which offers only positive point markers, but if you miss several in a row the whole track, including the music, slows down! You'll hear your favorite music go more and more flat and slow as you miss markers, if you're not careful--but all is not lost, as picking up markers raises the speed and pitch back up to regular levels.

The bonus point items that you collect coincide with beats in the song--or for music without much of a beat, with the peaks in the audio signal. The color of the bonus items is determined as follows (again from the developers):
That's a combination of beat intensity and angle of the curve. It isn't very obvious, but we didn't want to use any random numbers so the track will always be the same. 
Other options include mouse sensitivity, separate music and sound effect controls, difficulty control, and display settings. Some of these settings are only accessible during gameplay by pressing the ESC key.

It's a fun concept, and as it's a free game it's well worth your time to check it out. You've never PLAYED (literally) your music like this before!

Available for both Mac & Windows.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.