I've got this idea while listening to the Open Source Musician Podcast, episode 9th.
The idea is to create a video game that would allow musicians easily and with a lot of fun practise their musical skills.
The game would work with MIDI hardware like keyboards, pad controllers, fader boxes and so on.
At first a new user would be prompted to create an online account to store all his statistics, patterns, device setups and so on. This could be omitted and user could just copy files if he wanted to port his stuff to another machine or share them with a pal.
Once this is done, player needs to connect a MIDI device to his machine. When the game detects the device and gets some technical info about it, it will attempt to find the device in the online databese to be able to propose proper exercises for this type of device. If the databese has no record of such a device, the player can answer some basic quesions about the device (what type of controller is it, what features does it support, what is the full name of the device, what is the manufacturer of the device etc.) to register the device in the database. That would help others to have easier start later on when a lot of people are playing this
I can now think of three basic groups of exercises based on the device type:
- keyboards → performing melodies and chords to the music.
- pad controllers → performing rhythms to the music.
- fader boxes → performing multitrack automation to the music.
Exercises in each group should be devided into several levels of difficulty, like for example the levels in Track Mania Nations Forever.
As for multiplayer modes:
I can also think about a hot seat cooperative mode when players perform using split screen on one machine or over LAN or maybe even over the Internet (ping might be a big problem here).
I belive songs could be made of four layers, so maximum of four players can be performing it. I can think of synthesizing the music on the go, so when someone is out of rhythm of out key, it can be heard and he's really playing the instrument not just pretending to do so like in Frets On Fire. The real music equipment and real music performance is the difference. Graphics don't need to be even 3D. I'd be into a minimalistic design with elegance and low impact on the machine performance.
Actually songs could be made using MIDI files to be played via ZynAddSubFX which is a really versatile and powerfull synth and could make every sound needed to make a song (excluding vocals).
The overall idea is to make this game inspire people to improve their musical skills and to make it more of a real performing of music, not just having fun. An educational game for musicians.
I'm not a programmer, I'm a musician and a 2D/3D designer (I do all my stuff with FLOSS software).
I'm looking for people willing to make this project real.
If you're a programmer, musican, graphic designer and you want to take part in creating such a game - you're welcome.
Maybe the is already such a project but I don't know about it - please let me know if so.
In the meanwhile you can also do worse things than check some of my music here: http://unfamusic.com