Friday, June 15, 2012

Steno Hero Alpha

I've got so many Plover updates to write, my head is spinning. I'll write all of them up in the next post. But this one deserves an announcement of its own:

Steno Hero Alpha Is Live!

You remember my original post on Hover Plover, outlining some possible ideas for arcade-style steno games, right? Well, at the PyGotham code sprint on Friday night, I mentioned to a couple of the guys there that I'd found a .lrc (timecoded lyrics) file for Jonathan Coulton's Still Alive, and I thought it might make for a start to the Steno Hero game I talked about way back when. Since it was just music, lyrics, and rhythm, it wouldn't need any fancy art, and I thought its scope was about the right size for a sprint. Well, they coded 'til midnight, then they went home and came back to PyGotham the next day, coded some more, and this is the result. I've managed to get through it with only two red bars, I think (different ones each time), but I'm going to keep practicing until I can get all green. Anyone want to try and beat me?

Anaximander, the guy who headed up the project, has continued to code on it, and he says he's just a few days away from a version that lets you upload your own .lrc and .mp3 files and then generates the game for you dynamically. I can't wait. I'd originally picked Still Alive (old meme classic that it is) because the .lrc file was readily downloadable, and I assumed that, like all Coulton songs, the audio was released under a Creative Commons license. According to Wikipedia, though, it turns out that the song is actually owned by Valve. Oops. Please don't sue us, Valve. But I've timecoded two other great Coulton songs using the LRC Generator, and as soon as the new version of Steno Hero is released, I'll upload 'em. Also seeking leads on other good Creative Commons-licensed/out-of-copyright music. Or hey, if you feel like writing an official Plover theme song, go for it!

So seriously, go give this thing a try. It's so cool. It doesn't keep score numerically yet, but if you can get all greens through the whole song, take a screencast of it and mail me the link; I'll post it here. If you think you can do it in qwerty, give it your best shot, though I'd be pretty surprised. (Maybe Sean Wrona can do it. Maybe.) It seems like quite a slow song when you listen to it, but there are some tricky quick bits in the middle. Many, many thanks to Anaximander and the other sprinters on Friday! We're still a ways off from getting the funding we need to get full-fledged 8-bit art and complex game dynamics, and logically Steno Hero should be the most advanced of all the minigames, since it requires pretty sophisticated steno skills to play, but all the same, I'm ridiculously excited by this. Hover Plover is on its way.

ETA: I should note that this game doesn't seem to work in Firefox. I'm not sure why. It works fine in Chrome. Haven't tried it in other browsers. Sorry, Firefox users!


Sumana Harihareswara said...

"Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone" has a music video. Terrestrial Minds" does not, but is cool.

Congrats on the release!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the court reporting miami stenographers could use this as something of a drill app, to keep them up to speed.

Mirabai Knight said...

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