Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fun and Potentially Annoying

Did you know that in LotRO Player-Characters (PCs) can play music?  In the game?  That can be heard by other PCs?  Yep.  All PCs can, by default, play lute and clarinet.  Minstrels can play all instruments and can also teach other instruments to non-minstrel PCs.  They can also make "manuals" that can be read by PCs to 'learn' other instruments, as well.

Not only can you "free play" by pressing keyboard keys to play notes, but you can also play "ABC" files.  What's an "ABC" file?  Good question.  Don't bother looking in the LotRO wiki, though - it will be less than useless*.

An "ABC" file is a simple text file that contains, well, simple text to represent the music notation one would find in sheet music.  "ABC" has apparently been around for years (like, since the early '90s), but I had never heard of it until just recently.  It's actually pretty cool.  You can find a good tutorial here.

So where do you get "ABC" files?  Well, you can create your own, for one, but if you do a Google** search, you should be able to find quite a lot out there.

It should be noted that LotRO apparently does not support all of the "ABC" functionality, so unless you find LotRO-specific "ABC" files (of which there are a lot), you may have to modify the "ABC" to play inside of LotRO.

Case in point:  LotRO does not recognize "repeat".  Which is too bad, because the very first "ABC" file I made was of "The Song that Doesn't Ends", which is easy to make into an infinite-loop by using a simple "repeat" notation (hence, the "potentially annoying" part of the title - hehehe).  So, if you have a song that uses repeats, you'll have to modify the "ABC" file by manually copying the repeated section(s) in order to play it inside of LotRO.  My LotRO-specific "ABC" file of "The Song that Doesn't End" repeats it 20 times, though it would be easy to put in more copies.

There are also "ABC" players/editors (and other software) out there so you can play "ABC" files on your computer.  Some are LotRO specific so you can edit and hear what your "ABC" files would sound like inside of LotRO.

In a recent LotRO update, they added the ability to synchronize "ABC" files among several PCs.  Thus, you can get a bunch of PCs together and have a concert, with PCs playing different parts and instruments, just like a real band or orchestra.  I actually witnessed such an event just the other day - it was pretty cool.  And more importantly, it sounded pretty good, too.

* Don't believe me?  Here's the LotRO wiki page on music.  Go ahead - find everything you need to know about about "ABC" files from just this page.  I'll wait (metaphorically, speaking)...

**  I suppose if you really, really want to, you can use "Bing" or some other search engine.  But "Bing-fu" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Google-fu".

1 comment:

  1. Yup. Players in lotro have been doing "concerts" for a while. There are a few RP guilds that have been around for a few years that specialize in just that kind of thing. Never witnessed it myself. Don't really want to. But it's cool that you enjoy it! :)