I’m not going to do a full review right now, but just touch on the Facebook integration. I think users will expect that you can actually both see the image and play the syntlet from Facebook. Plus there are many in the target audience who won’t have Android and won’t be able to get the app if they wanted to.
I can think of three ways to accomplish on-Facebook playback:
Render on the device: convert the midi to a fairly low bitrate audio file, and send the picture. If Facebook makes it hard to have a player, you could even do a quick video with one frame and an audio track. Downside is that it will take the most time. Upside is that all or nearly coding would be done in your Android app
Render on a server: this time, send the image and the .syn file to a server, and then have that server do the conversion outlined above. Downsides: you’d have to code the server app, and you’d have to use your own CPU resources. Upside: like the above, it would work directly on Facebook with minimal coding on their part. And the MIDI audio would be standardized, nor relying on the user’s sound card.
Well, I played around with it for an hour. I thought about writing about it on my blog, but I never got around to it…procrastination!
I don’t know what to think. I ran about twenty different photos through it. Everything sounds like it was concocted by a student of Anton Webern. As far as I can tell, each different pixel’s color is turned into a pitch on the range of the instrument. The problem is that it follows a twelve tone, chromatic scale, rather than, say, whole tones or pentatonic. I feel that some retooling on that aspect would make something more melodic.
Also, have you considered some sort of harmony, or polyphony? I would be excited to hear some note on note action!
Besides that, it’s a fun app to play with. Definitely worth the retail price for the fun of it!
First and foremost: Thank you for taking the time to both look at my app and post this! Much appreciated!
I also appreciate, very much, the suggestions you make to help me with ideas to improve the interaction with Facebook. I probably will go with option 3: I already have both the syntlet and image available via Open Graph.
Still, there’s a lot to do and only me to do it My first option is to try to finally publish it on the Samsung app market: they’re very thorough in testing and exacting in their specifications, which makes it a challenge.
On the other hand, I’ve achieved the “Developer Select” qualification for Amazon, so I’ll expect to have a couple of marketing helps from their side in some time (they haven’t specified when).
Thank you for your comments! You’re right on the way it works: each pixel’s color turned into a pitch on the range of the instruments that “use” that color.
I’ll have to make some interface changes if I want to use your ideas, so that will take some time, but I definitely like the ideas. For instance, I’ll try to enable the use of whole tones/pentatonic scales for instruments and I need to adapt some screens to do that (the instrument’s configuration at least). Since I’m assigning instruments at startup randomly, I’ll probably assign different scales in a random manner as way, so that’s one excellent suggestion.
I’ll have to read up on harmony options (I confess I don’t know exactly how I’d achieve that). On the poliphony front, it’s possible for several instruments to “play” a pixel; but I’ll have to confess that the phone in reality starts playing one instrument at a time. The sound may end overlapping but I don’t have real poliphony in that sense. I intend to inclue a “recording” option which would generate a MIDI file. On playback this might emphasize the simultaneous nature a bit more, but I’d have to test it.
I’ve got a lot of things to do (improve App for Samsung Market, improve Facebook, etc. etc.) and I don’t have that much time to do them in, but I will, eventually, come around to implementing some of your suggestions at least.
Like I said before: thank you very much for your time! One last thing: would you mind very much posting a comment on Google Play? I’d be extremely grateful if you would!
Here’s something I noticed by accident: you can add some actual varied rhythms by setting the lowest piano note even lower. Below 20 or so, the piano just didn’t play. By having some rests in there, it created some rhythm, which really did help add variation to the music.
Piano and Organ were honestly my best instruments, actually.
One of the things I had to correct, actually. When I changed my phone to a newer version, I noticed that all of a sudden some instruments didn’t play! Turns out that the default settings I had didn’t produce notes for some of the instruments.
I like the Harp and the Recorder, myself. Tubular Bell is nice, too. And it works best when you use impressionistic paintings…
I could even easily make the the app wholly independent from Facebook but in that case I’ll have to find a way to store images and JSON data and handle logins myself as well…