By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
As some of us enjoyed a long weekend, hardware hackers and software savants were building some of the future of music at Spotify’s worldwide headquarters for Music Hack Day Stockholm. These hardy souls turned out an impressive number of “hacks,” which are sort of like apps, except they were built over the course of a single weekend with a mixture of caffeine, ingenuity, teamwork, and APIs.
We never fail to be amazed by the creativity and perseverance evident in each set of Music Hack Day results, and this past weekend’s event was no exception — especially in the area of music games. Here they are, the music games from Music Hack Day Stockholm 2013, in alphabetical order.
After pulling music from SoundCloud and applying data from The Echo Nest (publisher of Evolver.fm) to that music, BeatStriker sends balls corresponding to beats in a drum-heavy song towards a face in the middle of the screen. In the video demo above, it appears possible to put your own face there, but in our testing, we could only play it with Martin’s face. Still, the balls did appear tied to the beats — and who knows, maybe our webcam has an issue that yours doesn’t. You can try it here.
Do you have a Windows Phone? Do you love karaoke? What is your name?
We kid, but really, there’s probably only one of you out there who loves karaoke and has a Windows Phone. It’s still worth pointing out that after Music Hack Day Stockholm, you should be able to visit KaraokeWorldCup.com from your cell to enter the contest.
We suspect that this one’s not completely done yet, or, failing that, we just can’t figure it out. That said, it does look sort of neat, with a big globby red thing that changes to the beat of a techno song, sometimes expanding past what looks like a little spaceship or something, as fairly smooth graphics reorient themselves based on the mouse. There are also some cubes floating around, but we don’t know what they’re for. Parts of this game look like they’re in place, but if you’re looking for a polished, playable game, this is not it… yet?
This “Massively Multiplayer Online Music-Playing Game” is a simple quiz game that plays music, and asks you to “name that tune” by waving your hand at the correct answer in your browser. It requires a Facebook log-in, and allows you to invite your friends to compete. As with BeatStriker, this cool-looking web app couldn’t gain access to our webcam, but we have a feeling you’ll have better luck — especially if you’re using a computer with an integrated webcam, rather than the sort of random, janky standalone model I am relying on for testing these today on a Windows machine.
According to developers Steffen Müller, Klaus Breyer, Christopher Knötschke, and Simon Krämer, SongGrab can post achievements and scores to your Facebook feed, and it allows you to compete against friends or play in solo mode. In addition to the Facebook API, SongGrab uses 7Digital, The Echo Nest, Heroku, node.js, expressjs, and backbone.js to create this particular slice of magic.
If you’ve been waiting for this list to point you towards something on this that looks like an arcade game, the wait is over — assuming you’re on a Mac today (direct download link). Modelled on the vintage Nintendo game Super Metroid, Super Mutroid generates obstacles based on beats in whichever song you want to play. Using APIs from Spotify and The Echo Nest, the game first asks you to log in to Spotify — or just paste a direct link (example) to a Spotify song. You can jump with the W key and duck with the S key — this is key, because your character dies if it hits a spike.
Experts Only (Some Assembly Required)
As mentioned, the stuff people make at Music Hack Days is called “hacks” rather than “apps” for a reason. The following two music games, while they sound interesting, are only available to people who can run the code themselves after grabbing it from github.
Some people are really, really obsessed with the game MineCraft, which currently has nearly six million Likes on Facebook. Maybe some of them will get a kick out of musvox, which applies the same concept of a block-based world to music. Instead of, erm, doing whatever people do in MineCraft, musvox lets music fans explore a world where every block is a song. They can discuss the songs with other players through a chat function.
Another virtual world involving Spotify, SoundQuest ”will be a standalone Spotify App using the Soundrop SDK to connect to the social music discovery experience provided by the Soundrop Platform. In the SoundQuest world, you will be able wander around and visit the House of Dubstep, the House of Chill Out, and of course the House of House.” We will certainly try this one when it becomes available for mere mortals. Fueling our curiosity: an apparent last-minute decision to replace the goblins with “octocats.”
(Photo courtesy of Music Hack Day Stockholm 2013)