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[personal profile] terriko
When we were playing Kinect games at Dan's on Saturday, a few of us got into a conversation about what other genres of Kinect game we thought would be cool, and we came up with this idea for Kinect Conductor, the symphony conducting game.




I was reminded of this idea when I saw this video promo involving paint, speakers, and a conductor. (More behind the scenes pictures and even a link to the 3d version here). And now I've spent a bit of time this afternoon contemplating what exactly the Kinect Conductor game would be like.

Brainstorming ideas from the weekend and from while I was making lunch today:

Basic Gameplay

  • You'd have to learn the basic conducting patterns: 4/4, cut time, 3/4, 6/8, etc. and keep them up/change when necessary
  • Gameplay could include giving cues to various sections (in real life musicians will often be fine without cues, but in game maybe we'd make them more reliant upon you? Or with a % chance to fail if the conducting isn't great?)
  • Will the game speed up/slow down the music with you, or will you have to keep up with a runaway orchestra? Both modes might be interesting for game play (and both happen sometimes if you conduct...)


Celebrity conducting gigs

  • Celebrity symphony orchestras? I'd love to conduct the Boston Pops, or my local NACO... (And, ok, I admit it, I'd love to have real symphony orchestras getting bonus income from video games!)
  • Mickey Mouse mode, where instead of seeing a symphony you get to do something like Mickey in Fantasia with stars and waves and awesomeness. Like those paint-covered speakers in the image above, maybe? Might be too trippy, but fun?
  • Speaking of cartoons... what about conducting to match other famous ones, like the Bugs Bunny/Barber of Seville one?
  • Or what about musicals? Famous movie-musicals?


Advanced Modes

  • Will you get a full score with actual sheet music on screen? Maybe a simplified one? Is real sheet music too hard to use or is it enough to get the shape of things even for those who can't read music? (I think it's doable, but I've got a lot of musical training, including conducting.) Would full sheet music be "expert" mode? Would full sheet music even be legible on a TV screen?
  • Will you have to turn the sheet music yourself? Again, could be a different game mode/advanced mode like racing games that sometimes force you to shift a manual transmission and sometimes go all auto.
  • Soloist game mode, where the conductor has to follow a soloist who may interpret the piece in a different way on different run-throughs? Hard for people who are only really good at pattern repetition and not improvisation and adaptation, but probably more reasonable.
  • Actually, I wonder if you could work improvisation into some sort of disaster recovery mode for the main game? Some conductors are amazing at skipping a beat and grabbing us again if necessary.
  • Stage musical game mode, where the conductor needs to learn when to cue music into a scene and needs to learn to repeat sections if something happens on stage and the scene goes too long?


I'm much too excited about this and kinda want to try some kinect hacking, since it seems doable if I set up a little midi orchestra to make some music... but I don't really have time, so I'm braindumping it for now and hoping that'll help me clear the fixation and get back to my day job.

But I kinda wish I could just put this in the xbox downstairs and play now!

Date: February 24th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I would *totally* play this game. Additional levels:

* keeping a beat - start conducting to the music, then audio turns off for a while... you keep conducting silently... and then sound resumes - did you keep a steady beat? Bonus points if you can keep the same steady beat even if audio switches to a new song with totally different tempo - how strongly can you keep listening to the original music in your head? This is an exercise one of my conductors (I was a cellist until college) used with us.

* the chance to overlay score markings from different conductors onto your display

* along the lines of "conducting a musical," something like "conducting a concerto" where you have to match the orchestra to a temperamental soloist

* replay from multiple angles within the orchestra - you can watch the score / hear the individual part isolated / see the "happiness" meter of any seat in the orchestra.

--Mel Chua

Date: February 25th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
unregisteredpseudonymspls: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unregisteredpseudonymspls
This idea is beyond awesome and is one of the few things that might get me to play video games again.

Date: February 25th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
unregisteredpseudonymspls: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unregisteredpseudonymspls
Oy. Don't get me started about Real Jobs. The only jobs I can get, apparently, are the ones I don't want. And if any jobs I want actually come up, I will have to accept relative poverty to take them.

Maybe a startup *is* a good idea. Know any VCs?

Date: February 25th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
unregisteredpseudonymspls: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unregisteredpseudonymspls
But there could be an edu-market for this kind of thing. Music classes; or a sort of "flight simulator" for professionals.

Date: August 31st, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I googled kinect conductor and came across your post. Oddly (and awesomely?) enough, this is kind of my research!

How about facial expression tracking? Attitude detection from intensity of movements and face to change the colour and mood of the orchestra?

Now I'm curious about what instrument you play, Terri :)

-- angelica lim

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