10.4 preview r4376, r4393 - Feature round-up

Archived development update discussion from past versions
Archived development updates.

Postby Nicholas » 10-24-17 4:41 pm

SYNTHESIA 10.4.4376
Download from the pink box above.

NOTE: This is a little out of the ordinary, because the last preview was technically for a "future" version. That said, these are changes since the 11.0.4264 preview.

Sheet Music
The known issues from the last preview are back in working order:
  • Active notes are shown again (and correctly track matched notes, using the correct note head for the first time).
  • Grand staff braces are back (and looking sharper than ever).
  • Lines are fully-justified (take up the full width of the screen) again.
  • The page-flip effect is back (and no longer causes a single-pixel shimmy on non-integer DPI scaled screens).
iPad & Android
  • Support for the key lights on "The ONE Smart Piano". (Somehow they've disabled their keyboard from being detected on PCs or Macs.)
  • iPad Pro support (including 120Hz "ProMotion" screens).
  • Android shouldn't crash while closing the app when a keyboard is connected.
Video Creator
Since the 10.2 release:
  • Now has it's own program icon, instead of reusing Synthesia's.
  • The Windows version can now export AVI files (using any codec you like)!
  • Added a 120 frames per second option (and removed the "drop frame" entries).
  • Videos will now begin with the notes fully off the top of the screen so there are a few more seconds of lead-in time.
  • The app no longer crashes when given Unicode paths.
  • A song's speed no longer affects the lead-out time. (No more 30+ seconds of dead air at the end of slow videos!)
  • Added an advanced option to disable the new Windows 10 MIDI stuff.
  • Prevent duplicate device names coming back from Windows 10 MIDI subsystem.
  • Added a new key light mode (Finger-based channel) that sends out more expressive information for third-party utilities (like this one).
  • Loops can be very short again.
  • System sleep is now allowed while a song is paused.
  • Jamboxx devices no longer cause a crash on Windows 10.
  • Removed the "Notes Outside My Range" option.
  • Clicks in the header bar of the hand split interface no longer pass through to the notes under the toolbar. :?
  • Recitals now count toward rhythm practice progress.
  • Removed our last three monolithic build dependencies (which accelerates how quickly we can adopt the latest tools). If we did this right, you shouldn't notice anything!

That's a reasonable list of things that should be allowed to see the light of day while Synthesia 11 development is still ongoing. (I suppose if we do too many more piecemeal releases, it will start to steal some of Synthesia 11's thunder as it's released bit-by-bit instead of all at once!) :D

Please report anything strange. Otherwise, this will become the official release in a week or so. Thanks!
Posts: 11817

Postby Musix » 10-25-17 10:32 am

Great improvements! The ability to convert into AVI has improved my workflow a lot, thanks!
There are a few things I noticed when converting to AVI within the Video Creator:
- When selecting the compression program (codec), there is one option duplicate: "Intel IYUV codec".
- When converting with the "all frames" codec the audio has a delay, it either plays too early or too late.
- Both the "Fraps Video Decompressor" and the "Microsoft RLE" codecs only give me corrupted files.
- Any modification to the colors.xml files have no effect on the video creator, even though I changed them in both folders (SynthesiaDev & Synthesia) and rebooted everything. Even though I think it probably has to do with the fact that this can't be installed yet, thus it isn't synced with the Video Creator, I still wanted to notify you.

I didn't notice any flaws within Synthesia, it all seems to work seamless :)
Posts: 12

Postby Nicholas » 10-25-17 6:11 pm

I'll look into the colors.xml thing. That sounds like it might be a bug.

Otherwise, all of the rest of your codec feedback is completely out of the Video Creator's hands. Those are the names of all the codecs on your system. You can install more (or delete the ones you have), but the Video Creator just sends audio & video data to whichever one you selected and the codec does whatever it wants with it. In the case of "Fraps Video Decompressor", that one is designed to only do the decoding part of playing a video (and not the encoding part of creating one). I'm not sure about Microsoft RLE, but I know that's been in the list since the mid-1990's. Maybe it doesn't support the higher resolutions of modern video files? (EDIT: Ah ha! The Microsoft RLE codec is 8-bit only but the Video Creator produces 24-bit video frames. That explains the incompatibility.)

One of the best (and free!) AVI codecs is called Xvid. It's fast, creates small files, and is supported by YouTube for uploads.
Posts: 11817

Postby Musix » 10-26-17 5:59 am

I will try the Xvid codec, thanks. One last thing I want to notice is that when you open another app after the video compression window popped up (when converting to AVI), the window won't overlap any other application which means I have to return to my desktop to view it. It would be great if that could be fixed.
Last edited by Musix on 10-26-17 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 12

Postby thedealman » 10-26-17 10:35 am

Regarding the ONE smart piano support, does that also include their piano HiLite 88 key bar?
Posts: 20

Postby Nicholas » 10-26-17 1:24 pm

I just asked them the same thing yesterday. :lol:

In a recent email they had mentioned the Hi-Lite, and from context (they were asking for the release date of Synthesia 10.4 so they'd know when to announce Synthesia compatibility in one of their Hi-Lite Indigogo campaign updates) it sounded like it probably uses the same communication scheme as the keyboard. If that's the case: yes, it will work too. I'll confirm one way or the other once I learn the answer myself.

Something to keep in mind about all of their products, though: they are iOS & Android only! I don't know how they've accomplished this, but the keyboard isn't even detected as a device that was just plugged in on either PC or Mac. Judging from the Hi-Lite's campaign explicitly mentioning only iOS & Android again, I suspect the same will be true of that product, too. It's kind of a shame. If the Hi-Lite turns out to be any good, it would have been the perfect recommendation for people that want to use Synthesia but only have a traditional, non-digital piano. Now there is a huge caveat that needs to be brought up every time I have that conversation.
Posts: 11817

Postby thedealman » 10-27-17 12:40 am

That stinks about The ONE Pianos and PC versions. But It's a good thing I own both PC and iOS versions. ;)

Regarding the iOS update, I haven't installed iOS 11 yet, but I understand there is a file manager. Does it allow you to more easily manage your MIDI files and import them into Synthesia? Can you create a song/folder tree from within the app yet or does apple still limit that kind of stuff?
Posts: 20

Postby Nicholas » 10-27-17 2:18 am

Certainly the new Files app allows you to manage your MIDI files in your various cloud services and then launch Synthesia with a particular song in just a couple taps.

That said, it will take some integration work (I'm assuming a new API came with iOS 11 that lets apps communicate with the Files app) before those cloud services start showing up in the song list inside Synthesia. That's a feature for a future release.

So, the short answer is that things just became more convenient, but some future update will make them ideal.

EDIT: In the meantime, I've heard from The ONE folks again and they've confirmed that the Hi-Lite uses the same communication scheme. I pointed them at the beta Android APK and they're testing it internally with the Hi-Lite to double-check that everything works.

EDIT 2: Success! Synthesia 10.4 apparently works "perfectly" with both their keyboard and the Hi-Lite, according to their testing.
Posts: 11817

Postby Nicholas » 11-09-17 10:56 pm

Musix wrote:Any modification to the colors.xml files have no effect on the video creator...

I wasn't able to reproduce this. I copied a colors.xml to the usual \Synthesia data folder (the video creator always uses the official data folder), changed an obvious color ("screenBackground"), saved colors.xml, started the video creator, output a song real fast, and the background was bright orange.
Posts: 11817

Postby Musix » 11-10-17 1:01 pm

Strange, I'm not able to reproduce it either hmm, oh well. Also I wanted to make sure you read my previous message about the window that acts a bit weird, waiting for an installable release!
Posts: 12

Postby Nicholas » 11-11-17 12:08 am

Do you mean the Video Creator window with the progress bar? Or the window sitting behind that one with all of your settings?
Posts: 11817

Postby Musix » 11-11-17 6:35 pm

I'm talking about the window prompting you to select a video codec.
Posts: 12

Postby Nicholas » 11-11-17 7:25 pm

Oh, that one is completely out of our control. There is one line of code that says "Hey Windows, pop up the codec box and ask them to make a choice". Anything beyond that is controlled by Windows.
Posts: 11817

Postby Korados » 11-13-17 12:27 pm

I found a rather funny thing yesterday. The name for the Pad 2 (warm) is upside-down! I made a screenshot of the error.

Unfortunately, I still have the problems I used to have. The notes seem blurry and stutter sometimes. I disabled V-Sync in the Synthesia
settings and my graphic card's settings, and then it runs at 120 FPS but still stutters when too many notes are displayed.
Direct 3D never had the problem. Can I appeal to you to bring it back?
Name error.png
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Posts: 62

Postby wacher » 11-13-17 5:43 pm

Hello Nicholas,

Christmas is coming, here is my wishlist :)

1) Could you append arranger and/or composer info to song's title in song browser and list of last played songs? I have some song in different arrangement but difficult recognize them if you see only this:
Song title
Song title
Song title
More information would help to distinguish different versions of the same song.
It would be much nicer like this
Song title (arr. by XY)
Song title (arr. by ABC, easy)
Song title (arr. by ABC, hard)

2) Please add more space between |> and - (top of screen).

3) Please change output volume setting method to more touchscreen friendly (longer slider or just a numeric input), this triangle is terrific if you use touchscreen with your finger or stylus.

4) Could you show the pedal usage on free play screen?

Thank you very much.
Posts: 30

Postby Nicholas » 11-15-17 3:41 am

SYNTHESIA 10.4.4393
Download from the pink box above.

Changes since r4376:
  • Fixed seven different crashes/ANRs on Android. :?
  • Text is no longer sometimes upside down.
  • Attempted to fix the "keyboard and falling notes appear black" bug on old ATI graphics hardware.
  • Fixed a crash during the sheet music page-flip animation when the song position was set after the end of a loop.
This is feeling just about stable enough to go out the door now. (Google has added some nice tools since Synthesia's last major release! Before I wouldn't have thought of extending our beta testing to Android because of the inconvenience. Now I almost want to do it there exclusively.) :lol:

Korados wrote:Direct 3D never had the problem.

I still want to answer that a few other things changed at the same time as the removal of DirectX. I don't believe this is OpenGL to blame. And while 120Hz is pretty extreme (just 8ms to do all of Synthesia's input, processing, and drawing each frame!) there are still lots of reasons it might stutter that we need to fix.

Here is something to try: scrub the timeline all the way through the song (so every measure is visible in the falling note area for at least one frame) and then set it back to the beginning of the song. That will pre-generate all of the measure number labels, which sometimes have a tendency to cause a single-frame stutter. Does that make anything smoother?

wacher wrote:Christmas is coming, here is my wishlist :)

1. Which songs do you have with duplicate titles but different composers?
2. Are you using Synthesia on Android (or some other small tablet)? Shortly after Synthesia 11 we're hoping to make the UI a lot friendlier on smaller screens.
3. This falls squarely into "friendlier on smaller screens". Good catch!
4. That's a neat idea. I've added it to the list for some future update.
Posts: 11817

Postby wacher » 11-15-17 5:11 am

Not composers are different but arrangers.
- Paul_de_Senneville_-_Mariage_D'amour_(George_Davidson)_1987
- Paul_de_Senneville_-_Mariage_D'amour_(Richard_Clayderman)_1987
Or the movie theme covers have lot of variations as well.
- Game_of_Thrones_-_The_Rains_of_Castamere_(Ramin_Djawadi, Logan_Dougherty)
- Game_of_Thrones_-_The_Rains_of_Castamere_(Ramin_Djawadi, Jacob's_piano)
Title, composer is same but the arranger is different. I use your metadata editor, I fill out the appropriate fields, but the composer and arranger shown only at start of playing, not in file list (or in last played songs list).
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screenshot3.png (1012.38 KiB) Viewed 6041 times

I think you should to show difficulty too in the recent song list.
Among built in songs are several titles which have more than one version, but on that lists you can't see which version has been played yesterday.

2) I use Synthesia on Windows tablet, size 10" - no mouse just my fingers and a stylus.
Posts: 30

Postby Korados » 12-02-17 6:48 pm

Nicholas wrote:I still want to answer that a few other things changed at the same time as the removal of DirectX. I don't believe this is OpenGL to blame. And while 120Hz is pretty extreme (just 8ms to do all of Synthesia's input, processing, and drawing each frame!) there are still lots of reasons it might stutter that we need to fix.

Here is something to try: scrub the timeline all the way through the song (so every measure is visible in the falling note area for at least one frame) and then set it back to the beginning of the song. That will pre-generate all of the measure number labels, which sometimes have a tendency to cause a single-frame stutter. Does that make anything smoother?

Sorry that I didn't write you again, I just forgot it... If I do what you suggested, the stuttering is less but not completely gone. And furthermore, the notes still appear to be kinda blurry.
Posts: 62

Postby Nicholas » 12-02-17 9:30 pm

I'm still not quite sure what you mean by blurry. If you pause the song so nothing is moving, are they still blurry? Like, is it a texture rendering problem? Or do you mean that they appear blurry when they're in motion? The latter has everything to do with your monitor's display technology, regardless of frame rate. If the physical LCD sites can't change fast enough, it will always look like a smeary mess. Do you remember if you got a new monitor around the time things started looking blurry?
Posts: 11817

Postby Korados » 12-03-17 3:00 pm

Okay, I think I got it. I made two screenshots of both the versions 10.2-r3742 (the last with D3D) and r4393 and saw that the border of the individual notes are of a slightly
lighter color in the new version. This makes the border look less defined, at least with my eyes. Are there still any color changing options like with the color.xml?
I'm sorry that I bothered you with that. It seems this was just a personal cosmetic problem and no program error.
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