Documentation Wiki

Synthesia is a living project. You can help by sharing your ideas.
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Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-05-10 11:17 pm

I've had a ton of requests over the years for a manual or some kind of online documentation for Synthesia.

My response has always been two things:
1. Things are changing so (relatively) rapidly that documentation would become out of date quickly.
2. I have a very limited amount of time to develop Synthesia as-is. Keeping documentation up to date with the evolution would be tough.

One way to solve those problems is to let you guys take care of it for me. ;)

Would there be any interest in having something like a MediaWiki set up to describe how to use Synthesia? Not only could it contain the usual "this is what you do on this screen and how it works" type of things, but there would easily be room for beginner walk-through type material, and even advanced how-to stuff like hooking it up to VSTs and whatnot.

It would be a nice way to move the "known" stuff out of the forums into a nice packaged place. It would also be a nice user-friendly place I could point new players.

Assuming MediaWiki specifically, I think I found a little add-on that would let us keep using our forum credentials too, just like the voting list. I am going to try and keep that trend going as long as I can. For example, all of the online stuff built into the game will use your username/password from this forum.


TonE
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1180

Post by TonE » 07-06-10 4:48 am

Yes, why not, then we can increase the quality of this documentation incrementally. Improving sentences, removing unnecessary examples, shortening everything as much as possible, keeping anything as simple as possible but still solving problems. I would write maybe a little about how to use Synthesia with its command line and AutoHotkey providing some examples. They are already in the forum, but as you wrote they could be packaged into a single location of "advanced tips".

What I would not like to explain is why which midi device is not working, which midi keyboards to buy and use, how to use VST synthesizers, midi driver problems, soundcard problems, virus problems, how to find a specific midi file... anything which is not really directly related to Synthesia. I am expecting "that kind of homework" to be solved elsewhere already.

For wikis in general it is imo very useful having multi-level entry points, for different type of Synthesia users, categories might be like:

- I am a beginner to computers and piano
- I know how computers and soundcards work but I just started learning piano
- I am a gaming guru and want to have some game fun with Synthesia
- I am a developer and want to see more advanced features in Synthesia
- I am a music and piano teacher and might use Synthesia in future with my students additionally
- I saw Synthesia in YouTube but know almost nothing else, what to do? :)
- I am a teenager and want to impress some girls/boys with my wanna-be piano skills
- I am a grandmother and just bought Synthesia for my grandchild as a fantastic musical present
...

Then even us forum users might select one of those categories and check how full the given information is there and how much it can solve their problems.

Kasper
Posts: 149
Location: Groningen, The Netherlands

Post by Kasper » 07-06-10 4:53 am

This sounds good! I would like to help, maybe I can right some dutch stuff ?

I would also like to know more about that command line stuff, although I'm not a gaming guru, the only game I play is synthesia and fifa 10 :P
English was my worst subject on school, so my language could be a bit awkward sometimes...

TonE
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1180

Post by TonE » 07-06-10 5:08 am

Kasper wrote:I would also like to know more about that command line stuff
There is nothing to know actually, just open the command line (cmd.exe) in the directory of Synthesia and type in

Code: Select all

Synthesia --help
to see all available options. It makes sense to use those command line features of Synthesia together with AutoHotkey as nobody wants to get a typing guru, instead a piano guru.

If you do what is written above you should see a window with following text:

Code: Select all

usage: Synthesia.exe [options] [filename]
(If filename contains spaces, it should be wrapped in quotes.)

Options:
  --help                 Shows this help message
  --version              Output the version number
                         
  --windowed             Run Synthesia in Windowed mode.  Requires OpenGL 
                         backend.
                         
  --speed arg            Percentage speed [0-400]
  --visible-duration arg Milliseconds visible on screen [250-10000]
                         
  --keyboard-zoom arg    All, Song, YouPlay, or Keyboard
  --play-mode arg        Rhythm or Practice (requires Learning Pack)
  --sheet-mode arg       Scrolling or PageFlip (requires Learning Pack)
                         
  --copy-score           Copies the most recent score to the system clipboard.
                         
  --dont-save            Prevents track settings from being saved this run.  
                         Useful with channel mode 'All'.
                         
  --on-startup arg       What screen should show when Synthesia starts?
                         
                         Title, SongLibrary, TrackSettings, PlaySettings, or 
                         Play.
                         
                         Title is default if no file specified.  TrackSettings 
                         is default otherwise.  Anything past SongLibrary 
                         requires a file argument.
                         
  --on-song-end arg      What should happen when the song is over?
                         
                         RestartSong, Quit, or ShowScoresThenQuit.
                         
  --channel-mode arg     Examples:
                           Ch1=YouPlay
                           Ch3=PlayedAutomatically,ShowSheet
                           All=PlayedButHidden
                         
                         In general you can have up to both a track mode and 
                         sheet mode separated by a comma:
                           ChX=Mode
                           ChX=Mode,ShowSheet
                           ChX=Mode,NoSheet
                         
                         Channel is between 1 and 16 (or All).
                         
                         Modes are YouPlay, YouPlayMuted, PlayedAutomatically, 
                         PlayedButHidden, DisplayOnly, or NotPlayed.
                         
                         You can specify more than one.  Modes will be set in 
                         the order they're received.  So, you can use All and 
                         follow it with individual channels to override the 
                         first setting.  (ShowSheet requires the Learning 
                         Pack.)
                         
  --loop-start arg       Starts all songs with the start of the loop already 
                         set.  (This implies using --loop-end.)  Time is in 
                         milliseconds.
                         
  --loop-end arg         Starts all songs with the end of the loop already set.
                           (If you don't use --loop-start, the loop will run 
                         from the beginning of the song to this point.)  Time 
                         is in milliseconds.
                         
Nicholas, is --copy-score now considering even "loop scores"? I assume, not yet.

Kasper
Posts: 149
Location: Groningen, The Netherlands

Post by Kasper » 07-06-10 10:18 am

Okay, this makes more sense to me ..

If I come back from holiday I will defintely try this in combination with autohotkey.
English was my worst subject on school, so my language could be a bit awkward sometimes...


Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-06-10 2:04 pm

Yeah, I'll make sure to allow YouTube links or whatever. Short tutorial videos can be great if they're well done. It just isn't feasible for me to keep them updated each release. If you guys are the ones creating and updating them though, that solves all (my) problems. ;)


aria1121
Posts: 1502

Post by aria1121 » 07-06-10 3:27 pm

Well the Synn Talk FAQ nothing "questionises" the program itself, again... a Wiki would be great!
Attachments
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vicentefer31
Posts: 899
Location: Madrid, Spain

Post by vicentefer31 » 07-06-10 5:54 pm

Like this video?
Last edited by vicentefer31 on 07-07-10 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Picasso: I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-06-10 8:04 pm

Yeah, something like that would work nicely. I might add something like those little pop-up notes that YouTube can do or maybe the more recent "Closed Captioning" stuff just to add a little more context about what's going on at various points. Sometimes it's a little tricky to get the whole idea just from watching over someone's shoulder.

vicentefer31
Posts: 899
Location: Madrid, Spain

Post by vicentefer31 » 07-07-10 2:50 am

Nicholas wrote: I might add something like those little pop-up notes that YouTube can do
Yes, but you know my english is not the best and this is why I didn't add the pop-up notes but it's true they are essential.
Picasso: I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-07-10 2:53 am

What are you talking about, your English is great. :D

Your posts almost always look like they were written by a native speaker.

vicentefer31
Posts: 899
Location: Madrid, Spain

Post by vicentefer31 » 07-07-10 6:00 pm

See the video now
Picasso: I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-07-10 11:05 pm

Yeah, that's perfect. That's would be exactly the kind of video that would be helpful on a "Setting up your Keyboard" type of page on the Wiki. Just enough context to help the viewer follow along. Nice.


Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-08-10 11:04 am

You would still be able to edit the various pages on the Wiki, if that's what you mean.

If you wanted to post a video, you could always create a YouTube account.

And, depending on the solution I find for that (maybe there is native support?), video might be allowed from other services like Google Video or Vimeo or whatever.


Nicholas
Posts: 12029

Post by Nicholas » 07-08-10 12:24 pm

Videos will be a nice thing to have but I imagine there will only be a few here and there. I think it's possible to convey a lot with short bits of text along with snippets of screen shots. There should be plenty of opportunity to help out with keeping the user manual stuff up to date, even without being able to add video.

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