Dance gaming things 

It has been a busy week for dance gaming

The other day I went to a live event for "Club Fantastic", a free 4-panel rhythm game based on Stepmania. It was fun!

I decided to buy the subscription to Rhythm Horizon, which is a 9-panel game also based on a (90% rewritten) Stepmania. The UI and theming is kind of utilitiarian, but the content is really good and finally lets me make the most of my Cobalt Flux.

This also motivated me to continue with my pad mods. I added some steel rulers to the up-left, up-right and center panels and also vinyl taped those panels and the brackets so they are feeling quite smooth now. Still need to finish up the last two panels.

Lastly I helped someone on Discord calibrate their SMX pad. For some reason even the makers of these multi-thousand dollar pads don't seem to understand that to calibrate a set of sensors with varying resistance, you need to test each sensor against a reference weight. I suggested using a 20lb weight and they came back the next day and said it was the best performance they've had yet.

I decided to go about actually making a template for mixing for once and then ended up writing something that sounded conspicuously like 80's Tangerine Dream(e.g. Ride on the Ray)

Neighbors are OK with my DDR play, "Dance On" they say. :airhorn:

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My investigation of the gamepad keymappers for Android has revealed that it is a hotbed for data mining and a common mechanism for cheating, thus ensuring that every one of the top choices are some combination of shady and challenging to get working

So, I guess I will go with playing emulators mostly

re: Audio mixing tricks I sometimes use 

The overall principle I am going with is that I want to attain balanced loudness, get in some effects to hype the sound as desired, but keep the effects chain itself relatively short, because that reduces all sources of artifacting. So early isolation is key - and it starts in the arrangement. A direct control method like changing the initial sound levels is preferable to compressing, which makes light compression work better. Likewise, hard-cutting the frequencies, there's often a lot of cruft that is only meaningful when the track is solo'd. (And for the solo part, it could be automated in)

The rest is the case of finding the "right" reverb, chorus, distortion, compression etc. for the sound.

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Audio mixing tricks I sometimes use 

Often I post demos here and I usually do a kind of half-hearted mix, because I'm not very serious about it. But when I am serious I can go pretty in-depth.

1. Aggressive high and low frequency filters on every track. This eliminates overlapping energy, which lets each track be raised more without clipping or compressing.

2. Programming in velocity per note so that levels are mixed before any gain automation happens. This is as easy as actually automating gain in Renoise so I often do it by default. I credit this to being why tracker music typically sounds "clean". Done properly, you don't have to put on sidechain compression, though you might want it to add "pump".

3. Sidechain reverb, or alternately bouncing a reverb sample and adding a second envelope. In both cases the effect is to get the extra frequency filler of a long reverb with a shortened timespan. (The extreme version of this is the Pryda snare, which hard cuts the sample)

4. T-Racks One. It's very convenient. I eventually put this plugin on the master as the all-in-one finalizer, and it always appears in demos. Sometimes I try putting it on every track too, but this tends to add more color than I want. OTT would be my free alternative plugin, but it isn't quite as featureful.

The upstairs neighbors emailed asking what the noise was (it was me playing DDR) and referred to it as sounding like a "boxing match" :blobfoxlaughsweat:

we let them know, hopefully they aren't actually bothered. i can try adding more padding but all sources indicate there's not a lot to be done with hard directed impact noises

re: USB gamepad comparison 

Overall I'd still say there's a reason to get an F310 for the same kind of reason you get cheap membrane keyboards and mice - the differences only emerge with intensive use. It's definitely my new go-to as something I'll be using all day to move around the cursor and scroll though.

The X2 is something I'll have to mess with more on the software end of things. It suffers from the common problem of Android support for gamepads being really spotty, but there is some third-party stuff to try. If nothing else, it's great for emulation and definitely makes me feel like I have a pocket console. It's just not the ergonomic equal of a molded-grip controller.

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USB gamepad comparison 

Since I've gotten back into using gamepads as mouse pointers I got another one for the collection, the 8bitdo SN30 pro+.

Compared with the Logitech F310, everyone's favorite cheap, unexceptional gamepad:

-It doesn't creak(although the face buttons have a bit of clicky wobble, just like Nintendo gamepad buttons)

-The dpad feels soft and responds easily

-The sticks are extremely smooth and exhibit steady tracking instead of lurching out

-The shoulder triggers need less weight

-The grips are better for large hands

-Similar weight but more balanced

Against the Steam controller I would also rate the SN30 Pro+ higher(real dpad, sticks, stick placement all contribute). Against official Xbox and PS4 controllers it is probably an equal or better. This is one of the best gamepads I've ever touched.

I also tested the Gamesir X2 Type-C for Android phones. This is one of those that telescopes out to snap on the ends of the phone, and it even plugs into the USB port on the phone. I had to take off the ring holder backing on my phone to make it fit, and the quality of it is OK but definitely more along the lines of an F310 in a Switch form factor. It's heavy when assembled and makes the form factor extremely wide... but it really made me feel like I was playing a Switch.

The original bassline was most likely played on Mark King's Status Graphite. While learning this I discovered that Status has an authentically 90's home page

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I learned about the synth riff from Level 42 - Running in the Family from one of the presets in Synthmaster. So I reproduced the riff...and then all the other parts... and then put a filter sweep over it

now that I've used one of these for laundry I don't think I'll go back to using laundry baskets

Organization efforts 

I have successfully reorganized a pile of small objects(unused clothes mostly) into a pile of large objects(boxes).

This seemingly simple task has dogged me for years...and if I'm correct it will be much more viable to proceed from here towards having "less boxes" since I can now take them down two at a time and run a competition to sort the clothes into best(keep), worst(toss), and other(make a different place for them). Those clothes that end up in the lowest brackets after a few rounds all leave together, moving the emotional burden of decision-making from individual keep/toss decisions to "well, it lost three rounds in a row, so I think I can toss it."

I'm pretty sure I can also repeat this process for all sorts of stuff. It's just a matter of getting enough containers together and then spending time doing the sorting.

The existence of the Allosaurus implies the existence of the Asaurus. :blobpeek:

You don't need a real pad setup to start with Stepmania dance mode, though it makes it more engaging

It will feel almost the same by measuring out some 11 inch squares with cardboard and tape and then following the game in autoplay mode

Last year when the smoke was bad out I just sat around inside in a somewhat depressed state

Now I have a Stepmania setup and it lets me fend that off with some activity. Not only did I play, I also did some cleaning after. If I *only* tried to clean like some Puritan I would give up quickly, but it's like doing the fun active thing first gets me in a space where I can deal with wiping off dust and disposing dead batteries.

And now it's cleared up outside and I can enjoy that too

if i had to pick one to sound like, i could settle for reproducing the essence of Solarstone - "Jewel"

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