Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rua Whitepaw's Keyboard

By Bixyl Shuftan

While talking to Nydia Tungsten recently about her new radio station for KVXN, she wanted to show me something else. We went to a place at the Angels Estates, and there was Rua Whitepaw, whom had a large keyboard before her that reminded me of the one Tom Hanks was dancing on in the movie "Big."

"THIS is the other news Item I wanted to tell you about," Nydia told me, "She has even been awarded Lindens to continue working on this." Rua shyly greeted us, and then explained how the piano worked. "You can click on the keys to play," she stated, then explained there was another method, "You can say the name of a note in channel 2 chat. So for example /2 C4 … It goes from C2 to C6, and the back notes are with #. So C2 C#2 D2... and so on. You can also combine keys to make chords... try /2 C4 E4 G4." I did, and the result was a short melody.

"The real fun part is that you can write scripts that say the right things at the right time," She explained, "Like this …" And the piano began playing a tune familiar to those playing Nintendo games. She then did a second one from a familiar Russian drop piece puzzle game, though there was a pause, "SL lag sometimes messes it up a bit. … I think it's actually flood protection. You definitely need a lag free sim to make it work right."

When I asked her where she had got the idea from, Rua answered, "I remember seeing a piano that you could play by clicking in Rocket City. But that could only be played by clicking so it was cumbersome and I felt that it limited me in expressing myself musically. So I wondered what if I make something that lets you play several notes at once And then I thought, if I make it listen to chat, then I could tell it to play as many notes as I want. So two days ago I thought I'd try it out to see if I could make it work."

"Then yesterday I made the basic idea, it was the same as now except with less keys, and then I showed it at Rocket City. And they liked it a lot and offered me money so I could improve it and then sell it. I don't think they want to sell it there though. I think they just liked the idea and wanted me to finish it." "I think they do," Nydia commented, "or they wouldn't have given you the money." Rua explained there were expenses in building the keyboard, "each key has its own sound, so that's 10 L$ each to upload. It has 4 octaves and 12 keys per octave... so 48 keys, that's 480 L$ that has gone into it already." Of what Rocket City wanted with the keyboard, "maybe they'll put it out there too so others can use it, like the old piano."

Rua continued, "I guess the nice part is that the sounds can easily be replaced. So if someone has sounds of a proper piano or some other instrument, they can put them in. … I can show you the scripts I used to make those three songs. Basically every note is one message. So if it were to appear in local chat there'd be hundreds of messages. The scripts work by saying the note names, and then waiting a certain time. The shorter the time, the faster the song plays. But it sounds strange when it's too fast, because the sounds all mix together. And it also causes more flooding."

Rua called the keyboard, "more of a proof of concept more than anything. But I like that it works so well. It's amazing what SL can do really. And I'm kind of curious to see what others can make out of it. You can be creative and express yourself with it, that's what I think is important. It opens doors." Nydia was all smiles about her friend and what she had done, "She has done EXTREMELY well, and I am VERY proud of her. She is a VERY smart girl." Later on,  Jasmine Dawn Shuftan saw the piano and commented, "Rua you made a wonderful thing in this, made SL a little more beautiful."

Bixyl Shuftan

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