Synthesia for iPad RC1 & RC2: Nov-29

Archived development update discussion from past versions
Archived development updates.
Nicholas
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Post by Nicholas »

This is it! Here is the first release candidate. If you guys don't find anything vitally wrong with it, this is what gets submitted for review to Apple.

I'll give you guys six or so hours to find anything egregious and then submit. If something comes up after that, I can still "Developer Reject" the submission, so definitely keep testing!

Major changes since beta 5:
  • Synthesia now ignores the Silent switch.
  • Added a tutorial that runs automatically on first startup.
  • In-app purchase (but it WILL NOT WORK until Synthesia is on the App Store).
  • Things are all locked-down now. Only 20 or so songs will play.
  • The built-in sound set has seen many improvements and fixes.
  • Added a "Clear Loop" button in loop edit mode.
This is the very end of the beta period so if you can fit in any testing time at all, I would be very grateful! Thanks for all your help!
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jimhenry
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Post by jimhenry »

Might I suggest you give us at least until first thing tomorrow morning your time before submitting this? It will be more than 6 hours before I can begin to try RC1. If there are any testers outside the US, they might need even more time.

Will we be able to go back to the unlocked version after testing RC1?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
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Post by Nicholas »

You really have several days to test it. Submitting the app tonight just means it's that much further along in the queue if nobody finds any deal-breakers. It's no trouble to self-reject and resubmit.

And yeah, you can use TestFlight to download previous builds. Touch the app name/icon instead of the green "INSTALL" button and then switch from the "Details" Tab to the "Previous Versions" tab. Though I think TestFlight might pester you every few days about there being a newer build available.

(The real answer is that everyone can have the unlocked version after they get Synthesia from the App Store and do the in-app purchase!) :lol:
davemac1
Posts: 31

Post by davemac1 »

All looks perfect. It will crash and need shutting down and re starting if I try to play one of my own midi files ie the pop up saying " unlock Synthesa to get even more " wont go away using back button. I am assuming this cant happen in an Apps Store purchased copy as it won't allow imported songs unless unlocked.
Nicholas
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Post by Nicholas »

davemac1 wrote:It will crash and need shutting down and re starting if I try to play one of my own midi files...
Er... the back button should work. (There isn't a way to prevent the import before unlocking. An app is either associated with a particular type of file or it's not.)

Strange. I tested the import, too. I'll have to see if I can't reproduce the problem. That's definitely a deal-breaker. Thanks for the report!
davemac1
Posts: 31

Post by davemac1 »

This fault only happens if you double click the imported song title in the library instead of pressing continue.
davemac1
Posts: 31

Post by davemac1 »

update. its just the back button that won't work on the pop up, but you can get around it by clicking " I want to be able to play any song " and then hit the songs button on next screen, so you don't have to reboot.
Nicholas
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Post by Nicholas »

davemac1 wrote:This fault only happens if you double click the imported song title in the library instead of pressing continue.
Thanks, nice catch! I can reproduce that. I'll fix it. (Definitely a show-stopper.)
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jimhenry
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Post by jimhenry »

This is my experience with the start-up tutorial in RC2.

I suspect things were out of whack because of remembered settings from previous versions. I got no sound in the tutorial and at the point I think it should have been in melody mode, the notes just rolled by. I have disconnected the iPad from my MIDI connection. When I got to the main screen following the introductory tutorial it reported In: (None) and Out: (None) which probably explains the behavior in the tutorial. I am pretty sure no real first time user will have these issues. I restored the default settings and used the Tutorial button to go through the start-up tutorial again.

In general, good job. I think in the last balloon where you you say "You'll learn the rest as you go." I think you should add "Use the Help button on the play screen."

My concern is that about half the tutorial is devoted to dragging and resizing the display. I have a nagging feeling that those aren't going to be the things a new user is most interested in. You obviously spent a lot of time on the drag and pinch demo. However, while it would be a shame to leave the drag-pinch demo on the cutting room floor, maybe it would be better to cut the tutorial in half and just start at the melody practice. You don't have anything before that point that is essential to playing your first song in Synthesia.

I think you should add "The song will wait until you hit each note in Melody Mode. After you learn the notes you can use Rhythm Mode to play the song without stopping."

On the main screen I think there should be a button for [ On-Line Documentation ] that takes the user to the full manual at the Synthesia website for those few users who want that sort of thing.

On the main screen I think it should say, "Tap Settings to play Synthesia using a real piano keyboard"

On Settings I think it should say, "Help me connect my real piano keyboard"

It would be nice if the Connecting a MIDI Keyboard page included some pictures. Here's a site that uses pictures to good advantage:
http://tutorialpiano.blogspot.com/2009/ ... me-to.html
It might be worth mentioning that you can use Synthesia's Rhythm mode to help learn to play a song even if your piano doesn't have MIDI capability.

On the Unlock All Songs page I would replace "import additional songs..." with "use any MIDI file available on the internet or imported using iTunes file sharing."

Is Apple going to disapprove of "Head over to the Shortcuts section in Settings to control everything with your keyboard"? Since the iPad can only control shortcuts from a MIDI keyboard, maybe this should be a tip in the Music Input Settings area on the iPad.
Last edited by jimhenry on 11-30-12 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Yep, I heard that from one other tester already, too. First-time users won't have the same problem.

Still, it's good feedback that points to the necessity of fixing the stuff we were just talking about in that other thread.

(There is another small issue that wasn't worth kicking out an RC3 yet that I'm also going to fix before submitting: trying to leave the tutorial after you begin the melody practice part prompts with a "you will lose progress" dialog. That's not so bad... but it's still there if you try to leave after the confetti goes off in that 8s or so period with the "Now you're ready" message. That is a bad experience, so I'll fix it.)
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jimhenry
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Post by jimhenry »

Note that I made major changes to my review while you were replying. This is all very much off the top of my head. I might feel differently in the morning.

Despite the number of things I suggested changing, I think this is a very good initial release even if you don't change anything.

I hope people realize the depth of what Synthesia has to offer quickly enough that they take the time to discover all that it can do for them. I think the STK experience is good enough to get a fair number of people to stick with it long enough to realize that they can use a real keyboard and that Synthesia is far more than just an amusing game.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

That's a lot of great feedback!

Regarding dragging/panning, I really wanted to drive it home after a handful of email feedback I'd received over the last few betas from confused users. I haven't seen any other apps control things that way (not even GarageBand) so I wanted to make absolutely sure people knew how to not paint themselves into a corner. The default keyboard position/size for many parts in many songs requires zooming if you're using the STK, so it felt necessary to show up front.

That time is also sneaking in something else vitally important: hearing the song first before playing it. Melody practice can be jarring/stilted if you haven't heard what you're playing first.

There's also a two-fold psychological thing going on in the first half: the keyboard starts zoomed out enough that a user shouldn't immediately panic that they're not ready for these notes (that they don't know are or aren't going to wait for them yet) because there is no way they could hit them at that size. And the pan was picked strategically so users could become comfortable with messages appearing on the screen, without contributing a ton to visual noise with messages overlaid on top of notes.

So when the second half starts, they're accustomed to messages, already know the song, and the first thing they read is that the notes will wait.

There was an extra activity planned for the first half: double-checking your silent switch. When I was working on the wording for that part, I discovered that the "side switch" could alternatively be changed back into the "rotation lock" feature it used to be pre-iOS 4 by toggling something buried deep in the Settings app. That was the last straw and I finally threw my arms up and switched over to the "sound is necessary for proper app functioning" category so Synthesia now ignores the (sometimes) silent switch. That should avoid dozens of one-star reviews, with any luck.
jimhenry wrote:It would be nice if the Connecting a MIDI Keyboard page included some pictures.
That's a stub that I'm going to be fleshing out while the app is in review. I just needed to get enough there to pass review (the guidelines mention several times that linked pages should exist by review time). It's really kind of a wall of text right now, isn't it? :lol:
jimhenry wrote:Is Apple going to disapprove of "Head over to the Shortcuts section in Settings to control everything with your keyboard"? Since the iPad can only control shortcuts from a MIDI keyboard...
It feels safe enough. It even mentions a keyboard. I guess we'll find out. ;)
vilaxus
Posts: 2

Post by vilaxus »

When can we expect the app to hit the appstore? :mrgreen:
I'm going to buy an iPad for more or less just Synthesia! The iPad doesnt look too bad on my new roland piano :twisted:

/Waiting fan from Sweden :)
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jimhenry
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Post by jimhenry »

Good points about the first half of the tutorial. I would add a word in front of keyboard on that shortcut help so that it is clear it isn't referring to a typewriter type keyboard.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

vilaxus wrote:When can we expect the app to hit the appstore? :mrgreen:
Well, it's in their hands now. I submitted 8.4.2230 to Apple late last night. Review times are looking pretty good right now at an average of 7 days (including weekends). Now it's just a matter of how many rejections it's going to take before Apple is happy with the app. I'm optimistic, though Synthesia is quirky for not using their built-in UI infrastructure. We'll see. I'm still feeling pretty good about it being available before Christmas.
Bookkid900
Posts: 3

Post by Bookkid900 »

Nicholas wrote:
vilaxus wrote:When can we expect the app to hit the appstore? :mrgreen:
Well, it's in their hands now. I submitted 8.4.2230 to Apple late last night. Review times are looking pretty good right now at an average of 7 days (including weekends). Now it's just a matter of how many rejections it's going to take before Apple is happy with the app. I'm optimistic, though Synthesia is quirky for not using their built-in UI infrastructure. We'll see. I'm still feeling pretty good about it being available before Christmas.
Even though it does not use their UI-infrastructure, it doesn't feel out of place in terms of what people are used to using in other applications. Granted, this has a whole lot more bells and whistles than an average app, but it is intuitive and easy to follow.
vilaxus
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Post by vilaxus »

Sounds good! I'm really looking forward to it. Good luck!
maccer
Posts: 222

Post by maccer »

vilaxus wrote:When can we expect the app to hit the appstore? :mrgreen:
I'm going to buy an iPad for more or less just Synthesia! The iPad doesnt look too bad on my new roland piano :twisted:

/Waiting fan from Sweden :)
I beat you to it :-) I also live in Sweden, I also have a Roland digital piano (VIMA RK-500) but I've already bought an iPad 4:th gen during the Black Friday sale. Currently I'm only using it for the occasional game of Geodefense Swarm, but I can't wait to be able to play Synthesia on it!

Now, will the scores from the Mac version somehow sync with the Ipad version if you log in using the Synthesia account you already have? That would be a nice feature :-)
Songs learned using Synthesia:
CT: Wind Scene, The Trial | FF7: Prelude | SMB: Overworld, Underwater | Tetris: Theme A | Zelda: Lost Woods | Other: Für Elise
Nicholas
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Post by Nicholas »

maccer wrote:Now, will the scores from the Mac version somehow sync with the Ipad version if you log in using the Synthesia account you already have? That would be a nice feature :-)
Outside of recital scores (on the website), no. It's something I could see doing someday, but it would take a lot more infrastructure on the site and I'd want to add more value to what users get for using their Synthesia Online accounts first. (I despise apps that force me to log in when the benefits don't outweigh the hassle.)
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error
Synthesia Multiple Donor!
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Post by error »

Nicholas wrote:It's something I could see doing someday, but it would take a lot more infrastructure on the site and I'd want to add more value to what users get for using their Synthesia Online accounts first. (I despise apps that force me to log in when the benefits don't outweigh the hassle.)
That's why sites like http://www.bugmenot.com/ exist.

I've seen Zynga is using integrated Facebook authentication from iOS6 to prevent users from needing to register/log in. Of course, I am the last person in the world with no Facebook account so this wouldn't help me much.
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