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Webb: Freebird!

Posted Jan 19, 2010 by Jon Wood

Webb: Freebird! columnist Justin Webb writes this article on the music system in Lord of the Rings Online and how social only features in MMOs are hard to come by.

In an industry where “borrowing” features from other games is commonplace, it has always surprised me that no one has copied the music system from LotRO. It’s conceptually what I consider to be a “perfect” MMO system, allowing players to express themselves purely with very few systematic barriers. Why hasn’t it cropped up anywhere else?

For those of you unfamiliar with how it works, if you have a musical instrument in LotRO, you can enter music mode and then use your keyboard to play the instrument in real time. Using control and shift you can go up and down an octave, giving you a three octave range. The game also uses a modified ABC notation system, which allows you to convert sheet music into an ASCII file. If you convert a song into an ABC file, you can play it in the game (/play ). There are some synching commands too that allow multiple group members to all play the same song in time.

Read Freebird!