Frets on Fire

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Frets on Fire
Fretsonfire4.png
Frets on Fire gameplay
Developer(s) Unreal Voodoo
Designer(s) Sami Kyöstilä
Engine Pygame
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux
Release date(s) 3 August 2006 (debut release), 5 November 2008 (latest version)
Genre(s) Music
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer (in more recent versions)
Distribution Download

Frets on Fire (FoF) is a free, open-source Finnish music video game created by Unreal Voodoo. Players use the keyboard to play along with markers which appear on screen, with the aim to score points, achieve a high point multiplier, and complete a song.[1] Frets on Fire was the winner of the Assembly 2006 game development competition.[2]

The game is written in the Python programming language, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License, although the game incorporates other free and open-source code under other licenses. The game's included song files and some internal fonts are proprietary, and their redistribution is not permitted outside of the Frets On Fire executable.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

The "Frets on Fire" mascot "Jurgen". Described by the developers as an "Elvis Costello" look-a-like posing with keyboard"[4]

Frets on Fire is a video game that imitates the commercial game Guitar Hero. It is playable on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux. The player presses buttons in time to coloured markers, which appear on-screen, the markers are matched with the rhythm of the music. Frets on Fire can be played by using a keyboard by pressing the fret buttons and pick buttons, although there is support for joysticks, meaning that with the appropriate adapter and/or software, various guitar-type controllers can be used as well.[5]

Coloured square-shaped markers appear on the player's screen, synchronized with the song and are played by holding the fret buttons that correspond with the correct colour and pressing one of the pick button at the correct moment. Every ten correct hits increase the score multiplier, which multiplies the points for every hit by up to four times. The multiplier is reset when the player misses a note or strums at the wrong time.

Features[edit]

Frets on Fire includes a built-in song editor (or "fretting" tool) that allows editing and creation of songs. This allows users to customise their own tracks. Other programs include EOF (EditorOnFire), dB (Feedback), and Freetar editors. MIDI sequences created in programs such as FL Studio and REAPER can also be used. The Frets on Fire Wiki has an extensive[6] resource of custom song frets. There are also many other sites that have been created to provide songs and other resources for the game. Frets on Fire also allows users to import songs from other guitar games. These include Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.[7] The game also features a tutorial, which lets users unfamiliar with the gameplay get accustomed to the game. While the game contains a keyboard play mode, USB Joysticks can also be used. This allows regular joysticks and guitar controllers[5] to be controllers for the game as well, helping to replicate the same feel that commercial guitar games provide.

Since version 1.2.438, the game features hammer-on and pull-off notes, commonly abbreviates to HOPO, although the game refers to them as "tappable notes". These notes allows the player to press only its fret button to play if the previous note was played correctly, emulating the feature of the Guitar Hero series. Bugs were found in the new gameplay element, and version 1.2.451 fixed them, along with adding an option to disable HOPO notes. Frets On Fire lacks the ability to allow players to use the whammy bar, while FoFiX has basic support for modulating the pitch of a track. This is referred to as either "Killswitch" or "Pitchbend." This was added in the 3.100 update for FoFiX.[8]

Much like console guitar-style games, Frets on Fire comes with World Charts, an official online high score list. However, since the entire system is open source, players have the ability to host their own server as well.[9]

Alternate versions[edit]

A song being played in Frets on Fire X (using the Megalight Rock Band Style Theme)

One popular version of the game is Frets on Fire X (commonly abbreviated FoFiX), a fork developed from a series of mods of version 1.2.451 of Frets on Fire. As well as having support for 4 players,[10] this fork supports custom graphical themes (which enables users to create a Guitar Hero or Rock Band look-alike), bass and drum tracks and preliminary support for lyrics. The latest stable version of FoFiX is 3.121 released on December 7, 2009.[11] Currently in development for version 4.000 is the inclusion of Online-Multiplayer, Video Background Support, and support for both Guitar Hero and Rock Band styles of play[12] among many others.

The University of Nevada developed a modified version of Frets on Fire called Blind Hero which uses a haptic glove to make this game accessible to players who are visually impaired. A similar game has been developed as homebrew for the Wii named Guitars On Fire, which uses Frets on Fire songs, and incorporates the use of the guitar controller.

A British developer designed a program based on Frets on Fire called Phase Shift which offers expanded compatibility for guitar peripherals, and includes capabilities for the use of real guitars as well as keyboards.

As there has not been an updated stable release of the original Frets on Fire since 2010, many former users have begun using Phase Shift, as it supports the use of song files originally created for Frets on Fire and offers more current support.

Performous is another alternative to fretsonfire. It has Karaoke, band games and dancing in the same package.

Reception[edit]

Frets on Fire has received generally positive reviews in a variety of publications. Released for competition at Assembly, it won first place among its competition.[2] As a free, open source game, it has not received as much attention from mainstream review sites, but many niche game sites as well as open source game review sites have discussed it, averaging between 7 and 8 out of 10. GameSpot's user ratings give the game an 8.1 as of November 2008;[13] other sites such as Download.com average lower, around 3.5/5.[14] However, because of the cross-platform nature of the game, it has garnered fans from both GNU/Linux[15] and Mac[16] gaming communities as well. Frets On Fire was included on the television show "Click".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mika Äärilä, Jouni Utriainen (September 2006). "Assemblyn satoa (Assembly's harvest)" (in Finnish). Pelit. pp. 76–77. 
  2. ^ a b "Results for ASSEMBLY '06". demoparty.net. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  3. ^ "Frets on Fire license". Frets on Fire Subversion repository. SourceForge.net. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Frets on Fire graphics guide". sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2007-04-20. pose.svg - Elvis Costello look-a-like posing with keyboard. 
  5. ^ a b "Frets on Fire "about" page". Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  6. ^ "Frets On Fire Wiki: Custom Songs". wikidot.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  7. ^ "Frets On Fire Wiki: Importing Guitar Hero songs into Frets on Fire". wikidot.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  8. ^ "code.google.com :: FoFix code page". 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  9. ^ "Charts Server source code released". SourceForge.net. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  10. ^ ccgr (13 February 2009). "Frets on Fire X (FoFiX) - PC". Christian Centered Gamer. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  11. ^ various. "Frets on Fire X (FoFiX)". Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  12. ^ various. "Frets on Fire X (FoFiX)". Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  13. ^ "Frets on Fire for PC Reviews". gamespot.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  14. ^ "Frets on Fire - Free software downloads and reviews - CNET Download.com". download.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  15. ^ Williss, Nathan (2007-02-13). "Linux.com :: Review: Frets on Fire". linux.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  16. ^ Wuerthele, Michael (2007-07-02). "Inside Mac Games Review: Frets on Fire". insidemacgames.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 

External links[edit]