Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Bard Music Performance in Eorzea

Feedback from my previous post (thank you all!) has overwhelmingly indicated that you guys don’t mind one bit if I delve into my shenanigans from the Role Play side. In fact, you don’t care if I talk about progress made on an alt when I’ve already talked about clearing that content on my main.

This is awesome! So, I spent some time brainstorming up some topics I thought would be fun to discuss. This one was a no-brainer.

Music Performance

Not all that long ago, FFXIV introduced a very rudimentary music system for Bards. Though the devs have expanded on this system, it remains quite limited (more on this later). However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And the community keeps coming up with ways to take the tools their given to make awesome things from it.

I love music systems in any game I play. I have lots of fond memories of playing music in games such as LOTRO and Starbound — both which implemented a method of playing .abc files and hooking up to play as bands.

While I love music systems, I am not a musician, nor do I have input that allows me to play music on my PC (like a midi keyboard). So, any system that requires me to actually know how to play is one I’m not likely to be able to use.

So, when that’s the type of system FFXIV implemented, rather than a file based system like LOTRO, I was sad. In fact, I didn’t even unlock the ability to perform until a few months ago.

What changed this for me?

Bard Music Player

I learned from Reddit there was a program called the Bard Macro Maker. This program reads the notes of a MIDI file and transcribes it into key-strokes in the game as music.

The program was still in development and had its quirks, but it more or less did what it said it would. Excited, I jumped head-first into the world of MIDI editing (which I’ve done in the past) to create songs of my own.

I learned there were a ton of limitations, and found only certain songs really worked. There were some issues with held notes and skipping notes, so I decided to put off making too many songs before a fix to the program came out.

Then I learned that a new and completely re-programmed app by the same dev was in the works. This was finally released on this past Saturday as Bard Music Player, and is head and shoulders above its predecessor from what I’ve experienced.

Where to Start with Bard Music Player

So you want to use BMP to play music in game? I can help!

  1. Download the program from the website.
  2. Unzip the file and place the .exe wherever you want.
  3. Create a new songs folder in the same directory as the .exe file.
  4. Stick your MIDI files in the songs folder.

There’s just one more configuration you need to know about — that is binding your music keys in game.

You get the performance skill from a level 30 Bard-only quest next to the Amphitheater in Gridania. Once that’s done, you’ll see a section of the Action menu called Performance.

Here you can view icons for the different instruments that are available. Just drag one down to your action bar, and click it to enter Performance Mode. By default, you probably won’t have the expanded keyboard — click the little gear icon in the top right of mini-keyboard that appears for settings.

What we want to do is check the box: Assign all notes to keyboard.

ffxiv_10212018_135727

Then, just go and choose which keys to assign to which notes in the settings screen. I followed the example on the BMP site, but I’m not sure if there’s a right or wrong way to do this.

You MUST assign keys for the program to work correctly! Otherwise, you’ll be missing all sorts of notes in all of your songs.

For other needs, check out the BMP manual!

Getting MIDIs

Now that the program is set up, all you should have to do is drop MIDI files in the songs folder and then load them in the BMP. However, there’s huge limitations placed on what can be played in FFXIV, so pulling an unedited MIDI file off the Net isn’t going to work.

Rule of thumb for MIDI files with FFXIV performance:

  • FFXIV only supports notes in a three octave range (C3 to C6). Anything beyond that simply won’t register and play in game.
  • FFXIV doesn’t support chords. So you can only play one note at a time.

This means you will have to edit MIDIs to have just one track, play one note at a time, and fall within the proper octave range. It’s kinda a pain.

But! The community has also done a lot of work in creating and sharing MIDIs!

Where to find existing MIDIs:

If you still want to create your own, the BMP manual has a section with some software suggestions you can use for editing MIDI tracks. I’ve used a combination of Noteworthy and Online Sequencer with some success.

Here’s an example of one of my own traditional Irish tunes I converted and played in BMP.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and Bard!

 

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Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

9 thoughts on “FFXIV: Bard Music Performance in Eorzea

  1. When they announced the music system I was also disappointed they didn’t allow us to use .abc files. Like you I like the idea of playing music in games but am no musician.

    I did wonder if it was possible to macro it though but never really looked into it. Nice to see some confirmation on that option and that there is even a program to convert MIDIs into macros! πŸ˜€

    Going to have to have to bookmark this post and come back when I unlock that skill. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you do, definitely check out that BuddyCat’s Pack for over 100 MIDIs ready to go out of the box. There’s a great selection of game songs and other things that are overall really good quality to play in game. Even some stuff suitable for Halloween. πŸ™‚

      They don’t all have to be in piano, BTW, despite what the file name description says. Don’t be afraid to try different instruments and change the tempo. I can lose hours just playing songs in this game. My Inn room has seen a lot of me lately (since it’s private and I won’t bother anyone there with my playing).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy hell, the hand movements while playing are actually synced to the music! That’s a first as far as I know.

    While this system obviously isn’t as great as SWG’s or LOTRO’s (yet?) it seems pretty neat, almost makes me want to return to the game…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, and animation on the flute is nice, too. The one gripe I have is that there aren’t more instrument models — for example: piano, lute, fiddle and harp all look like a harp when you play them. Hopefully somewhere down the line, we’ll get more customized instruments.

      I’m sure there will be a welcome back time coming up with the holidays, soon. Especially with fan fest and a potential announcement of the next expansion. So if you haven’t played FFXIV in a while, maybe look for that to come around so you can hop in and see what’s changed. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well it’s not Aine Minogue but a very nice tune and playing. I haven’t been on LOTRO in years but I remember the early days, the playing was a bit rough. This is very polished indeed. I should get back in game, it’s been too long. And I wouldn’t mind hearing about Amon and his exploits on this blog.

    Like

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