This weekend, I finally finished my “Cupcake” update (the first version that only works on Android 1.5) for Musical Pro, focusing on optimizing the piano and keyboards. I completely rewrote the interface to decrease latency. Although it may look the same, it is now a custom control with all the drawing and event handling done by me (rather than using a combination of stock android controls). Both the keyboard adn the piano should be far far more responsive, less prone to lock up, and much easier to play.
One semi-unfortunate side effect of the improvement is that the piano now longer allows kinetic scrolling–instead you must scroll using the mini-keyboard at the top of the screen. The problem was that I was having to add an artificial delay (ie purposely increase latency) so that it wouldn’t play notes by accident when you were trying to scroll. I made the decision, however, that it was more important for the piano to be as responsive as possible, so I sadly removed the touch scrolling.
On the positive side, because moving a finger along the piano no longer scrolled it, I was able to replace it with sliding (aka glissando). What this means is that you can slide your finger along the piano or keyboard and it will play each note that you pass. If you don’t like this feature, however, there is also a new “Preferences” option in the piano/keyboard menu that lets you enable/disable sliding. Worth noting is that the preferences are not shared between the piano and the keyboard, so each can have different options set.
Another feature you will likely notice right away is the haptic/tactile feedback. In both the piano and keyboard, when you play a note, your phone will gently vibrate. This, for some people at least, makes it much easier to play, because it feels more responsive. This option is enabled by default, but like the new sliding, it can easily be turned off under “Preferences”.
Finally, in the minor fix category, the letters/numbers on the piano keyboard (representing mapping to the physical keyboard on the G1/Dream) now only show up when the keyboard is open, and don’t show up at all on the new keyboard-less Magic/Ion/MyTouch.
This is the first of hopefully many exciting updates coming out this summer, so I hope you enjoy!
P.S. For all the Musical Lite users, I do plan to back-port the latency improvements in the coming week. What this means, is that the piano and keyboard in Musical Lite will be updated to the faster interface and maintain the same speed as its Pro counterpart. Sliding will also be ported to make up for the loss of scrolling, but haptic feedback (vibration) will remain a Pro only feature, and there will be no preferences system to disable sliding. This is in keeping with my update policy: all bug fixes will be released for both Pro and Lite (I consider latency to be a bug) and keeps up the existing pattern of Musical Pro’s piano providing customization and options, but Musical Lite’s having just one static configuration.