The latest “meme” game that is sweeping the world is Trombone ChampRhythm title all about the giant brass slide whistle. The addictive free-to-play gameplay, in which a mouse is all you need to fully simulate a Toot Toot, is perfectly balanced with some amusing and sometimes honest thoughts about the history of the trombone. But playing unlicensed trombone music on a mouse lacks a certain originality… which is why most dedicated gamers turn real trombones into game controllers.
As chronicled by PCGamer, there are at least a few players who have sought to maximize realism by either setting the game’s controls on real instruments, or making Guitar champRough pattern for a more realistic sliding experience. Twitter user Dan Lew simply hooked up the game control to a computer microphone, played a real trombone in his room and got the game control scheme to match the pitch and activate when the sound was played.
Here it seems that the game designers sacrificed a bit of realism in order to play distinct tunes. Twitch streamer Kupobucks finds top record for Trombone ChampIt’s nearly impossible to hit a range, since real trombones rarely exceed an octave above middle C, and (jokingly) ask game developers to create a “Pro mode” to transform game songs more realistically.
Rudeness, a primary name in a very specific world of wacky custom game controls, gave it a chance as well. Its version uses an ultrasonic sensor and microphone to draw a real trombone chip and audible feedback to the game’s controls, which would eliminate lag and create a more consistent movement.
But it’s not perfect, because the system can only use a little less than half of the full range of motion of a real trombone, and thus its actual musical range. It’s also worth noting that Rude has a really hard time keeping up with the feedback the game is throwing at the player. This is probably a combination of factors: First, you’ll need to be a real skilled trombone player to accurately reproduce the notes the game simulates without going into hypoxia. Second, the music in the game is written in the style of a live melody horn, not the usual tenor-baritone role that is usually used in orchestral and jazz music.
That doesn’t stop a lot of other players from shooting the ball. The popular Arduino is always a good place to start: Greig Stewart has created a small kazoo trombone simulator, requiring only a camera for rangefinding and a microphone for in-game inputs. As a bonus, kazoo’s voice is perhaps more objectively appropriate for an idiot Trombone Champstyle.
A true trombone player (not a tromboneer) Hung Truong may have solved some of his game-switching issues with a soprano trombone, with a clef and range closer to the trumpet. Use an esp32 microcontroller, air pressure sensor, and distance sensor to assemble a system that combines some of the above technologies. The air pressure sensor is actually resting inside the trombone bell!
For technical details of his process in terms of music and computer science, check out the full video above. His style perhaps combines the most realism with the most musically accurate scale of all these attempts, but it’s clearly difficult for even a true musician to maintain consistent pitch control. It works on a second version with more accurate sensors.
You can pretty much copy all of the above systems thanks to DIY makers’ guides and instructions, such as the microphone input Github repositories. Of course, buying a $500 gadget and a set of custom components in order to play a meme might not be the wisest use of your disposable income.