UltraStar NG: karaoke game that allows user supplied songs

May 23rd, 2007 edited by ana

Article submitted by Miriam Ruiz. We are running out of articles ! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like !

Karaoke (カラオケ, 空 kara, “empty” or “void”, and オーケストラ ōkesutora, “orchestra”) is, according to the Wikipedia, a form of entertainment in which an amateur singer or singers sing along with recorded music on microphone. In a typical karaoke game, the system plays the music and displays the corresponding lyrics on the screen, sometimes also showing a video as well, while the singer or singers sing along. Sony went one step further with their game SingStar, for PS2: you not only had to sing the song, but you also had to sing it properly. The game came along with a couple of USB microphones, and the game decided how well you were singing the song.

Then came UltraStar, a Free Software (GPL’ed) SingStar clone in which you could add your own songs in the forms of mp3s along with a text file, as well as pictures and videos. In UltraStar, the original song is being played, and the lyrics shown, while the wannabe singer tries to do their best with the microphone. A gray bar shows the length and pitch of the original song, and the player’s own voice is displayed with a blue bar, which shows whether the song has been sung correctly or not. The better the performance, the more points you get. In the end, you might turn to be an amateur, or a lead singer. Unfortunately, UltraStar was programmed in Kylix/Delphi, and only available for the popular proprietary operating system you’re thinking about. The good thing about UltraStar is that there are lots of people making songs for it, so you might be able to find your favourite ones all along the Internet, in some web pages devoted to the program, in peer to peer network systems, etc. It’s quite easy to make your own songs for UltraStar, or converting them from SingStar format.

UltraStar-NG is the remake of UltraStar that works under GNU/Linux. It is coded in C++, and, for the technical part, it uses alsa for audio acquisition, fftw3 for getting the notes sung by the player, SDL for the visualisation and keyboard input, xine or gstreamer to play the music and librsvg or cairo to display the themes (which are vectorial images). The goal of the game, as you might have guessed, is to get the maximum of points while singing the songs of your choice.

UltraStar intro screen

UltraStar intro screen, you have more screenshots here.

It’s been a long way, but finally we’re able to play UltraStar-NG in our Debian machines. Have fun, and don’t forget that, if the game says you’re singing out of tune, that might not be a bug in the program but in the singer ;)

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

17 Responses

  1. shiny Says:

    Downloaded, compiled, and executed. Now what? I have downloaded some songs, but where do I put them?
    Frets of Fire at least comes with 3 bundled songs, and has a working tutorial :P.
    BTW, nice graphics :-)

  2. Miriam Ruiz Says:

    You can try with the test song that comes with UltraStar, but it’s not very worthy:

    There are lots of songs out there in ultrastar sites and p2p networks, in fact it’s quite easy to make them with a .mp3 or .ogg file and the editor.

    I use this:

    Not sure if it’ll be useful for you, as it is Spanish.

    /usr/share/games/ultrastar-ng/songs is default directory for the songs, if none is specified in the command line

    The default directory for the songs

  3. Tomek Says:

    You have to create directory /usr/local/share/ultrastar-ng/songs and then put your songs in subfolders. You can download packages easily (without mp3 tho), just google for ‘ultrastar songs’.

  4. HackAllsystems Says:

    If you want more songs of Ultrastar, you will find it in:

  5. Konrad Says:

    I installed it on Feisty via apt-get and its not working :( i get the main menu where i can turn on the “practice” but when i press “S” for start, the window just blink and nothing happen. i put few songs in specified directory but i cant get it work. help please :)

  6. Konrad Says:

    ok, nevermind i just put those songs in wrong directory, now it works great! but how to put videos in it? As an example i downloaded ‘Aerosmith - Dont wanna miss a thing’ from and i cant get to work vido from it. cheers

  7. heimoivaan Says:

    where do i find the songs directory? I downloaded ultrastar-0.5.3 so do i haveto download something else still?

  8. mlitty Says:

    I’m having a similar problem with the songs folder. I’ve put songs in the /usr/share/games/ultrastarng/songs folder. I’ve created a text file with a path to the song files. I keep getting this error when I run it from the command line . . .

    No songs found in “/usr/share/games/ultrastar-ng//songs//”, returning to intro screen

    When I don’t run it from command line, it just flashes when I press S to play.

  9. fjsalim Says:

    lol… finally after 1 hour of trying:

    1) run from terminal:
    ultrastarng /usr/share/games/ultrastar-ng/songs


    ultrastarng [wherever you want your songs to be]

    2) extract your songs at

    with xyz.txt and xyz.mp3 present inside the /usr/share/games/ultrastar-ng/songs/xyz directory

    note the same names of the files and the directory

  10. Artur Gomes Says:

    did it all and stil get this… No songs found in “/usr/share/games/ultrastar-ng/songs//”, returning to intro screen

  11. casper911ca Says:

    The songs must be placed in thier own individual folder. Second, some of the Ultrastar (Win version) songs didn’t play in Ultrastar-ng. I discovered that the title of the .txt must be the same name as the title of the .mp3 (case sensitive) for it to register with Ultrastar-ng. (for anyone having issues with this!). P.S. - I’m running Ultrastar-ng on Ubuntu, everything seems to be the same for Debian (directories, etc.)

  12. casper911ca Says:

    .txt, .mp3, AND folder name must be the same and, to be safe, eliminate any funny characters (parenthesis, underscores, brackets []{}, etc.)

  13. ThaFox Says:

    I’m running UltraStar-NG on Ubuntu and my problem is that songs are over in few seconds. For example song that lasts three minutes lasts in USNG about three seconds.

  14. papoj1 Says:

    i installed UltraStar 0.6.1 but not sure if its USNG…and where is this /usr/games/ultrastar-ng/songs/ directory located in (is it in C: or D:)

  15. papoj1 Says:

    i’m not able to convert teh midi (or mp3 in this case…) to txt cuz teh thing just couldn’t find it…i’m clueless

  16. Nate Says:

    FWIW, there is a new karaoke game that runs on Linux:

  17. Diego Says:

    Good article.
    Finally I was able to put the songs in the correct folder.