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Nearly everything, including USB MIDI keyboard.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Synthesia does not actually play MIDI files but instead relies on a local MIDI synthesizer to do the actual sound generation. The easiest way to do this is with Timidity by running this command prior to starting Synthesia:
timidity --realtime-priority=100 -iA -B2,10 -Os
Upon startup, ensure Timidity is selected as the output source. If you're using a USB MIDI keyboard, ensure this is selected as the input source.
Note the -B2,10 option. Make the 10 lower to increase performance but lower sound quality. Make it higher to increase sound quality but lower performance.
It's also possible to use the Jack sound architecture to take advantage of low-latency sound cards and improve sound performance, but since all I have is an onboard sound chip, this was not tested.
Keyboard testing was done with an M-Audio Keystation 61es, but any MIDI keyboard supporting the standard USB interface should work just fine.
What does not
The game "requires" graphics acceleration, so depending on your graphics card, and the quality of its driver, performance may be great, sluggish, or non-existent.
I have a Radeon card, and the open source driver doesn't support acceleration, so performance is so slow as to make the game unusable. The proprietary driver supports acceleration, but it's far buggier, and will often freeze in a black screen upon startup or occasionally crash my entire system. However, when it works, play is responsive and flawless.
The game supports two video modes, DirectX and OpenGL. Unsurprisingly, the DirectX mode was far buggier and slower than the OpenGL mode. I recommend setting the game to OpenGL before starting it by setting the registry value to "opengl" (just search the registry with regedit for "Synthesia" to find all registry options.
First make sure you have Timidity installed on your computer. It's a native application that plays the midi output from the game. On Ubuntu and other Debian based systems you can install Timidity by running the following command:
sudo apt-get install timidity
Start the game and choose TiMidity port 1 to be the output device.
Sound volume turning to 0% when closing the game
Synthesia tries to fix a bug in windows sound systems by decreasing the master sound volume when closing the game. On Wine Synthesia will turn the sound volume to 0%. This feature can be disabled by making the following registry change to the settings of the game:
"Disable Auto Volume"="1"
Renderer: OpenGL vs Direct X
The game comes with two renderers: the OpenGL one and the Direct X one. Both are working perfectly under wine, but Direct X needs some tweaking.
If you want to use the OpenGL renderer add the following registry entries:
by Chris Spencer on Wednesday September 10th 2008, 19:24
I found a "virtual desktop" emulation option in winecfg. Is this what you were referring to? Setting its screen size to a resolution smaller than my desktop does cause the game to start in a Gnome window. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to improve stability.
by Chris Spencer on Sunday September 7th 2008, 10:11
The general consensus seems to be that you can't force window mode unless the game specifically supports it. There seem to be a few apps that claim to do this, but the reviews say they're more likely to crash the app than force it into window mode.