What Is GFDM
This entry is copied from the Wikipedia pages for GuitarFreaks and DrumMania, which may be more up to date than this one.
GuitarFreaks (also GUITARFREAKS, abbreviated GF) and DrumMania (alternately drummania, abbreviated DM) are music video game series produced by Konami. In GuitarFreaks, the player uses a controller to simulate the playing of an electric guitar. In DrumMania, the player must hit the drum parts when the notes reach the bottom of the screen in order to fill in missing drum parts from a song. The game consists of music predominantly from rock and roll and J-Pop genres, and is now in its 19th and 18th versions, GuitarFreaks V7 and Drummania V7 respectively, which were released in March 2010.
Earlier versions of DrumMania, which includes those released before DrumMania 10th Mix, have been released in Asian countries under the title Percussion Freaks.
Konami has not mass produced an American version of DrumMania, primarily since John Devecka holds the US patent for "drum simulation games", which Activision had purchased and utilized in Guitar Hero series. Even with this possible obstacle in mind, Konami has tested English builds of DrumMania and Guitar Freaks V4 at the ATEI exhibition in London and at a Brunswick Zone bowling alley in Naperville, Illinois - though official releases have not been announced. Nonetheless, imported versions of DrumMania can be found in various locations across the United States and Canada.
GuitarFreaks is played using a controller designed to imitate the shape of an electric guitar, most like the Fender Jazzmaster or Fender Mustang. The neck houses three buttons, colored red, green, and blue. On the main face of the guitar, a pick lever is used to simulate the picking and strumming of an actual guitar. A small metal knob near the pick is used to alter the sound produced by the game, such as adding Chorus/Delay effects.
DrumMania is played using a controller designed to imitate a drum set. Five pads are arrayed from left to right for the hi-hat, snare drum, high tom, low tom and cymbal. There is also a foot pedal for the bass drum near the snare and the high tom. During play, the player presses the pads and steps on the pedal.
The pads are actually a modified version of the DTXPRESS electronic drum kit made by Yamaha Corporation which is available in almost any musical chain store.
To the right of these pads, there are three buttons, Left, Start and Right, which are used to select and decide in the selection screens. In those cases, the Left button is assigned to the snare drum pad, Right to the low tom, and Start to the cymbal.
The interface is similar to other games in the Bemani series. Two note scrolls - one for each player - are displayed at the left and right sides of the screen. Colorful animations for each song are displayed in the center of the screen. Each note scroll consists of four columns: one each for the red, green, and blue buttons, and a fourth column, known as the Wailing Bonus column. Individual notes and chords are represented by small colored bars that scroll upward in the columns. To play the correct note, the player must hold down the buttons corresponding to the colored bars, and move the fret lever when the bars reach the yellow fretting line. When a guitar icon is displayed in the Wailing Bonus column along with an associated note, the player can tilt the guitar upright while playing the note to receive bonus points.
The player's accuracy is judged for each note played. The current system uses the names Perfect, Great, Good, Poor, and Miss to indicate a player's accuracy. Ratings of Poor or Miss will deplete the player's Groove Gauge, while Perfect and Great ratings will replenish it. If the Groove Gauge is emptied completely, the player fails, and the game ends. Players are allowed to play anywhere from one to five songs depending on the game cabinet's configuration, with the ability to earn additional songs in certain versions of the game.
Upon successful completion of a song, players are graded on their performance. When the game ends, the player's total score across all songs played is tabulated.
The screen setup is simple. On the left side, notes scroll vertically downwards and a short video clip for each song is displayed in the right side of the screen. Individual notes are represented by small colored bars that scroll downward in the columns.
To play the correct note, the player must hit one or two of these pads and/or step the pedal when the note bars reach the yellow line. The note scroll in DrumMania is in essence a drum tablature timed with the music and placed vertically.
The player's accuracy is judged for each note played, and while the individual note judgments have changed throughout the series, the current system uses Perfect, Great, Good, Poor, and Miss to evaluate performance of each note. Ratings of Poor or Miss will deplete the player's "Excite Gauge", while accurate play will replenish it.
If the Excite Gauge is emptied completely, the game ends. Players will be able to play anywhere from three to five songs depending on the game's configuration, with the potential to earn one or two additional stages in certain versions of the game if performance is good enough.
At the completion of a song, players are given a letter rank for their performance which can range anywhere from E to A, as well as S and SS depending on how well the song was played, and how the particular release of the game being played computes ranks.
One of the major selling points of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania are the games' ability to be linked to the other game. This allows up to three players to join together to play simultaneously in Session Mode. During a session, the music will play simultaneously from both games, and the players' guitar and drum sounds are relayed between the two games.
Because the second version of GuitarFreaks was released prior to the first version of DrumMania, GuitarFreaks is one "mix" number higher than the DrumMania version it links up to. For example, GUITARFREAKS 6th MIX is designed to be linked with DrumMania 5th MIX. The mix versions were synchronized with the release of GuitarFreaks V & DrumMania V eschewing the long-standing number system, and replacing what would have been the 12th and 11th mix, respectively.
Seen only in two releases each of GuitarFreaks and DrumMania, Super Session allowed the games to be linked up with Keyboardmania 3rd Mix as well. In addition to having three players control the guitars and drums, two more could be added playing along on keyboards. However, when linked with Keyboardmania, only about a dozen songs are available to play. Keyboardmania 3rd Mix can be linked with GuitarFreaks 5th Mix and DrumMania 4th Mix, or GuitarFreaks 6th Mix and DrumMania 5th Mix.
Until V, DrumMania used Konami's System 573 Digital hardware, which was also implemented on GuitarFreaks on its 3rd Mix, allowing the implementation of link functionality between the two games. On V, both games were switched to a PlayStation 2 based system, now using a hard drive instead of CD-ROM discs to store game data. As of V4, the DrumMania now runs on Windows XP Embedded based hardware (which has also been adopted by other Konami arcade games).
Since GF 9th Mix/DM 8th Mix, the series has taken advantage of Konami's e-Amusement system, which adds several online capabilities to the game:
With the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed to select an avatar to represent themselves.
As of Drummania V3 with the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed to select an additional mode: Battle (Worldwide). With Battle mode, players can compete and pit their skills with another player available on the e-AMUSEMENT server; otherwise not available without the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass.
Players can select NORMAL, PERFECT or COMBO modes upon selection of the song to determine the final calculation. Upon winning or losing, they will be entitled to promote or demote to another higher BATTLE CLASS rated from D3 to SS, where players are sorted according how well they have successfully defeated opponents.
However, without the use of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass, if there are additional Drummania machines in the arcade, an additional Battle Mode (Local) option is created, just like in a LAN. They have the same functionaility as the Battle Mode (Worldwide); otherwise do not have Battle Classes to sort the players.
Other than Battle Mode (Local), alternatively players can select the Battle Mode (CPU) which is also available only Drummania machines without e-AMUSEMENT access. This mode allows players to complete with the CPU, rather than a player.
With the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed access to hidden songs not playable without the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass. These songs are highlighted in green prior to selecting a songs.
With the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass, players are allowed to have their results posted via the Internet. These results include their own personal ranking and have results of their songs stored into the e-AMUSEMENT Pass.
With the usage of the e-AMUSEMENT Pass, players can compete against other players locally before being selected as the top 8 players to represent for their country. According the BEMANI TOP RANKER 2008 Competition, these players will be invited to Hong Kong for the semi-finals and Japan for the finals respectively.
However, an online registration must be submitted via the BEMANI TOP RANKER website and the player must play the complusory songs to determine the players who will be representing for their country.
Songs played are then converted to Skill Points, which is determined by the percentage of Perfects, Greats and the number of notes hit correctly in succession, known as "Combo." The higher the combo count and percentage of Perfects, Greats, the higher the percentage of skill obtained for that particular song, up to 100% or simply MAX.
As of Drummania V4, Skill Points are dependent on the first 14 songs released for the particular mix, next 36 songs from previous mixes and last 3 long songs from any mix played throughout the song list.
The previous mixes uses a different calculation of Skill Points since NON-STOP Mode is abolished in Drummania V4. The old skill point calculation is dependent on the first 13 songs released for the particular mix, next 35 songs from previous mixes, 2 long songs from any mix and the last 3 non-stop courses played throughout the song list.
Skill Points are awarded upon successful completion of a song, and depending on how well the Skill Percentage earned for the particular song, the player earns the amount of Skill Points reflected at the end of the game.
Players are allowed to select titles earned from Drummania to represent them. These titles require special condition(s) to be met before earning the particular title.
A handful of DrumMania simulators have been created for use on PCs, the most popular of which is called DTXMania, which also supports GuitarFreaks. It can be controlled using the computer keyboard, any USB device that can act as a joystick, or any MIDI instrument such as a MIDI keyboard or professional quality electronic drum kit. While DTXMania is compatible with Rock Band and Guitar Hero series drum sets, they do not have enough drum pads to play many of the DrumMania songs correctly unless more sets are added. DTXMania supports up to 8 drum pads and makes a distinction between open and closed Hi-Hat. Using DTXCreator from the web page it is possible to create playable songs from any mp3/ogg files if the drum tablature is available.
- Konami Digital Entertainment Limited (Hong Kong)
- Drummania/DTXMania community Forum
- GFdm Gateway, Konami's official arcade website for GuitarFreaks and DrumMania (in Japanese)
- GDAmania, a popular GF/DM community website with simfiles, songlists, lyrics and worldwide locations.
- e-AMUSEMENT PASS
- DTXMania, a popular simulator for DM/GF.
- DigiBand, another simulator for DM/GF, currently the only one available for Linux.
- Drum Trainer, a simulator that works with MIDI files.
- GDAmania, a Drummania/Guitarfreaks community website.
- Drummania Unofficial Homepage, a resource for DrumMania song information, including drum charts, artists, and difficulties.
- System 16's Bemani System 573 Analog Page, a listing of games that run on the same arcade platform as the first-generation DrumMania games.
- System 16's Bemani System 573 Digital Page, a listing of games that run on the same arcade platform as the second-generation DrumMania games.
- System 16's Bemani PlayStation 2 Hardware Page, a listing of games that run on the same arcade platform as the third-generation of DrumMania games.
- System 16's Bemani PC Based Hardware Page, a listing of games that run on the same arcade platform as the most recent forth-generation of DrumMania games.