About UltraStar

Please note: my UltraStar guides now have their own dedicated website on UltraGuide.net. An updated version of this article can be found here

UltraStar is a piece of open-source PC software that simulates the format of the PlayStation SingStar games. It’s not like the cheap imitations for the X-Box or the Wii, and it’s completely free. I discovered it in late 2009 when I was going to buy a PlayStation 2 and a couple of the SingStar games to give my family something to do at Christmas. I stumbled across its Wikipedia article, and did a bit more research. Initially, it was a German game, and, therefore, many fansites are in Deutsch. As a result, I think it manages to stay under the radar somewhat.

When I say it’s a German game, don’t let that put you off. It’s been translated into English, and the vast majority of the songs available are in English, as well as many of the websites (including the official one). The best part about this game is the sheer number of songs you can have in the songpool (I currently have about 1,500, and it could be so much more!). All songs available on the PS2 SingStar titles can be downloaded for it, in exactly the same format.

Anyone can create songs for UltraStar. When I say make songs, I mean they can create the necessary files to go with songs that already exist and display the correct notes and lyrics at the correct times. And when I say anyone, I mean that lots of people do make an incredible number of songs available to download for the game, free of charge. These songs range from very recent chart hits to the most obscure songs known only to the geekiest of nerds:

There is definitely something available for everyone. There are some drawbacks to this, however. First of all, not all the song files (written in .txt format… Notepad, that is) are perfect, and some are far from it (you can avoid such dud jobs, though, which I’ll explain at another time). Amateur versions of songs also need to be added carefully, and tied with an mp3 of that song and/or a video file. Using UltraStar therefore requires some patience, and lacks the ‘plug and play’ aspects of SingStar. However, once you get the hang of it, this part is very straightforward.

For me, it’s become a hobby. I intend to use this blog to publicise updates for the UltraStar software and anything else noteworthy to report. I also plan to make various guides for more advanced users (such as how to create songs, though I’m definitely no expert in that respect). Firstly, however, I’d recommend downloading the software from the official site to get yourself started. Go on, have a play. It comes with songs already on it, so you may see how it works. I’m going to update with beginner guides on how to get started with the game over the next week.


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