About UltraStar

UltraStar is a piece of open-source PC software that simulates the format of the PlayStation SingStar games. Itís not like the cheap imitations for the X-Box or the Wii, and itís 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 itís a German game, donít let that put you off. Itís 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 very established nerd hits:

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) are perfect, and some are far from it (such dud jobs are avoidable and explained elsewhere). 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 is very much a hobby, and as they say you should "write what you know," then why shouldn't I share my knowledge of the wonderful world of PC karaoke games with everyone?

Note that the next generation of UltraStar is known as Vocaluxe. There is a stable version of this available to download here. This new software is built from scratch (unlike UltraStar and UltraStar Deluxe, which are based on the SingStar code and have gradually deviated from that). It looks very promising, but at present I am still using UltraStar, due to the fact that Vocaluxe currently lacks Party Mode. I do, however, intend to incorporate this site to cover Vocaluxe as well as UltraStar in the near future.