A little while ago I blogged about setting up a MIDI interface for a Roland TD-9 (KX in my case - I love my mesh heads :)) so it could be used to drive Rock Band. I’ve had that setup for almost 18 months now and it’s served me well, but the main problem with it is that the older Rock Bands only recognised 5 different triggers, with many doubled-up - so Yellow was both closed high-hat and high tom, green was floor tom and crash, and blue was over-used as mid tom, ride cymbal and open high-hat.
I’ve been branching out with my hobbies particularly in the last year or so, mostly because my back problems now prevent me from spending every waking hour hunched over a PC, coding. In a way that’s a shame - I lament the sudden drop-off in coding time and hence productivity - but it’s also good to broaden my horizons a bit. I’m 36 now after all, and spent the vast majority of my spare time in the last 8 years on Ogre, so maybe I deserve a break 😉 After all, I get to work on Ogre a bit as part of my day job now anyway, if not as much as I’d like.
I have to hand it to the guys at the Clan of the Gray Wolf, who are doing a 1,000 song Rock Band marathon for the charity Childs Play, all streamed live on the Internet. Presumably this is linked with the fact that Rock Band itself recently crested the 2009 target of having 1000 in-game tracks - and a month earlier than their deadline. . At the time of writing they’re 46 hours in which given that they’ve tackled 615 songs so far, represents not quite two thirds of the way.
As I’ve said before Harmonix really like Foo Fighters, and/or the Foos really like Rock Band, because this week we had more tracks from the band (plus some from Nirvana, where of course Grohl cut his teeth as a drummer before emerging from the shadows as a bloody good all-rounder) which is great in my book. Despite this year’s album being a little too easy-listening for my tastes, Foo Fighters remain one of my favourite bands of the last decade or so.
I could hug Harmonix. They have lived up to their original promise to providing a large, ever-expanding and varied collection of tracks on Rock Band with the kind of fervour that I think even fans have been surprised by. Apart from a couple of odd cases (Lego Rock Band and Beatles: Rock Band - the former puzzling, the latter due to brand management insistence that The Beatles should be revered as gods and can’t be seen mixing with peasants) Harmonix have avoided fragmenting the content available as much as possible and the result is a lot of people who have no reason to buy another music game; in fact there’s a positive incentive not to.
Oh hell yes. Finally, one of the best British classic rock bands that was sorely missing from Rock Band makes an appearance on 20th October, and how: Another One Bites The Dust Crazy Little Thing Called Love One Vision Fat Bottomed Girls I Want It All I Want To Break Free Killer Queen Somebody To Love Tie Your Mother Down Under Pressure Now, I could lament the absence of Don’t Stop Me Now, and Princes of the Universe which I would have loved, but really that would be being petulant because this list is pure class.
RockBandContent.com is being shut down because the maintainer hasn’t got time to do it anymore, which is a shame because it’s a really nice site for browsing the increasingly crushing number of Rock Band tracks available and finding videos of people playing the charts before you buy. However, I found over time that the best videos came from corporalgregg2, who always posts full-band videos which saves a lot of time over the individual instrument videos, as well as being very good so you can actually hear the song with everyone playing on Expert 😀So I’m just subscribed to him from now on for reviewing the new songs as they come out.
When Harmonix responded to GHWT’s user-created content feature by saying they wanted to hold off until they could do it properly, they definitely weren’t kidding. Today they announced the Rock Band Network, which will be online later this year (on 360 only for the moment, because it seems they’re piggy-backing on the XNA Creator’s Club to handle the submission and billing). Rather than provide an in-game sequencer using samples like GHWT does, with RBN bands use their original master tracks, recorded using their usual software but presumably still split into the appropriate tracks, and gives them a set of tools (for PC I assume) to add the MIDI notes which will be translated into the instrument charts.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been derided by some, with extensive cries of ’learn a real instrument!’; however it’s my experience that by making simulated instrument playing more accessible to the masses, these games are responsible for many taking up an instrument for the first time, or reconnecting with a previously abandoned musical hobby. It’s the latter for me - I was heavily involved in music throughout my school days, until an overly pushy music teacher sucked all the joy out of it (what, you have a free evening / weekend that you’re not playing music in?
Cool, another relatively unknown (in the US anyway) British band is getting their start in Rock Band next week; Glasvegas with their track Geraldine. It’s a really good song, so great that it’s in there. Should I be ashamed that I’m glad Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” is in there too? Probably. And… Spongebob. Yeah, that Spongebob, it’s not some quirky ironic punk band or something. Bizarre - one for the kids though I guess 😀