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Rock Band 3
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:15 pm    Post subject: Rock Band 3 Reply with quote

Well, a couple days ago I wrote up a long complaint about all the stupidity regarding questions about picking up this game and extra accessories, but I took too long typing it up all up and after logging in again, the post was gone. I might type up all the stupidity again, but at this point I want to comment on the game itself.

I was looking forward to this quite a bit as it added a pro-mode for actually learning a few instruments, and eventually playing the full thing. I bought the keyboard and the pro-drum cymbals, and I've been playing around with it. The "learning the instrument" section of the game sadly not as good as the tutorials in the past two Rock Bands. It doesn't talk you through it and tell you the basics of the instruments, which is unfortunate. It basically has some sections that you just simply do things, and they, for instance, tell you to tuck your thumb under your index finger to hit this key, or whatnot. I really hoped for a better tutorial, and I'm suspecting the pro-guitar is just as crap. I suspect with diligence I'll learn what they are teaching, but it is kinda like one of those computer books that is supposed to be fairly basic, but is written by somebody who is too much in the tech world to be able to talk to a standard layperson.

The keyboard has been something of a disappointment so far, but is still somewhat fun. My biggest complaint is that the majority of the songs I've played (on easy pro-mode) has had very little keyboard parts. Half of the song you are waiting for your part, and when it comes, it comes out of the blue and you have to suddenly flip your fingers to the right place on the keyboard. They should have had several songs in the easier part of the list that at least had slow bits throughout the entire song, as opposed to hitting the same key over and over for a short section, then wait for that verse or chorus to swing around again so you can hit the same key on the keyboard again. I know it will be much better once I start getting it, and my fingers obey without having to slowly access my brain, but I'll get there eventually. I took a class in college on piano, and so far this has not been as easy as that, and I've had no real tips on how to approach the songs.

It appears that you have to know a bit about playing keyboards to benefit from the lessons, but I suspect it is simple enough for those that do know a bit about playing keyboards to be anything but dull. It's kind of a lose-lose situation. Oh well. I just have to get past the learning curve. I had a lot of trouble with the 5 fret guitars at first, so I just need to practice for a while. I just have less time to do it these days, and when the baby is out, he is too curious about the keyboard.

One last complaint about the keyboard is that to trigger overdrive (those that have played other Rock Band games will know, and for Guitar Hero it is Star Power), you have to reach over and hit a button far on the left, which takes your hand off the keyboard, and diverts your attention. I wish they had done it a bit more fluidly, like tilting the guitar or hitting the special note on the screen to trigger it, which have worked for the other instruments without making you take your hands off it.

I haven't done much other than keyboards, and a song with the pro-drums which I did very badly on, but it looks like it will provide quite a challenge - some frustrating, some great. The song choices are probably the best yet, and I'm looking forward to other aspects of the game. But other than the pro-mode, it is basically Rock Band 1&2, or more accurately, The Beatles: Rock Band, as it has the 3 part harmonies. I haven't played the keyboard on non-pro mode yet, but I don't much see the point as it is only 5 keys you would hit on any song, which seems kinda pointless.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, Rock Band 3 party had. I found the game to be pretty buggy when playing with multiple people, at least on my system. It froze up a few times and certain components didn't want to play well together.

I found that one of the cymbals is a problem, and while playing found one of my cymbals to go out completely. Yesterday while troubleshooting found it to be with my Rock Band 2 drum set - one of the ports has completely gone out after a few weeks of actually using it, although I've had the drum set since Rock Band 2 came out. The thing is that I've only used the cymbals a few times, and I'm amazed that it has already crapped out. I'd say with the cymbals I've used it under 5 hours. Bah...annoying.

I'm a little disappointed with this overall. But I am enjoying the keyboard.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My impressions now:
It can be a bit buggy and frustrating navigating about and swapping out instruments isnít always problem free. Iíve had to restart the game several times while playing, and the more people playing, the more likely it is. But it isnít a party-killing amount.
I have to say that the keyboards are really a challenge, and I did just pick up the Fender Mustang so that I could play the pro-guitar. Instead of strings along the frets, it has buttons in the shape of strings along the frets. It works fairly well, giving something of the feel of strings. No strum bar now, as there are metal strings. When I first started playing, it reacted pretty well, but now that Iím about 20 songs into, a couple of the frequently used strings are started not to also pluck. Iím still trying to work out if it is the equipment or if I am accidentally hitting another string, which has been the case a couple of times. For $150, I do want this sucker to work. The keyboard has worked perfectly so far though.
I am really enjoying playing the pro-guitar though. I suck, but it is all about practice, and I have so little practice time in. From what I understand, what you play on pro-guitar/pro-bass, you can play on a regular guitar and it translates over perfectly. I havenít put it to the test, but after I get into something more exciting than one string picking, Iíll give it a try on my acoustic.
The instruction on the pro-guitar is much better than the keyboard. I feel like Iím really learning it, and having to slow things down until I get it right. It can be tedious, but I can already see it paying off. Iím now working on songs, and typically getting 3-4 stars on easy and the most basic of songs (although I have tried a harder difficulty song on easy and still held up. If this teaches me guitar, then it will all be worth it.
As for fun, my wife has a friend who is a lead singer for a cover band who has been kinda bored with Rock Band in the last few installments Iíve bought, but for some reason he is really enjoying Rock Band 3. In fact, this weekend is his birthday, and he wanted us to throw him a Rock Band party for us to play Rock Band 3.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To continue on my "only me" thread, I'm loving this. I'm starting to get faster on the pro-guitar, but I've let my keyboarding skills slip for the past couple months.
I've stuck my nose in a bit for medium difficulty of pro-guitar/pro-bass, and I'm sad to see that there is still picking along with the chords. I was hoping it would be just strumming the basics, which would be helpful with chords, but it isn't. Oh well. I'm sure I'll stick pick it up eventually with enough practice.
I've gone through almost all the songs a second time (including 25 downloaded songs) on pro-guitar, and there isn't one that is under 3 stars (5 being the top). Most are in the 4-5 star range for me now, which is making me feel pretty good about how I've been picking this up. The songs with the sudden "holy crap...I need to hit this string across the bridge and hold this fret on the opposite end of the neck" moments have moved from "crap, I didn't have time" to "crazy...I hit it at the last possible second" more often than not. This progress is making me feel better than anything else. I've being playing nearly every day, but not every day on pro-guitars.

Basically what I am doing is keeping it fun (because learning an instrument can get frustrating, and I'm essentially learning two) by going through one section (each difficulty level is separated into 5 or 6 different subdivisions with names like "warm-up" up to "nightmare" and "impossible"). Then I move on to the next instrument and continue on until that section is over. It's a little anal, but it works for me. So I go through a section on the 5 fret fakey guitar, then on to the pro-guitar, then fakey bass, then pro-bass, then 5 keys keyboard, then pro-keys, then pro-drums (I've noticed I get scored for regular drums by doing pro-drums, for some reason, so I'm saving time and skipping regular), and then vocals. For those that I don't have 5 stars on, I have to go through the list up to that section to try again to get 5 stars on the song. When I've got 5 stars, I'm done with that song for that difficulty level.
Some songs are definitely out of my reach at the moment, and some I have just reliably screwed up something small each time.
Anyway, again, I'm loving it, and have barely played anything else in the moments when I do have time to play.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Sigh" I will get this game someday but It'll require I invest in a next-gen system.....and it's about the only game I would do it for.....so maybe when they drop to oh idk $99 Razz
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cag,

I love this "Rock Band Diary" of yours. Keep it up. I'm a huge Rock Band fan myself. We throw neighborhood Rock band parties a couple of times a year where everyone has to come dressed like a rock star. I have several spinning flashy light type things and for our next party in May I'm going to get a smoke machine to add to the concert atmosphere.

I've got all the instruments for RB3, a real drum stool and 3 mic stands. I have five plastic guitars including the fender bass guitar with the double strum bar. I would stay as far away from that thing as possible as the wireless connectivity is terrible and renders the guitar unuseable.

I was seriously considering investing in the actual fender guitar to learn guitar but decided to hold off till after the next May party. I'm glad your finding the experience of pro guitar with the Mustang enjoyable as that gives me hope that I'll like the real guitar when I get it.

Anyway, keep up the posting as you have at least one avid reader!
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

perpetualchange wrote:
"Sigh" I will get this game someday but It'll require I invest in a next-gen system.....and it's about the only game I would do it for.....so maybe when they drop to oh idk $99 Razz


I wouldn't hold my breath for that. And let me say this: If you are wanting a system to play Rock Band 3 on, don't get it on the Wii. I hear you don't get as much support and downloadable content. Just a warning. I'm using the PS3, and am happy, although I understand the Xbox is good for this too. So that is probably the cheapest solution, although all of the instruments do cost an arm and a leg as well. Thankfully, you can pay for as much immersion as you want.

Brinn - thanks for the encouragement. I was feeling pretty much done unless the new difficulties sparked something. But since I know I have at least one reader, I'll continue on.

I figured since I was at the end of the line as far as Easy mode goes, I'd go one more round through the songs that are not 5 star, and download a few more songs. I downloaded 3 RB3 songs (Ziggy Stardust by Bowie, We Belong by Pat Benetar as the wife is a big PB fan, and Walk The Line by Johnny Cash, all with pro-guitar upgrades for an additional $.99 Evil or Very Mad ), and 3 songs pre-RB3 without any pro mode available other than pro-drum. While I was digging through the library to pick out the three I wanted (American Music by Violent Femmes and These Days and Driver 8 from REM) and try to trick the system so I didn't have to make my purchases in blocks of $5 (which apparently is the only way to buy them from PS network M-gun ) I found a ton of free songs that I hadn't seen before. Now I'm pretty much at 40 additional songs due to a couple pre-sale promotions, a couple track pack purchases and a couple individual purchases, and a heap of free songs. While some of the freebies are from Rock Band 2 that would not transfer over, some are just plain free. I figured I'd be deleting most of the freebies, but surprisingly I like several of them. One of which seems to come from a Half Life game, as there is the Orange Box in the album art and they reference Black Mesa in the song. As I've only played the first one, I have no idea what this is about but it might be my favorite song of the lot. So that was cool.

My time has been sucked up by stupid life and commitments and such, so I haven't has as much time as I want, but probably within the week or so, I'll be starting medium, which should make the older elements of the game fun again (playing easy on the 5 fret guitars was getting pretty dull), but I suspect will make the pro-guitar hard to get used to on this new difficulty. I expect pro-keys to be a bit more difficult, but not insanely so. So I'll post more on my first impressions once I start in on medium.

A couple things worth mentioning about prior impressions from this thread. In particular, I discovered that the keyboard is meant to be all played one handed, from my understanding, but I play it two handed when playing pro mode, which means taking a hand off of the keyboard to hit overdrive. I'm getting better at picking the moments, but it is still hard, and I can't imagine doing it all one handed, but I should probably try. It seems like it would take away from the keyboard playing aspect of it, though.

My wife discovered that playing the basic non-pro mode keyboard in harder difficulties to be a lot of fun. Which gives me hope for the harder pro difficulties once I start getting the hang of it. As non-pro keyboard is probably the easiest instrument to play now, it is a good introduction for Rock Band parties for those who have never played before.

Oh, and Brinn - I hear pretty positive things about the Squier from those who have them (at least on the forums and reviews and such I have read, though I know nobody personally who has actually played it). The only complaint I've read is that it is the bottom of the barrel guitar-wise, but works well with RB3.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have played through a few rounds of the pro-guitar (probably about 30 songs or so) on medium. I have to admit that it is kicking my ass. Yes, I am learning actual chords now, but progress has slowed waaaay the hell down, and it is frustrating me. I think I have enjoyed that at least while I was sucking at easy pro-guitar mode, I could at least keep going. Now I'm working on the training for the songs, which takes a few sections of the song, and you play it through until you get 100% hit notes 3 times. Some are fairly short passages, and some are much longer.
Some of the training is for fast passages of one string like the harder songs on Easy, but some include major chord changes that I just don't feel ready to tackle in a timely manner right now. One of the standards right off the bat (like in I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones) are just essentially holding one fret one string, and then two frets away on the next string. For example, the third fret on the E string is held, as is fifth fret on the A string. After strumming a bit (on both strings, mind you), you then shift to the fifth fret on the E string and the seventh on the A string. It's not too hard, but my coordination goes out of the window in these songs, so I've been struggling, but I don't feel like it is still all that difficult, and something that won't take too long to master, as it is essentially the same fingering.
Then I hit upon a song where there are several probably normal and simple chords that I am not ready to tackle in a timely manner yet. They require a complete move of all fingers, and what I need to do is sit down, put it on the slowest setting and learn to switch between these chords with some amount of accuracy. But I tried it on normal speed after already frustrating myself with blowing what I explained above, so I gave up quickly and put it on the "well, I'll get to it later" pile. From what I remember toying with on the guitar when I first starting trying to learn the damn thing, I think the frustration of trying to switch between simple chords is what has been my stopping block. So if I can eventually work through this, I'll be on my way.
So what I am doing is play the trainer first and completing what I can, and what I can't I'll leave for later, trying to learn at least one chord out of it per playthrough. Eventually I will build these up to the entire song. However, a few of the songs that I've not been able to finish the trainer on have been easy enough for me in the rest of the parts for me to finish with 5 stars, which means I check them off from my list of having to play again (unless, of course, I really want to try them again).
From playing the pro-bass, it does seem considerably easier, and so far has been easier than the harder songs on Easy. I'm sure that will change pretty soon, but I've already knocked out a few of those. So I'm enjoying the pro-bass right now, and finding it slow going with pro-guitar. Eventually it will all click and I'll enjoy the harder, but right now I'm just trying to push through the wall that hard work will topple.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still reading! Good stuff.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still haven't finished all the songs on medium yet, and progression has slowed way the hell down on this one. I find I enjoy medium bass a lot, and am fairly good at it.
Now I'm torn because I just picked up Rocksmith and playing my acoustic that I've been neglecting all these years, but the better songs are on Rock Band 3, and they recently released a new Queen pack that I fully intend on downloading. But eventually I'll return to this and have my fun.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brinn - if you are still around, check out the Rocksmith thread as my "learning guitar through videogames diary" continues there. I did pick up the Queen pack, and when the kids go to bed, I do try to continue playing Rock Band 3 as it is quieter than me playing my acoustic, but I'm just trying to get through medium. We'll see once I hit hard, and I'll probably pick up this thread a bit when I get there.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny, I just got done reading that thread of yours. My wife bought me the fender squire for RB3 last October but I haven't had a chance to play it much. I still love RB3 but play it more for the rock star roleplaying experience rather than actually trying to learn guitar.

I'm going to be experimenting with a new vox setup this weekend as my new Onkyo receiver introduces some vicious vocal lag that I just can't seem to get rid of. It's a real pain in the ass dropping $600 on a receiver and having it ruin your ability to play RB3. Anyway, I went and bought a real microphone and a Behringer Eurolive personal monitor/PA system. I plan on duct taping the RB3 USB mic and the real mic together, turning the vocals down all the way on RB3 and letting the PA system handle the vocals as it has no lag. In this manner I'll be able to hear crystal clear unlagged vocals but with the USB still plugged in and the volume all the way down, I will still get scored on vocals but won't have to hear the awful delayed and echoing vocals that the game and my surround sound system puts out.

I'll let you know how it goes. If it works well, maybe I can set up a RB3 party for this years Boston Elohimfest for those that are interested.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the in-game lag calibration isn't making it better?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. The in game calibration is right on (i.e. the strums and drum hits are perfectly timed with the hit bar) but anything that requires live processing (vocals and drum fills) gets delayed by a significant amount. You can turn drum fills off but the vocal delay renders the singing portion nearly unplayable. If you sing in time with the music, the vocals coming out of the speakers are not in time with music which immediately throws off the vocalist and makes anyone listening think that the singer is starting his vocal phrases much too late. In essence, it's a horrible dynamic.

There are several threads on the rock band forums regarding this issue so it seems to be a fairly widespread phenomenon.

Anyway, I just tried my new vocal setup last night and it works like a charm. Vocals are now crystal clear and instantaneous. As I said, I took a real vocal microphone and attached it to a Behringer Eurolive 150 watt Personal PA system.



I then turned the in-game vocal volume to zero. This allows you to sing into the USB mic and the game will score your vocal performance but you don't hear the speakers outputting your vocal performance. I then tried holding the USB and real mics together and singing into both to get the game to score the vocals while simultaneously hearing the un-lagged crystal clear vocals that the PA system puts out. It worked well but holding two mics was an inelegant solution. To solve this I decided to position the USB mic in front of the PA speaker so that the USB mic still picked up your vocals and scored them but allowed you to sing into the real mic alone. This worked out great!

I now have a fantastic vocal set up with no annoying lag. As a bonus, with the PA system I can adjust the vocal levels separately and with much greater range and precision than the RB3 game allows in game. I'm already contemplating buying an inline vocal effects pedal to allow me to further fine tune the vocals. Would be sweet to be able to add a little echo, chorus or autotune effect to vocals on the fly.

My next Rock Band party is going to be a doozy!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I've never had problems with that. And I don't have the lag issue Rocksmith is supposedly famous for as well (which may be fixed with the latest update). What a clever solution.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only update. I recently completed all songs with 5 stars on Pro-Guitar easy mode. Now to chip away at the medium songs.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update: All pro instruments finished on Easy. Every time I go through the list, I knock off several more on medium. It's nice to see how much progress I have made, but if only I had more time these days to commit to getting my fingers to the right places, I know I would be doing a hell of a lot better. Why wasn't this out in 2006? I would have been playing in bands now. But probably wouldn't have met my wife and had the lovely children we have now.

They had a big sale on the pre-Rock Band 3 songs (50% off), so I downloaded 10 and have been working through those. But they don't have pro-nuthin'. Rock Band Blitz came out too and while it had 20+ songs with pro-keyboard, none had pro-guitar, which makes me think the pro-guitar thing is being dropped. But they still have new downloadable content with pro-guitar support, so maybe not.

So I'm taking a few more swipes at Medium before I move on to Hard mode. Wish me luck.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is fun seeing one's progress. I'm still doing Guitar Hero (well, Band Hero), but for my instrument--drums--it's basically the real deal. Every note. I can now do Van Halen songs on expert+ which activates the double bass parts. I've upgraded to two nice bass pedals, much better than the ones that came with the kit. And during a song like Hang 'Em High, I feel like I'm sprinting. My heart is racing by the time I'm done.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been spending a bit more time with the drums lately myself. My Rock Band 2 drum set has lost another port for the cymbal additions, dammit, so now I'm down to just one cymbal. I REALLY wish I had invested in a Rock Band 3 drum set when I had the chance, as they are now sky high as it appears they are no longer being produced. So two of my cymbal ports are dead, and I'm just wondering when the final one will go. Still, all the drum pads work, so that's good.
I've been on medium drums for quite a while, and I've recently been dipping my toes into hard. I don't know how Rock Band and Guitar Hero differ as far as drum parts (I can definitely say the 5 fret guitar parts are easier on Rock Band than Guitar Hero in general), but Hard is really a challenge for me right now. I have to admit that it is all the bass kickdrum parts. I just have trouble hitting that in rapid succession. But I know it is something I just have to get used to, and when the pad sequence gets tricky, my mind cannot handle multiple bass stomps. I can't imagine two of those at the moment, but it does sound like it would make for a lot more fun.
I really am feeling guilty about Rocksmith, and my lack of playing, but it's just too damn inconvenient at the moment, whereas Rock Band 3 is easier to pull out and play after the kids go to bed. I'm thinking I should maybe get a cheapy electric guitar and plug it in without the amp to play Rocksmith for nighttime playing, as well as the added bonus of having an electric guitar to fiddle with. I'm getting to the point where I feel I should have one. I'm not great by any means, but after listening to the band I was in in high school recently due to me converting those tapes over to CD, I realized the parts the guitarist of the band played for our original songs are about as complicated as what I'm doing now.
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