Sunday, August 31, 2008

Usability request for RB2: Looping song lists!

I played with one of my other bands tonight ("X+Alpha and the Omegaz) and we were playing some unranked DLC alphabetically. Having reached letter 'W', we now had to scroll all the way down after selecting a song in "Make your own setlist" sets.

With over 250 songs in the game now (and plenty more to come), it is an exercise in patience since we don't have the ability to loop through the top of the list to get to the end faster. Hopefully this will make it into Rock Band 2.

Thankfully, Rock Band 1 allows multiple players to hold the direction buttons to make it scroll faster (the more players hold them the faster it scrolls). Unfortunately, maximum efficiency requires that all players participate, which was not often the case tonight... (I'm looking at you Delta! ;) )

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Exercising the drumming muscles

As I play more and more I can notice my endurance increasing at a very good rate. Obviously we can think of the "practice makes perfect" speech but I am sure there is more than that.

What muscles get tired for you when you play real/RB drums? In the usual case there is:
- the ankle
- the forearms

Sure practicing will help develop the muscle you need but what else could help?

Well if you read a bit about my profile you will notice another major activity that interests me: Rock climbing.

What mucles do you need for rock climbing? I'd say pretty much all of them but forearms is a big one. Since I go rock climbing twice a week, pushing myself further and further, these muscles develop at a significantly faster rate than if I just played drums (for the ankle, I have no tips for you :p)

I am certain there are specific exercises that can focus on exacly the right mucle to workout, but why not have fun and try something different instead of just lifting weights? :)

A lot more albums plus crazy RB2 intro

Check out this link for news on upcoming Rock Band albums plus the first look at the stunt-filled Rock Band 2 opening sequence!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2M points and eyeing the top 4

Tonight was a great session as we almost met our optimal goal by gaining close to 2M points. We are still in 7th place but only 1.2M points away from 4th. That is likely to happen in two sessions as the next one is a DLC night.

- We wanted to improve on Maps right away to remove it as worst ranked song (#26). Phoenix proposed doing a "practice run" to warm up, but it turned out that the "practice run" got us more than 1M points and landed us in 11th place for that song!
- There are now only 8 songs out of 58 where we are not in the top 11 (first page on PS3 leaderboards)
- We improved our score for "Train Kept A-Rollin'"... by a whopping 59 points!
- We are the highest ranked band not to have a #1 score. There are three songs tonight where we had an almost optimal path ("Here It Goes Again", "Detroit Rock City" and "Black Hole Sun") and slightly better play would have allowed us to get one
- We seem to have found a great way to communicate when to activate Overdrive, flowing from the singer (optionally to a groupie) to the drummer and eventually to the guitarist and bassist. We'll leave the details for another post

Monday, August 25, 2008

Props to Happy People, Gods and Lesbians!

I want to congratulate the bands "Happy People Playing Rock Band 2", "The Gods of Bands" and "Lesbian Piledriver" on their recent climb up the PS3 Career Score Leaderboards. Together we are making it very hard to reach the top 9! :)

We'll see which band manages to join us in breaking 70M (which "Happy People" will surely do very soon).

Goal for tomorrow: moving up to piledrive some Lesbians

The band "Lesbian Piledriver" has rocketed up in the leaderboards overnight and is now 5th. We'll have to gain some points to eventually get a hold of them.

- Minimum: Gain 0.3M points, if we can't do that we're in trouble...
- Main: Gain 1.3M points, would give us a total of 73M
- Optimal: Gain 2.3M points, would allow us to regain 6th place by beating "Pants on Head!?!" and close in on the Lesbians
- Bonus: Regain a 1st place for one of the original 58 Rock Band 1 songs. The #1 superband "3 On a Match" stole "Creep" from us this weekend

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What If Chuck Norris played Rock Band?

As much as I hate to be the first to post about Chuck Norris. I had to perpetuate the cycle!

When Chuck Norris plays rockband, he passes the song without playing any notes:

Yep, Maybe Silver's drum line is a tad too easy? (Sure I WAS "playing" it on "easy" but is that an excuse to let me pass the song without touching the drumkit even once?

At least now we know its possible to get a 1-star rating. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dude Sings Like a Lady...

A groupie made an observation this week that I sing like a girl. Now I should mention that this was while we were playing "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a band who's vocalist is named Karen O and is, you guessed it, a girl!

I should also note that I wasn't trying to impress the groupie in the least since the person wasn't the best looking of the bunch, what with the long hair and beard and all...

That being said, this "sing like a girl" comment made me realize that I really have no idea what I sound like when I "sing". I mean, obviously I can carry a tune, otherwise I wouldn't be able to get high scores while playing Rock Band, but what about the quality of my voice? Is it a beautiful, mature and well-rounded voice that you'd expect from a professional signer? Or is it a high-pitched, nasal sound that just so happens to come out of my mouth at the right tone?

I figure that it has to be somewhere between the two extremes: I can carry a tune, but I'm not the next Canadian Idol (nor would I want to be). And when you really think about it, the simple fact that I can usually hit over 95% of vocals on such a wide variety of songs as the 58 original Rock Band songs is a feat in and of itself.

In the end, however, it doesn't really matter because its all for fun. I enjoy sitting back, a beer in one hand and a mic in the other, and "singing" some good - and some not so good - tunes (I'm looking at you Gimme Shelter). It's not like I'm thinking of quitting my day job to start a full-time singing career...

Or am I?



No, I'm not...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A unique yet effective Rock Band Mod

Hi folks, Raikan here for my first blog post for the band. This has been a long time in the making, but this is worth it.Many of you recognize the above photo. The bane of most people when you start drumming... the drum pedal. This insidious piece of hardware is used in some interesting beats and some songs are just overzealous in it's use... what happens when you play though?
Yep! Broken pedal. Now you're done, the pedal is physically snapped into 2 pieces and is now unusable. But other than contacting Harmonix directly and getting a new pedal. (Which we've done since we've snapped 2 pedals already). We decided on a different approach after getting one new pedal back. Tracing the shape of the pedal onto a board. 5/8" plywood actually, we spent the time to cut out a piece of wood to make into a new base using a jig saw.Tah-dah! The result. 4 screws later, 2 in each piece of the broken pedal. Just regular wood screws. Carefully placed not to hit the magnet at the top of the pedal. And we have a new very very sturdy pedal. Ok, it's not the most visually pleasing, but it's functional. It's a little rough on bare feet too. I plan on taking the wood off, giving the top edge a pass of the router, and I'm even going to put a tiny counter sink on the screw heads so they don't stick up a little. Sand the whole thing smooth and reinstall it back onto the pedal and we should be good as new with a nice pedal. We could probably paint it if we wanted. Or put the band's logo on it too.

As I said earlier, we have 2 broken pedals. But we're leaving the 2nd one in it's broken state as we wait to see if Harmonix wants us to send back a broken one to replace the new one they sent us. If they say they don't want it. Stay tuned for a second mod that we have planned for that pedal.

Rockband 2 preordered

First of all happy birthday to me :) How old am I? Well I'll have to let you guess.

The highlight of today so far hapenned yesterday night (when I was too tired to post). As I was eating dinner with my familly yesterday night I received a birthday card. Inside this card was a simple piece of paper (and some well appreciated cash :p) What could this be?

Well of course reading the title of the post you can guess what it was. This receipt was just a notification that my parents had preordered RB2 for me :). They always know what to get me hehe.

This means the Macas + The Reject will have a pretty much guaranteed access to the game as soon as it comes out (out here in the cold Canada), And this saved expense is money that can join the ION fund.

Too bad I have to wait to use my present now!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Top bands to be featured on GameTrailers TV

I PVR the show GameTrailers TV on Spike (channel 32 in Ottawa) on Friday nights at 1:00 AM and it's neat to see that the bands ranked #2 to #4 on Xbox 360 will compete on the show playing Rock Band 2 this September. See this post by a member of "Die! In A Fire" (currently ranked #4).

If you include the Xbox 360 bands, we are currently ranked 26th in the world (by now I'm sure that's out of more than 1 million bands). That is very impressive considering that we've had less than two months of serious play with the current lineup (6-8 sessions). Let 's continue our upward climb!

Leaving the Gods behind

Our goals were set too high this week as it is getting more difficult to gain points. Nonetheless, we almost met our minimum goal by increasing our Career Score by 1.4M points (regaining 6th place). It was a respectable performance, allowing us to perhaps eclipse "The Gods of Bands" for good.

We are now 2.3M away from 5th place, which we can hopefully reach within 2 sessions.

- Starting the night with our best songs by spread to #1, allowing us to increase our lead for Creep and almost gaining another #1 ranked song with Reptilia (currently 2nd, only 17K behind "3 On a Match")
- Finding the best venue for a "Make Your Own Setlist" gig allowed us to keep most of our virtual fans. We only lost about 5K fans in our city of origin when we restarted a song (half what we were losing last week)
- Phoenix and Bongoo trying to hit all the unison bonuses on Expert drums for Maps. With a proper drum setup, one of us will get them all next week so that it can finally be removed as worst ranked song (#26)
- DMan with some great overdrive advice for Orange Crush

Monday, August 18, 2008

Great news for PS3 rhythm game enthusiasts!

This is the best PS3 news I've seen in a while. Basically all instruments for Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Revolution will be compatible with each other (see this link)!

Might be worth getting this premium drumkit after all.

Goals for tomorrow: beating Gods and possibly Pants

We are currently ranked 7th, 14K behind "The Gods of Bands" and 3.6M behind "Pants on head!?!".

- Minimum: Gain 1.5M points (rank #6) , would give us a decent lead
- Main: Gain 2.5M points (rank #6), would give us a big lead, perhaps the last time we would need to pass "The Gods of Bands"...
- Optimal: Gain 3.6M points (rank #5), would be great to move up 2 ranks in one session
- Bonus: Obtain at least one more number 1 song (possible if we sometimes play our best songs by rank instead of the worst ones by rank or spread to #1)

Also, I think we should experiment with the venues to find the "Make Your Own Setlist" set with the smallest venue so that we lose the least possible # of fans. That way, we can restart more often if needed and not force Phoenix to regain fans all week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The importance of our virtual fans

In order to get a good score, sometimes we restarted a song when we badly messed up. This allowed us to save time and increase our ranking faster. Since we only play once a week this is an important part of our strategy.

No big deal... a few thousand fans here and there are gone. Whatever....

Actually it is a big deal :(. For example, after a heated session restarting Timmy 10 times, losing 10-15K fans each time, we wound up with only 150K Rock Band fans. This sudden decrease in virtual fans actually blocked us from venues and we started to worry a bit.

What happens if we drop too low? Can we even get fans back from playing stages we already played? If not would we have to start all over again?

Let's not take any chances :)

This is why I spent around 2 hours after our session of drumming with a mic hanging from the ceiling from a small hook (pretty crappy setup lol). I managed to solo a few venus for the Macas and crack our fans up to 500K as I swing my head to the metronome-like swing of the microphone.

This week, even though all the members cannot meet due to busy schedules, the Macas and the Reject that are available will work on getting our virtual fans up. Lets see if we manage to keep them this time! ;)

"The Gods of Bands" have been dethroned!

Even with a shortened session due to guests who wanted to play DLC, we managed to regain our 6th position by gaining 2.4M points and getting ahead of "The Gods of Bands".

5th place is approximately 3.6M points away and 4th only 800K more so it is possible that we will get there within 2 or 3 sessions.

- Finally have more than 70M points
- Repeat "Timmy" enough to get a good ranking (5th)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Songs for tonight

In order to reach our goal, I have compiled the list of optimal songs we need to play to increase our score. Don't worry, once we reach a high enough rank we may disclose our secret? But until then, we'll keep our competitive edge by keeping it safe :p

In response to Bongoo's "Goals for tonight" here are the songs we should play for optimal improvement. If we halve our spread to #1 on each of these songs (plus a bonus of one #1?) we should attain our optimal goal for tonight:
  • In Bloom
  • Cherub Rock
  • Sabotage
  • Flirtin' with Disaster
  • Timmy
  • Epic
  • Welcome Home
  • Day Late Dollar Short
  • Green Grass and High Tides
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl
  • Mississipi Queen
  • Wave of Mutilation
  • Maps

Goals for tonight

- Minimum: Attain 70M points (need 2M)
- Main: Reach rank #6 and be ahead of "The Gods of Bands" (need 2.3M)
- Optimal: Get at least 3.5M points, would be halfway to rank #4
- Bonus: Get another #1 song

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dream Theater next week!

After a good DLC week with System of a Down's Toxicity as the highlight, we get a metal 6-pack with Dream Theater's first Rock Band song!

It was a long time coming and with Panic Attack also in RB2, it's finally time for us to try to master their crazy instrumental sections. For a taste of what's to come, see this video of Mike Portnoy in action for next week's song (all instruments are amazing at the 4:00 minute mark).

Also having first Rock Band tracks for Megadeth and Machine Head (check out their first album Burn My Eyes, one of the best groove metal albums ever) will make it another great DLC week!

Battle of the Rock Bands

Found an interesting article on

If you ask me, RockBand 2 will win the war, only because of the enormous setlist it will have when GHWT (aka RB wannabe) finally comes out...

Congrats to Slagathor!

We have seen Slagathor rise in the standings these last few months. Now they have finally reached number 1 with over 80M points! Congratulations!

Our next milestone is 70M (less than 2M away), but that would still leave us trailing "The Gods Of Bands" so we'll have to do better...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ScoreHero up to date

After 8 months or so of playing, this is the first time my ScoreHero sheet is up to date so enjoy!
Score Hero

I usually play in Quickplay mode so some of these dont reflect my best but I will try to make a pass at it soon to play each song again at least once in career mode.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Gods have noticed our success!

The "Gods Of Bands" have gained 1.6M points since the website was last updated, giving them back 6th place with a 184K point lead.

With a good session, we will be able to regain 6th place and get a decent lead so that even Gods can't catch up...

Rejected (Help, I'm surrounded by Nuts!)

Bongoo, Raikan and Phoenix are obviously some great nut specimens - each of them are well rounded individuals, highly nutritious and have the highest amount of beneficial monosaturated fats of any nut! Wait a minute... Sorry, I'm reading about the wrong kind of Macadamian Nut.

Although when you think about it, most producers do have quality assurance processes in place to insure that only the finest of their products make it to the consumer. If Macadamian were a nut producer, then Bongoo, Raikan and Phoenix would all have continued their nut journey towards store shelves, whereas I would have landed straight in the Rejects bucket.

Not that I resent having been rejected, since not two days after receiving a disappointing email from Macadamian HR personnel I was offered a Programmer Analyst job in the IT Applications Department here at Mobile Satellite Ventures, so it worked out for the best (seeing as how I was able to keep my seniority and benefits).

So I may be a Reject surrounded by Nuts, but I don't feel like a Reject one bit. The condescending and mocking atmosphere that could have been a theme during our Tuesday "Rockband" Nights is nowhere to be found, and instead you find a group of wannabe RockStars all jamming on plastic controllers shaped like instruments, trying to do their best to improve their score and make it to #1 on the PS3 Charts!

Add to that the odd groupie getting drunk on Martinis behind us and our first #1 song ever, and it makes for a hell of a good time :P

The Macas are now 6th!

Great session tonight! It took us 3.5 hours to gain 3.5 million points, moving us from 10th to 6th.

The next position is 6 million points away but it is attainable within a few sessions if things go well.

- Our first number one for the original 58 songs: Creep
- Moving up 1 million points in just two songs right from the start (Green Grass and Creep)
- Getting 2nd place for Electric Crown on our first try (only 24K behind Happy People)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Goal for tonight

Unfortunately over the course of the week, we have been passed in rank and are only #10.

I assume the most reasonable goal for tonight is rank #6, but I think we CAN get a good headstart to #5 if we really work at it :)

Lets at least work on getting a new gap between #6 and #7 so we do not lose the position ;)

PS: Unfortunately the website is NOT up to date so we will have to collect the information from the PSN this week :(