Thursday, October 30, 2008

Score Reader 2.0 released!

Version 2.0 of the Score Reader is finally here!

Download Here

We hope you like it, many hours were put in to make sure everything runs smoothly.

New features:
- Compatibility with the new website (all scores for RB2 and RB1, including RB1 Disk Export)
- Can now decide to "include" only the DLC that you own (in "DLC Options..."). Before there was only an "exclude" option for songs you didn't own (thanks to DKage for the suggestion!)

Note: The "Searching" section on the main page is now needed because the website no longer has a "My Rank" option, which made score retrieval easier.

(Original Post)

96M and 5th place!

Tonight we had a shortened 3 hour session, partly due to Phoenix being injured (too much rock climbing and drumming can be painful...). Nonetheless, we still managed to meet our main goal by gaining 6M points!

We played 27 songs and our average increase was 223K. We played the songs with the worst spread so that usually meant longer songs, which is one reason why we had a lower than expected number of songs played.

If you look at the out of date leaderboards, our new 96M point total would put us in 5th place. Who knows when the leaderboards will finally be updated (we still can't see our point gain from Monday), but when they so our rank might drop a bit. The bug for "Mary go Round" seems to have been fixed so they now seem like a legitimate band.

By moving up, we are now ahead of the RB1 phenoms "Happy People Playing ROCK BAND" (they had the most #1 scores if you include DLC) but just behind the "Killa C,o,m,m,a,s". They plus "Mary go Round" will be our next targets but catching up to the new supergroups "Average White Guy" and "Interrobang!" will take longer.

- Sylvie helps us out again on Bass as Raikan is away for the first part of his move. The whole band will help him finish his move on the weekend
- Our biggest increase is for Peace Sells (526K), we end up 2nd and just 42K away from "Average White Guy"
- We increase by more than 400K on four other songs ("Down with the Sickness", "Ramblin' Man", "Teen Age Riot" and "Shooting Star")
- Just before we reach 96M, the system freezes at the song result screen ("One Way or Another") and the score is not saved! Perhaps Bongoo's intense stare and his menacing death metal t-shirt were to blame (that was the final image on the screen)...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goal for tomorrow: be top 4 for RB2

After our 50M point session last week, our total was about 76M. This past week, Pheonix unlocked all the songs and with some online play without our optimal lineup, we moved up to about 90M (leaderboards not updated yet). A big thank you to the honorary Maca who joined us on Bass last night (we used the "Find Players" option)!

For the following analysis, I don't count "Mary go Round" because their #1 rank seems to be a bug or a hack (similar to "Plastic Metal v3" last week for Xbox 360, which was removed shortly after).

Tomorrow, our main goal will be to be 4th but we have the potential to do more so our optimal goal will be to be 3rd and our bonus goal will be to get to 100M points. That would leave us ahead of our old rivals the "Killa C,o,m,m,a,s" and "Happy People Playing ROCK BAND" but behind "Interrobang!" and "Average White Guy".

Because we usually play for around 4 hours, I figure that we'll play around 40 songs. It's usually 12 max per hour so there is a potential of 48 songs, but I remove 8 songs in the estimate for breaks and setup time. Of course in later sessions that will be lower than 40 because of restarts but this week it will only be our second play for most songs so we still have a lot of potential with normal play.

Using the 40 song benchmark, we would need an average increase of 108K per song to pass "Happy People Playing ROCK BAND" and be 5th. A 133K average increase would put us in 4th place ahead of "n00bs 'R' Uz". Finally, a 217K average increase would give us 3rd place ahead of the "Killa C,o,m,m,a,s" but gaining 250K per song would be even better, giving us a total of 100M.

Minimum: Gain 4.3M points (108K average increase), would be in 5th place
Main: Gain 5.3M points (133K average increase), would be in 4th place
Optimal: Gain 8.7M points (217K average increase), would be in 3rd place
Bonus: Gain 10M points (250K average increase), would have 100M

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Macas have their first online tour session!

We played our first online tour session tonight and it was great! We unlocked lots of new venues and gained 5M points in the process! That gives us about 81M points so we are less than 12M away from the #1 "Killa C,o,m,m,a,s" with lots of songs yet to be played.

- We get our first #1 score while playing online ("Souls of Black"), with a 200K lead over 2nd place
- It's great that we can now communicate by voice online (new in RB2 for PS3)! It makes it easier for song selection and whoever has a laptop on hand can announce our new rank after we finish a song
- We learn that Expert Random gigs can sometimes be dangerous, we had to say "Our Last Words"...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

50M in one session!

This is definitely the last 50M jump in one session that we'll ever do, at least until Rock Band 3... We are now 5th on PS3 with about 76M points. There are still about 18 songs to play so getting to 100M+ will be relatively easy next week. We didn't pass "Happy People Playing ROCK BAND" as expected but that is likely to happen very soon.

- We get a 1st place score for 3 songs, including an amazing performance by Phoenix to secure 1st for Aqualung (temporarily though, "Average White Guy" stole it back the same night)
- Raikan pops his shoulder but endures the pain for the band
- Phoenix breaks a pad on his RB1 drumkit, good thing he had a spare!
- The game throws us a surpise gig of "Pinball Wizard", just before we unlock the plane gig, which consists of Random, Random, and "Pinball Wizard"...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goal for tonight: go from 86th to 1st in one session!

We are currently ranked 86th for less than 2 hours with our optimal lineup and some extra play by Phoenix. We have the potential to be ahead of "Happy People Playing ROCK BAND" in one session. They currently have 83M and we are 57M away.

Since we'll likely play for about 5 hours, that means that with an average of 1M per song that's about 60M points more.

Our points per song average for Rock Band 1 was about 1.4M. With the same average for Rock Band 2, that would give us about 118M, enough to be 5th for Xbox 360 right now. But even a 1.2M point average per song would give us 100M points, so we can aim for that in the short term (1 or 2 sessions).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Top 20 in less than 2 hours!

We had less than 2 hours to play Rock Band 2 on release day but we still managed to finish in the top 20 (approx 20M for about 16 songs). We ended up being ranked 1st or 2nd for most of the songs that we played. Of course we dropped in the leaderboards soon after but it was a great start!

Our goal Wednesday night will be to catch up to the #1 band "Happy People Playing ROCK BAND", who currently have 62M but will likely have much more by then.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rock Band 2 tomorrow!

The wait is finally over for us PS3 owners! To celebrate the release of Rock Band 2, the Macas will have a short 3 hour gig tomorrow afternoon to get the band going.

After this special session and our regular weekly session, we should have a decent amount of points to kick start our new Leaderboard quest!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Exercising the drumming muscles - part 2

A few weeks ago I mentioned that rock climbing was a great complimentary workout to drumming (since it works out your forearms). Well today I found another sport that will exercise the other muscles we use a lot, the dreaded foot-pedal muscle group!

What could it be? Well, it is none other than curling!

I started curling the day before our Rock Band session this week. And let me tell you that I really felt it while drumming... My leg and ankle were killing me during the whole session. Usually I am fine to play for a good 4 or 5 hours before I feel something, but not this time...

For those who think curling is a relaxing sport for your body, think again! Talk to me after you have played a game... I didn't even finish one game and I felt the effects.

For those of you who are having problems with leg muscles when playing Rock Band, try it out and it might help your endurance!

The Macas are now 2nd!

Great session tonight as we improved on 13 songs and gained 1.45M to become 2nd! That is sweet revenge in a sense as now 3rd place "Slagathor" was the band that took away our first 1st place song a few months back... We also help bring respect for the PS3 by having all top 3 bands above 80M.

- We got a new #1 song for the 58 originals, this time for "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
- We almost got a few more #1 scores as we are now 2nd for many of the songs we improved on
- Reaching exactly 1M (to the thousand) for Vasoline right at the Big Rock Ending, talk about close!
- It's amazing to think we have only 5 #1 songs for the 58 originals, yet we are 2nd overall (that is due to us being in the top 10 for all songs and top 5 for most)
- We ended up about 50K away from our ultimate goal tonight. Phoenix's Nut Brown Ale emissions were probably partly to blame for distracting us from this goal... ;)

The next weeknight session will be for RB2 so this was a very fitting end to our RB1 career (unless we do a special RB1 session sometime in the future to aim for 1st as we are only about 2.3M away). We will play for a few hours on Sunday when RB2 is released for the PS3 and then longer on our regular night. Bring on the new songs!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goal for tomorrow: get a good lead at 2nd

This week we will definitely pass "Slagathor" to become 2nd. Compared to last week we'll have more than double the time (at least 4 hours) to do half the points (560K) so it should be possible to get a good lead.

Minimum: Gain 560K points, would put us in 2nd place ahead of "Slagathor"
Main: Gain 1M points
Optimal: Get 1.5M points, could even be more if we keep the same points\hour as last week
Bonus: Get at least 2 more #1 songs for the 58 originals (we already have 4)

Here is the setlist for tomorrow (worst songs by spread to #1, all songs that have more than 150K spread):
1. "Green Grass and High Tides"
2. "Outside"
3. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
4. "Highway Star"
5. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
6. "Sabotage"
7. "Flirtin' with Disaster"
8. "Cherub Rock"
9. "Vasoline"
10. "Can't Let Go"
11. "Epic"
12. "Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld"
13. "Suffragette City"
14. "Next to You"
15. "Day Late, Dollar Short"
16. "Nightmare"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another 1.1M points in 2 hours!

We had another shortened 2 hour sessions due to DMan having an interview the next day (not at Macadamian, he is forever rejected... jk ;) ). Nonetheless, that was probably our best 2 hours yet as we surpassed our optimal goal by improving on 9 songs and gaining 1.1M points!

With this increase, 2nd place is pretty much guaranteed in next week's Wednesday session. Today's relatively easy 1M+ point gain also shows that we have the potential to be 1st on the PS3, which we would likely have achieved before RB2 comes out on the PS3 if we started playing a month or two earlier...

- Our strategy to play the worst songs by spread where we have a rough band path seemed to pay off
- We met our bonus goal and more by having our second week with two new original 58 #1 scores (for "Electric Version" and "29 Fingers")
- We finally rank "Gimme Shelter" in the top 10 (go from 12th to 3rd), so now all of the original 58 scores are in the top 10
- Phoenix fights through a hand injury to get us one of our best recent score increases
- When we played "Here It Goes Again", it really meant "Here We Go Again, and Again, and Again..." until we didn't mess up something

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DMan now a top 50 singer!

Congrats to DMan for now being a top 50 PS3 singer!

I made it to the top 100 for every instrument (but didn't necessarily stay there), but I never made the top 50.

That is very impressive, I'm sure Lynn from Oklahoma will be proud!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Goal for tomorrow: get 79M and move halfway to 2nd

This week we have our 2nd last session playing RB1. Let's aim to get more than 79M and be halfway to 2nd place "Slagathor".

Minimum: Gain 470K points, would give us 79M points
Main: Gain 830K points, would be halfway to 2nd place
Optimal: Get 1M points, always the optimal goal at this stage
Bonus: Get a 3rd #1 song for the 58 originals ("3 On a Match" stole "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" from us last week to move up to 83M points)

We will play a mix of worst ranked songs ("Gimme Shelter" comes to mind), short songs (can you say "Next to Timmy's Brain"), songs with big spreads to the #1 score ("Outside" and "Electric Version") and songs where we have rough band paths (various) to maximize our point gain.

Score Reader on break: new website

The Rock Band Score Reader will not work until a new version is released. That is because the website has been revamped for RB2. Keep an eye on this page for any updates.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Drumming techniques

Hi all, today I will share with you a technique that has helped me get good scores for fast songs.

The basic drum pattern in the game: hi-hat with alternating bass pedal + snare on every 2nd note. Pretty easy, right? How about keeping it up at 200BPM for 3 minutes (ex: any Ramones song...)

Well it all depends on how you play it. Most poeple I see playing keep the same technique whether the song is 70 PBM or 200 BMP: hit all hi-hat notes (yellow pad) with the right hand. Although I do recommend this method to build up endurance, when you just want to have fun and play, this will kill your right arm pretty quickly.

Therefore I say why not use both hands to hit the high hat? We do it in the rolls so why not in that beat? Sure it could be a bit confusing at first but I urge you to try it out.

You can start with the drum trainer in Rock Band 2 at the lowest speed and concentrate on using both hands to hit the hi-hat notes (yellow pad). Keep increasing the speed and you'll pick it up in no time. Plus your style points will increase! :)

I started doing this a few months ago and I berely ever get tired now. I use this trick on almost every beat now.

I wonder if the real drummers do this too?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Score Reader 1.4 released!

Download Here

New feature:
- Ability to exclude DLC that you don't own to make score retrieval faster (see "DLC Options..." in "Tools" menu). Thanks to Alitar13 for the suggestion!

Keep an eye out for version 2.0 which will include Rock Band 2 support. This will be available shortly after the new website is ready (should be very soon).

(Original Post)

The Macas are now 3rd!

Considering that we had a shortened 2 hour session due to DMan going to a hockey game (our sessions usually last 3 to 4 hours), the fact that we improved on 9 songs and gained 729K is great. That moved us ahead of "The Nati Four" for 3rd (and 16th overall) and was close to our main goal of 800K.

We moved up to 3rd just in time to be listed in the "Community" page at (top 3 for Xbox 360 or PS3). Who knows what the format of the new website will be once it is updated for RB2 (should be very soon).

With two sessions remaining before RB2 comes out on PS3, our main goal will be to attempt to get 80M+ and be 2nd. We will need two sessions of 800K+. If we succeed, we will give the PS3 some respect for having all top 3 bands with at least 80M.

- We get some interesting paths online and it pays off
- We improve on "Timmy" by more than 200K
- We improve on "Brainpower" and "Paranoid" by more than 100K (now in 2nd place for "Brainpower")
- Sylvie once again does a great job on Bass (Raikan was sick)