RBN Specs constructive criticism

DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
edited October 2009 in The Rock Band Network
The Specs pages on creators.rockband.com are fantastic already, but there are still plenty of work that can be done on them. They are a wiki, meaning that anyone can help edit, clarify, and expand each page. Currently, however, that "everyone" is really "everyone in closed beta."

Though most of us cannot access the change logs of the pages, we can still find and show things on the documents that may need a little modification. I've spent the good part of 2 hours going through them and noting everything that was a bit hazy to me. Since I can't make a personal note on the discussion page for each document, I decided to make this thread so all non-beta members can have a chance to give input and ideas to increasing the quality of the Specs, until editing them becomes public.


Issues are generally listed by the page they most apply to.


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Main_Page

-Please link Spec/Reaper alongside the first Spec/Mix and MIDI Setup link. You have to read both to really know the how and when to mix, and it feel like that info is split between the two pages (which it really is, since there seems to be two stages of mixing described in the docs - Stem creation (covered in Reaper page) and Stem mixing (in Mix and MIDI page) ).

-At the links on top, can Reaper be placed before authoring?? Kinda better to learn about the program itself first, before getting to learn how to use it easier.


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Mix_and_MIDI_Setup
1. K* - Kick Drum: Mono
2. SN* - Snare Drum: Stereo
3. CYM* - Kit Mix: Stereo (Usually Overhead Mics plus any direct Tom Mics)
1. NB: The game can handle several Different types of Drum mixes, anything from a single stereo combined drum file up to stereo files for each of the 3 Drum files listed above. The Rock Band template file is set up assuming that you have the Drum mix listed above. If your Drum mix is different, please refer to the Drum Authoring Doc and make sure that the drum mix text events in the MIDI file match the format of your drum audio files.
-So... if the drums are in one stereo track, what do I do with the one track? Does it go in the CYM and K and SN stay blank? Do I rename one of them DRUM or KIT and delete the two extra blank tracks? The Drum Authoring link doesn't say what to do with the drum audio tracks, it only explains how to let the drum MIDI track know what it has for drum tracks.

-Reference Dryvox - if there is no dry vocals track and we have to use the wet one, is it copied from the VOX track into the Dryvox track?

-How does ones maek TRKS file? :cool: Please either reiterate how, or link to Reaper page.


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Reaper_for_Macs

-No pics/broken links.


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Reaper

-No pic/broken link regarding Count-In.

-How about adding a glossary somewhere, too?


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Guitar_and_Bass_Authoring

-Mention that the Force HOPO On/Off should only appear over thenote to be/not be HOPO'd. Is it ok if you want a whole section HOPO'd to have one Force HOPO event overlap them all?


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Vocal_Authoring
The percussion animation markers like [tambourine_start] mean the system switches to a set of percussion animations for the singer on tambourine. This switch occurs on the camera cut following the animation marker. The percussion animation sets have 2 states, play and idle, and the singer will continue using the last animation they were in when switching over to the percussion set.
For example, If the animation state was [play], after [tambourine_start] is read on the track, the singer will be playing the tambourine at the next camera cut after the marker. If the state was [idle], the singer stays in idle state, but with a tambourine in his/her hand.
-For some reason, this whole section on percussion events confused me like whoa.
So, for example, if the song is going into a vocal break that has a long period of time before any percussion starts, if there was NOT an [idle] text event between the end of the singing and the [(percussion)_start] text event (for example, if I put the [perc_start] near the beginning of the break), then on the next camera cut the singer will start wailing on percussion? Do I need an [idle]? Should I hold off the [perc_start] event until just before the percussion hits actually start? Would I need a [play] marker anywhere, whether or not there's an [idle]? Should thee be an [idle] after a perc secion if there's a few measures between the end of perc and the start of singing?
Can we just have a few in-game examples of how the animation markers are used in conjunction with percussion?


http://creators.rockband.com/spec/Camera_And_Lights

-So, the post-process notes are actual notes, but they have "text event"-esque names. Is the similarity just arbitrary and/or coincidental, or can they be used as text events?

-If I want the venue to be ( [lighting (silhouette)] for example) at the beginning of the song, I need to place a [verse] marker at the beginning of the song, then the lighting tag right after it? Do I need [verse] tags at the start of every verse, even if they're consecutive, or just at the end of a [chorus]?

-"Keyframe." Huh. New term. What is a 'keyframe'? I'm guessing that the lighting commands have a specific rotation of colors and textures that they cycle through, and each change is a 'keyframe.' Correct?

-Also guessing the manual lighting call text events are used in conjunction with the three lighting trigger notes to take control over essentially what the automatic Lighting call events can do on its own.

-For Full Band Directed cuts, does the [cut directed_brej] replace [cut directed_bre] and add the final note animation to it, or do I have to switch to the [brej] from the [bre] for the final note?

-Overall, if there's a MIDI note listed, can it ALWAYS have the number? I found a few that only had the note name, but I don't remember where they are, nor can I find them.




Sidenote: I gotta say, after digging through those docs... wow. Some of the things to pull off really awesome shots have you coordinating tons of events on several different MIDI tracks at once!! Crazy. Not only could the speed of the BEAT Track be doubled to ramp up the energy from a mellow breakdown section into a raucous final chorus section, but set lighting to frenzy in the VENUE track, while also direct the camera to capture the both the guitarist and vocals (even adding lip-syncing to the guitarist), and make the crowd go nuts in EVENTS, on top of all the individual animations for the characters!
Talk about a stack of work! I almost can't believe how much care you guys have (and we can) put into each and every song, or that the game can even process it all. It's almost mind-boggling.

Comments

  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    -Mac's built-in TextEdit app can't read or save .txt files. I (Davy) can look for a freeware app online that will, and hopefully a link can be provided?
    Yes it can. What difficulty are you having with it?
  • HMXPinaforeHMXPinafore Harmonix Developer
    edited October 2009
    Davyina, thanks so so much for the really detailed feedback. We're in the process of revamping the documents so this'll help a ton.


    To quickly address the mac .txt file thing, If you go into the format menu in notepad, and select Make plain text, you can then save as a .txt file.

    Again, thanks so much for making this thread, if anyone has more feedback on the docs please post here.

    Thanks, Caleb
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited October 2009
    This is great feedback, thank you.

    Since you are looking at static versions of the wiki, the changes that I make aren't going to be updated right away. We don't have a specific schedule for updating these pages, but hopefully fairly soon we will be opening the website to a public beta, and everyone can have access to the full wiki.

    - The links you suggested on Main_Page are good, I'll add them.
    - In Magma, you can pick the submixes that are allowable, and it will show you which tracks are allowed. If you only have two tracks, you would pick the "Kit" submix.
    - Yes, if you have to, use the wet vox (but mono and 16K). This may result in weird lip sync behavior if you have lots of effects (besides vocal scoring generation, the primary use of the dry vox is to generate the lip sync animations).
    - The missing images will hopefully get fixed in the next website update.
    - Guitar neck placement: NOT a typo. Think of pitch. When guitarists talk about moving "Up" the neck, they are talking about closer to the body, because that's where the higher notes are. Same for the MIDI notes, moving UP on the track means higher pitch, and that matches the pitch of the notes on the neck being played. I know it seems confusing, but it's pretty standard guitar-talk (like calling the thinnest string the "top" string), and you will get used to it pretty quickly. After a while, knowing that "Top" and "Highest" always refers to pitch starts to make sense.
    - I'll look into the camera and lighting items and see if we can't clarify those as well.
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    HMXPinafore;3133632 said:
    To quickly address the mac .txt file thing, If you go into the format menu in notepad, and select Make plain text, you can then save as a .txt file.
    Wow, after reading that I facepalmed so hard I left bruises. IIIIIIIIII'm dumb.
    HMXMister_Game;3133762 said:
    - Guitar neck placement: NOT a typo. Think of pitch. When guitarists talk about moving "Up" the neck, they are talking about closer to the body, because that's where the higher notes are. Same for the MIDI notes, moving UP on the track means higher pitch, and that matches the pitch of the notes on the neck being played. I know it seems confusing, but it's pretty standard guitar-talk (like calling the thinnest string the "top" string), and you will get used to it pretty quickly. After a while, knowing that "Top" and "Highest" always refers to pitch starts to make sense.
    Ok, so it's ALL relative to hearing. Even though the hand visibly moves "downward" it's still going up in pitch (which is how you apply up and down). Ok, that's what threw me off there. Cool.

    I'm glad I can be of some small help at this point, Pinafore and Mr Game. I know soon everyone else will, too. You guys can keep updating things at your own pace; I'm in no rush to get the docs absolutely perfect, I'm too busy having fun authoring. :)
  • ImaCarrotImaCarrot Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    You need to add the [play] event before the percussion starts to have the singer actually do the percussion animations. If you leave it on [idle], the singer won't bang along with the percussion notes.

    Post process notes are just notes, there aren't any text events associated with them that I can think of. The post process notes work differently than the rest of the notes, the effect fades in over the length of the note, coming into full by the end.

    You always place [verse] at 1.1.00 to initiate the lighting system, you then place your lighting event of choice where you want it after you place the [verse] marker. You can have the lighting event at 1.1.00 as well as long as you add it after you add [verse]. If you add the lighting at 1.1.00 and then add [verse] at 1.1.00, Magma will fail during compile and it'll tell you that the lighting has to come after [verse], which is a bit misleading since it doesn't have to be after it in time, just placed after it when you add them.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Count In
    Unless there is a strong count-in in the music, a 2 measure long count-in is added to the beginning of the TRKS file (in the standard "one, two, one two three four" style). This count in can be a standard, sample based count-in, but is more often crafted from snippets of the CYM track.

    If there is no other sound before the count-in, the first beat of the count-in should mark the start of the TRKS file. The tempo for the count in should match the tempo for the first bars of music (Pro Tools and Reaper can calculate tempo based on the length of a selection; select exactly one bar and that will provide an accurate tempo). Be sure to note the tempo for use as a starting point for the tempo map.
    One suggestion I have for the docs is to go through them carefully to repair anything in the "passive" voice. Such as "a 2 measure long count-in is added". Added by whom? By the author, or by Magma?

    In this case, I'm pretty sure I have to do it. But I'm really unclear on it. All RBN songs will have a count in I guess? Do all HMX-charted songs have them?

    And in the second quoted paragraph, "If there is no other sound before the count-in"?? What sound would be before the count-in?

    Thanks!
  • SHPhr34kSHPhr34k Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    For the count-in, you generally need to solo out the hi-hat or overheads stem and try to find a single solitude hi-hat hit to use as a sample. You then copy and paste that (in time) in a 1, 2, 1 2 3 4 format before your first playable notes. The general idea behind this is to allow the player to hear the beat to get ready to play.

    I've included an image that shows the usage of the count-in.

    http://img245.imageshack.us/img245/8830/countin.png
  • MarsPhoenixMarsPhoenix Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    I think it would be cool if the lighting/camera specs had screenshots of each different color effect and such, rather than just describing them. I can't use Audition Mode except when I'm at home, and although I'm going home this weekend, I won't have time to record every lighting effect most likely (though I will if I do have time).
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    SHPhr34k;3156408 said:
    For the count-in, you generally need to solo out the hi-hat or overheads stem and try to find a single solitude hi-hat hit to use as a sample. You then copy and paste that (in time) in a 1, 2, 1 2 3 4 format before your first playable notes. The general idea behind this is to allow the player to hear the beat to get ready to play.

    I've included an image that shows the usage of the count-in.

    http://img245.imageshack.us/img245/8830/countin.png
    Thank you Sean. That is how I had set it up but for some reason the description of it in the docs just made me doubt myself. Especially that line about "if there is no other sound before the count-in".
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    MarsPhoenix;3156987 said:
    I think it would be cool if the lighting/camera specs had screenshots of each different color effect and such, rather than just describing them. I can't use Audition Mode except when I'm at home, and although I'm going home this weekend, I won't have time to record every lighting effect most likely (though I will if I do have time).
    Genius! You... *waggles finger* :)

    So I found where MIDI notes are listed solely by the note name and not by number - positioning Left hand on guitars. It states E1-B2, then gives no number.
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited October 2009
    MarsPhoenix;3156987 said:
    I think it would be cool if the lighting/camera specs had screenshots of each different color effect and such, rather than just describing them. I can't use Audition Mode except when I'm at home, and although I'm going home this weekend, I won't have time to record every lighting effect most likely (though I will if I do have time).
    Well, start taking screenshots, and I'll put them in the wiki :-)
  • MarsPhoenixMarsPhoenix Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Didn't have time =/ My only way to capture that kind of stuff would be a DVD recorder and my parents were too busy to set it up at the time when I had actually gotten a song into Audition Mode.

    Sorry guys! If no one gets this done by the next opportunity I have to use Audition Mode (I can't in college) then I'll do it next time.
  • Ten0101Ten0101 Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    Screenshots/videos of the lighting effects would be great! If anybody has the time, videos of the directed cuts would be really useful as well, especially for those of who can't use Audition mode yet.
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited October 2009
    I agree, and I would be happy to add them to the docs if anyone has the time to make them.

    Video isn't supported by our wiki yet (but it could be added).
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