First Success! First Failure! (and First Post!)

MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
edited October 2009 in The Rock Band Network
I've been lurking around here for a long time, being a Rock Band addict, but it finally took RBN to make me register an account. Hey everyone, it's a First Post Party! Woot!

I'm a musician and music software developer, so RBN is definitely my sort of thing. I'm eager to offer up music from myself, my collaborators, and projects I've produced.

So now I've had my First Success! I've taken an old track, bashed the audio into the proper stems and tracked the vocal as a MIDI note part (all in SONAR), and exported it all for subsequent import into Reaper... which I haven't used since 2007 or so! My, but things have changed since then.

So there was a learning-curve to bust with both Reaper and Magma. Some of those error messages from compiling are downright *arcane*! And the documentation is still "sketchy" at best. But with a liberal amount of trial and error, and an overall hacker work-ethic, I managed to break through the haze to achieve some clarity.

All told, start to finish, it took me 5 hours to remix/export my audio and learn the system enough to author a song with *only* a vocal part. But hey, First Success! And the tracks to follow will benefit from all the lessons learned and come quicker and quicker.

Of course, then there was a small battle with Audition mode. Had to re-up my Live Gold account, which I'd let lapse. Registered for XNA Premium membership. Then... nada. The Audition screen still locked me out. After poking around with my router and firewall settings, I eventually gave up to go catch a shower, in hopes that a little time would let my new membership data propagate to the necessary servers.

Sure enough, when I returned, Audition mode would now let me through! I then set up Magma to find the 360, sent my file, and I was in.

They say you'll always remember your first:

[ATTACH]5828[/ATTACH]
Expert Vocals: 3***, 83%

...but perhaps not fondly! Yes, I must admit that I take this as my First Failure, performing so abysmally on my *own* song. But it served to teach me points for improvement, mainly better following of pitch glides in the MIDI data since I don't exactly sing the song "straight".

And so we live and learn. Having gone through these initial hard knocks, I'm still very excited about the remaining upcoming challenges, such as learning the ins and outs of charting the actual instruments, and particularly Venue animation. Gonna be a lot of fun.

I hope everyone else who got the "late start" of waiting for the public beta is also meeting with some encouraging successes amidst their (hopefully comedic) failures. Please keep in touch and add your experiences to the community for those that follow!

Hugs, kisses, sympathy,

- m
319 x 280 - 59K

Comments

  • edited October 2009
    Welcome to the Rock Band forums.

    Authoring your first song is always the hardest and most time consuming. It gets a lot easier from here on out.
  • SonicRocker15XSonicRocker15X Headliner
    edited October 2009
    So THAT'S what the audition mode results screen looks like. I thought it'd look the same as normal but apparently not
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited October 2009
    Scorehero actually asked us to change it so people couldn't spoof scores using audition mode.

    We live to serve.
  • SonicRocker15XSonicRocker15X Headliner
    edited October 2009
    HMXMister_Game;3135175 said:
    Scorehero actually asked us to change it so people couldn't spoof scores using audition mode.

    We live to serve.
    Wait, so even if we set stuff on autoplay we still see the score they'd get?
  • Ten0101Ten0101 Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    Congrats Markleford! The first time I got my first track to compile in Magma was pretty great too. Hopefully HMX allows PAL 360s to run Audition mode soon so I can try it out in game!
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited October 2009
    SonicRocker15X;3135272 said:
    Wait, so even if we set stuff on autoplay we still see the score they'd get?
    Yes, you still get the score/stars, but no percentage or note streak (it will just say "AUTOPLAY").
  • DavyinaTogaDavyinaToga Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    Nice job, especially compiling MIDI in another DAW! That took guts. Now to make the job a hundred times more complicated - adding bass. Or guitar (x150). OR DRUMS(x500)!

    Keep it up!

    Laughs, cries, praises, scolds, turns back, give shoulder to cry on
    Davy
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited October 2009
    Oh, and Markleford, don't feel bad about your 83% on expert vocals. The singer from Coheed and Cambria tried to sing one of his songs in RB on expert and did worse than that. :)
  • CheesePopcornCheesePopcorn Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    Good job! Thinking about jumping in with a few clients myself if I can ever find the time. I'm booked solid into the first of next year.

    Good luck and keep it up!
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    trg007;3135565 said:
    Oh, and Markleford, don't feel bad about your 83% on expert vocals. The singer from Coheed and Cambria tried to sing one of his songs in RB on expert and did worse than that. :)
    Yeah, I heard that one! :)

    Sadly, when my wife came home from work, even she was able to beat my score... :p

    But here's the key: I've now refined the note authoring such that it reflects how I *actually* sing it. While the missus is very familiar with the song (her favorite of mine), she was singing it how it was on the *screen*.

    So I've put in the proper bends, falls, and various inflection so it's a better match to my actual performance, and can now score in the 5* 98% range. Whew! Confidence restored! ;)

    Also boosts my authoring confidence: I'm getting very familiar with the process so it's second nature. It helps that Reaper instantly allows you to bind "actions" to any key-combo: that's one thing that I wish SONAR did, so it looks like I'm going to be using Reaper as my authoring mainstay for everything after exporting the stem mixdown from SONAR. Right tool for the job, as it were.

    I'll probably do a brain-dump post on vocal authoring once I think I have it (mostly) under control. It sort of makes me wonder if the "live" wiki doco site has a lot of this stuff already, though: will it be redundant when we finally hit the "real" open beta?

    Thanks also to others for the general welcomes and messages of encouragement.

    - m
  • MrOwn1MrOwn1 Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    HMXEnosity;3135045 said:
    Welcome to the Rock Band forums.

    Authoring your first song is always the hardest and most time consuming. It gets a lot easier from here on out.
    Really?
    It took me an hour to chart all instruments on expert on my first chart.
    Maybe I'm just a natural. :)
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    MrOwn1;3138655 said:
    Really?
    It took me an hour to chart all instruments on expert on my first chart.
    Maybe I'm just a natural. :)
    Maybe so!

    Though I must beg off on the fact that half of my time was consumed by mixing down in my other audio host (SONAR), too! I imagine that, depending on complexity, given an already mixed vocal track (with guide) I could now probably narrow it down to an hour for *just* vocals. I'm too much of a perfectionist to call something "done" that quickly!

    (Heck, writing, recording, arranging, and mixing the songs themselves takes me much longer than the average musican: tweaktweaktweak...)

    I imagine by comparison that the other instruments will be quite quick, since you just have to concentrate on the timing of the gems, and determining some reliable chord motions for guitars. With vocals, I'm trying to extract every nuance of pitch bend. Guess I'll get to compare the relative efficiency of instrument authoring soon.

    (And more's the pity: this song is due for a re-record with an extra verse+chorus+bridge, so I'll have to do lots of it over again! But the missus wanted me to do this one first, since it's her favorite, so I'm just considering it 'disposable' for learning purposes...)

    Naturally, now that I've become familiar with the Reaper environment and all the RBN macros, I'll be able to shave a lot of that time off. Still: one hour for all instruments? My hat's off to you!

    I guess I have a goal to shoot for now, but I can imagine *refining* the results of such a flurry will take up considerably more time, all said and done. Please feel welcome to keep us up to date on how much longer it takes to give it the final spit and polish, with animations and all!

    - m
  • BillyBlaze314BillyBlaze314 Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    I wouldn't worry too much about it if it takes longer than an hour to author a part. In fact, it's probably better to spend more time with it; the quality will most likely be much better if you don't rush through it :)
  • GNFfhqwhgadsGNFfhqwhgads 99% Washed Up
    edited October 2009
    What does auto-play do for Overdrive? No activation, just testing the collection?

    And can you put in an actual good amount of OD triggers in vox songs, or is the number limited?
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited October 2009
    Markleford;3137336 said:
    So I've put in the proper bends, falls, and various inflection so it's a better match to my actual performance, and can now score in the 5* 98% range. Whew! Confidence restored! ;)
    I'd be interested to see this vocal chart when you upload it (if you're planning to do that when the open beta starts, that is). RB vocal charts tend to be much more simplified than the actual singer's performance; i.e., you don't chart vibrato, lead-ins or drop-offs (unless they have a clear starting/ending pitch) or consonant sounds.

    Basically, you can't expect the player who downloads your song to have to sing it precisely like you did, even though charting it that way may benefit you since it's your song. :)
    GNFfhqwhgads;3139765 said:
    What does auto-play do for Overdrive? No activation, just testing the collection?

    And can you put in an actual good amount of OD triggers in vox songs, or is the number limited?
    OD is activated by pressing down on the D-pad while in autoplay. If you have multiple instruments autoplaying, it will activate all of them (that have sufficient OD to activate) at the same time.

    If by "OD triggers" you mean activation windows, those are automatically put in by the game engine wherever there is at least 600 milliseconds between phrase markers. So, the amount that you have is based totally on the song itself; you can't force them where there is not enough space.
  • socrstoprsocrstopr Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    That's a d-pad on a standard xbox controller, btw. Up will fill everyone's OD bar, down will activate, left will slow the song down (a few different speeds) and right will speed it up (only one speed above normal).
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    MrOwn1;3138655 said:
    Really?
    It took me an hour to chart all instruments on expert on my first chart.
    Maybe I'm just a natural. :)
    I would say you must be fantastically talented at this and that no beginner should use your time as any kind of benchmark.

    I've used DAW software for many years, but it took me a couple hours just to feel good about my tempo track (maybe I'm slow)
  • MarklefordMarkleford Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    trg007;3139788 said:
    RB vocal charts tend to be much more simplified than the actual singer's performance; i.e., you don't chart vibrato, lead-ins or drop-offs (unless they have a clear starting/ending pitch) or consonant sounds.
    Well, certainly not vibrato! :) But there are already plenty of RB charts out there that do various bends and scoops and falls quite explicitly. (Think of the latest Alice in Chains DLC as an example.)

    I'm pretty far away from having a chart up at this point (and heck, I might even re-record everything!), but here's an example of a song of mine that will need a lot of vocal expression charting:

    One More Calamity

    It's almost one big portamento at times, sliding between notes quite regularly in almost a lounge style. ;)
    Basically, you can't expect the player who downloads your song to have to sing it precisely like you did, even though charting it that way may benefit you since it's your song. :)
    Well, I suppose the amount of precision required is also a determining factor in the difficultly level, no?

    And really, to chart it all with just "straight" notes would make it score poorly for *anyone* who is singing it by ear, not just me. Some of the documentation already describes this in relation to note timings, with judging how far the note tube should extend given the engine's difficultly with tracking particular consonants.

    - m
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