Why is it necessary to separate the parts?

HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
edited December 2009 in The Beatles: Rock Band
This is probably a dumb question, but a while ago, in another thread I asked about the cost of preparing DLC. The unanimous answer was that the biggest cost was splitting the original master into the various parts, ie, guitar, bass, drums & vocals. This seemed fair enough at the time but I've been thinking about it some more.

My new question is this... Why is it necessary to do this? The sound we hear when playing is the complete band, as originally recorded, with the note highways telling us which colours should be played.

Why would it not be possible to hire very competent session musicians, or even a Beatles tribute band, have them play the instruments as accurately as possible, and then use their notes on the display, still with the "real" Beatles music playing?

I'm pretty sure that the best of session musos would be able to replicate the playing of the individual Beatles instruments and voices with incredible fidelity, those guys are GOOD. For the vocals only accurate pitch would be required, they wouldn't have to actually sound like the Beatles.

It seems to me actual separation of the original recording would only be necessary if the volumes of the original instruments needed to be varied during gameplay but this never seems to happen. (Hitting a wrong note for your instrument or not hitting at all would still be signalled by a sound effect, as is currently done.)

Forgive me if the answer to this question is obvious, but I'm just not sure what function the apparently costly separation process achieves? Can somebody fill me in?

Comments

  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    MostSpartan14;3374735 said:
    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying but are you saying they should have another band cover the Beatles to make the process faster?

    a. This is a Beatles game, meant for Beatles music. Not some cheap rip-off of the Beatles. I don't think the fans would be to happy about that.

    b. HMX have to get the rights from the Beatles to use cover songs. I don't think the Beatles and Apple would let them do this, especially because it would be the Beatles performing songs that technically aren't performed by them in the game. It would pretty much be like having the Beatles performing Oasis songs or something.
    No! We never "hear" anything but the pure original Beatles, and liberties are taken in the game anyway, such as charting piano to guitar, and, at least on less than expert level, eliminating large numbers of notes to provide playability.

    I just want to know why the separation is necessary, it seems non-obvious to me! (perhaps I'm just dumb?)
  • TimmoWarnerTimmoWarner Opening Act
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3374737 said:
    I don't really see your logic there... I'm playing my bass, I still see the bass notes coming in time with the music, I hit them or miss them, just like now. What's the difference?
    The difference is, if you miss a note by not playing it at all instead of strumming at the wrong time producing a sound, it should be silent. If you were to just stop playing bass, the bass would not be heard while the rest of the band would still be at usual volume. Thus the illusion that you are actually playing the bass. Regular Rock Band does this for sure. I believe that The Beatles actually has something built in so you will start to hear noises if you don't play at all for a certain length of time to discourage... something.

    I'm not quite sure what this accomplishes but it's one of the many concessions that were made in order to actually get The Beatles to allow their music in a game.

    So, in order for there to be some illusion of actually playing the music, the original Beatles tracks had to be separated, not only for the benefits of the programmers making the note charts but for the people playing the game. Realistically, if you're only missing a couple of notes in a song, it's not very noticeable.
  • SetherexSetherex Rising Star
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3374743 said:
    I just want to know why the separation is necessary, it seems non-obvious to me! (perhaps I'm just dumb?)
    Perhaps.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    Okay, I think I'm starting to get it... :)

    I need to go back the TB:RB again and listen to what happens if I miss a note. (I prefer to play at a level where I miss very few, missing notes makes me cranky!.) I thought a missed note triggered a sound effect, rather than simply not sounding the note. I know there are definitely sound effects for missed notes, but maybe (as a poster above suggested) they are only triggered for long sequences of missed notes.

    Personally, if it meant more DLC because of reduced cost, rather than no more DLC, I'd be happy to settle for a bleep for a missed note rather than silence, if that's the only reason splitting is necessary.

    Thanks for the comments!
  • TimmoWarnerTimmoWarner Opening Act
    edited December 2009
    To be precise, strumming when there is no note (strumming too soon or too late) will always produce a sound.

    If you simply miss a note and don't strum at all, it should be silent.

    If you miss several notes, you should not be able to hear the instrument at all.

    If you CONTINUE to miss notes the screechy sounds for guitar and bass or clacky sound for drums will kick back in.

    Apparently this keeps people from being able to jam along with their real instruments while the relevant instrument in the game is silent. Not sure why they would want to stop that from happening...
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    TimmoWarner;3374803 said:
    To be precise, strumming when there is no note (strumming too soon or too late) will always produce a sound.

    If you simply miss a note and don't strum at all, it should be silent.

    If you miss several notes, you should not be able to hear the instrument at all.

    If you CONTINUE to miss notes the screechy sounds for guitar and bass or clacky sound for drums will kick back in.

    Apparently this keeps people from being able to jam along with their real instruments while the relevant instrument in the game is silent. Not sure why they would want to stop that from happening...
    I appreciate your precision! (Seriously!)

    I understand now why separation is required to produce that behaviour but it seems that a sound-effect bleep for a missed, or mis-hit, note would provide essentially the same gameplay experience and still prevent the jamming on real instruments at much less cost. If all that splitting achieves is silence on missed notes I'm not sure it's worth the money it apparently costs.

    I'm just scared we won't get more DLC if the costs are prohibitive and I know I'd settle for slightly sub-optimal DLC in preference to none.
  • MaxRenn82MaxRenn82 Opening Act
    edited December 2009
    Even if they simply did the best they could they need too because I want the older Beatles albums too. I think it would be forgivable for it to not sound absolutely perfect when I miss a note. I hear this is what makes it hard to make DLC for the older Beatles recordings. That'd just make me be really careful to not miss any. haha :p
  • wrecklasswrecklass Unsigned
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3374837 said:
    I'm just scared we won't get more DLC if the costs are prohibitive and I know I'd settle for slightly sub-optimal DLC in preference to none.
    You may need to learn to live with fear, it's a good life lesson.

    Also, don't expect sub-optimal DLC for this game. Apple would never tolerate it, and it is one of the things that makes this game as extraordinary as it is. If it costs too much to make a song, we won't get that song I suspect.

    Don't settle for sub-optimal anywhere in your life, another important life lesson.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    I played TB:RB again last night and I observe that the the first few (approximately six) missed notes are indeed muted before a sound effect takes over, whereas an incorrectly struck note is signalled by a sound effect. I must admit that in many hours of play I had not noticed the muting effect, probably because I tend to mis-hit rather than simply not play notes.

    I'm still of the opinion that, if this behaviour is the only reason for a complex exercise in splitting, then it's not worth the effort. Just treat a unplayed note in the same way as a mis-hit, they're both errors.
  • Rod_StixxRod_Stixx Road Warrior
    edited December 2009
    As a long time Beatles fan, I don't want to play Beatles Cover Band: Rock Band. I want the real deal. Yes, I know there are some fantastic session musicians out there, and great covers of Beatles music by some of the tributes, but this is supposed to be The Beatles music, and I'm pretty sure Apple, the shareholders (the Beatles/heirs), etc. wouldn't allow anything less than the actual tracks from the Beatles themselves.

    They don't protect the brand and licensing like they do just to issue inferior product.
  • OakTeaOakTea Road Warrior
    edited December 2009
    I understand your fear about the DLC...it's one that many of us have, and likely a fear that even Harmonix has.

    Maybe this doesn't apply to you, but I know that when I'm playing games that mimic the "plastic guitar" gameplay, and if I start missing notes, I can still hear the guitar...it really detracts from the gameplay. When that happens, for a lot of gamers, it doesn't feel like they're playing along with The Beatles...it feels like they're listening to The Beatles and pressing buttons on a video game controller. It just isn't the same, and it really isn't the true Beatles experience.

    It's the line that separates it from "Beatles Video Game" to make it "Beatles Experience".
  • Thrasher9294Thrasher9294 Opening Act
    edited December 2009
    It also allows them to Mix it properly to have better Sound quality.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    Rod_Stixx;3377533 said:
    As a long time Beatles fan, I don't want to play Beatles Cover Band: Rock Band. I want the real deal. Yes, I know there are some fantastic session musicians out there, and great covers of Beatles music by some of the tributes, but this is supposed to be The Beatles music, and I'm pretty sure Apple, the shareholders (the Beatles/heirs), etc. wouldn't allow anything less than the actual tracks from the Beatles themselves.

    They don't protect the brand and licensing like they do just to issue inferior product.
    I'm not suggesting that the actual music one hears should be anything other than the "Real Beatles." That would be UNTHINKABLE. I would despise it.

    All I'm examining is ways to avoid the separation process which is apparently so costly that in may prevent further DLC. If all it allows is the muting of an individual instrument when a note is completely missed, which could equally well be indicated by the same (or even a slightly different) sound effect as a mis-struck note then I don't think the cost is justified.
  • kkawachikkawachi Unsigned
    edited December 2009
    its important for the missed notes, and important for bringing the parts you play to the forefront of the mix.

    AN INDISPENSABLE PART OF THIS GAME THAT I LOVE!!!
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    OakTea;3377538 said:

    Maybe this doesn't apply to you, but I know that when I'm playing games that mimic the "plastic guitar" gameplay, and if I start missing notes, I can still hear the guitar...it really detracts from the gameplay. When that happens, for a lot of gamers, it doesn't feel like they're playing along with The Beatles...it feels like they're listening to The Beatles and pressing buttons on a video game controller. It just isn't the same, and it really isn't the true Beatles experience.

    It's the line that separates it from "Beatles Video Game" to make it "Beatles Experience".
    How often do you completely miss a note, ie, fail to strum it? Me, hardly ever. If it "bleeped" when I did, instead of being silent I wouldn't care much, if at all. (I might miss a few on really long sequences of the same note or chord, especially those which need alt-strumming, which I'm still not very good at. I'll check in RB, there's not much of that in TB:RB.)

    The experience is a bit weird anyway, charting piano and other instruments to guitar is hardly "realistic" is it? But that doesn't worry me either, it's fine by me.

    And one guitar that plays whatever notes from John and Paul's guitars makes for the best gameplay at that point in the song? That's not remotely realistic either, but does it detract from the gameplay? No, not for me anyway! I'd much rather have that technique than being forced to be either George or John all the way through an entire play session, which would be the "realistic" alternative.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    kkawachi;3378792 said:
    ... and important for bringing the parts you play to the forefront of the mix.

    AN INDISPENSABLE PART OF THIS GAME THAT I LOVE!!!
    Is that actually true? Do they slightly boost the instruments that have been charted? It must be pretty slight because all the songs sound (to my elderly ears!) very close to the original mixes I know and love.
  • TimmoWarnerTimmoWarner Opening Act
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3378875 said:
    Is that actually true? Do they slightly boost the instruments that have been charted? It must be pretty slight because all the songs sound (to my elderly ears!) very close to the original mixes I know and love.
    I know this is true in Regular Rock Band for sure. I can't say I've noticed it in The Beatles as much... I appreciate it a lot when playing bass.
  • MurphyRockMurphyRock Rising Star
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3374720 said:
    I'm pretty sure that the best of session musos would be able to replicate the playing of the individual Beatles instruments and voices with incredible fidelity, those guys are GOOD. For the vocals only accurate pitch would be required, they wouldn't have to actually sound like the Beatles.
    A) You've got to be kidding me.
    B) Sacrilege!

    If this game had been covers of The Beatles songs as opposed to The Beatles' own music, I would never have bought it. Even in RB2, I sometimes don't download DLC of songs I like because they are done by an inferior cover band (example: T-Rex's "Bang a Gong" - how dare they try to cover that!).

    The separation of tracks has to be done because it is necessary to vary the volume of the different instruments. Just for instance, when a wrong note is played, that instrument has to be muted.
  • PCTraitorPCTraitor Road Warrior
    edited December 2009
    Wow I do not understand how this guy really thinks that the removal of the sound isn't necessary. If you want to test it just play the game on no fail, do not plug in your guitar and when you hit a wrong note make a sound with your mouth to represent the missed note. It's a totally different and shallow experience. You really do feel disconnected from the game. If this guy cannot get that then there is no reasoning with him.
  • skysawskysaw Opening Act
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3378875 said:
    Is that actually true? Do they slightly boost the instruments that have been charted? It must be pretty slight because all the songs sound (to my elderly ears!) very close to the original mixes I know and love.
    It is absolutely true. This really started to be noticeable when I started charting my own band's music for the upcoming RBN. If all instruments are playing, you should be hearing the song in its original intended form. But if you just play by yourself on one instrument, you will hear that part just a bit louder than it otherwise would be.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    skysaw;3381771 said:
    It is absolutely true. This really started to be noticeable when I started charting my own band's music for the upcoming RBN. If all instruments are playing, you should be hearing the song in its original intended form. But if you just play by yourself on one instrument, you will hear that part just a bit louder than it otherwise would be.
    Interesting, and in that case it's not surprising I've never noticed it because because I don't recall ever having played alone. I'll give it a try. But, given that you didn't notice it until you were charting for RBN, do you really think that it's important to the gameplay?
  • Julio_Strikes_BackJulio_Strikes_Back Headliner
    edited December 2009
    Having the instruments separated into individual tracks helps with both the audio and gameplay aspects of the game. If the tracks become separated, it becomes easier to create a higher-quality digital mix since there are more components that can be adjusted. And after all, it's "The Beatles: Rock Band," not the other way around. I'm glad that such effort was put into splitting the master tracks to make the music sound better, which is the focus of the game.

    Also, having a note drop out of the track of the instrument you're playing on when making a mistake adds a bit to realism and also helps remind you of which specific part you missed. It is personally interesting to me, as a Beatles fan to get the sense of actually affecting their performances through the game. The experience would be totally cheapened if the changes you suggested took place.
  • Billy-93Billy-93 Rising Star
    edited December 2009
    if it wasn't seperated they couldnt take out the guitar parts that say the guitarist might miss without muting,vocals bass n drums at same time.
  • gamegyro56gamegyro56 Road Warrior
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3374720 said:
    Why would it not be possible to hire very competent session musicians, or even a Beatles tribute band, have them play the instruments as accurately as possible, and then use their notes on the display, still with the "real" Beatles music playing?

    I'm pretty sure that the best of session musos would be able to replicate the playing of the individual Beatles instruments and voices with incredible fidelity, those guys are GOOD. For the vocals only accurate pitch would be required, they wouldn't have to actually sound like the Beatles.
    That's a stupid idea.
  • CCDaDonCCDaDon Headliner
    edited December 2009
    One thing that has not been brought up is that the seperation also allows Harmonix to hear what is being played properly and allows them to make a batter quality note chart because of it.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    CCDaDon;3383127 said:
    One thing that has not been brought up is that the seperation also allows Harmonix to hear what is being played properly and allows them to make a batter quality note chart because of it.
    That's exactly why I thought of using expert session players to generate separate tracks, essentially using the human ear, rather than forensic software to pull out the separate instruments, if doing it the current way is so prohibitively expensive. The HMX folks would still have the separated tracks to work with.

    And for all those folks who don't seem to read entire threads, or have poor comprehension skills, I never suggested for one second that the music we hear should be anything other than the Beatles pure, unadulterated sound. My session muso idea was purely to simplify the process in the hope of saving some money.

    And for the purists who seem to reel in horror at the merest mention of session musos or tribute bands may I remind you that HMX have already established a precedent for this by using tribute bands for motion capture...
    "To make sure the characters moved properly, Harmonix hired Beatles tribute bands and filmed them wearing motion-capture suits."

    From the "While My Guitar Gently Beeps" article in the NY Times.

    Now, they could have got Paul and Ringo to do that (and I know they did use Dhani) but they didn't. Because the "real Beatles" time was to valuable they compromised.
  • CCDaDonCCDaDon Headliner
    edited December 2009
    Expert session musicians or not it wouldn't work because even if you know a song by heart you won't be able to play the studio versions note for note and keep the same tempo. It'd just be plain dumb to try something like that.
  • solidsnakejtsolidsnakejt Road Warrior
    edited December 2009
    Hobotivo;3376477 said:
    I played TB:RB again last night and I observe that the the first few (approximately six) missed notes are indeed muted before a sound effect takes over, whereas an incorrectly struck note is signalled by a sound effect. I must admit that in many hours of play I had not noticed the muting effect, probably because I tend to mis-hit rather than simply not play notes.

    I'm still of the opinion that, if this behaviour is the only reason for a complex exercise in splitting, then it's not worth the effort. Just treat a unplayed note in the same way as a mis-hit, they're both errors.
    its always been that way since way back when guitar hero 1 was released.
    i dont think they will ever do it any other way.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    CCDaDon;3383251 said:
    Expert session musicians or not it wouldn't work because even if you know a song by heart you won't be able to play the studio versions note for note and keep the same tempo. It'd just be plain dumb to try something like that.
    Note for note I think could be done, maybe not first take, but eventually. (Mind you, I wouldn't fancy doing Helter Skelter personally!)

    Tempo could be adjusted "manually" post-recording. I'm pretty sure the Beatles' engineers did this anyway, when they used sections from different takes in which the tempos didn't quite line up.
  • HobotivoHobotivo Roadie
    edited December 2009
    solidsnakejt;3383335 said:
    its always been that way since way back when guitar hero 1 was released.
    i dont think they will ever do it any other way.
    Probably not, I just tossed the idea into the ring as an alternative to all the "I want (insert song) as DLC" threads. I can't participate in them as I want IT ALL so I tried to think of a way to make the DLC authoring process cheaper.
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