Women Themed Week

I believe this has been mentioned once before, but with this weeks Rivals theme it's just screaming at me. Through a pompadour hairdo, and a Freddie Mercury 'stache.

Basically, it's the complaint about the position swap to support the gender roles based on the vocals. I was excited to have Michelle Branch added into Rock Band. I got everything setup, the song starts playing, and suddenly my screen is filled with a close up of my lead singer character. He's based off the Rockabilly style, but in that moment he was just glaringly disruptive.

I shambled through a few menu choices, and changed the assignments. Still, though. I always like that it would auto switch the two positions based on the vocals. There's probably no way for them to add that into the programming now, but it was a small touch that really helped the immersion.

Comments

  • GraffinGraffin Rising Star
    I don't think it matters in this day and age. Men can look like women and vice-versa. Besides, the characters in RB4 are terrible anyway (you essentially have a choice of being anorexic or a chunky meathead). I really miss the level of customisation we had in RB3.

    I do however wonder if we'll get a "boy's week", with only male artists being the focus.
  • GLaDOSGLaDOS Opening Act
    If they did add this feature back in, how would they handle the song(s) that sort under "Non-Binary Vocalist"

    The times of Rock Band 4 as compared to the times of Rock Band 1 are pretty different, gender fluidity as a concept didn't really have the same widespread acceptance it does now and consequently it makes stuff like this seem difficult when from our perspectives it's a "Feature" but from someone else's perspective it's potentially putting people in a box they don't want to be in.

    I personally would love if they added it back in because I agree the skinny cartoon version of me looks just as unnatural belting "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as I do in real life, but I completely see why they don't.
  • @thatmarkguy. What you said is how I'd prefer it be done if Harmonix ever decides this is something worth changing.

    As it currently works, if you never assign a created character to the vocalist stand-in slot, the game automatically switches using the pre-fab characters. I want for that to apply to created characters as well. I'm not sure how it handles songs with non-binary singers currently though.
  • edited March 12
    EliBell1 said:

    I'm not sure how it handles songs with non-binary singers currently though.

    GLaDOS said:

    If they did add this feature back in, how would they handle the song(s) that sort under "Non-Binary Vocalist"

    Funnily enough I came up with a solution to this in my YUS thread. Basically, I would have it that you can assign a male and a female vocalist and the game swaps as appropriate. If you pick a non-binary-fronted song or an instrumental, it either goes with what the previous song in your playlist has. If you open with one or more instrumentals/non-binary-fronted songs, but have a male or female specific one later one, it picks based on that song. If you're only playing instrumentals/non-binary-fronted songs it picks one at random for the first song and sticks with it for the playlist.

    Unfortunately I'm not sure how to test how it currently handles Cold Clear Light without deleting all my current bands. :(
  • edited March 13

    I would say the optimal solution here would be to allow players assign vocalists for the three roles, and have no restrictions on them. That way, if people want the same singer for all three (Man, Woman, and Non-Binary), they can set it up that way, and if they want the singer to swap out, they can have it be any way they want (if for example they want to have a woman singing male-lead songs, and vice versa, they can have that).

    That'd be the best solution. Everyone wins.
    Vexus said:

    Unfortunately I'm not sure how to test how it currently handles Cold Clear Light without deleting all my current bands. :(

    I think all you'd need to do is erase the character assigned to the vocals stand-in, not the entire band.

    I might try this when I get off work today.

    Edit:

    I checked this yesterday evening, and the bolded statement above does not work. The game just assigns one of the Harmonix created characters to the vocalist stand-in slot if you erase the character you have assigned to it. A full band erase is necessary.
  • LordFlatusLordFlatus Rising Star
    There were tons and tons of complaints in RB3 about the game automatically switching out the assigned vocalist. People wanted their assigned vocalist to be the vocalist.

    LHV's proposal would work for all parties. Except it seems like it would work with two genders and "no-swap" for non-binary song.
  • wh1t3kn1tewh1t3kn1te Opening Act
    Graffin said:

    I don't think it matters in this day and age. Men can look like women and vice-versa. Besides, the characters in RB4 are terrible anyway (you essentially have a choice of being anorexic or a chunky meathead). I really miss the level of customisation we had in RB3.

    I do however wonder if we'll get a "boy's week", with only male artists being the focus.

    unfortunately we probably wont, because by todays standards this is considered sexist. ;p

  • EliBell1 said:

    I think all you'd need to do is erase the character assigned to the vocals stand-in, not the entire band.

    I was wrong about this. Erasing the character assigned as your vocalist stand-in just causes the game to assign one of the Harmonix created characters to that spot.

    Since I still wanted to test how vocalist switching works by default but didn't want to erase my band, I logged in to my sister's account. She's never played Rock Band 4, so no band had been created.

    Here's a basic breakdown of how the game assigns the vocalist. This is returning to the song select screen after every song and not creating a setlist.

    All vocalists are men:

    Song 1: Bogart Dave randomly chosen from Harmonix created characters.
    Song 2: Bogart Dave
    Song 3: Bogart Dave

    All vocalists are women:

    Song 1: Yukiko randomly chosen from Harmonix created characters.
    Song 2: Yukiko
    Song 3: Yukiko

    Alternating between the vocalist being a man or a woman:

    Song 1: Bogart Dave randomly chosen.
    Song 2: Yukiko randomly chosen.
    Song 3: Declan randomly chosen.
    Song 4: Irene the Cat Lady randomly chosen.
    Song 5: Proper Alan randomly chosen.

    Here's how songs with a non-binary singer are assigned a vocalist:

    Song 1 vocalist is a man: Bogart Dave randomly chosen.
    Song 2 vocalist is non-binary: Bogart Dave

    Song 1 vocalist is a woman: Yukiko randomly chosen.
    Song 2 vocalist is non-binary: Yukiko

    Basically, the game doesn't make a choice on the song with a non-binary vocalist. The last vocalist assigned stays the vocalist no matter if they are a man or a woman.

    Playing songs in a setlist differs from the above in that the singer is assigned based on the gender of the first song's vocalist and then stays the same throughout the remaining songs no matter the gender of the vocalists after that.
  • edited March 14
    Edit: Double Post
  • Graffin said:

    I don't think it matters in this day and age. Men can look like women and vice-versa. Besides, the characters in RB4 are terrible anyway (you essentially have a choice of being anorexic or a chunky meathead). I really miss the level of customisation we had in RB3.

    I do however wonder if we'll get a "boy's week", with only male artists being the focus.

    unfortunately we probably wont, because by todays standards this is considered sexist. ;p

    I can think of a lot of reasons why a "boys week" wouldn't work, and none of them are anything to do with faux-sexism. A lot of them are actually reasons why I was disappointed with the "girls week".
    1. It was entirely based around lead vocalist gender. The genders of the songwriters, instrumentalists and backing vocalists didn't matter, unless that person is Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth I guess? (Teen Age Riot, a song marked as male-fronted by the game, counted).
    2. Despite this, some songs didn't count. Some were added in later but even at the end, songs like Milwaukee and Little Talks didn't even though the game considers them female-led songs.
    3. Unrelated to the issues with the "girls week", there's also that the vast majority of songs available are male-led, and to me at least it feels like there's less of a variety of music available with female lead singers.
    Personally I'd say any song that was written by a female songwriter and/or features a female guitarist, bassist, drummer and/or vocalist should count (It's Rock BAND after all), but then for a "boys week" the same standard should apply for consistency, meaning that point three is even more one-sided. Evanescence, for example, have only ever had two female members (Amy Lee and Jen Majura), with every other member being male. It also means that a lot of songs end up counting for both, making the whole exercise rather pointless.

    And that's just the issues I feel comfortable bringing up.
  • I can't imagine how complicated must be the process to make the vocalist swap possible... must be an ingeeniering challenge or something, and for people who don't like this, there should be an option in band customization: "[ ] VOCALS GENDER SWAP". Turning something this simple into a sexism and politically correction discussion sounds like a poor excuse.
  • thatmarkguythatmarkguy Road Warrior
    edited March 13
    I understand the main issue is UI clutter and confusion. I mean, the game *has* vocalist swap, if you don't have a defined stand-in band at all. If you play quickplay with no defined band the standins will pick the right gender singer for you (*most of the time) and will swap your entire band when you get to an opposite-gender-singer song (again, getting your singer gender-matching the song, most of the time).

    When they put in the fix that made touring band stand-ins the defaults for quickplay, they were handcuffed to whatever the touring-band-defining interface had. And I believe that's the main point of contention - they don't want to have to redefine the interface, and make it more complicated, to accommodate this. Their perspective seems to be "You wanted a locked in touring band in quickplay, we gave it to you, now shut up". It seems their impression is that if they were to put in the work of creating an interface that allows the defining of multiple different vocalists, the outcry from people who can't figure it out is a greater negative than the appreciation from those who want it is a positive.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    It occurs to me right now that there's more to it than just UI, though. If you define two more character models, that's two more character models that have to be loaded in memory in a setlist. It doesn't matter if they're the same singer, they have to have the ability to swap out the character model in between any given song. Then you have to figure out how that impacts the rest of the process.

    Before this, they didn't have to worry about checking the gender flag on every song. (They might have some legacy code left over from 1.0, but it's entirely possible it got scrapped after band definitions. I don't even remember if they swapped between songs in 1.0, or if first song set the stage.) Beyond that, they need to figure out: when do we load those models in? Do we do it at the top of the set list, which will mean longer initial loading times and more memory used? Or do we do it in between songs, which will mean longer times between songs and potential corruption (because what happens if the model is loaded on a bad sector of the hard drive, or some other system action causes an issue)? Or do we ignore all that and make it so that the first song drives the gender of the singer for the entire set list, which means people are still going to experience singer dysphoria?

    Then of course there's the playtesting and QA. Appy's gonna have to try three billion things to make sure it's relatively stable, and then when it goes live he's going to have to figure out all the edge cases that people catch, yada yada yada.

    So I get there's work to be done. It's not a magical switch, and it's going to cost a lot more in the long term than you'd think a simple UI changeup would merit. But it's a fantastic QoL changeup that maybe they should consider for a future point release.
  • edited March 14
    With the current state of gender fluidity in general, I can only imagine that trying to put something that will appease everybody would generate a ton of back end work on Harmonix’s part. Many songs are from decades ago and have had singers that have found new ways to express their identities that may not match the identity that they had when a song was produced or added to rock band.

    I could easily see this as a never ending cycle of constantly trying to affirm which artists identify as male/female/nonbinary and then find a way for the game to facilitate that. Not to mention there’s an immense up front burden of going through every song in the catalogue and matching up each singers identity based on.... what exactly? You would have to ask every singer to confirm what gender they would like to be represented as in their game, and it may not even be the same in perpetuity. I just don’t think it’s feasible to include, at least in a way that would please everybody based on the suggestions in this thread.
  • @Xanicide_. Harmonix already assigns a gender to the vocalist of every song released. You're even able to sort your song library by that criteria.
  • Xanicide_ said:

    With the current state of gender fluidity in general, I can only imagine that trying to put something that will appease everybody would generate a ton of back end work on Harmonix’s part. Many songs are from decades ago and have had singers that have found new ways to express their identities that may not match the identity that they had when a song was produced or added to rock band.

    I could easily see this as a never ending cycle of constantly trying to affirm which artists identify as male/female/nonbinary and then find a way for the game to facilitate that. Not to mention there’s an immense up front burden of going through every song in the catalogue and matching up each singers identity based on.... what exactly? You would have to ask every singer to confirm what gender they would like to be represented as in their game, and it may not even be the same in perpetuity. I just don’t think it’s feasible to include, at least in a way that would please everybody based on the suggestions in this thread.

    What @EliBell1 said. In addition, Harmonix can already do it by individual song, as shown by acts like the B-52's, Fleetwood Mac and Sonic Youth having some songs listed as male-fronted and others as female-fronted.

    Gender identity is also really not an issue for the vast majority of artists - yes, there are non-binary identifying artists (such as Johnny Blazes and the Pretty Boys) and vocalists who have transitioned (such as Laura Jane Grace from Against Me) but 99.9% of acts in the game and who are likely to make it into the game won't have an issue with what gender they're represented under in the menus. Harmonix has always struck me as a progressive-friendly company too, so they would likely be aware of the 0.1% and no doubt be able to work with the acts and representatives thereof who might be tricky to work with.

    I just want to play Rock Band 4 and have my vocalists switch out automatically if I so choose. :(
  • thatmarkguythatmarkguy Road Warrior
    edited March 14
    Yep, right now every song in the game is categorized as to whether its lead singer is masculine, feminine, nonbinary (Johnny Blazes is the only one right now), or absent (no charted vocals part). The game already makes use of this info if you quickplay without a defined stand-in band (your random band will assign a masculine or feminine singer matching the song, most of the time). The logic and singer-gender attribute exists, it just got gummed up by the update that locked in your touring band (and its sole singer stand-in) for quickplay.


    At present, the game does associate the songs of Against Me as having a masculine singer; she now publicly identifies as a transgender woman. I imagine if she ever asked HMX to swap the songs to feminine lead vocal they would happily accommodate.
  • At present, the game does associate the songs of Against Me as having a masculine singer; she now publicly identifies as a transgender woman. I imagine if she ever asked HMX to swap the songs to feminine lead vocal they would happily accommodate.

    It's worth pointing out also that the Against Me songs did count for the female artists challenge last week, so Harmonix have acknowledged that fact too.
  • tdc002tdc002 Road Warrior

    Graffin said:

    I don't think it matters in this day and age. Men can look like women and vice-versa. Besides, the characters in RB4 are terrible anyway (you essentially have a choice of being anorexic or a chunky meathead). I really miss the level of customisation we had in RB3.

    I do however wonder if we'll get a "boy's week", with only male artists being the focus.

    unfortunately we probably wont, because by todays standards this is considered sexist. ;p

    A week of nothing but male singers would be pretty much 80% (if not more) of the entire Rock Band library. I own over 1200 songs, and only ~160 or so of mine had female singers and qualified for last week's challenge.

    They may as well do another one of those Everything Counts For XP weeks.
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