Review: Music Game Roundup

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I already have Warriors of Rock and I love it. I didn't really have a problem with the campaign, and I actually think it's the best one since 3. I'm sure Rock Band has better gameplay, as is the norm, but it's setlist is completely shite.

As for the other two, I'm not really interested. I may pick up DJ Hero in the future, but I'd get the first game first.

Ayjona:

In the end, the fact that I've seen this done is enough for me, and voids the need for the explanations I give above. But unfortunately, others rarely trust such statements online.

EDIT: Hell, all song input mechanisms (Singstar, Rock Band, Guitar Hero) compare pitch. It's a bloody industry standard :-D A real guitar as a controller would work just the same: check the pitch/wavelength of the input, and compare it to the required pitch. Vocals, guitar note, strange bleeping noises, it makes no difference. It is all simple, and done on a common basis.

I won't argue about this much longer, but just two quick points: yes, I do think it's possible, and it's simpler than full transcription. But your "compare waveforms" idea wouldn't fly for guitars, especially for pro mode. Now, I'm not in the business of programming music games, but I doubt the voice games or game modes compare waveforms directly, but probably use a Fourier transform and do spectral analysis, compare harmonic content, filtering out unimportant information (like tone of voice). This is easy. But you can notice with the vocals that there's a sliding indicator, and it takes a while to fix on a pitch. It's remarkably different from the other instruments, and the response is slower. Now imagine this with shredding guitar songs, quick solos etc.

For the guitar you'd have to do analysis in the time and frequency domain simultaneously, and very fast. Try to get the attack to trigger a note, and analyze it's harmonic content filtering for effects and such (effects that will probably be in the music, while the player guitar is "pure").

Maybe Harmonix didn't do this because of market considerations. When the original Guitar Hero games came out (first 2), I knew the appeal was exactly the simplification. But when you have a Pro mode, I think it's kinda blurring the line.

Well, if you say you have seen it working, I believe in you. Though I'll only believe it works really well, as well/fast/responsive as a controller does, when I see it :)

I'm most likely going to be getting RB3 this Christmas, but I have a question for any real guitar players who have played it so far. If I learned to play the pro guitar, would those skills correlate with a real guitar (i.e. if I can play a song on expert in pro mode can I play it with a real guitar)? Basically, is pro mode a good substitute for guitar lessons?

HarmanSmith:
I'm most likely going to be getting RB3 this Christmas, but I have a question for any real guitar players who have played it so far. If I learned to play the pro guitar, would those skills correlate with a real guitar (i.e. if I can play a song on expert in pro mode can I play it with a real guitar)? Basically, is pro mode a good substitute for guitar lessons?

I wouldn't say it's a "good substitute," but it's definitely good for learning individual songs. As accurate as the Pro Mode and the guitar controllers are, it's still one level removed from the experience of playing a real guitar. I think you could definitely use RB3 to accelerate your progress, but it's not as close a correlation as you get with the drums.

I'm always a supporter of lessons. You can definitely learn on your own, but lessons are almost always worth the time and money.

Can't wait for a kinect based guitar game that can be calibrated to any guitar of your choice.

Until they build an adaptor that lets me plug my Jackson in those games...
Do not want :P

Thanks for the roundup! I'd been mildly curious about Powergig (not enough to want to buy it, just about how well it works) and you've answered my questions.

From what I've heard, the Squier is going to have a mute system for when you're playing the guitar in the game versus to an amp - do you think that controller will have the same plinky issue as the Powergig one?

sorry steve, but i have to disagree with you on this one;

Guitar Hero's campaign was meant to be silly, all the guitar hero games are silly. if you remember at the end of GH3 when you have to fight lou in hell, and after you beat him you ascend to the tower of rock and play some dragonforce through the credits. how silly is that? the best GH campaign i've ever seen though is GH Metalica i personally like that tone because it makes the game more enjoyable.

there's also a few points you've overlooked for GH6...
-the game was going for a Heavy Metal theme (i still don't know why they threw in those soft ones, you're totally right) but the metal makes the story a lot more silly, but it was awesome. i'd rather fight demons with the shear power of my metal to defend the ancient ways than play shows for money.
-the story was written by Dave Mustaine (lead singer and lead guitarist for MEGADETH) that's worth something, right?
-the story made sense: fight through the forces, find the ancient weapon of rock, and defeat the metal beast to save the world, EPIC.
-dave mustaine wrote a special song just for GH6, sudden death. super hard, very fast, very megadeth. it was badass
-narrated by gene simmons, the god of thunder. makes sense, right?

the game tried harder to appeal to the fans that fell in love with the franchise's most popular game, Guitar hero 3, which was easily the best game in the entire series. i'm glad they did to, the setlist turned out much better than in previous titles, but i was still diapointed that they didn't hold true to the metal theme and threw the entire rush album 2112 on there. in an interview, rush said the album really fits the story of GH6, and it kind of does, but that doesn't escape the fact that it isn't metal. the song Painkiller by judas priest would been more suitable, that song much more accurately fits the story of GH6.

in lamens terms, you gotta give GH6 a bit more credit, critizing it for the thing it was going after is way too harsh. silly=fun and fun=video games. never forget that steve butts, never forget that. video games must always = fun

tautologico:
I won't argue about this much longer

You won't have to :-) I'll just add a few points for clarification:

The reason I am so very sure this is not only achievable, but even easily so, is that I've seen this tech demoed by a few uni students, as a second year project, and it worked with a amazing accuracy (somewhere between 97-99%). Apparently, to achieve what you speak of (to be able to do the analysis in time and frequency, very, very fast) is a matter of computational power, not an absolute limitation. Power of which we have more than enough today.

That is why the tech used in vocal recognition games (such as Rock Band, GH and Singstar), or even the tech used in accurate tuners, is more than adequate for the job. If programmed for the task, it works far better than current vocal recognition engines (which, I've heard it argued, are rather badly implemented, in several ways. As a vocalist, I rather enjoy singing along in Rockstar, but I do wish the input recognition was both more accurate, and more advanced, with mechanics such as being able to recognize and match the octave, actual word shaping recognition, etc).

tautologico:
Maybe Harmonix didn't do this because of market considerations. When the original Guitar Hero games came out (first 2), I knew the appeal was exactly the simplification. But when you have a Pro mode, I think it's kinda blurring the line.

On this, I agree completely. They have blurred the line, and this might affect both their own analysis, and the way the market will respond to more advanced controllers, which is why I would not be surprised if they eventually deem the market ready for real guitar tone recognition.

tautologico:
Well, if you say you have seen it working, I believe in you. Though I'll only believe it works really well, as well/fast/responsive as a controller does, when I see it :)

If you are truly interested, I can try to dig up some kind of demonstration of the tech. I doubt I'll succeed, though ;-)

Regardless of which, thanks for an interesting discussion, and for sharing your expertise.

Ayjona:

If you are truly interested, I can try to dig up some kind of demonstration of the tech. I doubt I'll succeed, though ;-)

Regardless of which, thanks for an interesting discussion, and for sharing your expertise.

It was interesting indeed. I'm not much of a sound guy myself (worked with image processing, but the basics of signal processing are the same), but I probably thought it was more difficult than it is.

Anyway, knowing that it is feasible is good, I may suggest this as a project to people interested in real-time audio processing in the future :)

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