Harmonix GDC Presentation: Prototype Through Production – Pro Guitar in Rock Band 3

In case you’ve been living under a rock or are part of the mainstream press regurgitating recent press releases, you would know that Rock Band 3 has had Pro mode functionality in it since launch in October of last year, allowing those who have never played guitar the opportunity to learn rudimentary skills quickly, and eventually become proficient guitar players over time. While this past weekend was PAX East (and yes, I’ll have answers to your questions, as well as video of the Harmonix panel up soon), the week prior was the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. One of the panels at the event was put on by Sylvain Dubrofsky and Jason Booth from Harmonix, who outlined a fairly comprehensive history of the Pro Guitar for Rock Band 3.

While we had The Beatles: Rock Band to entertain us, the wait from Rock Band 2 to Rock Band 3 was excruciating, but well worth it. Pro Guitar was the results of three months of exploration, seven months of prototyping, and a full thirteen months of production to make it a reality. The entirety of the presentation has been placed online (200mb download with videos or just the presentation itself), and you can now see for yourself how much development was behind the Pro Guitar.

It is a fairly long presentation, but very informative. One of the things that I always assumed, but now have confirmation of, is that the Rock Band Pro target audience is the “Hard/Expert RB players with NO previous experience playing guitar.” As someone in that target demographic, I can say that there are still new things in Rock Band 3’s Pro mode that I discover each week.

One other thing of particular note was that they addressed the difficult of using non-proprietary guitar MIDI output:

“There’s been a lot of attempts to get reliable midi output from a guitar, but nearly every solution out there has some type of issue. The ones which use some form of audio analysis suffer from glitchy results and latency, and they can be very expensive. Then there are the more reliable solutions, which use arrays of buttons. These have reliable and low latency output, but they don’t exactly fulfill the aspirational goals. The dream is to play the game with a real guitar, not some plastic facsimile of one, no matter how close it was to the real thing.”

Hit the download links above to see the presentation in its entirety.

13 Responses to “Harmonix GDC Presentation: Prototype Through Production – Pro Guitar in Rock Band 3”

  • mystakin says:

    Oh man, that beta Pro screenshot is so hot. I love pre-release stuff like that.

  • Mirio says:

    This looks like Pro Guitar for Frets on Fire 😛

  • Sans says:

    “Sorry, we are unable to scan this file for viruses.

    The file exceeds the maximum size that we scan. Download anyway”

    If your going to give me a virus, at least you could pay for dinner.

  • Thanks Tommy. Good seeing you again at PAX!

    No Virus btw…that’s just Google saying it doesn’t internet scan files that large 🙂

  • Dorkmaster Flek says:

    This is awesome. It really shows how much thought and effort was put into the pro guitar stuff. I mean, the keyboard was ambitious enough. Pro guitar is seriously one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen in a video game. I just got my Squier after having done enough on the Mustang to be able to play basically all the open chords and start practising barre chords. It may not be much, but we’re learning actual real world skills now. The amount of enthusiasm I’ve seen from people on the forums is palpable, and I just can’t help but watch in amazement and think “A video game did this.” That is insane, and it shows the true potential of what games are capable of, as far as I’m concerned.

  • zeroechelon says:

    so…
    we’ll get AC/DC studio tracks?!! *0*

  • Steve says:

    Danzig’s Twist of Cain as a prototype song. That’s super painful to see. We need some Danzig!

  • NV_Mathemagician says:

    Just remember, in September Ubisoft will release the first game to ever use a real guitar.

  • Eduardo Perez says:

    They should have kept that bob dylan song, it would have been awesome, Oh, and i think they were using the master recording of Back In Black, that would have been cool too.

    • Dorkmaster Flek says:

      Yeah, but those were not the original master stems. They were likely just CD rips or something for testing. Actually, I’m surprised they were able to show footage using them at all. Is that covered as fair use?