Rock Band Network 2.0 Announced

People have seen the innovations planned for Rock Band 3, and they want them in their RBN tracks! Harmonix has heard the community, and has unveiled some details today on what will be Rock Band Network 2.0.

In a statement from Matthew Nordhaus on the Creators site today, Harmonix wants to keep the “RBN toolset on par with our internal audio team, and continue to let you build top-quality content that exceeds the standards of our competition.”

So what new features can we look forward to with RBN 2.0?

  • Pro Drums: RBN 2.0 will add cymbal gems as well as a few enhancements to streamline the audio submixes
  • Keys and Pro Keys: Full support of the new Keys peripheral will be available in both regular (5-lane) and Pro Keys authoring flavors
  • Vocal harmonies: Three part harmonies will be arriving.
  • Optional inclusion: All of these features will be optionally supported by RBN 2.0, and each song may implement as many or as few of them as the creators wish.
  • Audition mode updates: The exact feature set is not final, but the following enhancements are scheduled to be included:
    • Practice Sections: full support for named and placed practice sections, plus the ability to check them in Audition mode. Auto generated practice sections will still be an option.
    • Rewind while you are auditioning a song.
    • Custom camera controls to allow you to view specific band members during audition mode (to check animations, lip sync, etc.)
    • Dramatically improved auto-generation for the venue track.

There will be additional enhancements added as well, and will prioritize after the inclusion of the above features including skipping to song sections, feedback for audio mixing issues, fixing store audio preview bugs, improved Magma error reporting and MIDI validation, guide audio for vocals, and more. While these are in no way confirmed for inclusion, community feedback will be instrumental in the prioritizing of the requested features.

So… what’s missing? Pro Guitar. Harmonix considered supporting this feature very carefully, but ultimately decided they cannot support Pro Guitar for RBN at this time based on several reasons:

  • The way that Pro Guitar DLC is implemented in Rock Band 3, it would have been substantial work to add to the pipeline for both Harmonix and Microsoft.
  • It is extremely time consuming to author, to the point that it might be just as time consuming to author a Pro Guitar part as it would be to author the rest of the track.
  • Peer Reviewing any Pro Guitar songs would be problematic due to the fact that we will be building a brand new install base of Pro Guitar players at launch.

It is important to note that this decision was not made lightly, and will be revisited in 6-12 months if the supply and demand from the community and Creators can be met effectively and efficiently.

When can we look forward to these new features?

  • RBN2.0 Documentation and Reaper Templates are planning to be released prior to the RB3 ship date (October 26th).
  • Magma 2.0 and RBN 2.0 Audition mode (added to Rock Band 3 360 with a patch) will be released shortly after Rock Band 3 ships.
  • A beta version of the Creators site that handles RBN 2.0 songs will be available for song submissions in early 2011.
  • RBN2 content will start to appear in the Rock Band 3 store at the end of Q1 2011.

In the announcement, Harmonix did note that Rock Band 3 will support existing, and any newly created RBN content, from Day 1, as well.

[Official announcement]

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36 Responses to “Rock Band Network 2.0 Announced”

  • toymachine says:

    Pro Keys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • goronhead says:

    Hm, still no official word on if it’s going to be included in the Wii version of RB3. Well, I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for it, then.

    Matt Reply:

    I hear you. I really hope they add it to the Wii version.

    Daniel Reply:

    Ehh. Idk if they’ll waste the time putting something that good on that piece of crap system. Wii’s are so damn boring. Even hacking them gets boring.

  • Anex says:

    Need Pro keys in Amberian Dawn! This is good news :)

    Sucks for Pro Guitar but I can totally understand where they are coming from.

  • Dorkmaster Flek says:

    It’s awesome that everything else will be supported, especially keys and vocal harmonies, and the enhancements for practice sections and auditioning are certainly great. I totally see where they are coming from with pro guitar, but goddamn…that sucks! :) I know it’s really time consuming, but why not let the chart authors make the decision of whether they want to support it or not? The size of the install base due to launching a new optional high-end peripheral for it is a legitimate concern, I’ll grant you that. But I think the people involved in RBN testing already are probably hardcore players that are more likely to get into the pro stuff to begin with.

    What about the limit on song length? Will that be improved or (hopefully) removed for RBN 2.0? The reason I ask is because of that sort-of-rumour about Dream Theater bringing their catalogue to RBN. The new features (especially keys!) will be great for that, but the song length limit unfortunately eliminates half their catalogue. I guess it depends on whether the game engine can be programmed to handle tracks of that length. It does really suck that you wouldn’t be able to play any of the songs on pro guitar though. I really hope they revise this in the not-too-distant future.

    Rob@Fairwood Reply:

    The song length limit is, to my knowledge, a matter of console RAM. Audition mode doesn’t write to the drive, so whatever you audition has to fit in the left-over RAM on the console. 10 minutes is about the point where you can start to break that. Dream Theater can always split songs.

    As for pro guitar/bass, here’s how I see it- for drums and keys, there’s one sound to one key (or pad, whatever). With a guitar/bass, you can make the same sound multiple ways. So that not only makes it harder to author, it makes it really ambiguous to test, and that’s going to make pro guitar/bass charts a fair bit less accurate.

    But they have mentioned they may revisit that part down the line. So it’s not like it’ll never happen.

  • SebastianSB says:

    The lack of pro guitar is disappointing, but I understand why they’re doing it. Hopefully we’ll see it pop up in the future once we have a fairly large amount of experienced pro guitar players.

    “It is important to note that this discussion was not made lightly”

    *decision?

  • Croq says:

    No Pro Guitar Support = No Buy For Me

    I appreciate them adding Pro Drums and Keys/Pro Keys though!

    Like SebastianSB says above, I hope to see Pro Guitar pop up later.

    Polite Reply:

    you were paying money for the RBN tools before?

    Croq Reply:

    No, actually I meant, I won’t be purchasing any tracks through RBN once I get RB3 until they start coming with Pro Guitar support.

  • Nathan says:

    All I want to hear is that their gonna add keys AND Pro Guitar to DLC and older rock band songs, since I have a Wii I don’t care too much about RBN

  • Kirksplosion says:

    I see nothing but good news. Pro Expert Guitar seems like it’s exponentially more difficult to program than anything else so far, so I don’t at all blame them for not implementing it yet.

    I wonder if there will be some kind of designator (I’m sure there will) that let’s us know these have Pro modes and these don’t. Heh, I guess the question is more “how” will it be implemented, not “if”.

  • Andre says:

    For me, the exclusion of Pro Guitar tracks for RBN songs is a major disappointment. I am really excited for that feature, and will be buying the Fender bundle (if there is ever one) as soon as it’s available.

    I don’t know if I would buy a RBN song if that feature isn’t implemented… I honestly think I would rather save my money and buy a Marketplace song instead, just to be able to practice the Pro Guitar… I’d really like to learn to play the guitar, that’s why.

  • Jmemmerson says:

    That’s some good new features. Now if only they’d announce that people outside of the US can do it (says the British guy)

  • skydog says:

    Oh darn LOL… guess I was hoping to hard.. was hoping to see
    “All tracks arrive on PS3 for RB3..” but knowing sony they’ll lower it to 3 songs a week.. douche bags. :P

    PikminGuts92 Reply:

    It’s not Sony’s fault. It’s more or less Harmonix’s. They chose to build RBN on Xbox 360′s XNA Creator’s Club thing. Even RBN on the Xbox 360 is limited. It is only available in countries where XNA is available.

    RockBandAide Reply:

    How is it Harmonix’s fault? Are they supposed to design a user-created content platform like the XNA for Sony just to get the RBN working? I don’t think you realize how difficult the process is to even get the current crop 5 songs per week on to the PS3. John explained the process to me at PAX East, and I was floored at how siloed Sony operates. It’s not Harmonix’s fault Sony loves their closed proprietary formats. Looks like it’s finally starting to catch up with them (and yes, I have a PS3).

    Kirksplosion Reply:

    I’d say it’s more or less Sony’s fault, or rather, Microsoft’s fault that Harmonix is doing it on 360, because MSoft released a tool that makes it uber-easy to implement on the 360.

    Also, I’m a PS3 Rock Band user, so I’m not a 360-apologetic or anything. Just calling it how I see it.

    HeyRiles Reply:

    It’s Microsoft’s fault that this whole RBN thing is even possible in the first place. If they hadn’t ever made the indie developer’s thing with XNA, then we never would have had to realize that PS3 would eventually have limitations to DLC

  • Xzyliac says:

    The Pro Guitar thing actually works in favor of HMX too. Gives the official DLC that extra little incentive.

    But yeah, that must be a bitch to chart.

  • HeyRiles says:

    I didn’t see any mention of eye animations. Is that included with the lip synching?

  • RockBandAide says:

    For the people saying the lack of Pro-Guitar charts is disappointing, I’m with you. But holding a grudge against the rest of the Rock Band Network tracks is silly and infantile. GROW UP. You sound like Veruca Salt… “But daddy, I want Pro-Guitar NOW!”

    If you haven’t been buying RBN songs in the past, your little boycott I guess makes a little sense for your alone, but in theory you’re going to be getting MORE value for your money as soon you will have Keys, Pro-Drums, Pro-Keys, and Harmonies charted in.

    Now go ahead and flame me for being so “insensitive…”

    HeyRiles Reply:

    You’re so insensitive

    Kirksplosion Reply:

    Wow. Never realized you were so insensitive.

    LoopyChew Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nrGWwHalCU

    KeenanC Reply:

    Yeah, wtf bro you hurt my feelings. Not cool. I have a heart of glass. When you drop it, it breaks. :’( Lol.

  • Colin says:

    It’s a real shame to hear this about Pro Guitar. This will definitely put RBN content on a slightly lower standing than the official DLC, instead of the relatively equal footing it has now. The fact that RBN creators had a near-equal toolset to HMX designers was a pretty amazing accomplishment. Too bad that couldn’t continue, though I’m sure their reasons are valid.

    Given this mention of Pro Guitar authoring being as time-consuming as authoring everything else combined, I wonder how that might affect future DLC pricing? As awesome as the Pro stuff sounds, there’s been a definite dip in popularity for the music game genre, and I’m not sure an upswing in DLC pricing would help matters much.

    Dorkmaster Flek Reply:

    I was just thinking about that myself. If pro guitar really is so much more time consuming to author, are DLC prices going to go up? We must know!

  • Andrew says:

    I’m pretty sure that when more and more people start to learn/play Pro Guitar, they will end up adding it to RBN (2.5?) DLC. Think of it like them having people start off with just the 4 drum pads for Rock Band 1 and 2, instead of throwing cymbals at us and having everyone be totally and utterly confused/scared. They need to give people time and experience (especially to those people working at the charting companies) before we can really start to fully audition guitar.

    Personally, I think that for the next update, they should add a practice mode type of thing for auditioning, so the people auditioning can slow down the song in case the guitarist does solos like freaking Dragonforce. It would ensure that they can check every note was charted correctly, and also it would be easier to hear any notes they missed.

  • randrac says:

    The biggest improvement needed would be to not to have it a MS exclusive. Oh, and getting more big bands to sign on would be nice.

  • Polite says:

    It’s a shame they couldn’t find a way to make RBN work with PS3 as of yet, but what can you do? The only PS3 game i can think of with community content is LittleBigPlanet, and being first party i’m sure had more leeway with that sort of thing than Harmonix would have.

    I wonder if someone will make a guitar pro -> rbn converter. Guitar pro files already have full guitar tabs for their songs, as well as scores for all the other instruments.

  • Valnen says:

    That’s a shame.

    I’d also like to see breakneck speed available in audition mode. Can’t play without it =/.