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Ubisoft Announces Music Game For Real Guitars

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the just-in-case-you-thought-the-plastic-ones-didn't-cost-enough dept.

Music 172

Despite recent troubles in the music game market, Ubisoft thinks the genre still has room for innovation. They have announced Rocksmith, a rhythm game designed for use with real electric guitars. The guitars will connect to a console or PC through the standard output jack. "... the 'note highway' is actually a virtual guitar fretboard, complete with numbers which correspond to the different frets, and the 'target zone' consists of six horizontal strings. Wherever each note appears on the virtual fret board, that’s where your finger(s) go on the physical fretboard. Once the note reaches the target area you strum the string it comes into contact with. Simple. The camera zooms dynamically to highlight where on the fret board you should be looking at, in much the same way that a musician’s eyes would scan up and down the neck of the instrument during a performance."

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172 comments

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514226)

At this point, why not just buy a real guitar?

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514290)

Use brain, plox. You do buy a real guitar.
The game is more or less a learning aide, as well as a tool for measuring your aptitude.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

skaet (841938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515156)

They criticise plastic controllers, now they criticise real guitars. Where's the happy in-between?

Those opposed to the music game genre generally believe the lack of realism is holding it back. It doesn't take any sort of musical skill aside from a good sense of beat to push 5 coloured buttons. Yet the instant it requires a real instrument, and real playing ability, it's not about the controller at all - you're still playing a game which immediately destroys any sort of credibility the activity of playing an instrument may have associated with it.

How is this any different to playing along with a CD, the radio, or youtube? It's not. It's arguably better as it will provide feedback on your progress while giving you a genuinely entertaining way to learn (by experiencing true rock and roll culture) rather than the stale "these are chord charts; now play these scales" you get from your local guitar school/tutor. I also hope Ubisoft will include an advanced tutorial for improving your playing technique instead of simply repeating a section of the song until you can perform the require button mashing from muscle memory.

Re:Really? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516534)

At this point, why pay for guitar lessons when you could buy a game?

Although I disagree with TFA/TFS. "... much the same way that a musician's eyes would scan up and down the neck of the instrument during a performance."? A performance-quality guitarist probably doesn't look at the fretboard while playing.

rock band 3 already has this (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514262)

You can already play with a real guitar using rock band 3. You can't use any guitar though, you have to buy the Fender Rock Band Pro Squier Strat. I have it and it is awesome.

Ubisoft's game is not the first announced game that lets you use any electric guitar. That honor goes to Guitar Rising, which was never released.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (0, Troll)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514280)

You can already play with a real guitar with no need for a stupid game. Maybe even go out and find some people to form an actual band with.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514320)

The game is an excellent learning tool. Not everyone has the time/commitment/money for lessons (which would certainly be a better option for learning to play).

I had two friends over Saturday night to play rock band. Neither of them are serious guitar players. One of them had never played before. Both of them played the instrument in the game on 'easy' and were able to pass songs. Tell me, when's the last time you passed a guitar to a non guitar playing friend and had them start playing?

Re:rock band 3 already has this (2, Insightful)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514400)

Not everyone has the time/commitment/money for lessons (which would certainly be a better option for learning to play).

Still, they somehow have the time/commitment/money for playing the game? Or are they just casual players and thus not really interested in playing an instrument? This is the point: you want to play guitar, you just buy one. You want to learn to play, you might choose self-learning if you don't want to throw money at lessons. (Of course, you just want to have a nice time with friends, you go and play with them and be happy.)

when's the last time you passed a guitar to a non guitar playing friend and had them start playing?

It was some years ago. I taught him his first chords. I had him "start playing". Alas, no computers were involved. These games were not out yet.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (3, Informative)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514454)

The game is a good option for self learning. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1, Insightful)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514500)

Just that you could as well skip the game. And: this comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:rock band 3 already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514570)

ok, I skipped that comment, TFA and TFS. Are you saying that i should skip the game to?

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514608)

You could just as well skip guitar lessons and guitar books as well. What's your point?

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1, Redundant)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514666)

My point, the real one, is that today is a holiday here, but it's raining and I don't have much better to do than bitch about something random on /.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514614)

If you skip the game, you won't be held down to actually keeping a rhythm. You could buy a metronome or backing tracks, but the point is that the game is fun.. it's like having your own backing band, without any of the drama. I learned a lot about drumming rhythm and limb separation that I didn't pick up even after going through a "teach yourself drums" book and playing in a band for a year, just by trying to beat all the songs on Rock Band.

Playing in a band and recording your songs is nice, but I think I'd say I actually feel more of an achievement having completed all the songs on Rock Band at expert level, because some of those songs are nuts.. in a real band if your leg gets tired then you can switch to a simpler beat.. which you can do to an extent in these games, but you can't do it for long, otherwise you just fail the song. There's actually much more pressure to perform well than playing in front of a live audience.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515280)

I've played guitar and drums in a band, and I have played both in Guitar Hero. Nothing beats playing with the band. The element of improvisation alone puts it miles above a video game. Not only that, but GH and Rock Band drumming are not real drumming. Yes, analogous, and yes, a real drummer has a big advantage when playing RB/GH over a non-drummer, but a RB/GH drummer doesn't benefit from the same comparison.

I'll give you this: video game drumming is more like real drumming than video game guitar is like real guitar. I'll also grant that not many people have a good practice space with a PA and drum kit all set up, so the video game is more interactive than strumming a guitar or beating a practice pad alone on one's room.

Also, playing only GH/RB is not much worse than playing only cover songs with your friends. It is fun to emulate your favorite bands, but I think your brain benefits more from self-discovery.

On a related note, here is some not researched, anecdotal opinion: the best bands often site as influential bands that weren't nearly as successful. True genre busting, cutting edge musicians bring together ideas from a variety of places. Learning every Nirvana song will not make you the next Nirvana. I'd go so far as to say cannot make you the next Nirvana.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515488)

On a related note, here is some not researched, anecdotal opinion: the best bands often site as influential bands that weren't nearly as successful. True genre busting, cutting edge musicians bring together ideas from a variety of places. Learning every Nirvana song will not make you the next Nirvana. I'd go so far as to say cannot make you the next Nirvana.

That's great and all, but many people have no intention nor desire to be the "next Nirvana". I don't want to play in a band. I don't want to play gigs. When I play around on my guitar it's typically just to pass time or goofing off with friends (none of which play anything and most of whom would be drunk anytime the guitar comes out).

For many people, the instrument isn't a career choice, or even a major focus of life - it's just a hobby.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515862)

I felt a lot more rewarded after completing Rock Band than I did when I was drumming in a band, because I learned a lot more. Of course I prefer playing original songs over covers in a real band, but as a learning tool and a way of measuring your accomplishments and skill, Rock Band is nice.

BTW, playing guitar on Guitar Hero and Rock Bands of old is obviously nothing like playing a real guitar, but playing Rock Band 3 guitar is getting almost as closer to playing real guitar as playing Rock Band drums gets to playing real drums..

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516630)

Drummer here (semi-professional, i.e., serious hobbyist that gets paid for session work even though I have a "real" job). Rock band drums are nothing like real drums. They don't even map the pads in a standard drum kit configuration.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516476)

I've played guitar and drums in a band, and I have played both in Guitar Hero. Nothing beats playing with the band. The element of improvisation alone puts it miles above a video game. Not only that, but GH and Rock Band drumming are not real drumming. Yes, analogous, and yes, a real drummer has a big advantage when playing RB/GH over a non-drummer, but a RB/GH drummer doesn't benefit from the same comparison.

Improvisation is important, but so is technique. The pendulum swings both ways: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work also makes Jack a dull boy. A computer can't teach improv, but when it comes to measurement of accuracy in timing, a computer can't be beat. (pun intended).

HAL.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516578)

I learned a lot about drumming rhythm and limb separation

I am a drummer, and in 25 years, I've never seperated a limb. You're doing it wrong.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516642)

Just that you could as well skip the game. And: this comment [slashdot.org] .

You seem to think that learning guitar from a teacher is easier or better than playing a game which teaches you guitar as a side effect of you having fun. I disagree. And this game would appear to address Prince's objection directly.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514516)

This is the point: you want to play guitar, you just buy one. You want to learn to play, you might choose self-learning if you don't want to throw money at lessons. (Of course, you just want to have a nice time with friends, you go and play with them and be happy.)

I've played real guitar for 20 years.

I've watched videos of the Rock Band 3 "pro guitar" being used, and it looks like it would be a productive way of teaching yourself to play the guitar parts in those songs. It really is like following a tab, with a machine to tell you when you screw up. I assume there are practice options as in other Rock Band games, where you can isolate the part, slow it down, practice with a metronome etc.

Once you'd learned it, you'd need to plug into a real amp and practice some more to coax any kind of expression out of it, since Rock Band 3 doesn't concern itself with niceties such as muting and vibrato.

I'm not personally the kind of player who likes to replicate other people's solos -- but plenty of people are, and plenty of people enjoy listening to that. There's still value in doing this if you're an improviser, since it may reveal to you fingerings that you can incorporate into your improvisations.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514646)

The Rock Band 3 tutorials do go through scales for piano and guitar, so there is indeed some value even for those who like to improvise :) I find it bloody hard though, I'd much prefer if the tab went horizontally like I'm used to.. also I wasn't playing on a real guitar, I was playing with the buttoned one, so it's harder to coordinate your fingers.. on a real guitar I guess you can notice slightly by the change in position/tension which strings are currently being fretted (without having to look down I mean).

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514944)

i haven't even played the game in question, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it. I've played guitar for 11 years and I will do anything I can to advance my playing. This game isn't going to turn me into Joe Satriani. I'm not going to be the next Paul Gilbert. I can only dream of being Steffen Schackiner. But if this game brings me even one step closer, then it is worth it. I am almost entirely self tought, and i wish I had been classically trained. I think i do fairly well for myself [youtube.com] (if that link failed and you're still interested, search youtube for anarki2004) My point is that it's up to you how far you can go. Not everybody can be Steve Vai, but anyone can try.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516198)

I'm also self-thought (shameless plug over here [youtube.com] ), and would welcome a chance to have a mchine grade me (which is, in effect, what this is). If I play a piece twice, I have to listen to them both side-by-side to decide which one came out better - very time-consuming. I'd rather simply have a machine score me on accuracy.

(Actually, with a real guitar, they can probably also score you on improv skills :-))

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515444)

You're spending an aweful lot of time trying to explain ways to acheive this task without the game. The problem is your whole position seems to stem from some inherent notion that a game is bad, and should thus be avoided.

That position is not going to be shared by most here (and at it's base is rather illogical). Rather than worry about all the ways I could avoid playing a game and learning guitar, if I you know, actually LIKE games (as I'm sure many here do), then it's not a bad idea to just use the game.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516616)

The game is an excellent learning tool. Not everyone has the time/commitment/money for lessons (which would certainly be a better option for learning to play).

Honest question here - why do you assume that lessons (in the traditional format of "go to a person who teaches the instrument, and ask them to teach it to you") are a better option than a game? I'd argue that a well structured game which requires the learning of a skill as part of the gameplay is probably the best possible way to learn that skill.

Most good games require players to master complex moves, commit long sequences to memory, and react rapidly to stimuli. Those are the same skills required to play an instrument well - in fact, the rapid reaction part is only required when improvising.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (5, Insightful)

Confused (34234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514328)

If a game makes practice easier or more enjoyable, why not use it? In the end, it's the acquired skill that counts, not the way you got it. And if the game teaches you a usable skill, it definitively isn't stupid.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515382)

I agree, but why not make a device that just takes input from an actual guitar, and interprets whether you are hitting the right notes, without a need to have a special guitar.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515870)

Because it's amazingly hard.

This is not the first game to attempt this: see the (still) unreleased Guitar Rising [guitarrising.com] or the open source Little Big Star [littlebigstar.net] , now abandoned. I saw a guitar tutor program at CES this year that also attempts it.

None work very well. I played with Little Big Star for a while with my guitar through a POD, and while it could recognize individual notes, chords were missed a lot. The CES guitar tutorial program actually sucked- I was amazed at how bad it was. They attempted to hide it by only giving you an aggregate score at the end without ever telling you *where* you made the errors, but even the salesdroids admitted that playing perfectly wouldn't get you a 100% since it couldn't recognize correct playing all the time

Re:rock band 3 already has this (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515878)

I agree, but why not make a device that just takes input from an actual guitar, and interprets whether you are hitting the right notes, without a need to have a special guitar.

Er, that's exactly what TFA is about. Rocksmith will do frequency analysis of the signal from an ordinary electric guitar.

The risk is that it won't work as well as a special guitar controller. The poshest Rock Band Pro guitar is a real guitar, but has electronics in the neck to detect when a string is pressed against the each fret, presumably because Harmonix felt they couldn't do polyphonic frequency analysis accurately enough for the job.

From what I can see, the biggest downside to this is that they couldn't make a strong enough neck, while keeping within budget and fitting in the electronics -- so the Rock Band guitar has warnings against stringing it with any strings heavier than a set of 9s.

I like the idea of Rock Band 3, as a practice tool, but the money spent on that guitar could go towards a *nice* guitar.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514572)

I can already play real guitar and drums, and have played in a band in the past, but I find the game a hell of a lot of fun, without any of the hassles of being in a band. Quit whining.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514592)

Funny, I play drums and guitar too, and I've been in a band in the past, and yet I don't like this kind of games. Will your Majesty allow me to express my humble opinion, or does the fact that you enjoy the game compels everybody else to follow Your will?

Re:rock band 3 already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514692)

If you don't like them, that's fine, but stop telling everyone else that they're not allowed to find them fun.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514724)

You weren't merely expressing an opinion though. In every thread about Guitar Hero there are the usual dullards who come in and make the predictable "Guitar Hero isn't anything like playing a real guitar, it takes no skill".

We get it, learning to play a real guitar is harder than playing Guitar Hero. No-one cares.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515940)

You don't sound like you've actually played the games then?

I used to dislike them on principal too, but when I actually played one (Guitar Hero III).. like I said, I had a hell of a lot of fun. When Rock Band came out with the drums, it was even better. My drumming was already nice and solid, but my skills shot up quickly over a month or two of learning new rhythms on Rock Band.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (2)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516228)

You don't sound like you've actually played the games then?

Of course I didn't play the game. Neither did I RTFA. Why this question?

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516310)

The question, because you have exactly the same elitist attitude I had before I played the game. The. Game. Is. Fun. Even if you play the real instruments and play in a band. If you are not willing to even try the game, then please don't bother to complain about it, you are just causing people to think you are a douche.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516472)

Wow. I didn't think there was a subtle and even polite way of calling someone a douche. I stand corrected :)

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514702)

You can already play with a real guitar with no need for a stupid game. Maybe even go out and find some people to form an actual band with.

Yes but Ubisoft cant monetise that.

Anyway, the mandatory DRM controller will look like this [pbs.org] .

Re:rock band 3 already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514728)

Guys.Stop having fun!

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515110)

You can do pretty much anything with no need for a stupid game.
The question is whether you WANT to do it without a FUN game.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515162)

This would be an amazing practice tool. If I were still playing in a band, I would buy this in a heartbeat and incorporate it into my practice routine (which was quite intense, as it must be fore any type of music that takes more than a heartbeat to play).

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514752)

If you can play the guitar, you can get laid from all the easy chicks out there who swoon over every moron who can strum three chords together and whisper-sing some bullshit. When you've got that going for you, who the fuck cares about playing a real guitar to score gems or points or whatever the fuck you get in a stupid video game?

Re:rock band 3 already has this (3, Insightful)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514836)

Yeah, all that sex must have worn you out and that is why you are here on Slashdot.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515012)

I play piano and sax. Doesn't have the same effect on chicks. :P

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515134)

Rock Band has this but, as you stated, you have to buy a $300 guitar. I already have a $300 guitar, I'm not gonna plunk down $300 for their SPECIAL guitar. This is a great option for me as they've stated you only need to buy a cheapo guitar USB adapter like one that you'd use with Garage Band.

Re:rock band 3 already has this (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515578)

Indeed - also, the $300 Rock Band guitar isn't nearly as nice as what you can get for $300 in the regular electic market. That's approaching the price of being able to get something actually pretty nice and functional. I didn't pay much more than that for my best guitar (a 2004 Gibson Melody Maker - back when they still came with the dogear P90 pickup).

Welcome to the next level - invented 500 years ago (3, Funny)

Confused (34234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514292)

The Wii and the various dance games started this trend by making players move and exercise. Now Ubisoft wants to introduce formal music teaching and practise via a game. Well it seems that simple games are getting too shallow and the game industry is poaching time honored ways to waste time from other domains, which have proven to offer more or less unlimited levelling capacity.

I just can't wait to hear people talk about how easy it was to beat the Bon Jovi level but that they're stuck on that evil Habanera Flameco boss before they can get to the Mariachi level.

Re:Welcome to the next level - invented 500 years (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514362)

It is all the ultimate plan. Make games increasingly realistic by weening you off of the games and systems themselves.

A generation from now we'll be paying a $15 a month World of LIfecraft fee to be hooked up to the most realistic game ever. MPAA and RIAA will declare eyes and ears recording devices and seeing unlicensed events for free copyright theft.

Re:Welcome to the next level - invented 500 years (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516468)

Well, it's good to see this development finally comming. A lot of companies have been working on this for years, so I'll believe it when I can actually play it and it doesn't suck.

Of course, I was also playing with a real football long before the first Madden game was ever released.

ksju (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514304)

so interesting and cognitive article for yourself stressed a lot of interesting, yet learned a lot about it here http://www.greatiful.com/, if anyone interested

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514354)

this will be wicked!!

-Sebastien Lemery a.k.a. xplo-

Guitar Rising (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514372)

Well I think its great when any game can impart a skill people could use in real life the existing and even the Rockband 3 "Real Guitar".
Arn't real guitars IMHO.
Its like the final step but lets hope that more than a couple of people get hooked and make some good music.

P.s. isn't this a bit like http://www.guitarrising.com/ [guitarrising.com] Which seems like its going to be vapour-ware when it comes out.

Re:Guitar Rising (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514664)

There are different types of Rock Band 3 pro guitar. One has buttons and sucks. However, one is a guitar that you can plug into an amp and play as you would with any electric guitar. How is that not "real"? :p

Well (1)

Nihn (1863500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514378)

I for one thinks this should of been first. I like this idea, turning guitar tab into a game. Would make learning the guitar more fun for some. I mean have you seen those people who ace guitar hero on expert....imagine if they learned to ACTUALLY play the songs using that level of dedication. I play guitar and have been for over 20 years, I support this idea and hope to see it come to fruition.

Re:Well (3, Interesting)

RichardDeVries (961583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514442)

You sound like Prince, who turned down a Guitar Hero deal saying:

Well, I ain't mad at them. I hear it made, like, $2 billion and they came to us and offered us a very small portion of that," explained Prince. "But I just think it's more important that kids learn how to actually play the guitar. It's a tough instrument--it's not easy. It took me a long time, and it was frustrating at first. And you just have to stick with it, and it's cool for people who don't have time to learn the chords or ain't interested in it, but to play music is one of the greatest things.

Source [gamespot.com]

Re:Well (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516450)

I mean have you seen those people who ace guitar hero on expert....imagine if they learned to ACTUALLY play the songs using that level of dedication.

Yeah, think of how much LESS fun they could have been having! How dare people have fun playing a GAME that you disprove of!

seems like an awesome idea (2)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514404)

it's really frustrating trying to learn guitar. Following finger positions is almost impossible at first because as you face the person everything is backwards and your brain wants your hand to move left, for instance, when you see the other person move left.

what's more is trying to learn guitar with guitar-hero and the like is like trying to learn sex through masturbation. You are kind of doing it, but there is way more going on with the real thing.

i 'll be checking this one out when it hits the shops!

Re:seems like an awesome idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514448)

it's really frustrating trying to learn guitar. Following finger positions is almost impossible at first because as you face the person everything is backwards

because sitting side by side is sooo difficult

Re:seems like an awesome idea (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514676)

I just learned myself from looking at tabs and trying to play along to recordings.. no other person necessary! Rock Band 3 does really have the right idea, though it's bloody difficult.

Looking at the frets? (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514424)

I've played guitar for 30 years, and the following quote is disturbing to me:
"in much the same way that a musician’s eyes would scan up and down the neck of the instrument during a performance"

You're not really supposed to be looking at the frets while you're playing. Your fingers are supposed to know where to go without looking, much like when one learns to properly touch type. Looking at your fingers while you're playing is a bad habit that sadly a lot of new guitarists fall into. Yes, in the initial learning stages one needs to do so, but any good teacher will break that habit in their students as soon as possible.

That being said this might still be a useful learning aid for aspiring guitarists. I'm not interested.

Re:Looking at the frets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514468)

Yes, totally agree.

Guitar Hero - Good for people that can't play guitar.

RockSmith - For people that already play the Guitar, that can't play?

Seems to me like Ubisoft have lost the plot on this one.

What musicians may want is the ability to learn any given song they want (or just to get the score). In fact I think I'm going to write an app for that!

Re:Looking at the frets? (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514696)

What musicians may want is the ability to play songs with a backing track, without paying for a practice room.. not everyone has a garage they can play in, and friends who are ready to jam at a moment's notice, 24/7!

I think there are already apps for that.. though I haven't looked.

Targeting the Large, Hidden Market of... (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515178)

...kids who make their parents buy them expensive electric guitars that are now gathering dust in their rooms because they lack the discipline to practice, and would rather play video games instead.

It's really a brilliant marketing ploy.

Re:Looking at the frets? (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514550)

While parent poster is an experienced guitarist, I don't completely agree with him. Especially if you have not been playing for long.

While practicing and rehearsing for a gig, it's a good habit to play the songs at least a few times without looking, so that you know how comfortable you really are with them. But, while gigging, it's perfectly okay to be safe than sorry, as long as you don't look like you need to be on training wheels. For instance, don't crane your neck downward, I have seen a lot of newbie guitarists do this.

Re:Looking at the frets? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514704)

I don't see what's wrong with looking down if you're shifting all the way up to around the 8th-12th fret from open stringed chords.. I mean some guys can probably do it by feel, but I don't play very often. I can still play open chords without looking, but if I'm going to be going all over the neck I'll need to glance down from time to time.

Re:Looking at the frets? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514574)

I guess they should stop putting those marker dots between frets?

I think most guitarists at least glance at the fretboard when they're playing. I don't think I could reliably go from a chord at the nut to a barre on the 9th, blindfold.

But, I don't think you'll have much time to look at the fretboard in this game -- you'll be effectively sight-reading a tab as it scrolls past you.

Re:Looking at the frets? (1)

hengdi (1202709) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516146)

Well, I've only played for 20 years, but surely using your eyes is an advantage? I don't scan the fretboard constantly because in a band situation you need to checking with the drummer, or nodding to the keyboard player to take a solo; but when I'm in a complex passage or ripping out a solo I'm 100% concentrated on getting things right, and to me that includes visual feedback of the fretboard.

Sure riffing some Am chord or playing some simple blues riffs you don't NEED to look down all the time but I don't see what you gain from NOT making sure of yourself at times.

Re:Looking at the frets? (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516236)

You're not really supposed to be looking at the frets while you're playing. Your fingers are supposed to know where to go without looking, much like when one learns to properly touch type. Looking at your fingers while you're playing is a bad habit that sadly a lot of new guitarists fall into. Yes, in the initial learning stages one needs to do so, but any good teacher will break that habit in their students as soon as possible.

Why?

This is an honest question. I'm also a guitarist with about 30 years of experience playing the instrument, and I look at the neck a lot. Not all the time, obviously, but I definitely look. So what? I can play the instrument very well, and that's all that matters. Who cares if I'm looking at the neck or looking at the ceiling or looking at my audience? I'm not interested in what I look like when I play, I'm interested in what I sound like, and I seem to be doing okay in that area.

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514436)

Early speculations indicate that you just have to plug your network cable into the guitar to maintain a connection to Ubisoft's servers

Guitar Pro rebranded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514474)

And how exactly this should differ from Guitar Pro or similar software?

Ohh... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514504)

If this game works out, these guys [smartmusic.com] are going to be very sad pandas.

They've been active for a few years now, producing computer-aided practice/scoring software for a variety of instruments, and voice. The computer knows what sounds are supposed to be produced, takes MIC input, crunches it into a reasonably meaningful delta(or, rather, series of deltas over time, so that the instructor can see where the student is or isn't having difficulty with a given piece). It is heavily geared toward schools, with lots of "class management" and grading features; but the "cloud" portion of the operation appears to be run by amateurs, and the interface is... utilitarian.

If Ubisoft can do a slick, mass-market version(even if only for a single instrument, at present) they'll likely have something with a lot more polish and shiny bits, as well as an engine that could be adapted to other instruments if the market so demands. That will likely put nontrivial pressure on the SmartMusic guys...

Re:Ohh... (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515918)

They need some nontrivial pressure. From their site:

More than 30,000 titles and counting!

12 titles found for your search: Instrument: Piano / Level: Any Level

Re:Ohh... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515984)

Their core tech is actually pretty cool(at least to my layman-when-it-comes-to-music-theory-and-FFTs eyes watching it build a deviation/time graph of the recorded student performance vs. the correct performance is a very neat trick); but pretty much all the 'peripheral' stuff(y'know, unimportant things like 'UI' and 'Not crashing' and 'having a search function that works') sucks pretty badly.

If Ubisoft has an adequately competent core, with the spit and polish given to (most) games that aren't headed right for the bargain bin, it isn't going to be pretty...

The Long History of Real Guitar Games (5, Informative)

Yogijalla (630186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514586)

Guitar Rising [guitarrising.com] was first to announce a real guitar game back in 2008 but never released, presumably because of problems with the polyphonic pitch detection.

The first real guitar game released was LittleBigStar [littlebigstar.net] , back in 2009. LittleBigStar supported a wide range of instruments, including guitar and bass, and loaded mp3s and standard tablatures in different open formats. It had a good momentum and indie developers made different kinds of musicgames, which they called MusicWare, but it was closed down two years ago. By those measures RockSmith is hardly new...

The LittleBigStar team decided to go commercial, presumably because they had success cracking the polyphonic pitch detection nut. They released Offbeat guitarist [jamorigin.com] which is freeware, support open formats and works great.

In 2009 Disney claimed to have found the holy grail of music gaming: Disney Star Guitarist [wired.com] but it was never released.

In 2010 Rise of the SixString was released with a guitar-controller hybrid.

Holiday 2010, Harmonix showed RockBand 3 pro-mode with the Squier Strat Controller. It went for sale in BestBuy stores in March 2011.

Holiday 2011, UbiSoft claim to have found the big new thing...

Technique (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514602)

As someone who at least had 7 years of classical guitar lessons, even though never any super-great guitarist came out of it, I can only shake my head in dismay. Like with any other instrument, without a teacher who corrects your posture and technique you will become an absolutely horrible guitar player and the more you get used to bad technique the harder it will become to later correct it.

Of course, it's just a game... but the way they advertise it....as if t there weren't already enough lousy guitar players out there on the streets and beaches, pestering everyone with their tunes (and guitars out of tune).

pompous twit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514760)

no one like classical guitar and no one has the tens of thousands needed for personal lessons you pompous twit

Re:pompous twit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35515098)

same principle applies to any type of musical instrument. hundreds of man years of experience are distilled and shared among pros, generation over generation they in turn, teach students good habits, best practices, and most importantly, help them avoid critical mistakes that will carry through the long term. a little proper instruction goes a long way. sometimes all it takes is just SEEING someone do it proper.

Re:Technique (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515038)

That said, playing guitar with an easy to read interface for your notes coming up (instead of flipping pages through books and turning pages), as well as a back track that syncs up automatically with your music, *and* feedback as to what notes you're playing wrong, is just a better way to practice.

I don't see anyone claiming how this will take the place of music lessons, but if it means that people actually play their instrument in between lessons it's a *huge* win.

Not to mention that seven years of guitar lessons costs something on the order of seven thousand dollars, whereas the game will probably run 50 bucks.

Re:Technique (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515536)

I suppose I should not be surprised... People complain that Guitar Hero is trash and stupid because it's not playing a real guitar. Ergo, game is designed to use real guitar and now the complaint is that it is a real guitar. At least now everyone gets something to complain about.

Re:Technique (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516306)

...without a teacher who corrects your posture and technique you will become an absolutely horrible guitar player...

Yeah, you might end up like that Hendrix kid who kept wrapping his thumb around the neck. The poor kid never did learn to play that instrument well.

Delay (1)

Flipstylee (1932884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514856)

I've thought about this a bit over the years.
I got a nintendo when i was 4 ('88) and a guitar at 8 (acoustic),
but it took until years later when i got my first electric guitar to realize the biggest problem
with this, delay and mis-judgement.

15 years or so since then, i'm still not a phenomenal player, but i know the mistake being made are due to
myself and/or my ears.

I could be wrong though, look at how those with nearly unlimited budgets have been solving the problem....

You don't need a damned game to play music! (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514998)

Really! A decent beginners guitar will set you back $50, a violin $120 or a keyboard $200. Yes, you can pay more for better, but if you are learning or just jamming for fun there is really no need. There are plenty of instructional DVDs, Youtube clips, web advice, books and CDs for learners. Lots of people play so It's also a great way to meet people, whatever your style.

You don't need a game to do this! It's called Real Life and it's a lot more fun.

Re:You don't need a damned game to play music! (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515408)

There are plenty of instructional DVDs, Youtube clips, web advice, books and CDs for learners.

And now there's a video game. What's your point?

Polyphonic pitch detection doesn't work yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35515378)

There is a reason that Rock Band 3 did this with a MIDI controller instead of allowing any "real guitar." What Ubisoft is trying to sell us isn't yet possible. The best polyphonic pitch detection in the world isn't anywhere near good enough to confidently say which notes we're playing. All Ubisoft is doing is using an FFT to do frequency analysis. The trouble is, even with ONE note played on a guitar, the harmonics are so rich that it ends up looking as if several are being played. It gets much worse if there really are multiple notes being played. Add to this the fact that guitar notes don't stop when you move onto the next note - they continue to ring. You can try subtracting out previous sounds, but it never works well.

The bottom line is, this game won't really know what you're playing. It's going to check to see if the required pitch is somewhere in the spectrum with some reasonable amplitude, and if it sees it, just give you the benefit of the doubt. That's the only way to make the game playable - give too much credit rather than too little. Unfortunately there will be many, many times that you don't play the right note, and it will give you credit anyway.

This is why Rock Band 3 uses MIDI instead of pitch detection. I've been working on software that does pitch detection for instruments for the last 10 years. We've contracted out to the best companies and research groups in the industry. Thus far, the only thing we can honestly offer to customers is pitch detection for monophonic instruments - that's the only thing that works well enough to offer commercially.

The war on PC games continues (1)

watermark (913726) | more than 3 years ago | (#35515504)

It's for the XBox and PS3 only. I game on the PC. I would buy this on opening day, but I don't have either. The war on PC games continues.

Oh look, it's like Guitar Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35515554)

Well, guitar pro doesn't have flashy graphics. But it does have a larger catelogue than any music game will ever have.

Re:Oh look, it's like Guitar Pro (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516312)

Does Guitar Pro analyse what you're playing, and alert you when you miss a note?

If not (and as far as I can see, it doesn't), then it's nothing like this game.

hmmm great idea poor execution. (1)

lunchbox134 (1932364) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516032)

From a "real" guitar player, I Find this quite interesting, and honestly, is what I was craving from music games. It's like Powertab with a score at the end. Too bad it's not the first, and the games never came to fruition like guitar tabs do. I can't go find a song, find someone else's interpretation of it, and learn to play it how the "real" guitar players do. I never got the chance to use a MIDI guitar, which is basically what this game converts your guitar into, I'd imagine. The possibilities with those are endless, I've seen and heard great stuff. At the very least, This technology should be exploitable to that end, I believe. Anyone know? It'd probably be a real simple MIDI controller, but it'd be enough for any savvy OSS user, with the plethora of free studio tools available.

Re:hmmm great idea poor execution. (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35516290)

The Squire Rock Band Pro controller is essentially a MIDI guitar. And the Mad Katz Rock Band Pro controller is a bank of buttons controlled with guitar-like hand shapes, that could also be used as a MIDI controller.

You raise an interesting point, that these game controllers could be adopted by OSS developers in the same way as the Kinect has been.

Then again, "real" MIDI guitars aren't that expensive.

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