Harmonix and MTV Games have revealed the first details about the next phase in their Rock Band Network music authoring service. Rock Band Network 2.0, as it is currently known, will bring a number of new additions and improvements, including a bunch of enhancements specifically designed to take advantage of the new features being introduced in Rock Band 3.
- Pro Drums: although you can add MIDI information for cymbal gems to RBN1, RBN2 will add the ability to audition with cymbal gems as well as a few enhancements to streamline the audio submixes.
- Keys and Pro Keys: full support of our brand new keyboard peripheral will be available; both regular (5-lane) and Pro key authoring.
- Vocal Harmonies: three part harmonies. Sing!
- All of these features will be optionally supported by RBN2, and each song may implement as many or as few of them as the creators wish.
- Audition mode will be updated as well. The exact feature set is not final, however we are planning on supporting the following enhancements:
- 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. YES, WE HEARD YOU.
- 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.
One of the major RB3 features not being supported by RBN 2.0, at least at this point, is support for Pro Guitar authoring. Nordhaus explained the omission, saying, "This was not an easy decision, as we want RBN to be on parity with DLC as much as possible. We can certainly revisit this decision in 6-12 months, however, at least for now, we aren't supporting Pro Guitar."
Nordhaus went on to say that forgoing Pro Guitar support ultimately came to the following three issues:
- Because of the way that Pro Guitar DLC is implemented in RB3, 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.
Other additions being considered for RBN 2.0 include “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.”
Nordhaus also offered up the following tentative timetable for when users can expect to see these RBN 2.0’s features start to roll out:
- RBN2 Docs and Reaper Templates released this fall prior to the RB3 ship date (October 26th).
- Magma 2.0 and RBN2 Audition mode (added to RB3 360 with a patch) will be released shortly after RB3 ships.
- A beta version of creators.rockband.com that handles RBN 2.0 songs will be available for song submissions in early 2011.
- RBN2 content will start to appear in the RB3 store at the end of Q1 2011.
Any regular RBN users out there have anything to share about the new features/improvements listed here? What do you think of the Pro Guitar support being dropped?