28 01 2008

I beat Rock Band. The guy at the end was hard.

This is not far from the truth. For the last few weeks I’ve been playing through Band World Tour mode, which is (according to Harmonix) “balanced for multiplayer” and thus inaccessible to solo players by design. Nuts to that. I put on a headset and sang while playing guitar. Granted I wasn’t pushing past Medium difficulty, but I can’t go to Hard anyways on guitar, so big deal.

450 stars later (4-5 stars per song beaten) and Vagabond Days is invited to play a gig that will enter them into the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame. Regular guitarist Wanderlust is either out with the flu or dying of cancer depending on how much Women In Refrigerators applies to virtual rock band character backgrounds as a motivational element, so I swap in my 14 year old grunge protege Pollyanna (not coincidentally because the unlock prize is a glass guitar and I want it more for her character than Wanderlust’s). We plug in the amps, turn them to 11, and go to town.

The final setlist consists of EIGHT of the nastiest songs in the game in a row — including Don’t Fear The Reaper, Enter Sandman, Highway Star, Tom Sawyer, Run To The Hills, Won’t Get Fooled Again. Of this lot the only one that poses any sort of challenge to me is Enter Sandman, which is unusually difficult even on Medium and I almost fail out during the intro. After that, it’s clear sailing, straight on through to ye glorious fireworks display, 100 gamerscore points for my XBL profile, and glass instruments. Woohoo!

To celebrate I downloaded two packs I put off due to not wanting them popping up in Random Setlists during tour mode — Metallica and Oasis. Oasis was better than I thought it’d be given they’re generally strummy crooners; the notecharts have more variety than you’d expect and my 90s wunderfan inside me knows the timing by heart. Metallica is… well. Um. “A pile of high speed completely random notes” probably suits it best. It might’ve helped if I knew these songs more, since I got into Metallica with the Black Album and thus hadn’t even heard the classic tracks. Still, can’t hurt to have ’em around.

So, what’s up other than my virtual rocking none of you probably give a damn about..?

Trivia’s coming along. The previous post’s suggested questions plus open source dumps MIGHT be enough to make a decent game; we’ll see. Still, I need to find something more to do in SL other than sit around and not work on games. Like, some kinda activity.

Keiko’s Cafe has its grand reopening tonight in Flotsam Beach! I’ll be there with apron on. Hopefully her head won’t implode while on stage from all the craziness going on right now in her sphere of influence. Provided that we don’t have a splattering of wall-brains, it’ll be an awesome show and I highly recommend attending, for the three of you out there who do not see SL as a phenomenally boring waste of time.

I’m liking what I see in forthcoming patches to City of Heroes and Teamfortress 2. COH is getting a smoother XP curve, which will help my guys I feel totally unmotivated to play due to their being utterly stuck in a particular level range — also we’ll be getting live combat stats, Real Numbers(tm) so I can tell if my extensive invention crafting was all for naught or is providing some good bonuses. I’m in complete love with the new Blaster tweaks they made; Dusty has a range damage boost that finally makes her on par with other characters and provides an interactive minigame of “stack the damage buff” while fighting. In TF2 werld unlockable weapons, new maps, pyro buffs, and soldier debuffs coming up will add a lot of variety AND balance… although ctf_well is kinda lame.

Icon because it’s been damn cold lately. Brrr.

Edit: Can’t believe I forgot one of the things I started this blog post specifically to discuss: Mass Social Meter Up. Partied with Jen on Weds, Josh on Thurs, and David on Sat. Movies, etc. Good stuff.

Notably, I saw David Fincher’s “Zodiac” with Josh. I’ve loved Davey Boy’s stuff in the past (Seven, The Game, Fight Club) and this is no exception. Aside from the occasional Crazy Camera Angle(tm) trickery, though, it’s a dry and snarky police procedural, feeling like a 70s movie with simple lighting and straightforward presentation. It’s kind of an odd dichotomy, pitting the mundane against the surreal.

It takes about two hours to set things up for the REAL movie, the last hour, in which a fairly “Durr?” slow witted character in the first part sets out to investigate the identity of the Zodiac killer well after his spree had wrapped and gone cold. It’s interesting to see a detective story conducted after all the witnesses are dead or vanished, after all the evidence has been lost, after everybody’s moved on. It’s a very awkward and frustrating experience for the characters.

Overall I recommend the movie, but bewarned it’s a LONG, long, very schizophrenic movie which intentionally wobbles between presentation styles and meanders around. It’s an endurance challenge to get through it but a well crafted obstacle course indeed.




13 responses

28 01 2008

Whoa, I didn’t know you had a fully armed and operational singtar station! … although come ot think of it, I remember you mentioning the headset mic… I didn’t draw the connection that you were singtaring though! Impressive. Most impressive.
SO frickin’ excited about Keiko’s show tonight. I haven’t heard her in weeks. ;_; Well, except her Youtube vlog about Singing Arc. Buy tickets, music fans! I’m considering buying a ticket just to ensure they get enough tickets sold, even though I can’t go…
I made muffins and a one-prim coffee cup sculptie for the cafe. The coffee cup was crazy. It’s sort of like building a Klein bottle. @_@
Live combat stats? About time they caved and gave that transparency eh?

28 01 2008

That reminds me; for Rock Band, I know some other players who might be interested in hooking up (for gaming! Not that!) on XBox Live for some multiplayer funtimes, and they’re not the hardcore Expert-or-nothing gamers. If you’re interested in getting their Xbox Live profiles or sommat, just to notice when they’re on, I can talk to them. (They’re fellow friends and RPers of mine.)

28 01 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Sure, drop my gamertag on ’em. I’m HeXcoda on XBL and I welcome all friend requests.
Problem I’ve found with trying to get a good game going with friend lists is that unless people discuss what time to meet up outside of XBL, odds are low of finding someone available to play you… usually they’re already playing and in the middle of a song, or offline, or working on their world tours and can’t dump everything to go join you. Still, the more folks on my list the more likely I’ll get a “hit”, and if they have some DLC, all the merrier.

28 01 2008

in re transparency
There has been a lot of change going on in CoH/V lately, including things that haven’t been looked at for a long time. Overall, the devs seem to be acting much less conservatively than before. In some cases this is definitely good, in others the results have thus far been mixed. I think the transfer of ownership of the game from Cryptic to NCSoft, and the resulting change in dev team and increase in resources, is the cause. It’s an interesting time to be playing.
OK, enough geekery from me.

29 01 2008

I am not entirely sold on ctf_well. That map in its original capture point configuration was a sprawling epic firefight with wonderful rolling pushes, fallbacks and takebacks – but as a CTF map it’s just too big, the flag room too vulnerable to multiple avenues of attack. It might work with 48 players, but 24 feels a little too thin for a proper team-based attack/defense force that’s a highlight of all the other maps.
Or maybe I’m just a fuddy-duddy who feels threatened by dangerous and new things. ;_; And here I was getting comfortable with playing Engineer because I’d figured out all the good spots for my sentry guns on the various maps….

29 01 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Full agreement. I may have to try ctf_well on a 32 player server and see if it’s any better, but as-is my ctf_well runs consist of
1. Spawn
2. Plod your way across the whole damn map
3. Die
4. Repeat
Not fun. And team makeups seem to consist entirely of scouts (because trudging across the map as a heavy is f’ing boring) and engies (sometimes 5-6 of them at once!) with the occasional soldier to blow up turrets with.
I’ll wait for Badlands and Goldrush to get my new map swerve on.

29 01 2008

Do downloaded songs actually show up on random setlists? I haven’t seen bonus songs show up either. Admittedly, I haven’t played as much as you have, but I’ve yet to see anything other than a standard song show up.

29 01 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Yeah, DLC shows up. Bonuses will too — but only if members of your band have unlocked those songs. I intentionally did NOT do the vocals bonus tour to avoid having I Get By show up.
That cuts the other way — if you don’t have a standard tier song unlocked it won’t appear in random. So, you’ll want your leader or some backup member to have finished a solo tour on Medium or you’ll be doing Creep over and over.

29 01 2008

Greg finished guitar solo tour on Medium, though on a different character, so everything’s available there. When we subsequently did a random setlist on our band world tour, this led to my first exposure to “Green Grass and High Tides” being followed by my first exposure to “Enter Sandman.” My hands were very tired afterwards. ^^;
I’m not sure how far he got on the bonus part of solo tour, but I thought most of the songs had been unlocked. I remember seeing “Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld” as a choice when we were making a setlist, and I know that’s fairly near the end. I’m going to go with having seen a fairly small sample of random setlists as the best explanation for not seeing any bonus/DLC songs.
I’m sorry if I’m boring you with a discussion of game mechanics. I just enjoy trying to figure out how things work. ^_~

29 01 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

The mechanics of Rock Band are a bit of a mystery, frankly; the game is hardly self explanatory. So good to hammer these things down.
If he’s got Timmy unlocked, that’s all the on-disc songs, right there. Timmy’s the final song in the bonus tour for most instruments.
I HATE Enter Sandman. More specifically, the Medium Guitar notes for it. Those are NOT MEDIUM, peoples. Okay, no orange button, but the speed and scope of the notes are just crazy… even GG&HT isn’t quite as bad as it.
You need to drop a friend req on me (if you haven’t already and I just forgot your gamertag) (and if you have an xbawks). We must rock at some point.

29 01 2008

GG&HT had one tricky part, but mostly it was just the length that wore me out.
I’ll send an e-mail with gamertag info for us. Minor snag is that we don’t have Gold accounts active at the moment, so we’d need to do some reactivating for online play. But if we work out times and such, it’ll be easily doable.
I wish I had an icon of my guitarist, but there’s no easy way to get screenshots off a 360, is there? We haven’t found it yet.

29 01 2008

Actually I believe that Timmy is second last. Pleasure (Pleasure) is the last on guitar solo tour anyway.
It’s a great song too.
In any case, not much work to get that last one unlocked if necessary.

29 01 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

HMX has a feature planned for rockband.com where you can link your Windows Passport to the site and it’ll let you pose photos of your characters. It’s not there yet, though… for now it just reads your chars/bands (..even ones you deleted aeons ago, sadly) and tracks career scores.

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