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Common Customs Authoring Mistakes


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#1 Gigakoops

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 03:50 AM

This is sort of an extension of the "Common Authoring Mistakes" page on the Official Authoring Docs mirror. Over the past several months I've been in the customs scene I've noticed a few things that some customs have that could potentially ruin one's experience playing it. I am going to post a few of these here that aren't already covered in the Authoring Docs page so that folks can discuss.

General
  • Audio Mixing for Non-Multitrack Customs: Do not put the audio of the song anywhere other than the Backing track in Magma. It may seem like a good idea to sort-of emulate the drop-out when missing a note even without stems, but stacking a full-volume track with all instruments in multiple layers makes the song too loud, and it lessens the sound quality a lot. Even more importantly, though, is the fact that it can cause other audio issues, too. If you whammy on a track with such a layout you distort the entire audio track. If you miss a note, the whole audio drops out, and the audio will also drop out during a drum fill.
    Instead, you want to utilize Magma: C3 Roks Edition's silent tracks for each of the instruments charted by right clicking the empty track and selecting the silent track that best suits your needs.
  • Remember to quantize your notes! Quite a few customs I've seen have notes that are off-the beat not because that's how it's played, but because the author didn't align them properly when copy and pasting the notes. In the MIDI editor in Magma, there should be a "Q" button. Highlight the notes you want to quantize, and press it. Select the options you want to apply, though be careful to apply changes to selected notes only, and press "OK". Also be careful to quantize notes on a triplet grid onto a triplet grid. You should not "blanket quantize" notes if there are different grids being used.

Guitar/Bass
  • Make sure your overdrive is on the Overdrive marker and your solos are on your solo markers. This is more of an RB2 era customs thing, when people were beginning to port their FoF customs to Rock Band, which had these markers in opposite places. I am just posting this here for folk who are importing FoF customs.
  • "People have found out that for tremolo and trill lanes, leaving out the final note completely from the tremolo or trill marker makes it easier to not break combo when jumping between tremolo or trill parts." (See this link to the docs for more information)

Drums
  • "For most songs, 1 measure fills every 4 bars make for an appropriate pacing of fills. Common exceptions are when a song is very fast, in which case you may want to author a 2 measure fill every 8 bars, or when a song is very slow, in which case a half measure fill every 2 bars will do." (See this link to the docs for more information) Also note that drum fills should never cover up the note that is meant to activate Overdrive.
  • "[Drum rolls and swells] work similar to fills where you start the roll lane where the first note is authored, and you end the roll lane so it doesn’t overlap the last note in the roll." (See this link to the docs for more information)

Vocals
  • "The only end-of-sentence punctuation that should be used is question marks and exclamation marks. We try to use these sparingly and only when we feel appropriate. Commas and periods should not be used for punctuation, though periods can be used for abbreviations; for example, A.M. or P.M. If there is a question mark or exclamation mark in the middle of a phrase, capitalize the next word. We avoid using quotation marks." (See this link to the docs for more information)

    For example, this phrase should not be authored as such:

    I'm like, "Bleach, man, why you got the stupidest verse?"

    Instead, author it as:

    I'm like Bleach man why you got the stupidest verse?
  • "Always write out numbers in words like "Four Hundred Twenty-Three" instead of "423". Don't forget to use a hyphen between the tens and units number when writing out the numbers twenty-one to ninety-nine." (See this link to the docs for more information

    For example:

    4 3 2 1/Earth below us

    Would instead be authored as:

    Four three two one/Earth below us


#2 TheOreo

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 05:04 AM

I really hope you're in the midst of authoring Fort Minor!

#3 drummerockband

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 12:54 PM

OMG I love that Major Tom song!

My Customs | Featuring customs from Disney movies, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Tegan and Sara, Alvvays and more!


#4 Farottone

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 01:05 PM

Numbers, unless in a specific name (such as U2), should not be typed out as the number itself in the lyrics.


A number in the act's name is not more readable than a number elsewhere. And most importantly, you would still use syllables for numbers in an act's name. In example, if a song mentions The B-52s you don't write "52" instead of "fif- ty= two". Numbers are always written out in letters for readability. Exceptions are made on that basis (of readability), not on any other basis. If "U2" is more readable than "U two" you can write U2, but not because it's an act's name, because it's more readable.

Do not put the audio of the song anywhere other than the Backing track in Magma. It may seem like a good idea to sort-of emulate the drop-out when missing a note even without stems, but stacking a full-volume track with all instruments in multiple layers makes the song too loud


Too loud is the lesser of issues. The actual reasons why we don't do this is because the whammy bar would distort all audio, because if you miss a note the whole track drops out from the mix and because the same happens when there's activation drums fill. If you lower all audio tracks' volume and manage not to have the audio clip, you're still left with those 3 issues. So, mute everywhere except for backing.

Drum fills are to take up a measure for normal tempos (about 100-180 BPM), and should end at the end of the measure, not a 16th after.


Not necessarily. They should match how the song's drums fills actually end. In songs with fills ending on the upbeat or with syncopated beats, an activation fill can end on the 4 of the measures, on the 4.50, the 1.50, the 4.75 or even on the 1.75. A better way to properly end activation fills is to check how the fills work in the song and replicate the style.

#5 pksage

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 03:28 PM

Not necessarily. They should match how the song's drums fills actually end. In songs with fills ending on the upbeat or with syncopated beats, an activation fill can end on the 4 of the measures, on the 4.50, the 1.50, the 4.75 or even on the 1.75. A better way to properly end activation fills is to check how the fills work in the song and replicate the style.

This is true, but way too many people think this applies when it doesn't (mostly people who don't really "get" rock music enough to make the call), so please ask for help if you're not sure.

Also, every author needs to read the docs in their entirety. No exceptions. 95% of authoring probems (i.e. not technical problems with REAPER or Magma) are things addressed in the docs.

#6 Farottone

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 03:44 PM

This is true, but way too many people think this applies when it doesn't (mostly people who don't really "get" rock music enough to make the call), so please ask for help if you're not sure.


To complement GK's suggestion I think that the point is: don't end the drum fill by covering the activation note, but end it exactly when the activation note starts. I think that was the original point of the comment (GK will correct me if I'm wrong), so don't cover the final note with the 5 drums fill notes, have them end right before the activation note, wherever the activation note may be (which, yes, is usually at the very start of the following measure).

#7 CrazyCanuck

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Posted April 27, 2014 - 08:40 PM

These are all good points for beginner charts. When I first started charting I made the mistake with the audio files and had errors when I didn't quantize. The quantize fixed my copying and pasting hihats from measure to measure. The pointers on fills are also very helpful. I have recently started adding OD and Fills and any advice is appreciated. Any advice on OD placement and the usage with one instrument (drums)? When playing one instrument charts, seems like hitting one OD gives you the fill?
Side note: I still cannot get a drummer only camera to work. Is it possible?
Perhaps these questions don't belong here. The powers that be can move this post.
I still make authoring mistakes so keep the tips coming.

#8 Gigakoops

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Posted April 28, 2014 - 12:33 AM

I have edited the OP to quote and link to the parts of the docs that mention these specific rules, so that there is hopefully better understanding of the rules as they were written. When I originally wrote the post I was basing it mostly off memory, so I did get a few things wrong. Hopefully things have been corrected. The post may be edited again later if needed. I've also taken into account the things that others have pointed out, and I've posted a few more things up there, such as the other problems with putting non-multitrack audio anywhere other than the backing track, and that drum fills should not cover the activation note (which was my original point, but I originally typed it out in a vague way).




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