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Keys/Pro Keys issue: new policy


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#1 Farottone

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 02:36 PM

The subject of pro keys has been under discussions for months inside C3. Let’s take a step back to understand the issue and make one thing clear: Harmonix made it look easy. Truth is keys have been introduced as a regular instrument while still being a “pro” instrument, hence really difficult to author. Now, “pro” drums are really nothing more than a few markers added, but pro guitar and bass are impossibly difficult/time consuming to do, to the point that even Harmonix did them for only selected songs and with stems available to use. Pro Keys are, well, almost exactly like pro guitar and bass: you need to be able to transcribe what the artist is playing. This is a skill that professionals creating commercial sheet music have, not just people who play the instrument or people who dabble in authoring. And this is especially true for piano songs: synths are clean and complex synth parts are usually composed of single notes; on the other hand piano is extremely more complicated. And then there’s the issue of not having a separated keys track to work on…

However, since C3’s inception we always provided pro keys for all our songs except for literally a handful for which authoring without stems would have been impossible. To do this we used a number of tools, including sheet music and MIDI files. However, many songs have never seen the light of day exactly because we couldn’t author pro keys. So, after months of discussing the issue we have finally come to a conclusion, using every element we could have possibly gathered, including download numbers.

So this is our decision…

Our releases will still carry pro keys as a standard, however this requirement will be lifted for any song for which keys/pro keys will be deemed too hard to author for us. We will also apply a “best effort” policy, meaning that we will author songs with imperfect charts (to the tune of 2/3 measures repeated a couple of times in the song with something that is not correct but it’s plausible) instead of not authoring keys at all. We will also apply a “self-restrain” rule, which means that we won’t release heavily keys driven songs without keys unless there’s a good reason to do so (a full album with some songs like that that couldn’t be released otherwise, a large pack that contains a few of those, etc.). But most importantly, we will never release a song without pro keys that we would have released with pro keys before this decision. This is a matter of the author not being able to, not a matter of the author not willing to. All previous policies still applly (exemption for buried keys, etc.)

This decision is something we haven’t made lightly: we want to release songs in the most complete shape possible. However, 2 years in and 5 years into the UGC era, it starts to be clearer and clearer that if by now we don’t employ anybody able and willing to author the most complex parts, we’re never going it.

So, does this mean pro keys players will get a lot of less songs? Actually, it means the contrary. What we are addressing are songs we would have NOT released anyway. This means that pro keys players will get at least the same amount of songs. Not only that, we are going to try and work around a few parts of some songs to release acceptable charts, so theoretically we should have more songs for pro keys players.

As a final note, be aware that our philosphy doesn’t change: we still believe a song without pro keys is incomplete. But it’s 2015 and it doesn’t make complete sense not to release songs that until Rock Band 2 would be considered just perfect only because we are unable to provide a part that needs good musical skills to be authored and that only a portion of the players will be able to enjoy.

Thanks for sticking with us, authors and users alike, and here's to a great 2015 of customs!

#2 AJFOne23

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 02:49 PM

I guess this means that songs that have been held back due to keys authoring constraints will now see the light of day. That's great news!

#3 TrojanNemo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 02:59 PM

Hell no. No pro keys? I'll stop authoring then. Who wants "more" songs if they'll have less?

#4 Farottone

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 03:10 PM

Hell no. No pro keys? I'll stop authoring then. Who wants "more" songs if they'll have less?


You stopped authoring ages ago! :D

#5 TrojanNemo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 03:12 PM

You never know. I'm notoriously bad at retiring. Maybe I was about to author again. Who knows.

#6 ckovanda

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 03:56 PM

very happy to hear this. hopefully this means a wave of Elton john songs waiting to crash down on us.

#7 iammax

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 04:01 PM

very happy to hear this. hopefully this means a wave of Elton john songs waiting to crash down on us.


I'd be happy with that, especially if we got a full band Funeral for a Friend (although a pretty good custom without full band is now available somewhere)

#8 Nightmare Lyra

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 04:43 PM

Hell no. No pro keys? I'll stop authoring then. Who wants "more" songs if they'll have less?


Subtle.

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#9 TrojanNemo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 04:45 PM

Thanks. It's a gift. :haw:

Also, I guess I can live without key-less songs if that means we'll get more Queen, Elton, Meatloaf.

#10 Farottone

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 04:56 PM

Also, I guess I can live without key-less songs if that means we'll get more Queen, Elton, Meatloaf.


I think Elton John is one of those artists that fall in the "why bother if no keys?" category but it depends on the size of the eventual pack, etc. :)

#11 TrojanNemo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 05:00 PM

For me it is still very much worth it because I like to sing along to Elton...particularly the Disney songs. But yeah.

I'm still questioning how I feel about this as far as the Piano Concerto No. 3 I was planning to try and chart one day. Maybe I can do it without keys? :haw:

#12 DoNotPassGo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 05:36 PM

Also, I guess I can live without key-less songs if that means we'll get more Queen, Elton, Meatloaf.


I think Elton John is one of those artists that fall in the "why bother if no keys?" category but it depends on the size of the eventual pack, etc. :)



I do agree with something like that, but this is just referencing Pro Keys correct?

I honestly believe that the vast majority of players fall under the umbrellas of "Not owning a RB keybaord" or "No skilled enough to play/enjoy pro keys". I personally own a RB keyboard (and a midi keyboard), but struggle with Pro keys. I took piano when I was younger, but the visual mechanics never really stuck. I have very good rhythm, but struggle to read music. Seeing the notes pop up on the screen is something I'm just unable to do.

I can play personal-touch versions of many songs on piano (Imagine, Don't Stop Believing, Faithfully, Fur Elise, Layla)... but ALL of those were from week of painstaking sheet music notes leading up to me memorizing the songs.


Point being, even if the pro keys end up not being charted due to difficulty/burried/ect there will still be keys generally charted for 5-lane correct (assuming possible again). That way, people with a keyboard will still have some means of playing.

I'm sure also, down the road, no one would have a problem giving out the files if there was an author FULLY willing to take on responsibility and try to chart out the part later on? That way songs could be released with 5-lane no pro or "reduced" pro... and if someone down the road wants to chart them they can be patched in later?

#13 Farottone

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 05:47 PM

I do agree with something like that, but this is just referencing Pro Keys correct?


Both, for a number of reasons. Also, this may or may not affect you directly... ;)

For the benefit of everyone commenting on this, please keep in mind that we are not planning on releasing a ton of songs with no pro keys or keys. This is a provision we had to put in because it started to get silly how we were giving up releasing songs just because of this limitation. Knockin' on Heaven's Door is one of our fastest moving songs ever and it was delayed 2 years because of its lack of pro keys. There's no need to worry about that many songs being affected. I personally authored, over the years, a number of songs closer to 1,000 than to 500 and out of all those, I'd say maybe 20/25 would be affected. It's a number that is not far from 3% of our entire future catalogue, worst case scenario.

I'm sure also, down the road, no one would have a problem giving out the files if there was an author FULLY willing to take on responsibility and try to chart out the part later on? That way songs could be released with 5-lane no pro or "reduced" pro... and if someone down the road wants to chart them they can be patched in later?


Honestly, if you author pro keys, you start there and work your way down. The opposite is not that kosher. Remember though that this is a C3 policy that does not prohibit a C3 author from actually adding 5-lane keys and no pro keys.

#14 DoNotPassGo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 07:00 PM

I agree that 5-lane to pro is backwards. I always do Pro first.

More so, I just mean, it is incredibly easier to BS 5-lane keys if need be without pro keys. Similar to guitar/bass, you're just finding chords/sustains, and then pitching high-low to make it fit. have the pro just gives a bonus insight as to how it should* flow/move.

If anyone was to add in Pro keys after, I think it would be somewhat required for the 5-lane to be redone as well. That's somewhat trivial after pro keys are finished, however, should it should not be that big of a problem.

I was just insinuating that if* there was a 5-lane C3 release, and someone wanted to take responsibility down the road for making pro keys, that they could be given the file (or possibly the file with just key specific charts in there and the audio), and the keys could be updated in at a later date? Just speculation.

#15 FujiSkunk

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 07:39 PM

Speaking as a keyboard player, it looks like I have even more incentive to get to work on doing more customs...

#16 TrojanNemo

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 07:46 PM

What, the fame, glory and the groupies weren't enough incentive?
That's why we do it :c00l:

#17 Farottone

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 11:29 PM

I was just insinuating that if* there was a 5-lane C3 release, and someone wanted to take responsibility down the road for making pro keys, that they could be given the file (or possibly the file with just key specific charts in there and the audio), and the keys could be updated in at a later date? Just speculation.


Of course.

#18 bbsrtrain

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Posted January 30, 2015 - 09:20 PM

This is sort of a nice/uncertain announcement for me. I have one song I'm authoring and all I have left is the vocal and keys parts. The vocals will be fine because I've been a singer for most of my life. The thing that holds me back are the pro keys chart. I just don't know where to start for it. It's not too difficult of a part either, I just have no Idea where to start.

#19 Farottone

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Posted January 30, 2015 - 09:40 PM

This is sort of a nice/uncertain announcement for me. I have one song I'm authoring and all I have left is the vocal and keys parts. The vocals will be fine because I've been a singer for most of my life. The thing that holds me back are the pro keys chart. I just don't know where to start for it. It's not too difficult of a part either, I just have no Idea where to start.


Obviously the policy only affects official C3 releases so you're good to go. ;)

#20 pipiris24

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Posted March 1, 2015 - 12:42 AM

if a song does't have keys, can it be authored with rhythm guitar instead?
I think it would be good to use the keys track for rhythm guitar, benefiting that you can play with 3 guitars using "all instruments mode".

they are not keys, just use the keys track and use it with a guitar,using a keyboard will have not efect (and you maybe die trying) , then pro keys are not needed.

if we can't provide a song with keys (because does't have keys) it is better to provide to the guitar players a second guitar.

That's I think.

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