This announcement is for people in both the C3 and the Clone Hero community. For those who don’t know me, I’m farottone, co-founder of C3 in February 2013 and manager of this community. C3 has been from the very start a community based on respect and honesty: back when piracy of Rock Band content under the guise of customs was normal, we created an environment where piracy was banned and supporting official content was a value. Our efforts and our work ended up being also part of Rock Band 4, making us proud beyond belief of having contributed, even in a very small part, to more jobs being created and more people being able to play a game in its fullest form.
We always wanted to be different from the authoring community in general. Not because we think we’re better, but because we think we can be different. When we started out, we wanted to do something never done before: weekly releases. From there we moved on to doing packs, full albums, even almost-full discography projects in full band, with help from RBN-published authors. In 2016 we stopped our weekly releases when Rock Band 4 was released but kept a vibrant community driven by a database where everyone could post community-authored songs, which were put in a different group than the legacy C3 songs that had peer review and quality control. Last year we wanted once again to be different, so we started C3X, a reboot of our weekly releases. The effort has drawn a crazy amount of energy and contributions from all kinds of authors who also managed to track down original stems for some of our songs.
A new path: C3 and Ch community working together
When C3X was born we had a goal: release for all platforms, be it Rock Band 3, Phase Shift or Clone Hero. Of course we know all about Rock Band, we started out on that platform. However, we were not technically familiar with CH as much as we wanted and we also recognized the rising community that the game has, so we made a decision: let’s reach out to the Clone Hero community and see if we can work on a shared project. We could create a C3/CH group of people and release content together.
Now, it’s important to understand that working with the Clone Hero community needed for us to forgive the behavior that some of their members took with us. At first, our entire database was downloaded and converted, making up the bulk of the good initial Clone Hero content that was shared. No C3 author was ever asked if they would agree to this, no public message was posted thanking C3 for providing years of free content. But this is not what made us a bit uneasy. It also wasn’t the fact that on the CH Discord, some people routinely would slander our content by misrepresenting it as low quality: during our 2.5 years run our content was the most peer reviewed you could find, both because of our internal testing and because the content was partially authored by people with experience in commercial products. What made us uneasy is that after all of that, we received angry messages from CH charters upset that, while crediting them for their work, we had converted their songs to Rock Band 3 format. Still, we complied promptly, even opening a public thread on our forums.
With that in mind, I started a first contact with the Clone Hero community with ZeroHearts, who was very helpful but who eventually told me that it wasn’t feasible to talk to a group of CH authors together, that I had to contact them one by one. As the people who know me know, I have 12-hour work days, 7 days a week, so my time is limited, but still I wanted this to happen, so I started contacting authors. Discussions started roughly (a couple of no shows), and then I hit a couple of people who were interested and eager to work together. Then I moved on to more popular authors: 2 or 3 people of the most known authors declined, and then something weird happened…
Things devolve quickly
When I went back to the people I had brought aboard, suddenly they weren't interested anymore, citing mysterious bad actions brought forward by C3. What follows is an anonymized message from one of those authors
I had no idea what they were talking about: C3X is a public project with no mysterious motivations. It’s been going on now for 2 legs with great results and everybody can see that it’s simply a great community project. Things quickly became clear to me: obviously behind the scenes somebody was trying to sabotage us by telling lies or misleading people. So, after a few private conversations, I finally got a hold of a portion of a message that confirmed what I already knew:
I have removed the name of the individual posting this because this wasn’t shared publicly, but it’s important to understand what was happening: somebody influential was secretly threatening to destroy not just working together in a project, but “the relationship between C3 and CH”. It’s revealing that the individual in question never contacted me directly or indirectly, maybe fearing the worse for himself: that we would have struck a deal and that C3 and CH could work together for the benefit of both communities. After seeing that message dated late August and no other replies from CH authors I gave up: clearly people with influence there didn’t want our communities to interact (heck, they wanted to fracture the relationship between us) and so we moved on with C3X, sadly without the Clone Hero community.
I have known about the sabotage effort since late August, but I have never shared that message, not even with our own admins, until yesterday. While I had proof that someone was doing the worst by his own community, I didn’t want to bring this to the public because I didn’t want the whole CH community to be cast under a bad light. I figured we simply wouldn’t work with each other.
A bizarre message
Yesterday, however, something was brought to my attention that was posted on the CH Discord back in January. Here is the post:
I don’t know who this Siavash person is: I have never talked to him, never got a message from him, but I understand that he is an influential administrator there. What is written in that post is almost complete misdirection, fabrication and even pure lies, and we’re going to go over it one by one for the benefit of both communities.
1) As anyone who has interacted with us knows, all our legacy content has been vetted extensively and is industry standard. We even have a public Wiki with all documents where any author can study and learn: http://docs.c3univer...title=Main_Page To the best of my knowledge, the barrier to entry to the CH customs portal is essentially that songs have a tempo map. That doesn’t mean Clone Hero authors can’t be very good: not only can they be good, but they are also our good friends in some cases. Of course, any chart can have problems so I won’t say that any chart we released during our 2.5-year original run is perfect, as much as I wouldn’t say that for any chart anywhere. But “awful audio quality” and “horrible charting” are pure misdirection, there is no way around that. We have explained extensively how our database hosts both legacy content and community content, and even for new community content, most of it is produced by people who were either part of the original run or close to that level of quality. This is not a quality war: I have no doubt plenty of CH charts are close to perfect or perfect and we probably have some bad community charts. It’s simply dishonest though to conflate the two together.
2) The disrespect toward some CH charts and some in the communities has been addressed here publicly Among some of the quotes there we have “Clone Hero is a positive influence and a great force in the rhythm gaming world” and “Our official position on the Clone Hero community is that it’s great to see more and more people pick up authoring tools and release content that can be enjoyed by an ever growing number of players. We also know there are excellent Clone Hero authors as some of them are also in our community.” To the best of my knowledge, no such public message professing respect for C3 or thankfulness for what we have provided has ever been made public and no effort has ever been made to have people in the CH community represent us fairly.
4) Still, we complied immediately with the request to pull the songs and we went a step further: we allowed authors to be put on a list to make sure none of their content would ever be converted. To the best of my knowledge, no effort has ever been made by CH admins to stop CH users from distributing our songs beyond simply removing them from their portal
What really happened with C3X
Regarding C3X, in that message we now devolve in pure lies and fabrication. First of all, I’ll post for everyone to see my presentation message. Here we make clear that this is a collaboration, that we would work together and that it would be a collaborative project:
5) “The CH pack would be made independently of the C3 pack with different charters working on each pack (i.e. not a collaboration)”
As you can see from my message, this is false: never did I mention that an author can’t work on both platforms. Obviously since RB3 standards require full band authoring, if a CH author can only author for guitar and bass, for example, and he/she can’t find anyone to add the other instruments, we can’t label that version for RB3, but it would still be released in the same date pack, even converted to RB3 if the author elects to do so or can have someone to do so on their behalf. For the same reason, if a RB3 author is not able to convert his or her song to CH, we can’t add that song to a CH subpack. Not rocket science really, but worth the explanation
6) “The CH pack would carry C3 branding despite not having had anything to do with any C3 authors”
C3X is a collective project, a global branding for both RB3 and CH content. Any single song can be worked on by both people from C3 and CH so of course any author can have something to do with any song
7) “The C3 pack would not be converted to CH upon first release”
In the message I posted “Every week would include RB3 releases also converted to CH and CH releases“ As you can see from my message, this is purely false. Of course we can’t mandate any RB3 author to have the skills to convert to CH or any CH author to have the skills to convert for RB3, so we couldn’t guarantee that ALL songs would be available for both platforms. The point was to create a group that worked together to learn how to do that, as you can read from my message: Get help in converting the new RB3 content properly for Clone Hero, and helping Clone Hero authors do the same for the RB3 format if they want. Since CH authors were convinced by influential people behind the scenes that “C3 bad, hurrrr”, this never materialized because, sadly, the shared group never started. Here follows a private conversation I had with a CH ambassador where I make clear that they are under no obligation to author for RB3 but that it would still be a collaborative effort: shared dates with bigger setlists or even different dates if the theme fits mostly one game or the other. “We are, so to say, on a tour together”
8) “No one on the C3 team would convert the CH pack to C3”
I have to say I have genuinely no idea what “converting to C3” means. Anyone who knows anything about rhythm games knows that C3 is not a game or a format, it’s a community. It’s like saying “No one converts songs to ScoreHero”. This person probably means RB3, but I can only guess because thinking that something can be “converted to C3” is not something I would expect somebody in the authoring community to say. If that is the case, check point 7. Again, nobody can make anybody do anything, so neither the CH people nor the C3 people could guarantee that they would be able to help convert to CH/RB3 each other’s content, but that was the idea. Go back to point 7 and read again the conversation I had with one of their ambassadors, who never told me that they felt “screwed” by our proposal. The whole point was to not force CH authors to work on the same songs C3 authors were working for RB3. Of course if any group of authors wanted to work on the same songs, just for different platforms, that would have been perfect.
9) “One of the head organizers of the C3X project was the very same charter who left this server over being upset that she was stripped of the charter role, and we would essentially have to answer to her”
Nowhere do I say that CH or C3 authors have to answer to somebody else, but even then, this is petty in a way I can’t explain. By his logic, C3 authors would have had to answer to CH people who used to talk trash about us…
10) “After days upon days of trying to get the C3X organizer to agree to more favorable terms so that the CSC charters wouldn't be screwed out of this unfairly, he just ended up ghosting us at a certain point and went through with his C3X plans without any Clone Hero component. In spite of this, he still made us sound like the bad guys whenever he discussed the situation on the forum despite him trying to screw over the CH charters.”
You have now seen the discussions, you can make up your own minds. Of course nobody was being screwed or treated unfairly, we went out of our way to clarify that we don’t want to mess with CH standards, rules, etc. But most importantly, this person is flat out lying: I have never ghosted anyone and I have never received a request to agree to more favorable terms that I haven’t discussed. But more importantly, you don’t have to believe me, because I have screenshots proving that each and every discussion I had with any CH author either ended with me thanking them for their time and/or their interactions and with them either ending the discussion (and not me) or them not replying to my messages. I spent months working to get this done so why would I suddenly ghost anyone?
As you can see, I have the last reply on every single discussion with a CH author, in some cases I have the only message there because they ignored me.
Then why all of this?
Most importantly, we have worked hard to make this happen and if anyone at any time had said “Listen, we like it, but we are being treated unfairly, do you think we could tweak those things?” we would have discussed it. Instead, what happened is that I had to contact authors individually. Guess what: I have no problem going door to door if I think something is just, you’re not gonna break me by making me feel like I can’t speak to an elite group of mods, you’re just gonna sound puerile. But not once was I contacted by the person who posted this message so not once did he interact with me and report on anything we were discussing. Why not sending me a message if he felt this strongly while just misleading people? That’s up to you to decide.
Finally, I want to address directly each and every member of the CH community. Your community has been cheated out of the opportunity to work with another community and benefit from each other’s strengths. Don’t believe ME though, read this message, read the screenshots and ask yourself: is the message siavash posted an accurate representation of our interactions? If not, why did he post false and misleading information? And ask yourself: why exactly would we want to screw CH authors out of something that I still have to understand what it is? C3X is real, it’s not a scam, it’s been going on for 8/9 months now. It has no “hidden agenda” (yes, it’s a thing that has been floated to me via DM too…), it’s a collaborative project, what agenda could it have if not have fun and release songs? Why would somebody want to “fracture relationships” between yours and a community that has provided hundreds of songs that you probably played dozens of times and are still playing? We simply wanted to do a project together, clearly somebody decided for you that you didn’t deserve it.
We’ll be asking the CH devs to host this reply on the CH Discord as a show of fairness to us to address misleading and false statements. If you are reading this and you see a link to this thread on the CH Discord, we are very thankful to CH admins for allowing us to explain our point of view and present the facts. If you don’t see a link in a few days, I once again submit that you ask yourself why…
EDIT: after posting evidence that at least one of their admins lied publicly about what we said and did and wanted to sabotage relationships, we have received no message from the CH management. We won't ask them to post this publicly and they are under no obligation to do so: their silence is enough to explain their position on the matter.