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How do you set the "band" difficulty for your customs?


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#1 Shroud

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Posted December 10, 2019 - 08:03 AM

It's a minor thing indeed among the hundreds of errands to complete a full-band custom  :) but it came up the other day that in RB3 you have the option of sorting songs by difficulty, and if more than one players are connected, the sorting is done using the band difficulty score in the DTA file. This is actually a very useful functionality for parties, when you get people who never played RB before and want to check out easy songs first (and probably shouldn't have to browse through our hundreds-customs).

 

Using this sorting option, I've noticed some customs with even a largely incorrect band difficulty score, in fact I should say missing scores because the DTA file says "band 1", meaning that these songs will appear under the "WARM UP" section even if they are in fact quite challenging for all instruments.

 

This is obviously trivial to fix in the DTA file, but it prompted me the question, how do you as an author set this parameter for your own customs? Do you eyeball it, do you average the scores of all instruments, do you take into account how instruments are supposed to interact together or other in-game features?

 

I know that even setting each instrument difficulty score is very subjective, and setting the band score even more so... in a previous discussion I was told that for instance Harmonix sets difficulties based on how easy/hard it is to avoid a "fail", but probably most of us always plays with the "no fail" option, and are more interested in how easy/hard it is to score 100% or 5 stars at least. But I still want to set the score reasonably to help my party guests  :)

 

I am currently toying with using the following formula, with instruments scores treated as 0-6:

 

band =  [basic guitar + basic bass + (basic drums + pro drums) / 2 + pro keys + (vocal + harmonies) / 2] / number_of_instruments

 

That means ignoring pro guitar/bass (rarely owned and rarely charted) and basic keys (rarely played).

 

The following adjustments allow each of the five instruments to always count as one:

 

- if no pro drums, count basic drums twice

- if no pro keys, use basic keys

- if no harmonies, count vocal twice

 

and obviously number_of_instruments means 5 or less.



#2 expertwin

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Posted December 10, 2019 - 11:28 AM

Keys can be played on guitar, so they should be included.



#3 EchoOfMystery

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Posted December 10, 2019 - 12:19 PM

The following adjustments allow each of the five instruments to always count as one:

 

- if no pro drums, count basic drums twice

- if no pro keys, use basic keys

- if no harmonies, count vocal twice

 

and obviously number_of_instruments means 5 or less.

 

I usually set the band difficulty by estimating an average between the instruments.

 

Let me ask, by the way, why count basic drums and vocals twice? If there aren't pro drums or hamonies present, couldn't one say that the difficulty is different? For example, on basic drums, even if a player has a fancy kit, hitting extra toms or hi-hats for the same 4 colors would be a personal choice, whereas on pro it would be, obviously, necessary. Motor skills and all that...

As for harmonies, certains songs have many notes scrolling through the screen, for all parts, at one time. I reckon that for someone who's new to the game it would feel overwhelming. 

Good thinking on that formula, though!



#4 Shroud

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Posted December 10, 2019 - 01:21 PM

 

Let me ask, by the way, why count basic drums and vocals twice? 

 

My explanation sucks, but at least I hope I got the formula right... :)

 

When I said "twice", I just meant to use basic drum score in place of pro drums (when the latter is missing), or similarly the vocal score for harmonies, so you put them twice in my above formula but then you have the 1/2 coefficient. The purpose is to make each of the 5 instruments (guitar, bass, drums, keys, vocals) have the same weight on the total, regardless on whether such instrument has 2 options (basic + pro, or vocal + harms) or only 1.



#5 EchoOfMystery

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Posted December 10, 2019 - 01:47 PM

The purpose is to make each of the 5 instruments (guitar, bass, drums, keys, vocals) have the same weight on the total, regardless on whether such instrument has 2 options (basic + pro, or vocal + harms) or only 1.

 

All right, I get it now.  :v:



#6 FujiSkunk

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Posted December 10, 2019 - 03:36 PM

I have generally the same idea as you, though I haven't quite put it into a math formula.  I just eyeball it with the idea of creating a rough average of guitar, drums and bass, with a bit of sway provided by vocals and keys.  If it's a keys-heavy song and/or there is no guitar, I'll give the keys more weight.  If any instrument is just ridiculously out there compared to the rest of the instruments (think "Eruption" by Van Halen), I'll base the band difficulty more heavily on that instrument.



#7 i0brendan0

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Posted December 11, 2019 - 04:24 AM

I feel like many of the legit songs use an average of all difficulties and how difficult it is to get unison bonuses. like there could be a relatively easy song (3 dots) but most of the unison bonuses themselves would be devil tiered, then the band difficulty would be 5 or devil tiered.

#8 Shroud

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Posted December 11, 2019 - 09:39 AM

I just eyeball it with the idea of creating a rough average of guitar, drums and bass, with a bit of sway provided by vocals and keys.  If it's a keys-heavy song and/or there is no guitar, I'll give the keys more weight.  If any instrument is just ridiculously out there compared to the rest of the instruments (think "Eruption" by Van Halen), I'll base the band difficulty more heavily on that instrument.

 

 

I feel like many of the legit songs use an average of all difficulties and how difficult it is to get unison bonuses. like there could be a relatively easy song (3 dots) but most of the unison bonuses themselves would be devil tiered, then the band difficulty would be 5 or devil tiered.

 

Yes, these were exactly the kind of ideas that were going through my head and was curious about what other authors may choose :)

 

For example, a song with theoretically a combination of very easy AND very difficult instruments, by using averages may show up among "solid" songs but be effectively a nightmare for some players, so it's not at all wrong to bump up the band difficulty in this case (or in other words, to "weight" higher instrument difficulties more).

 

Also makes a lot of sense to consider if there are challenges specific for multiplayers (like unisons as you mentioned). It came up to me recently when my daughter and I started to play through RB3 "Road Challenges" which we previously ignored: some of those require specific interactions between players such as activating overdrive in tandem to keep overdrive from different instruments overlapping as long as possible. But this gets so variable and complicated that it's impossible to take into account when assigning a Band difficulty score.

 

As I said, this is a minor thing, not worth losing our sleep about it  :D But it's anyway good to keep in mind when perfecting our customs... it came up to us when my daughter had her school friends over to play, they sorted songs by difficulty because they wanted to learn the game playing "warm up" songs, and the first one in the list was... Jethro Tull's Cross-Eyed Mary  :P not exactly difficult but not a beginner's song either.



#9 Shroud

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Posted December 15, 2019 - 10:40 AM

Dang... I just realized that in Magma you can only set ONE SINGLE difficulty for drums and vocals. Does this really mean that RB3 does not support different difficulty scores for Drums vs Pro Drums, and for Vocals vs Harmonies?

 

This doesn't sound right... There are obviously songs where Harmonies are more difficult than single Vocals (e.g. The Beatles) and those where Harmonies are trivial (some background yeah-yeahs). At the same time there are plenty of drums chart which are a lot more difficult on basic drums compared to Pro, pretty much every time a song features a constant hihat 16ths series interspersed with both downbeat and upbeat snare hits: this is easy with a hihat positioned vertically over the snare, but really hard on basic drums where it requires lots of hand-crossing.  :argh:



#10 FujiSkunk

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Posted December 16, 2019 - 04:59 PM

Correct, the RB3 file structure does not support separate difficulties for pro drums and harmony vocals.  This is likely due to harmonies and pro drums actually having been around in one form or another since before RB3, and so legacy support and development schedules made it necessary to keep those from having their own difficulty tiers.



#11 Caserol23

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Posted January 4, 2020 - 09:39 AM

I think for me, i scored the difficulty on a chart by testing through my self and based on my finger reflex :D

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