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Full Band Overdrive Pathing 101
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raunch99  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:57 pm    Post subject: Full Band Overdrive Pathing 101 Reply with quote

Edit: For some more useful information, see Kawigi's Thread w/ full band per-measure scores

Ok, so there's only a few people around here that are actively making full band overdrive paths, so I wanted to shed some light on the process I use and maybe inspire some more people to give it a shot. In writing this, I'm assuming the reader is generally familiar with how Overdrive works in Rock Band and how things like Unison Bonuses work. In explaining the process I will be referring to a path I made for Learn to Fly. You can view the path HERE (note - yellow=OD phrase, pink=unison bonus, green=potential drum/vocal acitvation point, blue=activations). I will also be talking about a spreadsheet I create for each song. You can download that HERE.

Opening Remarks
Ok the general idea behind a full band path is you want an 8x multiplier going during the portions of the song where the band is accumulating the most points. I won't get into the math of why this is so, but I think everyone already realizes this. When each individual instrument activates overdrive it doubles the current band multiplier up to a maximum of 8x when all 4 people are going. Seems simple enough. The tricky part is figuring out where the best sections are. This is going to be a fairly long post. If you don't feel like reading the whole thing I will start off with the 'Cliff Notes'

General Observations on Full Band Pathing
1. Vocals are the most important instrument when considering where to activate. Don't believe me? Look at the top of the rankings for each instrument. #1 vocals has around 11.37 million points. Drums are around 11.21 million. Guitar and bass are even less. Then realize that for a typical song you have many sections where there are no vocals present (intros, outros, guitar solos). What this means is all those vocal points are squished into even smaller portions of the entire song. Generally it is not a good idea to activate where there are no vocals, unless doing so would cause you to waste a bunch of OD. The best measures for any given song will almost assuredly have some vocals going on.

2. Extrapolating on point #1 - generally if you have a section where one band member isn't doing anything, this is probably not a good spot to activate.

3. The points lost from skipping drum fills are trivial in comparison to the amount of extra points you can gain by creating more OD overlap with other instruments. I've drawn up paths where there were as many as 5 skipped drum fills between 2 activations.

4. Having an instrument activate because it is a good spot for that instrument is a bad idea. i.e. the drum roll in Train Kept A Rollin is a horrible place to activate even though it is really good for drums. Likewise wicked guitar solos are generally bad spots to activate because there are no vocals (See point #1).

5. It may be possible to activate during a 'weaker' section and then have enough OD phrases afterwords that you'd be able to activate again when the vocals kick back in. This is fine and will result in a better score, especially if waiting to activate would cause you to waste a bunch of overdrive.

6. It is almost never a good idea to have just 1 member activating overdrive by themselves. The only exceptions to this are if 1 instrument has a lot more overdrive available than the other instruments in a song and he needs to use it up so it is not wasted. The other exception is if say the guitar has a full OD bar and the other instruments only have 3/4 OD bar. The guitar might be activating 2 measures before the other instruments kick in. This is fine.

Computing Measure Values for the Entire Band
The first step in pathing is you want to compute measure values for the entire band. This is fairly straightforward for the instruments, but does take a bit of time to compile the data. You can get charts with measure values for Guitar, Bass and Drums HERE courtesy of ajanta (a thousand thanks). Input this data into a spreadsheet with the columns as the instruments and the rows as the individual measure values. On the spreadsheet I provided, this is columns B, C, D, and E. Column F is the sum of these 4 parts.

Right about now you are probably asking where do the values for vocal measures come from. Unfortunately, the answer is you have to figure them out. I am not an expert on vocals, but how I understand it is: each phrase is worth 1000 total points (on expert). If a phrase overlaps multiple measures, the value for that particular measure is the % of the total phrase that falls in that measure. So if a phrase lasts for 10 beats each individual beat is worth 100 points. Take the first phrase in Learn to Fly - "Run and tell all of the angels". This phrase lasts approximately 6 beats, with 4 beats in measure 11 and 2 beats in measure 12. So the value for measure 11 is 1000 * (4/6) = 666, and the value for measure 12 is 1000 * (2/6) = 334. The exact value itself is not really important and rouding off values is fine. You just want to make sure that you allocate 1000 points for a phrase. Generally for this step I load up the full band chart in a paint type program (I use Inkscape) and write the vocal values directly onto the chart, then I transcribe them into the spreadsheet.

Once you have all those values in place, you can see the base value for each measure in Column F. This is your first indication of where the best measures are. Often times this is enough, but if you want to be thorough, you need to take multipliers into account, specifically the bass multiplier since it is higher. If you look at the next 4 columns (H, I, J, K) you will see that these are the measure values with the multiplier factored in. You will notice the early measures are taking into account the time required to build up the maximum value. In most cases this is overkill because the first possible activation point generally does not occur before the band is already humming along at full multipliers, but by no means is that a steadfast rule. Anyway, notes 1-9 are counted at 1x, 10-19 are 2x, 20-29 are 3x, 30+ are 4x (bass goes up to 6x). One important point is that each individual drum note counts towards the multiplier, unlike guitar. (i.e. a 3 note guitar chord counts as 1 note, a Red + Yellow + Bass drum note counts as 3 notes).

Once you have all that info entered you can see Column L is a summation of all the measure values taking into account individual instrument multipliers. This is the value you want to use to find the best places to activate. You are almost ready to start pathing now. But first you need to identify where the potential vocal and drum activation points are.

Finding Potential Activation Points
For the drums, if you look at ajanta's chart it points out where they are. He uses yellow to denote the fill locations. I typically draw these onto the full band chart so I have all the data in one place. (I use green to denote fills just to make it more confusing for everyone - actually I just started doing this before those charts were available and happened to pick green).

For the vocals, the only way to tell is by going and singing the song yourself. What I do is go bring up the song in quickplay and sing it on easy (Cause I suck at singing). Just make sure you get the first 2 vocal phrases and then never activate overdrive. I have a gamebridge, so I record myself doing this so I can refer back to it later. This also helps you figure out exactly where each vocal phrase begins and ends, because they are not always marked appropriately on the full band chart. If you can't record yourself, I suppose you could just keep pausing the game and marking down the potential spots. I draw these potential activation points into the full band chart using green rectangles. Also at this time, I highlight all the regular overdrive phrases in yellow and the unison bonuses in pink on the full band chart.

Final Preparations
Now I note all the Overdrive phrases, unison bonuses and potential activation points for vocals and drums in my spreadsheet by filling in the color of the cell so it matches my chart. This kind of gives you a high level view of the song. It gives you a feel for how much overdrive each member is going to have at a certain part of the song. You can see all this color coding in the spreadsheet I provided. Hopefully you haven't pulled your hair out yet because now you are finally ready to figure out the path. (Note: depending on the length of this song this whole preparation part generally takes me about an hour or so).

Making the Path
1. Vocals - Always start with vocals. Generally speaking in most songs there are going to be fewer vocal activations than any other instrument. How do you figure out the best spots for vocals? Take each potential activation point and compute the value for the whole band had you activated there. Going back to my spreadsheet take a look at columns M, N and O. Now look at row 27 (which represents measure 26). This is the first spot where you could activate vocals (as marked in green on my spreadsheet). The value in Column M (17848) is the sum of the full band measure values for the next 4 measures (measures 27 - 30). The cell beneath that contains the average value of those 4 cells (17848/4 = 4462). This is the average measure value for that activation. In the 2 Columns next to that I compute the values for 6 and 8 measures as well. (Note at this point it would be impossible to do a 6 or 8 measure activation). Now go through and for each activation compute those same values. This gives you an idea of how much each activation is worth given a certain amount of available overdrive.

You'll notice had we activated at the first available spot for vocals we'd get 4 measures with an average value of 4462. However, if we go down to the potential activation in measure 34 we can get 6 measures of OD with an average value of 5496. This is a much higher average value and thus is a much better place to activate. Work your way through the song trying to find the highest possible spots for vocal activations. You might not always be able to activate in the very best spot. You certainly don't want to waste any overdrive phrases if possible. Sometimes by getting the best activation point it might force you into another activation that has lower values. Try to work out the best set of activations you can using those average values as a guideline. When I figure out the activations I want I highlight them in a thick border for reference (you can see this on the spreadsheet).

Note: You will probably have to consult the full band chart to find out exactly where an activation would begin and end (and if it would overlap anymore phrases), it is not always going to be on an even measure boundary, but for our purposes its close enough to assume so when computing those average values.

2. Drums - Once you have that figured out the next step is the Drums. You do the drums next because they also have set activation points. The idea now is to try to figure out how to activate the drums so they overlap the vocals as much as possible. There is certainly no guarentee that the measure you decided to activate vocals on will also have a drum fill. However, there tends to be more drum Overdrive in each song, so you should have more flexibility. Going back to the Learn to Fly spreadsheet. You will see that the first drum fill is in measure 30. If we activate here you'll see we'll have 6 measures of Overdrive available and will overrun 2 more unison bonuses, making this whole activation 14 measures in length. You'll also notice that this activation entirely ovelaps the first vocal activation, meaning this is a good spot to activate.

For the next drum activation the first potential spot would be measure 56. We can see there is no vocal activation going on here so we'd like to avoid activating here if possible. The next spot to activate would be measure 60. If we activate here, it would last 10 measures (Since it would run over a unison bonus + another normal OD phrase) and would last through measure 70. This overlaps 4 of the 6 measures we have set up for the vocals, so this is better than the previous activation. However, we see if we wait until measure 64 we can have the drum activation overlap the entire vocal activation. This is much better since it also does not require us wasting any overdrive.

Keep going through the song the same way trying to figure out the rest of the drum activations. Note: Sometimes you will have drum activations without the vocals, this will happen if there is a long time between 2 vocal activations and you would waste a significant amount of drum overdrive by not activating sooner. Hopefully you will have enough overdrive built up by the next time the vocals activated so you could activate again.

Sometimes you might find yourself adjusting vocal activations so they line up better with the drums. This is fine. Sometimes the 'best' spots aren't realistically possible given the locations of the vocal and drum activation points. Generally speaking it is better to have an 8x multiplier going on at a 'pretty good' spot, than to have a 4x or 6x activation going at the 'best' spot. Sometimes it might be impossible to overlap the entire vocal activation, that's fine, just try to get as much as you can.

3. Guitar / Bass - Guitar and bass are much simpler because they can activate anywhere. Try to build up the activations so the overlap the drums and vocals so you can get 8x's going. Like the drums, sometimes you will need to do guitar/bass activations without the vocals simply because there is much more overdrive available for these instruments. Try not to waste any overdrive if possible, but don't be afraid to. It's better to waste OD by delaying an activation til more instruments are going, then to do a single instrument activation just because you don't want to waste any. Wasting is ok if it means more measures at 8x. Don't forget to take whammying into account, either!

If you had any sections where the drums needed to activate without the vocals, chances are you will also be able to do a guitar and bass activation around this same point. Do your best to overlap the drum activation so you can at least get a 6x multiplier going.

As you are figuring these activations out, I draw them onto the full band path picture. I use an aqua blue to denote actitvation points. I use blue because GH1 engine turned your notes blue when you activated star power.

Closing Remarks
So that is about it, you are ready to go dominate the leaderboards. I realize that is probably a crapton of info to process, but it gets easier after you do it a couple times. I am not saying this is the only way to do it, or the best way, or the quickest way (definately not), it's just how I do it and I've had pretty good results so far. If anybody has any other ideas or methods I'd love to hear about it and I'd be happy to answer any questions anybody has.
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Last edited by raunch99 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:12 pm; edited 3 times in total
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GurnKiller  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raunch,

You suck and have no idea how to path anything. Kill yourself imo.

But seriously, you're a genius when it comes to this stuff. Awesome guide!

Sticky pl0x!
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machchunk  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would probably be more stickyworthy if it was in the right forum

Wow. I don't know when you had the time to write all that, but it certainly is quite extensive. Marvelous job explaining all the different factors that go into a good chart.
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batsmak  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, definately sticky, but put this at the top of the FB OD forum.

as for you're techniche, you go though a LOT more work than I do, but your learn to fly path is wrong, although my path is wrong in a different spot, based on your activations...

seriously, we should work together.

EDIT: you use paint, right? How do you make the transparent colored boxes? I can't figure it out, and it makes me feel stupid....

EDIT2: my path and your path are both partially correct, but Idk what would make it perfect. I'll get a chart that is easier to read drawn up and post it soon.
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Last edited by batsmak on Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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machchunk  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

batsmak wrote:
EDIT: you use paint, right? How do you make the transparent colored boxes? I can't figure it out, and it makes me feel stupid....

He says in the OP that he uses Inkscape.
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I'd suggest first getting a better songwriter and then changing genres.
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raunch99  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't put it in the Full Band Overdrive forum because only mods can create new posts there and this is more generic info than just one song, though I use learn to fly as an example. Also there is no 'Full Band' Technique forum either, so I figured this was the best spot.

@batsmak - We can talk about collaborating, I'll send you a PM when I get a chance.
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beingmused  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, having 8x going at once is going to usually be the best situation, but that won't necessarily be the case - especially in songs where vocals and drums are relatively even.

The most precise way to do it would be to treat each person's overdrive separately, but considering its effects on all 4 tracks.

Of course, that would be time consuming as all fuck, and it would be a lot tougher for band members to individually remember ideal activation times than it would to pick spots that would be good for group activation.

Thanks for the helpful work, I hope to make some good use of it =)
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machchunk  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

raunch99 wrote:
Also there is no 'Full Band' Technique forum either, so I figured this was the best spot.

Well, there is the general TSG forum that you access by only clicking TSG and not any of its subforums.
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batsmak  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

machchunk wrote:
batsmak wrote:
EDIT: you use paint, right? How do you make the transparent colored boxes? I can't figure it out, and it makes me feel stupid....

He says in the OP that he uses Inkscape.


oh... me = stupid...

it is way easier to read then, so maybe i should start using it.

EDIT: so I don't double post, lemme just say that you ignored you're own rule with the first activation. if you move the Guitar and bass activations so they overlap the vox, and not be wasted by being active with the drums, where there is no vox, you will get a better score. having 4X on the vox, with 2X on the non-vox is better than 6x on the non vox.
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Last edited by batsmak on Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beingmused wrote:
The most precise way to do it would be to treat each person's overdrive separately, but considering its effects on all 4 tracks.


This is wrong, and a common misconception.
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batsmak  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GurnKiller wrote:
beingmused wrote:
The most precise way to do it would be to treat each person's overdrive separately, but considering its effects on all 4 tracks.


This is wrong, and a common misconception.


yes, it may seem that it wouldn't matter, beacuse it is 2x for each active instrument, but this is wrong. you are actually only getting 1x for the first instrument, then 2x more for eacxh additional.

think of it this way:

each instrument is active for 4 measures, but at different times. all measures are worth the same. You wind up with this:

4x2 + 4x2 + 4x2 + 4x2 = 32

If you have all active for the same 4 measures, then you get this:

4x8 + 4x1 + 4x1 + 4x1 = 44

That is quite a difference there, and it can add up to a lot when you have full activations from everyone.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tl;dr

Haha, just kidding. Great job! Sticky plz kthx.
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raunch99  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

machchunk wrote:
raunch99 wrote:
Also there is no 'Full Band' Technique forum either, so I figured this was the best spot.

Well, there is the general TSG forum that you access by only clicking TSG and not any of its subforums.



Only mod's can make new topics there as well ;-)
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beingmused  
 




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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

batsmak wrote:

think of it this way:

each instrument is active for 4 measures, but at different times. all measures are worth the same. You wind up with this:

4x2 + 4x2 + 4x2 + 4x2 = 32

If you have all active for the same 4 measures, then you get this:

4x8 + 4x1 + 4x1 + 4x1 = 44

That is quite a difference there, and it can add up to a lot when you have full activations from everyone.


How the hell am I supposed to be able to remember that 1 doesn't equal 0? Grossly unfair ;-)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know where I can get the charts for DLC songs?
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