Rocking out with Rock Band: 2/12/08 DLC Reviewby Derek Wilson on February 12, 2008 9:00 PM EST
- Posted in
Building A Real Drum Tutor
Coming from Rock Band, we would first need to either adjust the position of the pads into something more like a real kit, or allow gamers to change the positing of the pads. It's impossible to play cross handed (for a right handed drummer, the right hand would be playing the hi-hat crossing over top of the left hand) on the Rock Band setup which has caused me quite a bit of grief on Iron Maiden's Run to the Hills. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing that I learn to play open handed, but either way the layout causes you to use a different technique than you would on a real kit.
Next on the agenda would be a real kick pedal, more responsive drum heads and the addition of a hi-hat pedal. We've seen mods out there that either alter or replace the Rock Band pedal to address one or both of the two major complaints: durability and feel. Quick foot work is difficult with the Rock Band setup, and in order to learn proper technique people would need an actual pedal. Also, cymbals feel totally different than pads, but we can't think of a good way to incorporate a realistic enough cymbal feel into something like this.
The only other major change we would suggest would be to add a difficulty mode (beyond expert) where dynamics are factored in. Currently, it doesn't matter if you hit something hard or soft as long as you hit it. On a real kit, if you hit something hard it is loud and if you hit something soft it is quiet. This is one of the major things that musicians need to be well aware of that gets very lost on Rock Band.
Personally, I don't see why we can't scroll the sheet music for drums horizontally across the screen. I wouldn't care if they even took liberties with the spacing of notes in order to give the same visual cues that are currently used, but actually having them in there could really help teach drummers to read music. Not many these days take the time to learn how to read drum music these days, and building it into a game could really help.
On top of that, having a tutorial mode that went into depth on different grips, how and when to use them, proper kick technique to achieve different types of sounds, and tutorials built around rudiments and rolls would help. But that's not really a fundamental difference and could easily be incorporated to the game if Harmonix wanted to go there.
The bottom line is that what we have today in Rock Band is a game and not a teaching tool. It certainly can get more people into music who might have stayed out of it, but there could be problems with learning poor technique and causing frustration in future musicians. Unlearning something is much harder than learning it right the first time.