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Authoring

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This area of the wiki discusses "authoring" songs for RBN -- the process by which Rock Band song packages are created. The links below discuss each step of the process in detail.

Before you create gameplay elements you will need to mix your song and set up your MIDI tracks to conform to Rock Band standards. Some careful attention at the beginning of the process will save you much time and heartache later on.

FAQ

Our FAQ contains answers to many frequently asked authoring questions.

Overview

To author songs for Rock Band: prepare your audio, create gameplay data, create a song package, and playtest the song.

1. Prepare Audio
Mix your song's multi-track recordings ("stems") for Rock Band. If you do not have stems use a high quality mp3 file.

2. Gameplay Data
Create all gameplay data as a MIDI file with Reaper or another Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

3. Package Song
Combine your audio (stems or mp3) and MIDI to create a song package with Magma.

4. Playtest Song
Playtest your song in Rock Band 3. Use Audition Mode if available.

Audio, Mix and MIDI Setup

This section contains information on audio and MIDI file setup for authoring.

Audio Setup
The stems needed for Rock Band and how to make them. How to combine multiple instruments stems into a playable stem.

Mix and MIDI Setup
How to setup your Reaper project. How to mix stems, prepare your MIDI file, create a tempo map and other basic considerations:

  • EVENTS Track
  • Crowd Animations
  • VENUE Track
  • BEAT Track

Authoring

This section discusses best practices for authoring, our standards for difficulty, the philosophy of how to create great gameplay tracks, and technical information about lyrics, animations, drums fills, and more.

Before authoring any gameplay elements, make sure that your audio and MIDI file are prepared as per the "Mix and MIDI Setup" section above.

5 Lane Instruments and Vocals

Drum Authoring:
Information about Drums (including Pro Drums markers).

Guitar and Bass Authoring:
Information about standard 5-button Guitar and Bass tracks. (Pro Guitar is not currently supported in RBN).

5 Lane Keyboard Authoring:
Information about Keys, the "basic" or "normal" keyboard mode.

Vocal Authoring:
Information about vocals authoring in general.

Harmony Authoring:
Information about 2- and 3-part harmony vocals tracks.

Lyrics and Spelling:
Details about lyrics and spelling for vocals authoring.

Pro Mode

Pro mode gives guitarists, keyboardists, and drummers a realistic playing experience.

Pro Guitar Authoring:
Information about authoring Pro Guitar and Bass tracks.

Pro Keyboard Authoring:
Information about Pro Keys, Rock Band 3's two-octave keyboard mode.

Drum Authoring
Includes authoring for Pro drum markers.

Overdrive and Big Rock Endings (BRE)

Documentation for authoring Overdrive phrases, Big Rock Endings, and Unison Phrase setup. Additional tips for authoring Overdrive are also provided.

Unison Phrase Setup:
How to setup an action to copy phrase markers between MIDI tracks.

Overdrive Authoring:
Some practical tips for authoring Overdrive in Reaper.

Overdrive and Big Rock Endings:
Information about Overdrive (for all parts) and Big Rock Endings.

Practice Sections

Practice mode allows players to practice individual sections of a song such as a solo, or bridge section. This section details how to author practice sections and provides a full list of text events for authoring.

Practice Sections:
Information about creating practice sections in the EVENTS track.

All Practice Sections:
Seriously, it's a huge list!

Venue

On top of authoring the playable parts, Rock Band 3 also lets you control how everything looks on-stage.

Camera and Lights:
Describes how to author the VENUE track that controls in-game camera cuts, stage lighting, and post-processing effects.

Venue Autogeneration:
Information about Magma's venue autogeneration function (to be used in lieu of or in conjunction with manual venue authoring).

Misc.

Other documentation you should review before submitting your song for playtesting.

Common Authoring Mistakes:
A list of many common mistakes that authors make during the process. Becoming familiar with this list may improve the quality of your submissions.

Playtest Process:
Links to the different parts of the playtesting process; another good resource for those seeking to create a very solid submission.

Audition Mode:
Information on testing your song in Rock Band 3. We recommend testing your songs thoroughly before submitting them for public playtesting.