Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3 arrived and we got to try it out.  If you only have the old Rock Band instruments, it’s pretty much just more of the same with a better interface.  As fun as ever, though.  The big new thing is more realistic/expensive instruments and 7 player support (with 3 singers).  I ordered the MIDI controller for the keyboard, but it doesn’t come out until the end of the month.  I’m hoping to actually learn a bit of keyboard when it comes to it.  We tried a bit of online play with strangers and the lack of communication was frustrating.  We saw a pretty good keyboard player online.   I had fun outfitting my character with a colonel hat and a monocle.  I imported the songs from our other Rock Band games, so we have a lot of choice.  You can apparently only rate songs in cases where you don’t like them.  Hopefully they’ll show up less often.  (I was hoping for a delete function.)  They even threw in some Spanish songs, which was pretty cool.  And it’s got Roxette, Kelly!  🙂  So come over to our house and play some Rock Band.

Rock Band 3

Looks like Rock Band 3 comes out at the end of next month or so.  New Features:  an additional 2 backup singers and keyboard can play.   New fancy guitar controllers help you learn actual guitar if you wanna go that far.  7 players!  You can use your existing MIDI keyboard with a special MIDI controller.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to play keyboard!  I tried a bit of Lego Rock Band guitar on hard last night and it’s hard!  I’m not used to shifting the fret hand at all.  I watched the advanced tutorial.  OK, got the shifting.  OK, got the hammer on.  OK, got that you just need to have that highest note correct during the strum.  IMPOSSIBLE FINAL TEST:  FAIL.  As with getting good at anything, practice practice I guess.

Got SC2

Starcraft 2 arrived and I’ve been playing the campaign a bit.  The small amount of screen feels a bit claustrophobic after playing Supreme Commander 2 where you can zoom way out and the HUD isn’t so huge as it is in SC2.  Still, super-high-quality art and sound though…and fun!  Anyway, I’m nalter@gmail.com so add me to your buddy list.

Snakety

We took a walk in the desert to some volcanic rock hills near our house last night around dark.  I almost stepped on a small rattlesnake.  It slithered away and barely made much noise until it got under a rock and then started rattling.  It didn’t strike at me or anything.  Later on, another another one immediately started rattling and I walked out of the way pretty quickly.  I don’t remember ever seeing a rattler in the wild, but they seem to love warm rocks when the sun’s going down.  We also saw the international space station flying by…looked like a slow flying star or something.

Vanessa’s brother and family have been visiting and I’ve gotten in some time on LittleBigPlanet with the kids and Supreme Commander 2 with da bruvah-in-law.

Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 is set to come out on July 27th (unless it’s not.)  It’ll sell a bazillion copies.  I wonder if there are a lot of people for whom Starcraft is THE only RTS game.  Maybe there are people out there who’ve been saying, “When is somebody gonna make another beautiful strategic game like that?”  Thousands of developers who’ve been making games like Supreme Commander and Rise of Nations for the last ten years would just let out a collective scream of frustration.  You can’t beat a name sometimes.

3Dness

I saw a movie in 3D Friday and was really impressed. One cool thing I noticed was that I actually had to change my focus between foreground and background as you do in real life. The theater charged $3.50 extra for the 3D version…I assume the projector is more expensive. I think you can keep the polarized glasses. They come in a sealed plastic bag and there’s a cardboard recycling box outside the theater where you can put them on the way out. I’m not sure how useful the glasses would be outside the theater. One cool thing to do with the glasses is to look in a mirror with them. Close one eye at a time and you can only see one eye at a time.

A little while back I saw a PC at Fry’s demoing 3D gaming. I thought I just remembered it using polarized glasses, but the ones on Nvidia’s site use LCD shutter glasses, which would be more expensive. I guess you need Vista/Windows 7, a compatible 120Hz monitor, and the shutter glasses. They have a list of compatible games. I was reading that it doesn’t work so well for some of these games, so it may not be ready for primetime yet. Anyway, it’ll be cool when it’s all working nicely. I wouldn’t buy any of this stuff yet.

Blu-ray is also planning to add 3D, but it’ll also require a compatible TV.

UPDATE: After reading this article on how theaters do 3D, I realize there is not much hope of using circular polarization on LCD monitors/TVs and that you probably always would have to use shutter glasses.

Lego Rock Band

We got Lego Rock Band. It’s amusing trying to sing The Final Countdown or We Will Rock You. Makes you realize how high most song vocals are. PROS: more family-friendly lyrics, super easy mode for kids, your character is no longer stuck to one instrument, free play lets you just jump in and pick any song, cute challenges. CONS: emo, Counting Crows, fewer songs than previous releases.

I’m not sure I’ve got enough rhythm to calibrate the game properly. We tried to calibrate, but were getting different numbers every time. I’m tempted to get a Rock Band 2 guitar just to accurately calibrate it, since they come with a built-in calibration sensor.