How to Use Rock Band Controllers (And More) with GarageBand, Mac

Bill Pendry wanted to use his PlayStation 3 Rock Band controllers with GarageBand on the Mac, so he’s posted step-by-step instructions to do just that. The secret formula: a wonderful utility that helps you use HID-compatible game controllers on the Mac, sans drivers. GamePad Companion (US$15 shareware) Of course, the nice thing here is that the basic steps apply to other controllers, just in case Rock Band doesn’t float your boat (or rock your socks, or whatever). I ended up choosing kick, snare, two toms and one cymbal, since the other cymbal I wanted was in a inactive area of …

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Game Day: Why Rock Band Demonstrates Musicians Need Friends

There’s been various speculation about whether the advent of the video game Rock Band will inspire real-world musicians. It certainly isn’t just a Simon-style button masher. Queue up Rush, crank up the difficulty level, grab real drum sticks, and you’d better actually have a sense of timing. But maybe the real message of Rock Band’s success is that musicians need some friends to jam with. Witness what happens to MTV Multiplayer blogger Tracey John when she tries to play all four instruments at once: ‘Rock Band’ Challenge — One Woman, Four Instruments, At The Same Time [MTV Multiplayer] Funny, this …

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Game Day: Use Rock Band Drums as MIDI Controller – Windows, Yes, Mac, Soon?

This Megatron robot is not actually playing these drums. But knowing the hacker community on the Web, he may be soon. Photo: punkjr. That didn’t take long. Just days after the games’ release, someone is already using controllers for the Harmonix game Rock Band with their computer software. Cyrus Thomas-Walker writes us: Looks like someone thought outside the box with their Rock Band drum set. Hacking the little kit could prove to be a cheap way to set up a little midi drum studio if someone happens to already own the game and interested in hooking the hardware up to …

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Accordion Hero Game, Double-Bellows, and the Interactive Power of Sharpie

It’s like the accordion equivalent of a double-necked guitar. And it’s a digital controller, too. Hmmm … wonder what a physical-modeled synth patch would sound like controlled by a double-bellowed digital guitar … (starry-eyed) I know what I want for Christmas. Accordion Hero II [Shadenfreude Interactive GmbH] via: Accordion Hero makes you want others in the genre [Make:blog] and MITer Cati’s blog Architectradure. (Nope. Can’t pronounce that, Cati.) Come on, you know this was your first thought when you saw the original Guitar Hero. (I know it was mind. I also wondered about maybe Contrabassoon Hero.) And check that double-bellowed …

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Music Gear in Video Games: Mackie Guitar Hero III Product Placement

An increasing trend in video games is featuring brand product placement in the game design itself. Mackie is one of the first non-guitar brands familiar to readers of this site to show up in a game, with prominent Mackie PAs appearing in Guitar Hero III. (See comments: the Guitar Hero franchise apparently loves licensed brands.) Unfortunately, they’ve got some stiff competition: Guitar Hero’s original creators, Harmonix (now owned by MTV), have licensed the Fender Stratocaster design not only for in-game graphics but the guitar controller in their upcoming Rock Band. Weirdly-oversized Mackie graphics on the PAs just doesn’t match up …

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Harmonix Phase Game for iPod: First Step Toward Interactive Music Players?

Developer Harmonix has specialized in interactive musical game creations, most recently the hit games Guitar Hero and (forthcoming) Rock Band. But developing for console platforms is one thing. What about an iPod? In a small miracle, a team at Harmonix has managed to successfully create a surprisingly rich game experience for iPod owners. Called Phase, the new game manages to recreate the signature “falling gems” music game design on Apple’s micro-platform. It manages to somehow cram slick visuals and gameplay onto the music player, and by working with your music, it could change how you listen to music — playing …

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The Guitar Hero-Playing Robot

It’s appeared elsewhere, but if you haven’t looked closely at the Guitar Hero-playing robot (“Guitar Heronoid”) created by Rafael Mizrahi and Tal Chalozin of GarageGeeks, you might have missed just how obsessive this project is: It has working, robotic hands. The actions are fairly simple: strum and hit buttons. Of course, that’s just the mechanical action… It can see. To detect what’s going on in the game, the creators had to create custom image-processing code that would follow the “plates”, the on-screen indicators of notes to play. (It says something about the design of the Guitar Hero interface, in fact, …

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