This month, I have a cover story in Spectrum magazine about the making of the upcoming videogame, The Beatles: Rock Band.
But in addition to transforming the Fab Four into a videogame, the makers at Harmonix are serving up something for the unknown rockers - the Rock Band Network. As Harmonix vice president of product development Greg LoPiccolo tells Gamespot, the company will be debuting this means through which artists can get their own songs onto the Rock Band platform.
"We have a PC tool called Magma that you download from the site, and once all of your multitrack stems and MIDI files are complete, you load them into the Magma tool, which does error checking and tells you if you've got viable stuff. Then you use Magma to transfer it into your Xbox 360, where you can audition it. So you basically play-test your own song until you're happy with it," LoPicollo tells Gamespot, "Once it's fully polished, you log on and upload it to creators.rockband.com, where all the other Creators Club folks can download it and evaluate it. It's a play test and review process where people in the closed forums can give you feedback about your song, whether it was fun, too difficult, or so forth. Then you submit it for formal peer review, which is the second phase of play test. It's more technically oriented, where people are checking for copyright infringement and profanity and technical completeness. Once it passes that, which is sort of an automated process, it gets automatically dropped into the Rock Band Network Store and people can go buy it"
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.