Monday, November 10, 2014

Rocksmith: 2014 Edition

Okay, I'm back in.

The original Rocksmith was an ambitious, forward-thinking program. I was full of enthusiasm when I started, and within three weeks, I got stuck on chords, fell into a lesson chasm where I couldn't get to the next step, and wound up quitting.

It wasn't just that--I had to spend more time on Gridiron Solitaire if I wanted it to ever ship, and even 30 minutes a day saved was important--but reaching a dead end was a killer.

So far, I think the 2014 version is different.

The additional number of levels inside lessons is a huge improvement. So for a lesson on sustains, for example, when I initially play the practice track, I get an evaluation. It's not a binary pass/fail, though. I might only see ten notes the first time through, and if I play eight of them correctly, my total score isn't 80%. Instead, it's the percentage of the total track I played correctly.

The full track probably has about 50 notes. So instead of seeing 80%, I see 16%. The next time I play the practice track, I'll see a few more notes. When I nail those, the program adds a few more. So it might take me five playthroughs--or more--to see the full track, and I'll only get 100% when I play the full track with full accuracy.

For someone who is a completionist (me), this is the perfect way to get me to practice something until it's mastered. And it's broken down into such small increments that I'm much less likely to hit the wall.

Also, if you're working on a practice track and it's just too tough, there are all kinds of tools so that you can slow a track down or get a section of it to repeat. Some of this was in the game last year, but it just feels more thorough and polished this time around.

My plan is to spend thirty minutes a day practicing, although the practice is fun and feels like play. And I'll try to file regular reports on how I'm progressing.

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