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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

Despite the horrendous tragedy last night of my Wii DVD drive dying, quickly followed by the painful realization via phone call that the warranty on my Wii ended THREE DAYS AGO, assuaged immediately by the kind Nintendo representative saying “it’s ok, we’ll squeeze you in anyway and fix that for you free of charge”, bolstered by the assignment of an RMA and fedex label for me to get said free repair, balanced by the acknowledgment that we will be wii-less for two weeks, being thankful that Nintendo will give me a new 1yr warranty on the fixed Wii, then being surprised that the drive spun up again after being turned off for 30 minutes, then accosted by the sounds of a damaged DVD drive, I still have some good news to share about Guitar Hero.

There are two main sources of online information about Guitar Hero – guitarhero.com and scorehere.com

guitarhero.com scorehero.com 

I have an extreme love-hate relationship with these sites.

Both are like, hmm.  How do I convey this?  Ok I think I got it

Let’s say you LOVE cars.  You’re absolutely in love with cars – all makes and models, engines, custom mods, manufacturers, accessories, you attend car shows and talk cars with your buddies, and you’re a junkie to find out the latest news coming out.  Then you’re given the most awesomest car EVER – it’s got (insert some incredibly drool-inducing engine stat) and (insert some INSANE fuel injectifier thingies) and custom (insert something you customize heavily).  It’s the BOMB of cars in terms of features.  But there are some things wrong with it, like it smells bad, like some dog urinated on the back seat carpet.  The uphostery is shot.  It’s never washed.  It has no radio.  The steering wheel has little thumbtacks sticking out of it so when you drive, it pricks you in the finger and it hurts.  The windows are stuck in down position, so rain gets into it all the time.  There’s only one headlight, and for some reason it’s stuck on BRIGHT and has some sensor that sees police and automatically tracks and points right at the police officer’s head at night.

The dilemma  you face in the above situation is that despite the cacophony of aesthetic noise, you LOVE cars and it’s got (the list above of awesome things).  So you put up with it because you LOVE cars and it embodies the best of the best, even if it’s just in 2 or 3 areas.

These sites are like that.  They both have AWESOME content and features, but are unfortunately riddled with hard-to-navigate or inefficient systems, plagued by elite know-it-alls, and inundated with morons.  You just can’t get better info than from places like guitarhero.com and scorehero.com, but the problem is … YOU JUST CAN’T GET THE BETTER INFO.  “Stickies” just aren’t a suitable replacement for USENET-style FAQ’s of the golden age.

So I wanted to share a couple of the other online Guitar Hero resources I’ve found that are really cool.


The first is a compete set of note charts. at bradleyzoo.com.  A “note chart” is where someone has documented every note in the guitar hero version of the song, how long the notes are and where the star power phrases are

expert note chart for cliffs of dover

Note charts aren’t a new thing by any means – several pieces of software can generate them from the game itself.  What *this* site adds is a documentation of the star power paths (shown in green) and optimal times to USE the star power (shown in blue).  And get this – it does so, for EVERY song from EVERY GH game in EVERY level (I didn’t check every one myself, though).  And if that weren’t enough, it does the above in both graphic and text form.  Oh, and it does one for many different ways to play the song – no starpower, some star power with using whammy bar, using no squeeze, or using some amount of squeeze ranging from 20-100% (squeeze is the art of timing the activation of starpower a few milliseconds “late” so you get extra points).

You may be asking “why would I care about a note chart?  Isn’t this game about having fun?”  Yes, it is.  But after you’ve gone through the thrill of playing the game, you start wondering why you can’t hit this phrase or that phrase.  Or you start playing in tournaments or playing online and get killed by people who get 80k more points than you. 

Or you hit 100% on a song but are still ranked WAY down below 500,000th place:

guitar hero 100% on easy low ranking

I can hear a couple of you snickering “tee-hee, he made 100% on easy, what a ‘tard my blind grandma can do 100% on easy with the controller and she has arthritis”.  Well, I do have a 100% on a hard song, and it’s still ranked > 100,000th place

guitar hero hard killers 100% low ranking

So I see my 116,705th place and REALLY want to optimize that score.  The note charts will help me with that.  I can see from the main table of songs that I can make somewhere between 269,532 and 271,168 points if I just activate star power in the right places.  And I can tell from the guitarhero.com leaderboards that if I get around 271K for this song, I’ll go from 116,705th place to ~1400th.


The second is schier.eu.  This place is a fantastic resource for pulling data and cool information from guitarhero.com’s ranking system.At this site, you can get custom signature badges, look at your stats in graph form, get a complete table of data of scores by song and date updated, and see group stats for songs.  It really is an amazing site.Here are some sample badges of my current data – showing how many of each level have been cleared, 5-starred, FC’ed, how many wins I’ve had in battle mode, etc.

 
 

Another cool feature is you can compare two or more account stats together. Here’s a comparison of me (red) and my 13yr old daughter (blue) on one of the setlists (Live in Japan, Expert)

guitar hero comparison schier.eu

You can see from this that she beats me on four of the five songs, but on Knights of Cydonia, I have the lead.  Everyone knows that’s the hardest song there (pshaw, I keed, I keed!  Caitlin completed these songs WEEKS before I could even get there.  I was stuck on Cult of Personality for so long it hurt.)

The guy behind this site also responded to my feedback and let me know about the XML feed that guitarhero.com has for profile data, so that gives me an idea of writing a wordpress plugin to display dynamic ranking data, like on a timeline… hmmmmmm, I love brainstorming with my imagination….

March
24
2008
8:47 am
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Another Monday version of the Sunday edition…  Blogging is what happens when life doesn’t get in the way.


BeBe, we hardly knew ye

This last week, Friday to be exact, our inlaws put down our shared dog, BeBe.

jupiter zina bebe

Jupiter and Zina are “our” dogs and Bebe was rescued about 6 months ago by my parents-in-law, who share the 3.5 acre property.  In fact, all three of them are rescued dogs – Jupiter was abandoned on a doorstep a few years back and Zina was rescued from the same place as BeBe – Friends Of Gonzales Animal Shelter (similar to PawMatch – they set up in front of PetSmart to help place homeless pets).  Caitlin, our 13yr old, volunteers 20-30 hours a month there.

BeBe was the sweetest of the bunch.  Jupiter is smart and sweet, Zina is alpha dominant and my wife’s shadow (and a little “stuck up” if you know what I mean) but BeBe was more like… like… Steinbeck’s Lennie  from Of Mice And Men.  Strong, playful, and extremely capable but dumb as a box of rocks.  And he had tons of medical issues.  He kept breaking out of the fence (we have about an acre of fenced area, but still it wasn’t enough for BeBe) and getting in skunk nests, going after neighbor’s goats and just going out for a stroll.  He sometimes would sniff something and fall over and have his heart stop.  He had this hospitalization and that one.  We couldn’t get him neutered because his liver and heart were too sensitive to the anaesthesia.  Once he had cardiac arrest from eating too much dog food.  Each time, he’d be rushed to the emergency hospital and each time he’d make it.

This most recent time, he got out (again) and came back with a stick poking out of his eye.  Again he was rushed to the hospital, but this time, he not only was likely to lose his eye, but putting him under likely meant putting him down due to his fatal reaction to anaesthetics.  The decision was made, and he was put where he can wait for the rest of us, tail wagging and tongue hanging out, wondering if by chance we brought one of those pigs ears or a basted rawhide bone he likes so much.

Jupiter himself is recovering from knee surgery he had Tuesday:

jupiter knee surgery

He had a torn ACL and a pretty torn up meniscus due to past injuries playing with a much bigger dog, so we knew that if he didn’t get the surgery, he could lose his leg the next time he had a playdate.  Jupiter and BeBe were bestest of friends and kept each other occupied so Zina could be perched on her dog throne of the family.  Not only does Jupiter have to deal with his physical healing, he’s feeling the bulk of the sadness that comes with BeBe’s departure.

Bye bye, BeBe.

bebe

bebe


Guitar Hero Race 

I finally beat Lou on HARD on Guitar Hero 3 — Lou is the devil, and he’s the “boss” at the end of the level.  I tried and tried and tried and finally beat him.  I actually had taken a video of one of my losses because still, I couldn’t believe how well I was doing and bam, I fail.  Bam, I lose,  Bam, LOU rocks instead of me.

But now I’m the boss – heh heh heh.

And now, out of 500,000+ people on guitarhero.com with their scores uploaded, I’m not looking too shabby with my accomplishments in the Hard Career mode:

guitar hero hard career placement
(click to see all of my guitarhero.com profile)

Woohoo!  3,733rd place!  I still have a number of bonus songs to play, so I’m hoping that number gets way better this week.  Next on the list is to actually start playing some Expert.  Might as well round out Easy and Medium, too just to see where I’d place.

As I mentioned before, Guitar Hero is on the brain this week. 

Recently a friend called me and said “did you hear about that guy who was put into the Guiness Book of World Records for Guitar Hero?” and sure enough I google it and find out about a 16yr old named Chris Chike who currently holds the top score for any Guitar Hero song.  The song is the fast and furious “Through the Fire and Flames” by DragonForce.

I went and looked for it on youtube and holy crap, that’s one freakin’ fast song.

Too bad the video is from a cell phone or whatever, but DANNNNNNGGGGGG.

So Caitlin (13yr old daughter) and I got thinking — what if we played the song in multiplayer on expert?  We wouldn’t get kicked off the stage, and we could see who could sight-read the song the best.  Yes, I said SIGHT READ.  THE SONG.  THE BEST.  I’m talking about that nigh impossible song in the video above.

Let’s just say she SMOKED me.

guitar hero through the fire and flames dragonforce screenshot

Seventy Percent?!?!?!?  On a SIGHT READ?  That’s CRAZY. 

guitar hero through the fire and flames dragonforce

Um, yeah.  Player One (that would be me) totally bit compared to Player Two.  Well, except for 3% of the time.

UPDATE: Oh, did I mention I went ahead and got GH3 for the Wii now?  Thanx Dave2 for the gentle reminder.  For now we have one controller but I’m sure we’ll get a second one before too long.

Time to go back to the playing… and building up my groupies on guitarhero.com

guitarhero.com groupies

January
23
2008
6:45 am
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It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Guitar Hero phenomenon.  To recap for you if you’ve just tuned in, I’m a big fan.  OF THE GUITAR HERO PHENOMENON.                                                                                                                                                                      

I have Guitar Hero 1, 2, 3 and the 80’s version, all for the Playstation 2 (PS2), with two guitars.  The whole family loves the game and we all play it often.

When Guitar Hero 3 (GH3) came out, I had an important decision to make – do I buy the game for my existing PS2, or do I buy the game plus a guitar for the Wii? 

guitar hero 3 for wii or ps2 

For all intents and purposes, the GH3 game for Wii is a clone of the GH3 game for PS2, XBOX and PS3 platforms.  I had done some research ahead of time on the differences between playing GH3 on PS2 vs playing GH3 on the Wii.  My primary concern was, of course, cost.  Moula.  Dinero.  Money is not something of which I am made, and the idea of paying more for a game AND buying new guitars wasn’t very appealing to me.

If you read the extended entry (below), I go more into the differences between the two, how I chose and the mistake I ultimately made.

(more…)


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