Sayburr brought this up in the RB3 Rumors and Facts thread (for some reason) but since that thread is now overwhelmed with other things, and since this has no real definite tie to RB3, I figure it warrants a thread over here for discussion.
The Guitar and Bass Authoring Docs have been updated with a couple of new passages regarding Easy and Medium charting, which are pretty game-changing.
This is pretty weird. They elaborate on it a bit more in the Medium section:# Lane consistency: For each lane (color) that you use in Expert, you must use at least one gem of the same color in all the other difficulties. Thus, for the vast majority of songs Easy and Medium will have at least one gem of each color; in other words, at least one gem in each lane. In general, the focus for easy players is on the first three colors (Red, Green, Yellow), and the focus for medium players is on the first four (Red, Green, Yellow, Blue). Where and when you use Orange and Blue gems in Easy and Medium is up to you.
* In the rare cases where you do not use all 5 colors in Expert, you must also be consistent and use the same reduced set of colors in the other difficulties. In other words, in Medium and Easy there should be at least one gem in each lane used in Expert level.
Now, here it sort of makes sense. It's the same logic as having bass pedal charted on Easy, it's to get people to learn the right motions early on, but using them only sparingly so that they won't fail the song just from messing up on orange. The only thing that really bothers me is the "Fourth priority" suggestion. The word "arbitrary" is horrible; if there's really no part of the song that's different from the rest of the song, I personally think it would be better to just leave it out, rather than throwing in some orange in a random single instance of a repeated pattern... Still, overall it's an idea that makes sense.# Medium players will typically find it difficult to shift their hands from the first four buttons, so take care to find places to add orange gems that are appropriate, using the following priorities:
* First: a single gem during a unique section of the song. This could be a bass or guitar slide, the bridge of the song, an intro or outro section, during a guitar solo, the big final note of a solo or outro, or some other event that happens once in a song.
* Second: A section of the song that happens infrequently, or only a few times during the song. If possible, try to translate a riff or section into the top four lanes of the guitar (red yellow blue orange) to keep the player’s hand shifts as few as possible.
* Third: a sonic or rhythmic change to a section that is otherwise repeated frequently.
* Fourth: if there’s just no other way to find a unique section, simply choose an arbitrary part to alter.
# Again, restricting the pattern to four lanes at a time (including orange) is a best practice.
They don't elaborate on it much more under the Easy section:
Apparently this new standard will be showing up in regular DLC soonish too, and I'm curious to see it in motion. A couple of my friends still play on Medium, I imagine they will be quite alarmed but ultimately it will probably be helpfulEasy players will typically find it difficult to shift their hands from the first three buttons, so take care to find places to add orange and blue gems that are appropriate, using the same priorities as medium, but restricting any patterns you add including orange to the top three colors (yellow blue orange) in order to keep the player’s hand movements to a minimum.