Hello, Rock Band fans! My name is Jeff Chausse (pronounced “SHOW-see”), and I joined Harmonix this year as Web Director, to oversee bringing RockBand.com to the next level of awesomeness. For many months now, the Harmonix web team has been working on a major overhaul of the site to launch in conjunction with Rock Band 2. We’re putting the finishing touches on it right now, and I wanted to give you a sneak peek into what we have in store for you.
Just to get one thing out of the way immediately: rest assured that the forums you’re reading right now aren’t going anywhere. The Forums are pretty much the lifeblood of the community, and we’d be crazy to mess with them. HMXSean and the gang will be sticking around here for a long time to come.
But outside of the Forums, we’ve rebuilt everything from the ground up to be more fun, more informative, and easier to use. Let’s run through a few highlights, shall we?
Rock Band is all about music, right? So, we’ve devoted an entire section of the site to information about every available Rock Band track – both on disc and DLC. We’ll have over 500 tracks total by the end of the year so that’s a lot of tracks. In addition to the basic info about each song (including difficulty rankings for each instrument), we’ll have background information on each song, written by our own ace rock writer Brett Milano, and most song pages will even feature gameplay tips from our own staff.
The ‘Zine is RockBand.com’s new blog, featuring a lot of the Rock Band happenings you’re used to seeing - like DLC announcements and band interviews, along with new content like a behind the scenes “Sketchbook”, contests, and a weekly series called “52 Weeks to Rock”, a useful and humorous instruction manual for becoming a real life rock band, written by people who’ve really been there – real life Harmonix musicians and superfans.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS
Rock Band 2 features “Battle of the Bands” – daily and weekly tournaments that allow you to test your skills in constantly refreshed challenges with a variety of ways to compete. RockBand.com will be the only place you can get a sneak preview of upcoming battles, invite your friends to participate against you, and even send yourself a reminder of when to start rocking. Battles you’ve competed in are stored in your profile, where you can check your ranking against your friends, and relive your experiences via your own personal Battle archive.
The days of taking pictures of your TV to show off your band to the world are over. Photocreator is an online tool we’ve created that actually lets you pose and shoot photos of your Rock Band 2 characters and bands, which are then rendered in full game-quality 3D (by an army of servers we’ve affectionately dubbed “Rendertrons”). You can then assign your favorites to your band pages or just add them to your personal profile. Just link your Gamertag to your web profile to get started.
Oh yeah, there’s one more thing you can do with your photos as well – make stuff! Real stuff like T-shirts, stickers, and posters. Just pick the Rock Band 2 band or character photo of your choice and our Merch Booth tool will step you through customizing merchandise that’s shipped to your door in just a few days. I’ve seen a bunch of test runs of this stuff and, trust me, you will be impressed by the end result - the quality is amazing.
As if that weren’t enough, in addition to posters, shirts, and stickers, you can make customized 3D statues of your favorite Rock Band 2 characters, which we’ve dubbed “Bandmates”. These things are awesome. They’re about 6” tall, made using full-color 3D printing technology from Z Corporation. Just pick a character, an instrument, and a pose, and they’ll get shipped to your door for about 70 bucks. The Harmonix office is swarming with Bandmate prototypes. After we'd evaluated a test run, we’d give them away to employees, and there was always a mad scramble to grab them on giveaway day.
STREAMLINED UI AND NAVIGATION
Tying all this together, we’ll be introducing a greatly streamlined site interface and navigation system that will help you get where you want to go with minimal fuss, including a new homepage that should knock your socks off.
There’s more, of course, but you’ll just have to wait and see for yourself when the new site goes live next week. We at Harmonix are all very excited to be launching the site we’ve always wanted to have – built and run entirely by Harmonix designers, developers, and writers. We can't wait to put these features and tools into your hands. As always, we look to you, the community, to help us find problems and make this site as good as it can be. We hope you're ready for the new RockBand.com experience!