I Might Just Suck As A Drummer
Okay, so for a while I thought it might be that I got a bum set of drums with my copy of Rock Band because I’m only able to get like 98% on Easy level. I mean, I swear I’m hitting them right, but it’s just not registering.
To test, I went into practice mode and played a song segment that basically has no drums at all - so I wouldn’t get confused by notes being hit or missed. I did a roll on each drum to see how it went and all of the hits were registered. I also hit various combinations of two pads simultaneously and all of those hits were registered. So I was/am encountering a combination of issues, all adding up to Bad News for Me:
- The timing on the drums is utterly unforgiving. If you’re playing guitar, you get a little plus/minus room for strumming and hitting a note. Sort of a “close enough” buffer. With drums, you’re either ON or you’re NOT. No fudge room. A millisecond or two off, and it won’t count.
- The USB hub that comes with the game is pretty bad and seems to introduce a little latency. Not a lot, but with timing having to be pretty precise, I notice a little better response when I plug the drums into the Xbox directly and everything else goes in the hub.
- Calibrating the game is hugely important. Sometimes the presets work; I manually calibrated mine and things seemed to be a little better.
- I may just be a sucky drummer. After checking out the responsiveness of the drums, calibrating everything, and plugging the drums right into the Xbox, I’m doing a little better but am still missing a couple of notes per song on Easy mode. It’s usually during a spot where I have to hit two pads simultaneously and I think it’s that I’m hitting them close to correctly but actually hitting one pad slightly earlier than the other, so it doesn’t count.
I’m pretty good at Donkey Konga bongos. I think playing drums with your hands and playing them with sticks might be two different beasts. I’m OK with that - knowing that it means practice is one thing; doubting yourself without knowing if it’s the equipment or not is a whole other set of insecurities.