Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

And that’s it. Guitar Hero II Deluxe is now available for download from one of several community mirrors and also a torrent. Two months of absurdly quick, hard work makes its way out there. I was up late last night (up late the last couple nights, really) trying to get the readmes and changelog ready to go to package in with the downloads. Aside from some minor text nitpicks on the disc itself, I have nothing but good things to say about it.

I kinda couldn’t tell you what I thought this was all gonna be when it first happened, because largely, neither can anyone else. Back in March, I was still trying to get some of my own discs together, mostly, and it kinda felt like half a competition and half a collaborative effort. I still didn’t have the hugest part on this project. I didn’t hack in any big features, just those guitars, and I wrote a bunch of text for it. And the site. And the aforementioned readmes. Oh, and I ended up remixing all of the audio jnack built to make rhythm in quickplay work. And of course, “Speed Test” was my port.

Still, as time’s gone on, I’ve gotten more attached to the thing. I’ve contributed some of the stuff that was gonna go to marfGH and the 360 disc to this project. Just kinda felt wrong and maybe a bit futile to keep it to myself when this disc blows anything attempted prior out of the water. Really, I’m almost not sure where to go with my own discs now that GH2DX exists. marfGH isn’t much special next to this, but that’s alright. The 360 disc is gonna have to be totally rebuilt anyway, but that’s also alright. This is well and truly the pinnacle of what the community’s capable of right now.

To be honest, what I really wanna do right now is not look at anything modding or rhythm-related for a good week, maybe longer. I keep telling myself I’m gonna start drawing or go back to blog posts…and then I have to do more shit on this disc. It’s been a gigantic effort, and the entire morning’s been spent getting everything ready to go for the flood of downloads I’m sure we’ll be getting (and it’s a 4GB disc, so a bunch of downloads is no bullshit). MiloHax has also exploded in size since the teaser trailer went up. About 40 people joined during Project Deluge, and we thought that was huge. This one’s seen well over 100 new people flood in, and it’s still not stopped. So yeah, got all the new people wearing on me too.

What it looks like when you suck playing GH2DX
[10:47 PM] mariteaux: gh2dx in one screenshot

I’m probably sounding unfairly harsh and negative here, because this disc is a monumental achievement. Several of the features were honestly left for dead before someone took another crack at them and just managed to get them working, and then Scott or someone would go ahead and polish it up and make it work like it was always there. Outside of tap notes and open notes, GH2 is now on par with games built years later in terms of features, let alone all the new content. Completely unthinkable a year ago, really.

Most importantly, unlike not just my discs, but the discs of many other highly talented people, this one got released and finished. Our community now has a shining example of what modding this game 15 years on looks like. No more awkward, Expert-only GHEx ISOs with bad sound, files pasted over existing ones, and ugly, half-assed menu recolors. This is easily as polished as a brand new Harmonix-made Guitar Hero title. And, frankly? That was what I wanted for marfGH in the first place. Something that felt like it could’ve come from Harmonix themselves.

And that’s kinda the crossroads I’m at with the project. I’m by no means done with this game. I still have dozens of customs I want to do and a whole bunch of new disc ideas (including porting all these new features to 80s and of course, the GH2DX “expansion disc” with charts taking specific advantage of the new features and bugfixes), but as far as marfGH goes? As far as my previous ideas and attempts at discs go? Who knows. Who knows if they’re even still worth chasing down at this point? I think GH2DX made it all obsolete.

And like I said–I’m very, very happy with how it turned out. I’m loving playing bass in quickplay. I’m glad to have my copper Firebird in GH2 like I’ve been wanting for years (and no pasting over existing textures, a proper port). I’ve got the 360 version in my hands, practically, with “Dead!” and “Drink Up” and all the exclusive songs I never got to play as a kid (but really wanted to–damn you, Ben) right there, with speedups even. I’m super fortunate I got to be on a team that by and large worked like a well-oiled machine. Everyone had what they did and they did it without a hitch. We tested damn near everything we could think of, including Career several times over. Discs and cases with all custom artwork were shipped out.

My copy of the Guitar Hero II Deluxe box
Here it is, in fact. I’ll need to get a better case for it, probably reuse one from some other PS2 game no one cares about. But hey, fucking sick that I’ve got it.

In short: this disc made it all worth it. I might have a headache and be operating on six hours of sleep, but by God, was it all worth it. I think it’s a good time to let the work speak for itself. There’ll be a PAL PS2 ISO and matching PAL and NTSC 360 versions dropping in the very near future. For now, we’ve got what we got done, and that’s everything.

Thanks for the opportunity, lads. I’m ready to get back to more analog pursuits (I write things, Jon, it’s what I do) for a bit, but hey, my name’s on the disc nearly 20,000 people want. Think that’s cause for celebration, I do.

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