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Proto:Guitar Hero II (PlayStation 2)/Mid-2006 ''Official PlayStation Magazine'' Demo

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Guitar Hero II (PlayStation 2).

The public's first taste of Guitar Hero II came in the form of a four song demo on the demo disc (SCUS-97538) for issue #110 of Official Playstation Magazine. Four songs were playable in quickplay or co-op, provided a guitar was plugged in.

Being an earlier demo, much of the content later featured in the retail demo and the final game isn't present; what is present, however, are drum gems like those later featured in Rock Band, and an earlier practice mode with the ability to slow songs by percentages, again similar to Rock Band.

Sub-Page

GH2 greennote.png
UI Changes
If you don't have one, you can only watch.

General Differences

  • Only one venue is present, the Blackout Bar, and only two guitarists are playable, Judy Nails and Eddie Knox, who's referred to as "King Kendall" as his later name was yet undecided. ("King Kendall" is a reference to Jason Kendall, the producer on Guitar Hero II. Kendall used the alias "King Kendall" during his time as the Amazing Crowns' singer.)
  • No videos exist in the demo.
  • The backing band still uses their Guitar Hero models, though the singer uses the more advanced lip-sync engine of II. The drummer's kit is also far less dynamic than in Guitar Hero or II, as the kick drum doesn't animate and no crash cymbal is present.
  • The amps in the Blackout Bar aren't branded, much like the first game using fake brands for amps and equipment.
  • Four guitars are present, the Cayenne and Cherry Sunburst Les Paul and the Cherry and Candy Apple SG. All are functional and look identical to final, though using their Guitar Hero flavor text where applicable. The Cayenne seems to be the favored default guitar. Only one bass exists, the MusicMan StingRay.
  • The guitarist's hands do not catch fire during solos.
  • The demo times out after 60 seconds of inactivity, switching to a screen advertising the full game before returning to the demo disc's main menu. This screen can be manually triggered by exiting out of the main menu.
  • Only quickplay and co-op (if two guitars are plugged in) are playable. Career, options, and training are locked and have to be patched to be functional.
  • If a guitar isn't plugged in, the demo will autoplay itself. Note this is only the case for quickplay; patching the demo to allow DualShock co-op shows the game doesn't automatically set autoplay on that mode.
  • Widescreen is glitchy in the demo, featuring an odd stretching effect on the right half of the screen some of the time. This affects the venue and UI, but not characters.

Songs

The OPM demo comes with four songs, playable in quickplay and co-op, provided a guitar or two guitars are connected, respectively. If a DualShock is plugged in, the demo will autoplay itself and co-op will not be available.

Demo Final
Opening Licks Opening Licks
Shout at the Devil Shout at the Devil
You Really Got Me Mother
Strutter Surrender
YYZ Woman

The charts themselves feature various differences from both the later demo and the final, mostly in the form of balancing and stage events being simpler than later builds. Kick notes on BAND DRUMS exist for all four charts, but the in-game kit doesn't respond to them. Cymbal notes are absent completely, and the bassist's speaker cones don't animate because they're still using the note they used in GH1 MIDIs on the TRIGGERS track, instead of the note the game checks for in the demo on the BAND BASS track.

Shout at the Devil

Slight differences in charting on all difficulties for both instruments, including Easy and Medium being rebalanced to be easier to play in the final. Lighting and events are far simpler. Multiple [sync_wag] and [sync_head_bang] events exist for the co-op guitarists in the final and are absent from the demo. Sections are mostly the same, though the gtr_hook_1 before the first verse is instead named solo_1 (and the actual solo is solo_2 to match). No .voc file exists for this song, so the singer's mouth stays closed throughout.

You Really Got Me

Minor alterations to Easy and Medium guitar in the final to make them more interesting to play. Face-Off sections don't exist in the demo. Lighting cues are simpler than the final game. Each verse is one section in the demo versus two in the final, and the sections are renamed to be more consistent in the final. Most notably, the breakdown section of the OPM's cover more closely matches Van Halen's original; the retail demo and final have extra guitar noises overdubbed during that section to make the break more interesting for players.
You Really Got Me - Early OPM Mix

Strutter

The lower difficulties are more difficult than they'd be in the final game; the Easy guitar part even has chords, something Harmonix would later strongly discourage in RBN charts. Sections and lighting cues differ. Curiously, the BAND BASS track has notes on it, seemingly authoring for an unused bass part (as "Strutter" is a song with a rhythm co-op part rather than a bass co-op part).

YYZ

Lighting is again simpler than it would be in the final chart, and section names have been changed in the final to be more consistent. The singleplayer keyboardist is absent altogether.

Unused Menu Music

The OPM demo is set to play three tracks in the menus, two of which ("Psychobilly Freakout" and "Who Was in My Room Last Night") carried over to the final game unedited. The third track is "You Really Got Me", which uses the original breakdown section without the overdubbed noises. This is also set to play in the later retail demo, but was cut from the final.

metaloop4_youreally.vgs

Three other unused menu tracks appear in the files but are not set to play in synth.dtb. These are stored not in sfx/streams/ like the properly used ones, but in simply sfx/.

Name Description Sound file
meta_loop1.vgs A seemingly original music track, with parts of AC/DC's "Back in Black" mixed in.
meta_loop2.vgs Mostly ambient crowd noise with some exaggerated camera shutter sounds mixed in.
meta_loop3.vgs Ambient sounds of a bathroom with crowd noises and guitar feedback audible in the background.

It's possible that the latter two could've been used for the post-song menus, fitting the song results screen (which is a newspaper) and the quickplay high score entry screen (which is a urinal) respectively. The first one was almost certainly placeholder main menu music before the game's songs were properly recorded and mixed.

Another curiosity stashed in sfx/ is meta_intro.vgs, which isn't used for the actual intro of the demo; in fact, it seems to be completely unused. The guitar chord in the clip is the same one from the original Guitar Hero's intro, was also used in the "Guitar Hero II: Behind the Scenes" unlockable video, and became a part of RedOctane's intro cinematic in all Guitar Hero games past II.

meta_intro.vgs

All of the unused tracks appear in the files for the retail demo, but are missing from the final game.

Text Differences

There aren't many new strings featured in locale.dtb; most of what isn't accessible is simply left over from the first game. Guitars, finishes, all store text, all career text, tutorial text, bonus tracks, and the vast majority of UI text all match Guitar Hero. The few differences pertain to mostly early text for the final.

Guitarists

Prototype (rockabill_blurb "When he's not cruisin' around Reno in his '53 Ford, King Kendall brings his brand of hard-working rock to any stage he sets foot on. A real \qroad dog,\q Kendall claims that as long as he's got his hollow body and a tin of pomade, he \qain't too far from home.\q")
(alterna_blurb "A fan of roller derby and distorted feedback, Judy Nails has been a pioneer of alternative rock since her first tour at age 17. Known for her diverse collection of LP's, Nails brings an experimental twist to heavy guitar riffs with a sly smirk.")
Final (rockabill_blurb "When he's not cruisin' in his '55 Chevy, Eddie brings his hard-working rock to any stage he sets foot on. A real \qroad dog,\q Eddie Knox claims that as long as he's got his hollow body and his pomade, he \qain't too far from home.\q")
(alterna_blurb "A fan of distorted feedback and roller derby, Judy Nails has been a pioneer of alt-rock since her first tour at age 17. Known for her huge collection of vinyl, Judy brings a smile, and a lot of pedals, to the stage.")

Minor differences in both bios, notably Eddie's name being the very early King Kendall.

Tiers

Prototype Final
(song_header_battle "1. Opening Licks")
(song_header_small1 "2. Axe-Grinders")
(song_header_small2 "1. Opening Licks")
(song_header_big "4. Thrash and Burn")
(song_header_theatre "5. Return of the Shred")
(song_header_fest "6. Fret-Burners")
(song_header_arena "7. Face-Melters")
(song_header_stone "8. Killer Evil Tracks")
(song_header_store "Bonus Tracks")
(song_header_battle "1. Opening Licks")
(song_header_small1 "2. Amp-Warmers")
(song_header_small2 "3. String Snappers")
(song_header_big "4. Thrash and Burn")
(song_header_theatre "5. Return of the Shred")
(song_header_fest "6. Relentless Riffs")
(song_header_arena "7. Furious Fretwork")
(song_header_stone "8. Face-Melters")
(song_header_store "Bonus Tracks")

Tiers are slightly different. "String Snappers" is just a duplicated "Opening Licks" thanks to the way Harmonix structured the demo, "Relentless Riffs" is still "Fret-Burners" from the first game, and the final tier is named the rather ridiculous "Killer Evil Tracks".

Early Warped Tour Venue Icon

The E3 Vans Warped Tour venue select icon.

One of the venue select icons as seen in E3 builds of the game is still present in the OPM demo's files, that being the icon for the Vans Warped Tour. Surprisingly, if Career is patched to be accessible, this can actually be seen in-game among many, many leftover Guitar Hero assets (as seen at 1:50 in the video below):

Drum Gems

Curiously, meshes for drum gems can be found in the files of the OPM demo. When rendered, these take the shape of colored cymbals, kick lines, snare lines, toms, X's, and even a star power note, suggesting drums were originally meant to be playable in Guitar Hero II. Likely due to a lack of time, Harmonix deferred working on these until their later Rock Band games, which features playable drums.

Many of the gems, like the toms and cymbals, physically look like the drum in question, indicating Harmonix was testing out what would later become pro drums in Rock Band 3, while others are more abstract and simpler.

(Source: PikminGuts92)

One thing that was left over after the drum gems' removals were strings indicating different drum notes, perhaps for debugging purposes. These can be found even in the locale.dtb of the final game.

(green "normal")
(kick2 "2 lane")
(kick3 "3 lane")
(kick4 "4 lane")
(kicklong "long")
(kicklongnotch "long w/ notches")
(red "normal")
(snare_red "snare drum")
(snare_red3 "3 lane")
(yellow "normal")
(cymbal_yellow "cymbal")
(tom_yellow "tom")
(misc_yellow "misc")
(blue "normal")
(cymbal_blue "cymbal")
(tom_blue "tom")
(misc_blue "misc")
(orange "normal")
(cymbal_orange "cymbal")
(tom_orange "tom")
(misc_orange "misc")

Early Practice Mode

An early version of practice mode is locked off, but accessible if patched. Most of the functionality of the final's practice mode is implemented (section selection, speed selection), though all of the assets are unfinished placeholders.

  • Bass parts can't be practiced whatsoever in the demo.
  • As said, the assets are very unfinished. Both the section and speed selection screens are all black aside from the text.
  • None of the proper section names are implemented. Instead, the shorthand as seen in the MIDI's events is used instead. (The final game only uses the shorthand if a proper string for that section name isn't found in locale.dtb.)
  • There's no way to practice the full song without selecting all the sections. The later demo and final game would have a "Full Song" option at the top of the section selection list.
  • The practice mode's venue is a static blurry void, and the song name never disappears.
  • In the final game, practice would get its own fretboard background; in the demo, it uses Judy Nails' fretboard.
  • blown_streak_feedback, an internal DTB setting that causes the fretboard to blink and jump and a sound effect to play whenever a 4x multiplier is wasted, is enabled for practice in the demo, while in the final, the setting is disabled and missing a note with a multiplier causes no such feedback.
  • The speed select doesn't use the final's "Slow", "Slower", and "Slowest" (85%, 65%, and 50%, respectively), but rather lets the user pick how much to slow the song down, much like how Guitar Hero's spiritual successor Rock Band would implement its practice mode.
  • And similarly, as there's no separate practice mode VGS files like in the final game, the game instead does crude, harsh pitch correction for the slower speeds. (The final game does this when separate practice mode audio isn't specified in songs.dtb.) The unpleasant pitch shifting effect is likely why Harmonix simplified it down to three speeds and included audio for each speed in the final.