Just to start off, I hardly know anything about keyboard. I have played a very little keyboard and piano way back when I was a kid, but never took any classes on it nor did I practice, as guitar always been my instrument. I headed into this as a complete beginner.
First issue was connecting my keyboard, Rocksmith+ Keyboard only support MIDI, which actually suites most keyboards just fine. I connected the supplied USB cable of my M-Audio Keystation into the computer and the keyboard was detected. Not sure if it was necessary to install any drivers up front, since I had connected the keyboard previously through other software to make sure it worked.
Straight away I struggled with the audio. When playing guitar I have Audio Exclusivity switched off, and use an amp. Since the MIDI engine used by Rocksmith+ uses Windows WASAPI interface. I wasn’t able to get clean audio, or I would have half a second latency. This was solved by enabling Audio Exclusivity and setting Audio Buffer to 4, though it gave me a series of challenges with OBS and other software I use while playing.
Now, after I had sorted out connecting the instrument and audio settings, I was finally ready to play some songs. From launch there was about 200 songs available for me to play, very few of them in genres I usually play, so here I had to be a little experimental. I first tried some songs by Billy Joel, but quickly realised that it was out of my league, I had to find something simpler.
311’s cover of The Cure’s hit Love Song was a good song to begin with, I found. No tricky things and practice co-ordination between hands. As a complete beginner I was satisfied reaching 85% mastery the first day I play a song on keyboard. So I celebrated by posting it to YouTube. I did increase the difficulty a bit after this, and played a few other songs.
With the limited song selection at the moment and with my very limited skills I don’t see this take over for guitar anytime soon. Keyboard is currently not available in the Workshop, meaning that all arrangments need to come from the official Notetracker team. This is really limiting the number of tracks we get. There are currently over 11500 songs total available in the game, most regions have betwen 8000 and 9500 songs. Guitar and Bass have an active community that on a daily basis creates and publishes new arrangements. Keyboard could also benefit from this if Workshop was made available.
Communication with Ubisoft about the Keyboard support repeatedly calls it a BETA, and in some ways it feels that way. I would expect a full release of Keyboard enable workshop, and I would also expect ASIO support at some point.
I think it is a great move from Ubisoft to include Rocksmith+ Keyboard support. It brings in new challenges, opens up for a broader audience, and paves the way for other additions. Growing the user base of Rocksmith+ will benefit all subscribers. All the music in the game is licensed, and userbase directly influences how quick more music can be added.
After Rocksmith+ Keyboard goes out of beta, I hope the developers can work on more additions. Vocals is another potential huge userbase, and I think that is a very likely next step. Myself I hope for Ukulele and Mandolin support. I know a lot of the guitar community asks for 7 and 8 string addition, specially after the teaser hinting on a Meshuggah drop in near future.
To sum this up: I like the addition of Keyboard, but before Rocksmith+ Keyboard can be an usable tool for me, the song selection needs to improve. Most likely Workshop addition and community contributed arrangements will be the key factor for me getting value here. But if you are really into Keyboard, or if your skill level is over mine, this can be an optoin.
(He/Him) Aun aka Skippern is a long time geek, nerd, and h4x0r. Autodedact programer, map nerd, music lover, tech lover, retro. Former a master mariner, but forced ashore and turned IoT technician.
Skippern is from one planet, consider himself dual nationality, lived in three countries, worked on four continets.