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Ask X3F: Guitar queries edition

It's alright everyone, Ask X3F is here. We know you've been waiting, slavering at the chance to sink your eyeballs into another action-packed edition of our column devoted to both Q's and their A's. Rest assured, we are happy to oblige in every possible way. This week, we boldly explore the Xbox 360's lack of mutli-person private chat, overscan problems, and the absence of Bionic Commando: Rearmed. We also do our best to start the Guitar Hero IV versus Rock Band 2 flamewar months and months (possibly even years) in advance. Find out if we're successful after the break.

Got a question for Ask X3F? Maybe you have a story or some information you'd like to share? Send it all to ask [at] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.


Well, lately I've been having this problem on Halo 3. I go join my friends and we start doing some matchmaking. As soon as the yellow squared 'Player Found' things pop up, my voice starts lagging/breaking up horribly. Then as soon as the game starts its fine. It happens every single time and I'm getting pretty tired of hearing mid-sentence 'Uh, you're lagging'. It literally kills me inside a little bit every time. I have the best connection out of all of them [7mbps] and I've forwarded my ports, so what could it possibly be?!

Thanks guys,

GT: Teh Asher

Hmmmm. You've stumped us, Asher. If you've forwarded your ports already, we're guessing you've already checked to see if you have Open NAT. If not, you should definitely check by performing a network test on your 360. The next guess would be your headset, though it seems unlikely given that it's fine most of the time. Still, official wireless headsets are known to be somewhat flaky, so that could be it.

Beyond that, we haven't got a clue. Any suggestions from the X3F Army?

Dear X3F,
I have a few quick questions so here they are....
1. For reasons i can only assume my GH3 guitar's down strum and down on the D-pad stopped working. After i finished my 5 hour cry and 2 hour funeral i figured i had 2 choices, either get the GH: Aerosmith bundle or bug Red Octane till they do something. whats your opinion?

2. With GH 4 having new instruments (still waiting for my keytar *sob*) and other features similar to that of RB do you think that th create-a-track feature (if included) will be good and help it battle RB?

3. Rapid Fire: Do you know if Harmonix pays attention to the Request Song button? What will RB DLC be like after the year of DLC every week is done? Do you think RB will ever add rhythm guitar as a track on some RB tracks or a whole another instrument?

Ok well thats kind of long but still thanks in advance.

Sincerely, Dark Caboose 14

First of all, where does Dark Caboose come from? Is that like an evil version of Caboose from Red Vs Blue? We're not sure what to make of that.

Anyhway ...

1) Bugging Red Octane is free, so we'd suggest that first. We're not sure what the Guitar Hero Les Paul replacement policy is like, but if it's anything like EA's policy for Rock Band, it's definitely worth a shot. Of course, if you were planning on picking up the Aerosmith bundle anyway, there's no harm in that. Then again, there's no harm in doing both either.

2) At the very least, the idea of the Guitar Hero IV create-a-track mode is good. Whether or not it actually is good will depend entirely on its implementation. Also, keep in mind that we don't actually know what's planned for the Rock Band sequel (or expansion as the case may be). Sure, we have ideas, but there's no saying that the next Rock Band won't have a similar mode. Given Harmonix's past, we'd say there's plenty of innovation planned for the next installment of Rock Band. Regardless, the competition in the music genre is heating up, which can only mean good things for gamers.

3) We have no idea. It will probably be a lot like the DLC distributed during the first year, though perhaps less frequent (hopefully with more full album downloads, too). It's possible that they may add rhythm guitar to the mix, though it seems a little redundant and a bit too specific. As for an entirely new instrument, we're not sure what's left to add. A keyboard seems like the most obvious choice. Then again, the display is already pretty crowded with four instruments at play. Honestly, we think Harmonix will likely stick with the peripherals it has and new features rather than hardware.

Why can I not private chat with more than one person on Xbox Live. I seem to remember that I once had the ability to do this. I mean, if one of my friends lives in New Hampshire and is playing GTA IV and one of my friends lives in NY and is playing COD4 and I live in Florida and am playing Viva Pinata 2, why can't we all converse together? Can we, the players, fix this?

The short answer is that you can not chat with more than one person simultaneously. If you remember it, it's probably because it was a feature on the original Xbox. The official line is that multi-person chat would hog too much bandwidth and hamper the performance of online games. Thus, chat was limited to one channel at a time so that everyone has the same Live experience.

Whether you buy the explanation or not, you're stuck with the result: no multi-person chat. For what it's worth, there is a rumor circulating that four-person chat and video conferencing will be included in the spring dashboard update.

I was disappointed to see BC:R [Bionic Commando: Rearmed] was not the XBLA release for the 14th, so do you guys have any idea when? I haven't been this psyched for a game for a long time...

GamerTag: Spiff O Matic

No, we don't have any special inside info regarding the release of Bionic Command: Rearmed, though we too are very excited to try it out. If we had to guess, we'd say it will show up closer to the release of the next-gen version of Bionic Commando later this year.

I have a rear projection HD TV. I can never see my star rating, the top of the hints and text in the top left corner, my amount count is cut off, and the very bottom of my screen cuts off a bit. This is the first 360 game that I've had with a bad overscan problem. Does Rockstar have plans to patch this? I've had a 360 since launch day, and not noticed a problem with other games.

Deezul AwT

After discussing this with some folks around Weblogs, we've got some possible answers. First, there should be some options on your television to fix this, as it's the TV that implements overscan, not your Xbox. Try adjusting your aspect ratio and other formatting options to see what you can come up with (you could also try adjusting the resolution and aspect ratio of your 360 too). That said, Gears of War had some formatting issues with VGA screens, so it's possible you're the victim of some kind of bug. If that's the case, and if it's a widespread problem, it's possible Rockstar would create a patch. Has anyone else out there experienced a similar problem?

That's it for this week, folks. Keep sending your questions to: ask [at] xbox360fanboy [dawt] com.

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