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arrov's CDLC Creation Process Step by Step


arrov
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I'm posting this up as a simplified reference for the CDLC creation process. Its a bit hard to understand what you're doing initially & I find that just having the steps laid out in a more detailed but brief overview is helpful. I will update the post with download links for the software & any other tips/points I think of.

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Software you'll need
EOF
RocksmithToolkit
WWISE
GuitarPro or some tab editor that will let you edit/save/export GP tab files
Basic audio editor like SoundForge(paid) or Audacity (free) (not required but very helpful to prepare audio files)
Foobar2000 is helpful for easy conversion between audio formats if needed
UltraStar Creator for creating the lyrics if you want

 

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Preparation:
I create a folder for my song and put the tab file(s) in there along with the song audio file. I create a folder in this folder called "eof" which will hold my EOF project files.

(Optional steps) I load my song into a sound editor like SoundForge or Audacity & I insert 10 seconds of silence at the start, and resave the file in the EOF folder. This is because sometimes the add silence feature doesn't work in EOF and I like to do it beforehand.  I personally prefer to start with a high quality audio file like a flac and save it as a wav, to avoid a bunch of re-compression when its converted to ogg in EOF.

I open my guitar tab file and insert 1 measure at the beginning of my tabs so when I import the tab into EOF, it places an empty bar at the first bar. If you don't have an empty bar at the start, it will give you an error every time you save about not having a count in phrase before the first notes. (Make sure that all the guitar/bass tracks in the tab file have at least 1 empty bar before the first bar with a note)

I also like to go through my tabs and relabel the sections so they make sense as phrases in Rocksmith. So I will label the intro, verse, bridge, solo, etc any section that you would want to riff repeat. I get all those sections ready in the tab so I can just import the sections from the tab. Make sure you name them one word with only letters & numbers, no spaces.

 

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Make your EOF window larger

By default EOF starts in a small window & its very annoying to work with. It took me a while to figure out you could enlarge the window size. 

File -> Display -> Display

Here it will show a couple options or you can choose custom and type in a size. I choose custom and type in a size slightly smaller than my screen resolution to maximize to full size. In my case it is 1900x1000

 

 

 

Starting the Chart

1. Load the audio into a new EOF file - select the audio file you saved in the "eof" folder with the 10 seconds silence added. Choose "save to current audio's folder" and it will save your project in that "eof" folder you created.


2. Hit F5 to show the audio waveform


3. Drag the first bar to the first beat of the song (generally where the audio starts but can be a little tricky if there is a fade in or different kind of start to the song)


4. Look at the tempo in the tab file to see what its set at, then in EOF hit "estimate BPM" in the Beat menu - if its close to the tempo in the tab then I click OK on accept BPM and apply it. If the given number is about double the BPM in the tab, then I divide the given number in half and use that. You can also determine the song's tempo yourself by using a tap tempo website/program and play the song while tapping out the tempo.


5. Make sure to save your EOF file now as its at a proper starting point.

 

6a. If your tab file doesn't have 1 resting measure at the start, insert an empty bar at the first measure of the tab (in Guitar Pro or Tux). Next go to EOF and select "Beat -> Push Offset Back" and do this 4 times (if its a 4/4 time signature, if its not 4/4 adjust accordingly) so that it pushes the offset (starting line) back 4 times. This will result in a full bar being added to the starting point in EOF. Now when you import your tab, the empty bar/measure at the start will line up with the pushed back starting point in EOF, and you'll see the first notes line up with the start of the audio in measure 2. The reason you do this is because you need at least 1 bar at the start before any Riff Repeater Phrases or you will get an error. If you don't do this at the very beginning, it will be a big headache to add later because it messes with your beatsync.


6b. Import the tab and choose a part that will be good for beatsync - the bass track often works well because its simpler and often on the beat. Choose yes for importing the time signature of the tab. You can import the phrase sections also, but I usually wait until the very end to do this. I like to have at least one tab track active while doing the beatsync because seeing the notes helps me figure it all out. Hit M to hear the metronome and start sync'ing the beat - I do this both by listening to the metronome and the song, and visually looking for the beat in the waveform, along with looking at the tab notes compared to the audio. Its also very helpful to slow playback down to 50%-75% if you're having trouble.

Go measure by measure (bar by bar) and drag the starting point of each bar to the first beat. Watch for the waveform in the previous and current bar and it should line up with the audio spikes in the waveform.

Note that if you loaded a tab part, you may notice parts where the notes are off. This is fairly common because tabs will have errors that have to be corrected. About half the time I encounter a tab where sections enter at the wrong time & I have to load the tab and shift the 2nd half of the song over by 8 bars or whatever. If you encounter errors in the tab, you'll have to edit the tab and reimport the corrected one.

Note #2 I've found that for some reason EOF will screw up the timing of the notes about halfway through the song when I'm doing the beatsync with the tab loaded. If you notice the notes are off but the beatsync is accurate, re-import the tab part again and it will load correctly.

 

7. Once you finish that, its mostly done, you just need to add specific phrases to riff repeater sections, tone changes where needed and making sure all the small details are correct like finger hand positions. 

 

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Handshapes, Fingerings and Fret Hand Positions (FHPs)

(This section is a work in progress and is currently incomplete)

Handshapes
To specify a handshape for a group of notes, select all the notes for the desired handshape
Goto Note -> Rocksmith -> Handshape -> Mark (CTRL SHIFT H)
This will highlight all those notes and make them part of the same handshape, with each note included shown at the first note in the group. If you click on the first highlighted note and press F, you can specify the fingering.

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You can specify the fingers for each note or chord by selecting it and pressing F. When possible, you should use handshapes to define the finger positions. Using the handshape allows you to define the fingering position of a group of notes (such as a chord that is arpeggiated) and also makes your CDLC much more easy to read. When you specify the handshape for a group of notes, Rocksmith will display that handshape the entire time, making it very easy to read as you play. If you do not specify the handshape, Rocksmith with only display the fingering for each individual note/chord as it plays, so for example Finger 1 will flash on and off as that note comes and goes. Its a little hard to explain in text but the difference is huge when you're playing in game.

Also of major importance is that although Rocksmith will automatically generate the fingerings for known chords, the generated fingerings are often not correct in relation to how the song is played. When certain notes/chords follow each other, it can often change from the normal finger positions and if Rocksmith displays the wrong fingerings, it can be extremely confusing while the player is learning the CDLC. So you want to be sure to at least review your CDLC for any problematic chords that are displaying wrong fingers in Rocksmith and correct them.

 

Fret Hand Positions (FHPs)
Once your tab is fully complete and loaded onto your EOF chart, you'll want to apply Fret Hand Positions. 
Goto Track-> Rocksmith -> Fret Hand Positions -> List and click Generate (CTRL SHIFT F). It will automatically generate all the FHPs for you. Do this on each track (lead/rhythm/bass).

You'll want to do this after you define all your hand positions and fingerings. If you define the FHPs and then make changes to the fingerings, it can cause conflicts with the FHP if they do not match up. You can also define the FHPs and then delete them all and re-generate after making any changes.

 

===================================================================


Some tips on improving the chart details

 

Ghost Notes
Select all notes in a track by pressing Ctrl + A, then go to the Note menu->Pro Guitar-> Remove ghost note. This will remove all ghost notes from a track and make them normal notes instead. This is bc Rocksmith doesn't show ghost notes and they won't show up when you're playing.
(Make sure you do this at the very start after importing your tab. Do not do this after applying handshapes. Handshapes create ghost notes and require them to function. If you remove all ghost notes after creating handshapes, your handshapes will be jacked up.)


Note properties & Finger Positions
You can select any note or chord and press "N" to view its notes properties. Press "F" to view the finger positions. You'll want to make sure the finger positions are correct for any chords that are played in a non-standard way, or it will apply the standard fingering and this can result in confusing charts when its showing bad finger placement.


Slides
Any slides that are not ending at a specific fret/note and its giving you an error in EOF - select the note/chord, and convert to unpitched slide via the Note-> Pro Guitar->Slide menu.

If its giving you an error about not defining slide end fret, select the first note/chord, press "N" select the box "link to next note, then go the Note menu->Pro Guitar->Slide->Set end fret and set the end fret to the next note the slide ends on.

 

Tones
If you go to the Tone Designer in Rocksmith and create a custom tone (or you can load an authentic tone from another song) and then save it (if its loaded from another song you have to make some slight change first before it allows you to save. Just increase the gain by 1 or something). After saving any custom tones, you can go to this folder for Rocksmith: 

\programs\Steam\userdata\141554572\221680\remote

(the directory path may be slightly different for you depending on your installation path) and find the file named something like this: D0DA7D51CCBA4D95BB009A41DA954152_PRFLDB

 

Copy that file to whatever directory you like, like your CDLC working folder. Then using RSToolKitGui, go to import guitar tone, and from the dropdown menu in the bottom right, select "Game Save Profile" then select the "D0DA7D51CCBA4D95BB009A41DA954152" file you just copied, and it will allow you to import any tones you have saved.

 

From there you can click "Edit" on the selected guitar tone and choose Save, and you can save an xml file that contains your guitar tone for easy access

For changing guitar tones in your CDLC, in EOF go to Track -> Rocksmith -> Tone change and in that menu you can add a tone change or view the list of tone changes in the song already. When you add a tone change, you just need to type the name of the tone to match whatever you named it

 

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Load the chart into RSToolkit & create the CDLC file

 

 

#1 (do this before anything else) Set your author name in RSToolkit:
You only need to do this once and it will save in RSTK. Click Configuration and then type your name into the Package Author field (it will be pre-filled with "Custom Song Creator" or something like that)

Emw1wOa.png

 

 

Open RocksmithToolkitGUI and click Add Arrangement. Navigate to your EOF folder containing your project files and select one of the guitar/bass arrangement xml files. Make sure all the info is correct like the arrangement type, tuning, etc. Repeat this process for all parts in the song (Lead/Rhythm/Bass/Bonus)

Fill in any missing song info like the Album, Version number. 

Add album cover image. Add song audio from EOF folder "guitar.ogg"

Add your guitar tones and make sure they match up with the tones in your arrangement. 

Save your file and then click Generate to make your CDLC file. 

 

 

Play test your CDLC in Rocksmith & make adjustments

 

Load the CDLC in Rocksmith and playtest all parts. Check that all notes display correctly and that the volume levels on the tones are good. If the volume levels are off, go back to RSToolkit and adjust the tone volumes.

If the tones don't sound right, I will go back to tone designer, load the tones and edit them, assign the edited tones to the quick select keys, and then go back and play the song in riff repeater using the edited tones until I find tones that match well. You will need to copy that tone file again and import any newly created/edited tones and add them into the RSToolkit file again.

You may notice some small things that could be improved like points where it would be helpful to have a phrase marker placed for Riff Repeater. Or maybe there are some notes that need something added or chords that are showing the wrong fingers. You'll have to go back into EOF and make these changes, and then generate the CDLC file again in RSTK afterward.

 

===================================================================

 

Add the lyrics
 

Open UltraStar Creator and load the guitar.ogg file from your EOF folder. Don't bother filling in any of the song details unless you want to, it doesn't matter for our purposes. Copy the lyrics text from a site such as genius.com and paste the lyrics into the text box. Remove anything that isn't actually lyrics like the song sections (Verse, etc).

Start playback of the song and hit the spacebar every time you hear the selected word in the lyrics. Hold the spacebar down for as long as the word is audible. As you hold the spacebar down, it will bind the time to the selected word. Each time you press/hold/release spacebar it moves to the next word. The process is a bit of a pain in the butt. When you reach the end, you can save the results to a txt file. 

In EOF, go to Import -> Lyrics and select your saved text file. It will import the lyrics into the Vocals track. If you select the Vocals track, you can make adjustments to each word by selecting the box under the word and dragging it around, or extend/shorten the duration the word is held. Press "L" to change the word text when the box is selected.

I'm still a newb at this process. What I do is get a basic timing done in UltraStar Creator and then refine the timings in EOF, going through the whole song and dragging each word around and extending the lengths as needed. For some reason I do not know, it doesn't always show the updated lyric timing in EOF but it does display correctly in Rocksmith.

 

Load your RSToolKit file for the song and click the Add button on your arrangments. From the EOF folder, select the vocal arrangement and add it. Save and Generate your CDLC file, now with vocal arrangement added.

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If you or anyone has any specific questions or things that aren't clear, post them up and I will answer if I know. 

A big thank you to the makers of previous guides but there were some of the steps that I struggled with understanding starting out, which is why I wanted to make a more streamlined guide covering everything + the most common problems

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Just made the first DLC that I consider releasable in a fairy quick manner. Thanks to this guide. I was pretty confused by the other guides I found so this couldn't have come at a better time.

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Thanks arrov,

Nice clear concise guide, free from clumsy expression. Some good info on tones and other stuff that is usually missing in most "how to's." I will try this tone import method next time as tones have always been a hurdle for me. I could be wrong but I thought DD was the default in RSTK now, maybe I set that up and forgot. I have found rules for making customs kept changing over the years, but I guess now there are no more revisions, that won't happen anymore. 

Maybe we need a wiki for the guide so people can add their discoveries continually?

Well done with this, especially for adding common problems.

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I know for me RSToolkit just generates what I give it, which is not a DD arrangement. If you're actually creating the DD levels yourself inside of EOF it may default to DD, I'm not sure since I've never done it that way. But RSTK gives me a non-DD file and then I have to use the DDC generator to create it. There is also a different tool that can be used create CDLC but I have never used it - DLC Builder - could be thinking of that one maybe?

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43 minutes ago, UponDoom said:

Just made the first DLC that I consider releasable in a fairy quick manner. Thanks to this guide. I was pretty confused by the other guides I found so this couldn't have come at a better time.

Nice! I'm hoping this helps people to create whatever CDLC they may be wanting... Its not necessarily as hard as it seems, depending on the complexity of the song and quality of the tab you can find or create. I will say the whole process greatly helps in learning a song and even become familiarized with how songs are written if you are editing tabs a lot 

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6 hours ago, arrov said:

I know for me RSToolkit just generates what I give it, which is not a DD arrangement. If you're actually creating the DD levels yourself inside of EOF it may default to DD, I'm not sure since I've never done it that way. But RSTK gives me a non-DD file and then I have to use the DDC generator to create it. There is also a different tool that can be used create CDLC but I have never used it - DLC Builder - could be thinking of that one maybe?

Thanks for clarifying this arrov. I'll have to do some research to make sure I really am getting DD.  I never actually use it. I prefer to learn all the notes and then speed up in RR which is the traditional method of learning to play an instrument. But DD's a requirment for RS now so you have to do it. 

Thanks for all of this. 

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9 hours ago, mczero said:

I'll have to do some research to make sure I really am getting DD.  I never actually use it. I prefer to learn all the notes and then speed up in RR which is the traditional method of learning to play an instrument. But DD's a requirment for RS now so you have to do it. 

 

 

Ah, yeah you may be right actually. I have noticed that when I initially generate my CDLC files & I'm testing them (before generating a DD version) - I have moved the difficulty slider down and noticed that it is removing notes. I thought maybe this was an update in RS itself where it just does it automatically now. But maybe you're right and RSTK is adding DD automatically itself and I just didn't know it. I don't tend to read up on the updates when I apply them, as long as it works... 

I never use DD either. I  understand it makes the song easier for some people but for me it screws me up quite a bit. For one, learning the song with missing notes changes the way you play it (and therefor how you learn it) so you just have to relearn it again once you add the missing notes back in... and I like to see all the notes even if I am going to choose to skip playing some for now. At least then I know what I'm not playing, and can adjust my finger positions to be appropriate to the missing notes, or just generally be aware of how the song is structured.

I will slow a song down to 1% and play it that way until I can play faster, if needed. Its just a better way to learn a song IMO and part of what makes Rocksmith so special is the ability to do this. Nothing else out there compares when it comes to learning a song. Kids 20-30 years ago would kill to have this when they were learning how to play songs.

But anyway, I'm going to assume you're probably right about RSTK adding DD now and I just didn't notice since I never use it. I will have to verify that and then edit my guide above to remove that part about doing it yourself. That will be a nice update for myself, not having to do that any more.

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No worries mate!

Actually the whole RSTK phase is one of the worst documented in most How To guides on charting. It's often omitted cos they got tired by then and  also the Toolkit has changed a lot over the years. So overall you've done well! I still do a lot things in charting out of habit or because I'm not sure if they are still necessary anymore or not, so I do it to make sure, like you do with DD.  That's why I thought a wiki on charting would be useful so everyone can submit updates and improvements.

One more thing to add in to the guide is to got to the Configuration tab FIRST and fill it in especially package author, arrov in your case, so your work can be traced in CF Song Manager. Most importantly, if you leave it till you are about to generate then do it and switch back to File > restart, all your work is cleared, and there's no other way back. You have to do all your imports and tones again. Most of the cdlc I have downloaded has a blank for package author.

Cheers,

mczero

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There's some discussion of why DD became the default on this page at posted April 23, 2020 onward, just for interest sake:-

https://customsforge.com/index.php?/topic/989-rocksmith-custom-song-toolkit-toolkit-qa/page/20/

There could be more in that whole section. That would seem to confirm what you discovered.

 

 

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On 5/20/2021 at 9:04 PM, mczero said:

One more thing to add in to the guide is to got to the Configuration tab FIRST and fill it in especially package author, arrov in your case, so your work can be traced in CF Song Manager. Most importantly, if you leave it till you are about to generate then do it and switch back to File > restart, all your work is cleared, and there's no other way back. You have to do all your imports and tones again. Most of the cdlc I have downloaded has a blank for package author.

I'll have to start doing that. So you fill this info into the tab before importing to EOF?

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4 hours ago, arrov said:

Ah so you mean set the "Charter" in EOF? That I already do, but thought maybe there was a different spot bc I think I've noticed this missing in the CF Song Manager even though I fill it in EOF. Will have to check again

You set it in the toolkit/dlc builder configuration settings, it saves so it's a one off thing.
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@coldrampage got it with a picture. That's what I meant alright. Well done, and thanks. Anyhow my main point was you have to set up configuration first. If you try to switch back to check, after putting in all your XMLs and tones, you lose everything and have to start again. Done that a few times. Duh!

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2 hours ago, mczero said:

@coldrampage got it with a picture. That's what I meant alright. Well done, and thanks. Anyhow my main point was you have to set up configuration first. If you try to switch back to check, after putting in all your XMLs and tones, you lose everything and have to start again. Done that a few times. Duh!

I put it at the top of the RSTK section in the guide, with a bold note to do it first

I guess I need to check out this other DLC Builder tool now and eventually add it to the guide also

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Good job @arrov. I enjoyed the @coldrampage cameo in the RStoolkit author name part. Have you tried out DLC Builder yet? I recently made the switch and now the RStoolkit feels very primitive to me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I started my first attempts at using UltraStar to create lyrics and holy crap, unless I'm missing something it is a huge PIA

Edit: OK after loading a test CDLC into RS, its not as bad as I thought.. just depends on how accurate you want the lyric timing to be, but the way it displays the lines it doesn't really matter so much

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Well done, and yeah. It's a PIA for what it's worth. It's designed for accurate karaoke creation which we don't really need. I usually just rough it out in Ultrastar and then drag the lyrics about in EoF to make them fit better. Many of the songs I've done have got too many words to fit in writing over the notes anyhow. I figure it's nice to have the words there, but nobody is going to worry if they don't fit spot on the note. It's not a singing game. Also I find it's good to a lyric chart just to keep track of where you are in the song, when adding those fill in licks etc.

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You might like to add that lots of lyric websites are nowhere near as accurate as you might expect and they leave out words, choruses and verses especially if they are repeated. The also have some laughable mondegreens (like "dressed up like a douche") at times and often omit the ad lib vocal parts you often get in an Outro etc.   So it's worth checking before you go tapping it out.  I usually visit a couple of lyric sites and compare.  just a couple of cents worth.

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Lots of lyric sites also like to censor swear words (something to look out for) and their filters are often hilariously bad. I had a romaji lyric site that blocked out "doushite", gave me a good laugh.

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