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RPG Musical Score

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:47 am
by Deepfake
Well, the RPG simply can't have audio looping in it. You can, however, listen to audio in another tab or as a download. Here's a short chiptune-style track I wrote to accompany the newest area in the VGF RPG:

Hymn of the Skeleton Tree

Hymn of the Skeleton Tree (Looping)


I wrote it to follow somewhat in the style of Shadowgate for the NES. I'll put up a download link for an MP3 if there's any interest. Cheers.

EDIT: I have changed the video links to match an updated, more complete version of the song. Let me know what you think of the changes, if you've heard the original.

EDIT: More new music!
Silver Demise

To celebrate the opening of the area, and encourage other players to reach the newest area, here's another new song!

This one is themed after the earlier Silver Tunnels, and the video features an original pencil drawing of the Demise enemy from that area of the game. Have a listen, hopefully enjoy!

Silver Demise (Looping)


The style of this one is my own design, rather than following another game. Really, you could just as easily listen to it anywhere, although it has been especially chosen to suit the Silver Tunnels. Thoughts, feedback, encouragement are all welcome.

EDIT: I have changed music over to my official project account, links replaced.

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:00 am
by Marilink
The rhythm switch kinda confused me at the beginning, hah. But I like it! Definitely fits the mood of a "Skeleton Tree."

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:01 pm
by Apollo the Just
I'm gonna second ML's comment here-- I kind of lost the beat when it switched from the intro to the theme, and then I was like "oh hey there it iOH SWEET THIS IS AWESOME."

I think I figured out why the transition seems kind of awkward. Will you kill me for offering a bit of criticism D}:


Basically, during the intro "blip-blip-blip-blip"s, the second beat sounded much more emphasized than the first. Basically, this emphasis made the first "blip" sound like the pickup, and the SECOND one like the actual start. In other words, the way it was written, the ears of the listener picked it up as

(four)- ONE-two-three-(four)-ONE

rather than



This sounds fine on its own. What made it confusing was that when you started the melody, it started on what sounded like beat (four) in the intro, but the way the melody is written it feels like THAT should be beat one, since it's emphasized with low bass tones and stuff.

It kind of came off like this:


If you count it out loud like that, you can hear why the switch feels somewhat awkward.

Also, I'm sorry if this explanation makes no sense because rhythmic stuff is really hard to explain through just text.


I really do like it, though. It feels ominous and exciting at the same time.

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:47 pm
by Marilink
It was stuck in my head for like an hour after I listened to it, not gonna lie.

(I agree, CL, that explanation made sense)

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 4:32 pm
by Jere
i don't get to confused by the musics tempochange but i can imagine it can happen.

and i really hear the shadowgate references it could as well be in the game and i would not notice the difference.

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:09 pm
by Deepfake
Thanks for your feedback, guys. Was the double-tempo change too abrupt to listen to, or are you just unused to that sort of thing in music? I'm very curious about that, as I don't find it at all abrupt.

I asked HotD and SD what they thought, and to all of us, we're just hearing 1-2-3-4! So I wasn't trying to throw any unusual timing changes in there, you know? You'd be right to think I would, though, if you've heard any more of the stuff I've written in the past few years, at least.
Dowdy Kitchen Man wrote:It was stuck in my head for like an hour after I listened to it, not gonna lie.
Well that's a good sign! I was starting to wonder if I was going to be the only one who liked it that much.

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:54 am
by Apollo the Just
The big thing is, I guess, that as soon as the "blip" parts end and the main theme begins, if you JUST listen to that without the blips leading into it it sounds like it starts one ONE two three four. Right?

If you listen to the blips before it, it kind of sounds like the two is a stronger beat than the first. To be totally cliche, if you were clapping along to the beat, it sounds more natural to clap on that second blip than on the first one. Whereas in the melody it sounds more natural to clap on the FIRST beat. It just seems like the downbeat switched.

Honestly, it really isn't that big of a deal. The piece overall is a great moodsetter and a catchy one, too. It just kind of made me have to search for the beat for a little before I found it.

I can think of something that can fix the problem pretty easily, though. If you make the bass tones on those last four blips REALLY strong, like BAM BAM BAM BAM so they are all equally prominent and distinct, it can get the listener's ear OUT of the rhythm it was hearing before and segue into the next one.

Obviously this is just my opinion and you don't have to do that, I just think it might clear up some confusion to the pickier listeners such as myself. >_>

You already have the clear bass tones there in those last four blips. If you can somehow strengthen the percussive power of each of the last four notes leading into it, it'll get rid of any previous one-two-three-four or four-one-two-three or whatever our ears were thinking and just sound liek ONE ONE ONE ONE so that it can introduce a new downbeat without feeling awkward.

Humor me and try it maybe? x{D


To answer your question, it wasn't that it was abrupt, just that it wasn't really clear, I guess. My ear kind of just got lost.

Basically, this explanation isn't what I consciously heard. It's my explanation after consciously listening to the music and deciding what it was that SUBCONSCIOUSLY made my ear go "what?"

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:28 am
by Deepfake
Okay, well I'll try adding a percussive lead-in to see whether or not I can get more value out of it. I don't hear anything that emphasizes the second note, but we'll see where it goes, eh?

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:39 am
by Apollo the Just
You can try it and then decide that it sounds like crap and that CL is crazy and you will never listen to her again, too. I'm just saying what I hear personally. x{D

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:24 am
by Deepfake
OOOOOKAY well I just finished modifying the track. As well as changing the intro to tie in better to the main theme, I've incorporated some ideas I had but wasn't originally sure how to write into the song.

If you've got the time, let me know what you think of the new version. The new links have replaced the old ones in the title post, but here they are again in case you can't bring yourself to scroll up:

Hymn of the Skeleton Tree (Looping)


Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:31 am
by Apiary Tazy
I do like the song, AI.

It fits your theme of Skull Tree quite nicely.

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:44 am
by Jere
I think it sounds more epic now, if i was to make a game with this track in mind, id put the first version as the titlescreen and make this one the final confrontation theme.

And i know you have said it before but what are you using to make the music?

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:47 am
by Deepfake
For writing, I use Orion Platinum. It's a somewhat older version of what is now called Orion Studio by Synapse Audio Software. I use it as an interface for various VSTi plugins. I do sound editing and mixing with Cool Edit Pro 2, which is now called Adobe Audition. Occasionally I use an older version of Acid Pro for mixing and loop slicing.

To write actual NES-style NSF music files, I can also write in Nerd Tracker, which converts to NSF, although that's usually a bit too rudimentary to get much done in a reasonable amount of time. I also have a midiNES cartridge which allows me to write on the NES directly via a midi controller.

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:33 pm
by S1x
Wow you're hooking most of the VGF regs here.

Got to finish the rebalancing stuff soon then, huh?

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:01 am
by Deepfake
Well, don't get too carried away. We want people to play the latest area a bit before it all comes down around their ears!

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:08 am
by Apollo the Just
Love it. I TOTALLY dig this version. The percussive bass line clears up the rhythmical confusion and makes for a more epic segue.


Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:40 am
by Deepfake
Glad to hear you like it. I wrote a bit more of a tie-in for the intro, which really helped a lot on top of your suggestion. Just putting the percussive stuff in at the beginning actually kind of unbalanced the intro when it drops out again, so it was necessary. I think the original leads I wrote are a bit catchier in their simplicity, but the later new stuff is respectably complex a more traditional RPG fashion. The very end with the near-arpeggiating lead is very remniscent of a track I remember from Solstice, though.

Thanks for listening, and commenting, everyone! When I've got the time, I'll be sure to write more. :)

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:43 am
by KirbyBoy2000
Eh, I think I might have liked the first version better, but after listening to this one a couple times its not bothering me as much. Though it bothering me in the first place is probably just from listening to it so much, and it no longer doing so is more of the same with the added bonus of making me forget how the original went exactly. :P

I'm not entirely sure about how I feel about the latter half that was added; most of it's pretty good but there are some parts that I'm not much a fan of. Mostly the part just after 2:20 (cause it seems like kind of an abrupt change to me, though considering I think that was around where the first ended it might just be that) and the ending (mostly cause if it's supposed to be listened to in a loop, slowing down and going silent for a couple of seconds before the 'beep beep boop' stuff starts up again makes it really obvious exactly where it loops).

All in all though, you did a good job on the songs. I'm sure I've wasted far more time than I probably should have listening to them. <_<

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:18 am
by Kargath
I'd suggest cutting the first 9 seconds or so, but the rest of the song is great stuff. Easily on par with the Shantae: Risky's Revenge soundtrack by Jake Kaufman.

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:00 am
by Deepfake
Thanks again for the feedback. I think I'll be keeping the intro - I'm a bit attached to it, actually.
KirbyBoy2000 wrote:(mostly cause if it's supposed to be listened to in a loop, slowing down and going silent for a couple of seconds before the 'beep beep boop' stuff starts up again makes it really obvious exactly where it loops)
There's really no good way to make it loop back around, unfortunately, because most players typically have either a delay in repeating that takes the track out of time or they even cut a half second off the front or end. If I try to keep the rhythm even, the flaws in media players like Youtube will inevitably make it even more awkward. I could put a little bit for a new track in to give it breathing room, but it would probably be easier to make a looping playlist that alternates tracks.

The 2:20 change might sound somewhat abrupt, if you're used to anticipating a different change from listening to the first version. That always takes a little getting used to, and I can have that issue listening to tracks I've modified once or twice, even as the writer.