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Unofficial chiptune compo #1 - [status: results are in]

Unofficial chiptune compo #1 - [status: results are in]

Postby organic io » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:39 am

Tracking will begin on 2010-04-26 00:00:00 CST (Same time the main compo tracking period ends)
Submission Deadline is 2010-05-06 00:00:00 *CST
Voting will take place from 2010-05-06 00:00:00 *CST to 2010-05-08 00:00:00 *CST. Chips will be awarded on 5/9

Rules:

1) Write an original song of any style for a sound chip (C64, NES, Gameboy, Adlib, etc) using a tracker program. (Tracker = note column, effects column, etc)

2) The platform you track it on does not matter (Windows, Linux, original hardware, emulator). Popular chip trackers are Goattracker (Cross-platform C64/SID tracker), Famitracker (Windows NES/NSF tracker), ***(open to more suggestions of popular trackers here)*** All of the trackers listed under cross-platform on Wikipedia would be accepted. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_au ... m_trackers)

3) If you know of another tracker not mentioned or listed, just run it by me and we'll allow it as long as it fits two criteria: 1) It is a tracker and 2) It either outputs a file that is compatible with chip hardware (SID/NSF/etc), or can actually be played back on the hardware or in an emulator (Cybertracker/LSDJ/etc)

4) No filesize/time limitations.

5) No samples of any kind allowed. Chip synthesis only. Even if you know some way to hack samples into your format, this would be disqualified.

6) Submitting guidelines: You will need to upload a rendered mp3 of your submission and your source file (Whatever format the tracker exports)

7) You will have to use your own webspace. You will Private Message the following information to me:
{Artist}
{Title}
{Chip Format}
{Tracker used}/{Platform you tracked on}
{mp3 link}
{Source file link}/{Chip file link if applicable}

For example:

organic io
"a chip off the old block"
C64/SID
Cybertracker/C64 emulator
http://organiciosite.com/organic_io_-_chipblock.mp3
http://organiciosite.com/chipblock.zip

8.) After the deadline, I will make a forum post with all the links (the "link votepack"). After the tracking period is over, you will vote for your top 3 (subject to change depending on how many entries) by submitting a Private Mesasge to me via the forums.

9) Votes will be tallied, and tasty prizes will be awarded!

Good luck, and have fun! If this goes well, we may do this quarterly with different themes or restrictions (not necessarily chiptunes only)
Last edited by organic io on Sat May 08, 2010 8:53 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby knetter » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:41 pm

Very interesting! Will try it - but never ever heard of those trackers :) What tracker works a bit like IT or screamtracker?
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Postby organic io » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:12 am

Let the tracking begin!!!
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Postby Airmann » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:43 pm

aahhh ... I just finished the tracking, and I'm lacking some energy right now. But I'll see what is possible and not. I really love the challenge, but just don't know "If I will make it ;-)"
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Postby organic io » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:03 pm

knetter wrote:Very interesting! Will try it - but never ever heard of those trackers :) What tracker works a bit like IT or screamtracker?


I'm finding Cybertracker to be very intuitive. And I was "raised" from an ST/IT background. I guess the main annoyance is having to hit left arrow to get to the main menu in order to switch between the instrument editor and pattern editor (instead of just being able to hit F2, F4 or whatever)...

Also watch out for the instruments, it took me a few minutes to figure out that just "loading" an instrument does not automatically put it in the next instrument slot. The only way I have figured out how to change slot in the instrument editor is by manually typing the instrument number in "select instrument" (And also down at the bottom under the volume envelope where it says "instr2")

But other than that, it seems pretty slick so far. Since there's no DSP or anything, once I get the hang of the keys it should be less distracting and quicker to get down and dirty with some songwriting. :D
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Postby organic io » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:48 am

D'oh. I just wasted an entire lunch figuring out how to insert a line in the playlist editor. Shift + Backspace... Geez. Weird ass C64 and your "Inst/Del" key
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Postby organic io » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:35 am

First today, now my song wasn't saving properly. Then I accidentally deleted it off my disk image... Now the program is locking up every time I try to play back any music .....

:?
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Postby Airmann » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:14 pm

Oh Scott that sounds painfull, what tracker do you use ?

Well, reading this I appreciate Renoise and modern systems even more :-))
Oh I don't miss damaged floppies and that stuff.

Happy tracking !
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Postby organic io » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:55 pm

Airmann wrote:Oh Scott that sounds painfull, what tracker do you use ?


Using Cybertracker in PC64 emulator in DOS.... I suppose another emulator might not lock up but I couldn't get any others to run fast enough on the P100.

We'll see. I'm sure I can get something pushed out by Sunday :)
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Postby Airmann » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:08 pm

We'll see. I'm sure I can get something pushed out by Sunday :)


I'm really looking forward. I like most of your melodies. Your last chip tune was really great. Let's see what you can squeeze out that P100 :)

I'd love to do a chip with Goattracker ... but ATM I'm very busy and lacking the big E.
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Postby shadowbane » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:49 am

It unfortunately looks like I won't be able to do this compo either... I have a 10 hour car ride on friday and am going to be at a convention on saturday. And I haven't started playing around with stuff yet. And I have to pack all of my stuff tomorrow so I can go home on friday. I don't think I will have time.
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Postby fbjon » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:12 am

First time working with the SID (goattracker) for me. And holy crap is it complicated! Perfectly sensible considering the inner workings of the chip but not very intuitive..
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Postby organic io » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:34 am

How would everybody feel about a 3 day extension on the deadline? Making it 2010-05-06 00:00:00 *CST ??

So far I haven't really written any music yet because I'm still fighting with the emulator :?

Edit: Got another emulator with crappier sound emulation working. Looks like it's go time. I'll go ahead and extend deadline
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Postby gilli » Sat May 01, 2010 8:27 pm

This is not really an entry, since I found it too exciting to use the DPCM channel (samples) of the NES and the song's not complete yet. But I got inspired by this discussion. This way I got in touch with FamiTracker, which is awesome. Thanks for the suggestion, Scott.

I was trying to release what I had at BreakPoint 2010 as a 32k executable, since FamiTracker can export as an executable binary. But then there were technical issues. However the tracker is awesome. So I thought I'd share what came around for now.

Creating a house song like this as a "usual tracked entry" would not motivate me as a challenge but on an NES I definitely found it worth it fiddling with the limitations. There's side-chaining simulation, simple jazzy harmonies and vocals (sung by me).


Some info about the NES sound engine:

The NES sound chip is capable of playing 2 square waves whose volume can be altered.

Then there is a triangle wave whose volume cannot be altered (always loud).

Another wave form is the noise whose volume can be altered and the noise color can be changed depending on the "instrument" you're playing on that noise channel.

Additionally there is the DPCM channel where you can play 1-Bit DPCM samples. And you only have a total memory of 16kb for your samples.

The NES sound is MONO.


Challenge, composition, creation:

Samples
Having a bit depth of 1, it's quite a challenge to have your samples being recognized as such. It's more likely to have some random noise - because there is just 1 bit to describe the amplitude of your sample.
Now if you want to have vocals in your song, you really have something to do.

Luckily FamiTracker can automatically convert RIFF Waves to 1-Bit DPCM samples, so it's easy to edit and reload a sample until it sounds right.

For me the best way was to limit the frequencies to the very range where the singing happens (lowCut everything below ~200 Hz) and have a vast dynamic compression, so I could artificially extend the signal-to-noise ratio.

To make the vocals fit into the limited 16kb memory, I additionally did not go beyond a sample frequency of 16khz. The tracker can also downsample your samples, what I really needed.

Chords
To have chords with more than three notes, you can either play them as arpreggios the way it's known for basic chords (consumes 1 channel). Or you can play two parallel arpreggios to cover your desired notes (consumes 2 channels). The latter method can also make 2 of the 6 played notes sound like strings since the same note will be continued on the second channel while it's being interrupted by another note on its own channel. I've used both methods to create my harmonies in this module.

Side-chaining
Well, not much of a magic. If you like your sound to duck when the BD kicks in, you have to manually decrease and increase its volume. That's what happens on both of the square-wave tracks.

Bassline & Percussions
As you might know it from the SID and other chips, you can combine a BD with your bassline to use only one track for both sounds. You basically exchange the sounds so quickly that it sounds as rich as if they're played together. On SID you might also play hissy percusssions (snare, hats) on the bass track (I'm sure Frej will impress us here). On the NES luckily there is the separate noise channel for the hissy percussions.



Lyrics
You can't really understand the lyrics. At least some first listeners (keith, ptrance) told me they couldn't and I kinda agree.
You will notice that there are lyrics and that there's a singing but to make clear what I'm singing there:


Don't have to try hard, baby
Don't have to rush it, don't move too fast

Don't have to try hard, baby, baby

Stick to simple things that work.


Anything that repeats in the lyrics is certainly the same sample in the sequence.


That's all. Thanks for listening and the attention. Sure I'd be glad about any comments.

DOWNLOAD SOURCE

DOWNLOAD MP3
Last edited by gilli on Sun May 02, 2010 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby chunter » Sun May 02, 2010 12:37 pm

Thanks for the extension, that may buy just enough time for me to enter...
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