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

Postby chunter » Fri May 07, 2010 4:02 pm

organic io wrote:[Artist] - Chotoro
[Title] - 9-axis
[Chip Format] - C64
[Tracker used] - GoatTracker/Linux
[mp3 link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/chotoro-9axis.mp3
[Source file link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/9-axis.sng
[Chip file link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/chotoro-9-axis.sid

Are you sure you haven't done this sort of thing before, or am I mixing you up with someone else? It is very difficult to make a jazzy sounding chord without using arps to fake more than three tones, but when it's done right, it's prettier when they can just ring.

Afterward, though, I wished I could hear some arps develop in the rhythm, since that is one of the main properties of "vintage" C64 sound, the other being drum tones embedded into the attack transient of the bass, which I might add, is something only the SID can do well. I think you wanted to try to put more percussive qualities in your tune, so I hope you stick with it enough to learn how.

The composition was your usual good quality which led me to the immediate thought, "This is Chotoro on a C64," [edited from: "This is NT on a C64," sorry I've been very sick this week, difficult to concentrate sometimes] which implies that the limits of the chip did not intimidate.

Nice use of the filter, just beware that if you find you like this stuff enough to try to put your tunes on real hardware, the nature of the SID filter is that no two are alike, so you can't be certain what to expect when you do lowpass "dampen" tricks unless you compose for one particular piece of hardware. (Modifications to the capacitor that drives SID's filter are not unheard of.)

organic io wrote:[Artist] - organic io
[Title] - never had a c64
[Chip Format] - C64
[Tracker used] - cybertracker in CCS64DOS emulator
[mp3 link] - http://www.loopproject.com/filebase/sdcompo/organic_io/organic_io_-_never_had_a_c64.mp3
[Source file link] - http://www.loopproject.com/filebase/sdcompo/organic_io/cc3ct.rar (exported to .P00, I'm not really sure how to get this back into the tracker, but I'm sure it's possible... sorry)

.P00 is a disk file, it can be mounted in the emulator and loaded while the tracker is running. (If my transfer cable still works, I could write a disk from it and actually load it on my commodore stuff.)

It sounds like you got the hang of working with the tracker rather quickly, getting the hang of what you can and can't compose on a chip will come with time. I agree with the sentiment that vibrato-free sawtooth waves sound like an autotuned choir of mosquitoes, remember that you have many waveforms to choose from in the SID and that you can change them dynamically.

Some more broad comments about all three pieces (counting my own,) I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't have more time to give mine polish since the way I prefer to work on chip is to put the basic form of the piece down, then look for "spaces" in the columns to place echoes, double-up choruses and twinkly effects. That also means that if you want to have an echo lead or a fat, chorused lead, you have to leave a column empty for it, and that is the challenge of composing for chip.

When you have the hang of it, you can even do it in Renoise: erase all the tracks except three and have all the instruments bouncing about, the music will almost mix itself, which for me is secretly the finest property and why I'll compose for chip from time to time: there's no engineering at all. It's all handled by your arrangement.

I chose to play with the Namco expansion because it's something I've wanted to do for a while now, Namco's arcade sound in the early to mid 80's is quite unique and very fat for what was available in that part of the decade, so I used this to try to compose on it. That, and I didn't have time to dig up the commodore gear...

The "Japanese" sound is really an effect of the inspiration, Japanese VGM composers were fond of jazzy ragtime chords. Japanese fans of the sound do not like the sound of arps; most VGM composers did not use arps so it is not a familiar sound for them. Because of that, competing in Famicompo trained me away from using them.

I wish that I could've done a little more with that lead, and sorry about the funny brown note- I probably meant to change it but forgot.
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Postby gilli » Fri May 07, 2010 7:16 pm

fbjon wrote:About voting, are non-entrants allowed to vote? Not that there's much

Right, because I'd like to. I was at work all day and couldn't react in time.


Oh, before I appear ignorant: Scott and Frej - It's awesome to have you guys.

@io: Awesome, thanks! I'll keep that in mind as a motivation to continue the song.

@fbjon:Thank you so much.
using a vocoder, or heavy autotuning

I see where you're going. Having even cleaner frequencies on the vocals, good idea!
Also, there's still a "to" you could reuse in the first line, to save space :)

Awesome, you opened the source! You're right! I noticed later that it's also possible to change the note of the sample by assigning it with a different pitch to another key.
Unfortunately you can't loop samples there, which might complicate creating vocals like in SCA type 2 but it's still possible.
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[Artist] - Chotoro
[Title] - 9-axis
[Chip Format] - C64
[Tracker used] - GoatTracker/Linux
[mp3 link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/chotoro-9axis.mp3
[Source file link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/9-axis.sng
[Chip file link] - http://www.chotoro.fi/musik/chotoro-9-axis.sid

And there we have it. The mix of bassline, bd and percussions on one track. Nice!
The BD sounds a bit weak but on the other hand it's very clear.
Pos 02 - Great way of exchanging chord notes with delays of the melody.
Pos 05 - Love the arp melody at its end.
Pos 1B - surprising cutOff effect you created there!
I'm not sure if I can hear any jazzy intentions from the chords you played on the three channels, the way chunter described it. He's right about them not being "straight" though but it's clear that it's intended and the song just sounds more interesting this way. To me it feels more like a classical menuet with some modern experiments any they all fit well together.
Pos 0E has a menuet feel to it :)


[Artist] - chunter
[Title] - N Tune
[Chip Format] - Famicom + Namcot 106/NSF (w. expansion)
[Tracker used] - Schism IT/IT2NSF conversion/FCEU
[mp3 link] - http://chipmusic.org/media/music/2010/0 ... n-tune.mp3
[Source file link] - http://s.engramstudio.com/src/N_TUNE.zip


Agree on the Japanese like IO said. I could actually just open the IT here on Linux in a player and it sounded much like the MP3. It's nice you put all the tools and the docs into the zip. Unfortunately I can't find any IT-compatible tracker for here on Linux, so I couldn't look into your techniques. I found the explanation you gave very worthy though. Especially about the Japanese not liking arpreggios. This somehow explains to me why I never got to hear them on Nintendo systems (be it a Gameboy or an NES).
The "japanese" 5ths are a bit loud compared to the rest but it might have been your intention to sound "awakening". The lead melody beginning at 1:56 goes some unexpected ways at its end like fbjon said. Sounds to be intended though, since you're playing it not only once that way and you seem to be supporting it with additional textures.

Also thanks for the background story on "Icehouse". That was great.

[Artist] - organic io
[Title] - never had a c64
[Chip Format] - C64
[Tracker used] - cybertracker in CCS64DOS emulator
[mp3 link] - http://www.loopproject.com/filebase/sdc ... _a_c64.mp3
[Source file link] - http://www.loopproject.com/filebase/sdc ... /cc3ct.rar (exported to .P00, I'm not really sure how to get this back into the tracker, but I'm sure it's possible... sorry)

Happy bassline and melody! Also like the way the arps are following the melody. And there's even a final chord at the end of the song. Doesn't sound unfinished to me because of this but then abruptly might be the right word.
At 0:38 you're playing a moll/minor progression in a way that I can't tell whether it's a bridge to the song's first part or if it's a key change. Too bad the memory is too limited for more patterns. You might have come back to the first melody, then the middle part would stand there like a creative bridge.
I'd really like to open your song in a tracker to see the stuff you had to struggle with because from what I know about SID and from what I can hear you made a great job creating the song with the limitations.
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Postby fbjon » Fri May 07, 2010 7:26 pm

chunter wrote:Are you sure you haven't done this sort of thing before, or am I mixing you up with someone else? ...


Well, I've played around with arpeggios, primitive waveforms and minimal filesizes before.. but all sample based, never "for real" so to speak. As far as I can remember at least. The chip itself is quite expressive, but the handling of it is tricky. It'll take some work to learn by heart what all the values and bitpatterns do in the tables.
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Postby organic io » Sat May 08, 2010 9:40 am

fbjon wrote:Also, feels like it ends abruptly?


Indeed sir, it does. I ran out of pattern memory :)

Also I would like to renig on my comment about yours not having consistency... The more I listen to it, the more coherence it seems to have. Makes me feel like I am playing an oldschool shmup. Very cool.
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Postby organic io » Sat May 08, 2010 9:45 am

chunter wrote:sorry about the funny brown note- I probably meant to change it but forgot.


I thought it was intentional.

A comment on the raw nature of my lead sound.... I spent so much time fighting with the emulators, I barely could put the song together in its current state, much less do any "engineering" on it. :)
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Postby fbjon » Sat May 08, 2010 9:49 am

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

gilli wrote:I noticed later that it's also possible to change the note of the sample by assigning it with a different pitch to another key.
Unfortunately you can't loop samples there, which might complicate creating vocals like in SCA type 2 but it's still possible.


Well that throws a bit of a wrench among the cogs. Perhaps splitting into phonemes, and just repeatedly playing a vowel sample? It seems there's no immediate limit to the number of samples, so creating a kind of reusable wavetable might be possible. Though it sounds tedious.
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Postby organic io » Sat May 08, 2010 10:00 am

RESULTS

1st place - Chotoro - 3 chips! ImageImageImage

2nd place - organic io - 2 chips!ImageImage

3rd place - chunter - 1 chip! Image


Congrats all. Let's eat!!!

But for real, I think this has been really cool, lots of great discussions.

Here's my idea for the next unofficial round (Perhaps after official round 50)... Everyone who entered (and nt too) can submit an idea for the theme or limitations of the next round, and then we will open up a thread with public voting for the next theme. What do you think?

My theme idea is:

3cubed. (3 channels, 3 samples, 3 bits)... We would probably use Renoise for this one, and just put a bitcrusher to 3 bits as the first DSP on each channel, and everything after that is anything goes (any native DSP allowed)... Hearing how good Gilli's vocals sounded even with 1 bit gave me the idea for this.
Edit: Only 1 note column on each channel of course :)

Go ahead and submit your ideas in this thread and then we can open up the voting in a month or so
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Postby fbjon » Sat May 08, 2010 10:32 am

organic io wrote:
fbjon wrote:Also, feels like it ends abruptly?

Indeed sir, it does. I ran out of pattern memory :)

Also I would like to renig on my comment about yours not having consistency... The more I listen to it, the more coherence it seems to have. Makes me feel like I am playing an oldschool shmup.


You're right both ways.. I actually wanted to get back to the sweeping chords in the intro, but, well.. After my patience was wearing thin with the position editor, I just went ahead in a straight line and finished. Regarding shmups, I actually had the sidescroller level from Turrican II in mind, it starts at about 1:30 or so.

Also, yay for chips! But unfortunately I only have popcorn at home.

Anyway, 3^3 sounds rather exciting.. severe limitations, but in a familiar environment. :)
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Postby Airmann » Fri May 14, 2010 8:08 pm

Congrats and much respect for you guys for doing this Compo.
3 People is not many, but better than 2 :-)

I've already listened to the songs and find them nice.
Maybe I'll find time to comment in detail - but really no promise here

Also maybe I'll participate in a later round, I'd like to leran those
Goattracker, since it has a great sound. But as Chotoro mentioned: scarily complex.
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