Tracking and Demoscene discussion.

your background affects whether something sounds "gamey

your background affects whether something sounds "gamey

Postby organic io » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:42 pm

not really enough characters in the subject to phrase the question correctly ...
the question is: do you think your musical background/history affects whether you think a particular song sounds "video gamey", or not?

for example, i sent my sdcompo round 4 entry "conduit transparency", to a friend of mine, and the only thing she said about it is "i feel like i'm in a video game".. now i admit that i have written some music in the past that might sound somewhat gamey, but this song is decidedly NOT one of those songs!

however, this friend comes from a background of listening to very little electronic music at all... she listens mostly just acoustic pop type stuff. so i guess to her, any kind of electronic music would sound gamey

the question came to me as i was driving in the car listening to an old compilation CD of mine that has some old demoscene mods (circa 1992-1996 era), and thinking about how "classic" they are, but then reflecting on whether my mom or my gf would think they sound cheap or video gamey.... and i thought to myself, i don't think they sound gamey, but my mom/gf might

i mean what does "video gamey" mean anyway? i guess when people say that, they are referring to 8 bit era NES/genesis type of stuff. these days it doesn't really mean anything because games have fully orchestral or pop music soundtracks now

so ... not sure what i'm getting at here.

any thoughts/opinions?
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Postby Sonicade » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:13 am

I think appreciation of demoscene music has to be learned. I know for me the process was gradual and began with tracked video game music remakes. Those were the first mods I found, listened to and enjoyed. From there I started listening to just plain obscure tracks I'd never heard of by the likes of Leviathan and Purple Motion! My mind started being blown by Necros and Elwood and I began to develop an understanding and appreciation of tracked music.

Video-gamey is probably the best description you can give the sound of tracked music if you aren't familiar with it. It's sound is probably distinct even compared to mainstream electronic music. It's funny when people ask you the question 'whos your favorite band?' or 'what kind of music do you listen to?' and someone replies 'Korn!' or 'Punk Rock!' Some people have only heard mainstream music their whole lives and even stick to 1 genre! :o
I couldn't ever answer those two questions. I listen to a huge variety of music in ton of different genres so it would be impossible to name 1 favorite band or genre. Also, sometimes people are reluctant to step out of those boundries. When I was getting into demoscene music, I had a friend who was into reggae and rock music. Sometimes I just had to play him the latest Necros track I'd discovered cause it was just blowing my mind but he just didn't hear it at all. Which is ok since we have to discover things for ourselves but it's interesting because I was just getting 0wned by these modules and he was just like "ugg turn it off man."
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Postby organic io » Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:18 am

a friend of mine has gotten me into punk and ska, and i've gotten him into electronic music :D bad religion is one of my favourite bands now, and hybrid is one of his favourite groups now :lol:
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Re: your background affects whether something sounds "g

Postby fbjon » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:56 am

dj io wrote:not really enough characters in the subject to phrase the question correctly ...
the question is: do you think your musical background/history affects whether you think a particular song sounds "video gamey", or not?

for example, i sent my sdcompo round 4 entry "conduit transparency", to a friend of mine, and the only thing she said about it is "i feel like i'm in a video game".. now i admit that i have written some music in the past that might sound somewhat gamey, but this song is decidedly NOT one of those songs!

i mean what does "video gamey" mean anyway? i guess when people say that, they are referring to 8 bit era NES/genesis type of stuff. these days it doesn't really mean anything because games have fully orchestral or pop music soundtracks now



I think I know exactly what you/your friend mean, but it's hard to put your thumb on it exactly and explain it. It's probably the kind of light-weight tracker-style music that used to be all the rage in the late 80's early 90's: usually in a major scale, around 120bpm, simple drums, chords and happy melody, generally speaking.

Your tune started out decidedly non-"gamey", but somewhere around the middle (can't check the pattern now), there's what seems to me a sudden shift in style. I actually laughed out loud at that point because it seemed so funny, a twist in the story, so to speak. :D That's where the "gamey" feel starts.

However, though the "happy tune"-style can often be gamey, it can be spotted in entirely different syles too. Sometimes it's just so immediately obvious to me that some music has been created with a tracker, or is in a module format. I think there's something very specific that makes this association take place, but I don't know what it is, really. I'm guessing it could be a style of chord progression, or a style of melody progression... a combination of factors would probably make the "gamey"-ness stronger.
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Re: your background affects whether something sounds "g

Postby organic io » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:48 am

fbjon wrote: a sudden shift in style. I actually laughed out loud at that point because it seemed so funny


this is where i really need to work on my skills -- thematic consistency! but i'm always worried if i repeat something too many times it will get boring to the listener
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Postby Sonicade » Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:04 am

I thought it was a neat effect and fit very well. :D
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Postby dilvie » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:18 pm

A couple things made your song sound very gamey, even to my ears:

The way you mis-used the piano sample (cutting off notes that shouldn't have been cut off) smacks of video game channel limits. The cheap steel-drum sound you got out of the "music box" sample, paired with the happy major chords, you created a sound that could very easily fit into a mario-like video game, particularly one with an island theme.
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Postby organic io » Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:28 pm

:D
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Postby Sonicade » Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:53 pm

I'm not gonna try to be a censor here but mis-used and cheap could be taken the wrong way. :?

Both Dj_io's and Dilvie's entries this round were respectively their strongest entries to date imho. Dilvie's track had a tight sound and excellent production quality as usual. Dj_io's track had appealing melodies and a nice jazzy feel. :)
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Postby dilvie » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:17 pm

Sonicade wrote:I'm not gonna try to be a censor here but mis-used and cheap could be taken the wrong way. :?


Well, I certainly didn't intend to sound mean, but real piano notes never cut off suddenly, as they do in this song. They always continue to ring out at least a little for a second or two, even with the damper on (sympathetic resonance in the upper strings).

Cutting them off abruptly is mis-using the piano sound, unless it's done intentionally, for effect. If that's the case here, it wasn't obvious enough, so no matter how you slice it, "mis-used" seems appropriate.

As for the "cheap" steel-drum sound, the original sample is more to blame there than the artist. I can't imagine how it could have sounded much better, and I didn't really say it was a bad effect. If you're going for Yoshi's island, it doesn't get much better than the way it came out. ;)

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Postby Sonicade » Fri Jun 16, 2006 6:44 pm

Understood. Just try to consider how you might react if someone remarked the same way about your own entry. When dealing with music, it's all very relative so it's hard to say what is mis-used or cheap. You can be specific as you explained but sometimes it's just a matter of personal taste. :)

Your feedback is appreciated though. I'm probably a bit overly careful with my word choice when it comes to reviews since it can be a sensitive subject for some people.
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Postby groovyone » Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:00 pm

If you'd stuck to 70's chip p0rn, then all this cutting off piano steel drum stuff wouldn't be an issue!! :)
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Postby dilvie » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:12 am

groovyone wrote:If you'd stuck to 70's chip p0rn, then all this cutting off piano steel drum stuff wouldn't be an issue!! :)


hahahaha. w3rd
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Postby dilvie » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:57 am

Sonicade wrote:When dealing with music, it's all very relative so it's hard to say what is mis-used or cheap.


Sometimes, that's true. However, when you're trying to mimic the sound of a real instrument, there are certain instrument characteristics you need to be aware of to achieve a realistic effect. In this case, they were ignored, and there's nothing subjective about it. It's a fact that the piano would sound more realistic if the notes didn't cut each other off.

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Postby Sonicade » Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:17 am

Fair enough. :)
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