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FFT-Like Music  (Read 8130 times)
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lirmont [Posts: 473]
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  • [September 10, 2014, 09:03:47 AM]
FFT-Like Music
« on: September 10, 2014, 09:03:47 AM »
Main composition: Heat of the Moment (1:20).
Background music for this thread: Heat of the Moment (16:24).

So, some of you may be aware that I sunk a month into investigating FFT's music, including being able to replace the waveforms (essentially *.WAV files). I did this because I got to a point in developing the demos for the Kickstarter relaunch where I realized the music just didn't match with the quality of the graphics. A high-quality digital sound, in fact, is not what FFT used. They used pretty low quality (22040Hz) recordings, pumped them through a very heavy (but controllable) reverb, and obviously had very talented musicians write music for that system. While I can't provide the 3rd element, over that month I found free alternatives to the first ~100 of the nearly 200 instruments they used (see: Instruments Wiki), and I began writing code to make use of a software MIDI synthesizer. Sadly, all of this stuff completely lacks the ability to be shown on youtube (some for copyright reasons, mostly for lack of visual nature of music and programming code).

Following the initial investigation, I worked the replacement instruments I found into a replacement table for the purposes of playback and composition. Since I've had the question asked already in-person: "Why does that even matter?" It matters because there are TONS of instruments in the world. If you don't start with just the ones FFT used, it's probably unlikely that you'll use anything like them unless you're skilled at writing music in the style of someone else in the first place. Furthermore, FFT instruments are synthesized, which means you couldn't even hope to find some of them without finding the source material (i.e. reverse-engineering the game) and programming a similar synthesized instrument yourself. So, this is a feature that attempts to offer you a pool of FFT-sounding instruments (without crippling you into only using them) for the purpose of writing songs/music/sound effects that mimic FFT's signature sound (re: low quality audio, massive reverb).

Did you listen to the music I linked yet? As you likely realized, it's all one piece. What changes is the musical theory foundation of: (1) tempo, (2) key (i.e. note like "C"), (3) octave, and (4) scale. These changes have the added benefit of providing an emotional characteristic, like "fear". So, "fear" becomes one configuration for the piece. Meaning, you can ask the engine to play a song like this (i.e. MIDI) in its "fear" configuration. Obviously, you'd have to set this stuff up ahead of time to make sure it sounds good, but the point is that you no longer have to think in terms of music after the initial composition is written; you can think in terms of what it lends itself to emotionally! That's a feature triple-A games have (ex. PSO2), and now so do you -- and it's orchestral-sounding (rather than electronic)!

Thanks for listening and staying interested in Tethical.

--

Since I don't want to make another post (information is over on twitter anyway), I rewrote gamepad support to use SDL2 (what Steam's Big Picture uses) since someone wrote a Python wrapper for it.
--Sky Pirate--
Vaan [Posts: 171]
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  • [September 10, 2014, 04:37:37 PM]
Re: FFT-Like Music
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 04:37:37 PM »
Sounds pretty neat, i felt like grabbing a sword and going into an adventure while listening to that.

“    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
   ~ Vaan
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lirmont [Posts: 473]
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  • [September 22, 2014, 08:55:07 PM]
Re: FFT-Like Music
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2014, 08:55:07 PM »
@Vaan, thanks for listening!

--

Source Compositions

Here are two more pieces (this time composed by my father rather than me): Sleeping and Dreaming.


Programmatic Variations on Source Compositions


Follow-up Questions

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think I've found something that's effectively the palette swap for music. As I don't have an ear for music, it's important to have other people's opinion on these questions:
  • Do you think it would fit with a game using old-school graphics (i.e. sprites)?
  • Does it sound similar to FFT's music (or even just that era of games, i.e. early 90's)?
  • Do you find this programmatically altered music too similar to itself (i.e. like you're just hearing the same thing over again)?

Thanks.
The Puppet ---Master---
Elric (Overseer) [Posts: 4268]
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  • [September 22, 2014, 10:21:14 PM]
Re: FFT-Like Music
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2014, 10:21:14 PM »
After listening to the bulk of them, I think I liked the dreaming version of Whimsical the most.

1. Yes, something like PSX Era.

2. Not really, more like LoZ dungeon music, but that's just my opinion.

3. Most of these sleeping and dreaming do sound rather similar, however, some of them sounded different enough to where you wouldn't notice it
as much in the heat of battle. (If it was the case that the song was being used for a battle rather than an event) they do this with several songs in
FFT. Slowed down or slight changes/additions

« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 10:58:09 PM by Elric »
    • Modding version: PSX
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    Vaan [Posts: 171]
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    • [September 22, 2014, 11:56:30 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 11:56:30 PM »
    I liked Sleeping Subdued Epic the most.

    1-Certainly it would.

    2-It sounded alot like some FFXII dungeon music mashed up with LoZ but coming out of a 32-bit console like PS1.

    3-Yeah it was all pretty similar :/

    “    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
       ~ Vaan
    Toshiko
    Angel (Empress) [Posts: 1246]
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    • [September 23, 2014, 05:25:35 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #5 on: September 23, 2014, 05:25:35 PM »
    I definitely prefer the Dreaming tracks overall, but they're mostly harsh on the ear, if I'm honest.

    1. Definitely. Absolutely definitely.
    2. No, doesn't remind me of FFT. Still PSX-era JRPG (occasionally had a fleeting memory of Legend of Dragoon go through my head), but not FFT specifically.
    3. A bit. It all felt of a limited palette and progression template, but if it were smoothed out a bit, it could be excellent background music. A wider sample of instruments with less reverb would go a very long way.

    • Modding version: PSX
  • * Angel should quit being a lazy bitch
    <@Elric> I agree to that as well
    At the end of the day, are we not all trapped inside lemons?
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    lirmont [Posts: 473]
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    • [September 30, 2014, 02:12:50 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #6 on: September 30, 2014, 02:12:50 PM »
    Reconfigured Variations

    "Sleeping": Intense and Conclusive (2nd attempt)

    "Dreaming": Intense


    Internal Changes
    • Each configuration can set its own reverb, chorus, gain (before: composition-wide).
    • Instruments can be swapped in configurations (before: set only on composition).
    • Option to scale against how many notes were in the scale the composition was written in (before: loop around). Effectively, this is part of the smoothing that was suggested.
    • Sequence can be controlled in configuration (not used here; before: set on composition).
    I think I'm going to run with this level of completion, since I should be able to adapt the handful of pieces I have.

    Something unrelated from the Jingles collection.
    --Sky Pirate--
    Vaan [Posts: 171]
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    • [September 30, 2014, 02:35:57 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #7 on: September 30, 2014, 02:35:57 PM »
    I liked alot Conclusive Sleeping for a battle, Intense Dreaming i could imagine it like either the FFT opening and main menu song or the game over song. The jingle would sound nice after you choose New Game or Load Game

    “    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
       ~ Vaan
    Toshiko
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    • [September 30, 2014, 06:02:48 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #8 on: September 30, 2014, 06:02:48 PM »
    Sleeping Intense: A bit too percussion-heavy for the flavor of the song. Soften that, and I think we have a winner, because it is so much closer to the desired sound than any of the others before it.
    Dreaming Intense: This struck me as FFT meets Wind Waker, which is still on the right track.
    Sleeping Conclusive (2nd attempt): To be honest, this sounds less like MIDI and more like extremely low bitrate Ogg. So, so muffled. Difficult to form an opinion on, because I feel like I haven't really heard the song.

    Going by your description of changes, though, I'm guessing any such criticisms could be mitigated?

    • Modding version: PSX
  • * Angel should quit being a lazy bitch
    <@Elric> I agree to that as well
    At the end of the day, are we not all trapped inside lemons?
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    lirmont [Posts: 473]
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    • [September 30, 2014, 09:02:53 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #9 on: September 30, 2014, 09:02:53 PM »
    @Vaan - There is an optional battle in need of such music, and I may well use your suggestion. The unreleated: Neo-Geo Boot.

    --

    At some point, there will be an interface where all the configurations can be changed/visualized. Thinking about dropping the sprites into that interface with musical instrument sprites (similar to the channel promo video).

    Settings from last time were 125% percussion velocity/strength.

    Settings from last time were reverb level at 13%, with chorus, and 89% percussion velocity.

    As always, thanks for helping out with this.
    --Sky Pirate--
    Vaan [Posts: 171]
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    • [September 30, 2014, 10:06:48 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #10 on: September 30, 2014, 10:06:48 PM »
    Both Less 1's sounded better compared to the others, at least to me.

    “    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
       ~ Vaan
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    lirmont [Posts: 473]
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    • [October 05, 2014, 07:01:39 AM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #11 on: October 05, 2014, 07:01:39 AM »
    Okay, so the changes you guys have noted have been used, and that's how they'll play out in the demos. Thank you. In other news, I have written an importer for MIDI files into this format, and I'd like to give you guys the opportunity to suggest a song you might want to hear in some other emotion. The test subject I used to write the importer needed a complicated song, and, well, it's Frozen's "Let it Go". Don't close the thread in disgust! I generated a Halloween-esque version that I think is worth listening to: Let it Go (Imported) and Let it Go (Sinister).
    --Sky Pirate--
    Vaan [Posts: 171]
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    • [October 05, 2014, 01:41:11 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #12 on: October 05, 2014, 01:41:11 PM »
    Well definitively Sinister version sounds better than the actual thing.
    As much as i'd like to listen to my favorite songs in FFT style, I think it would be better if you tried to convert rpg songs to FFT style, because RPG songs are songs that make you feel like fighting, that cheer you up, that strenghten you up, so here are some suggestions of my fav RPG songs:


    “    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
       ~ Vaan
    Toshiko
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    • [October 05, 2014, 03:14:38 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #13 on: October 05, 2014, 03:14:38 PM »

    Anything you want to do with this, I'm game. King of Fighters Symphonic Sound Trax blew my mind with the dramatic way it changed the feel of some songs just by changing the instrumental arrangement, so really, I'm down for anything.


    • Modding version: PSX
  • * Angel should quit being a lazy bitch
    <@Elric> I agree to that as well
    At the end of the day, are we not all trapped inside lemons?
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    lirmont [Posts: 473]
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    • [October 05, 2014, 11:14:50 PM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #14 on: October 05, 2014, 11:14:50 PM »
    @Vaan - I could only find MIDI files for the two FF5 songs. Coincidentally, there are songs available for Disgaea (the first one) and Grandia (the first one). Couldn't find much of anything for Persona. If you'd like to pick other songs, that's fine by me. Thanks.

    --

    Guilty Gear XX

    Blue Water, Blue Sky (Normal) and Blue Water, Blue Sky (Bad News).

    Bonus:
    --Sky Pirate--
    Vaan [Posts: 171]
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    • [October 06, 2014, 12:35:54 AM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #15 on: October 06, 2014, 12:35:54 AM »

    “    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
       ~ Vaan
    Toshiko
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    • [October 06, 2014, 01:56:54 AM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #16 on: October 06, 2014, 01:56:54 AM »
    It later occurred to me that there should be two different MIDI versions of Blue Water Blue Sky to start from (arcade, which is rougher than rough; and Dreamcast, which is much more pleasing to the ear). Curious if you used either of those, or converted to MIDI like Vaan is directing.

    In either case, it's surreal to hear a very familiar song interpreted so many ways... It's a lot easier to critique exactly what is going on when the song being manipulated is one you know by heart, and it's kind of fascinating to take in those tonality changes and get a completely different vibe.

    • Modding version: PSX
  • * Angel should quit being a lazy bitch
    <@Elric> I agree to that as well
    At the end of the day, are we not all trapped inside lemons?
    Sonic Dreams
    lirmont [Posts: 473]
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    • [October 06, 2014, 02:09:06 AM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #17 on: October 06, 2014, 02:09:06 AM »
    I used the one by "Feathers" on this page: VGMusic - Sony Playstation 2 Music.

    I think the process for converting to a MIDI is too involved for this/me (i.e. requires actually knowing the piece's instruments, would require retouching vocal notes in the Persona Q track, etc; you cannot trust me with music or flying airship designs).

    Also, if it is of interest, I have 49 musical scales (i.e. modes) that you can call in 12 different notes (i.e. keys; A, A#, B, etc), and that's 588 different variations in 1 octave. And there are of course 100+ instruments that you can swap in and out.

    An example is the "Normal" one is written in "C Ionian", which is just: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Whereas, the "Bad News" one moves it into the "C Chromatic" scale, which is: C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, Gb, G, Ab, A, Bb, B. Epic is "C Insen": C, C#, F, G, A#. Sinister (Edgy) is "C Istrian": C, C#, D#, E, F#, G. Rebellious is "C Gypsy": C, D, D#, F#, G, G#, A#.
    « Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 10:14:49 PM by lirmont »
    --Sky Pirate--
    Vaan [Posts: 171]
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    • [October 06, 2014, 02:25:10 AM]
    Re: FFT-Like Music
    « Reply #18 on: October 06, 2014, 02:25:10 AM »
    Well Prinny dood, you can just convert the 2 FFV songs i said, i'd like to hear them while i try to remember any other cool rpg songs.

    “    One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will.    „
       ~ Vaan
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