Music Contribution

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WKFO
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by WKFO »

Hi, I just listened to your tracks. First of all: Nice! All of them! And thank you for sharing! Sorry I'm not around a lot these days, and I took my sweet time to visit the forum.

We would likely want the new tracks to fit the already-established theme somewhat, although experimentation shouldn't be out of the question either.
I'm thinking:
  • focus: map (core systems)
  • curiosity, insignificance: space or unexplored space
  • space_warfare: enemy ship nearby (or battle against heavy odds? it'd be a new category but it's not like we haven't spawned new categories, so as long as it is easily codable it should be fine)
The MIDI piano songs grind my gears, but I didn't want to remove them without having replacements. Even a pleasant remake would be a very nice replacement, but if you wish to do something for them; please, for the love of humanity, go for it.

If you wish to contribute the sort of songs Pioneer could need but does not have any, my idea is city/port music. For quite a while now I want different music to play when you land on ports, and I did start working on it and produce a few tunes, but never finished them. If you want to take on that, that'd be lovely. Of course my idea isn't the only way it could be done, but I'm thinking of either categorizing the city/port tracks according to population size or faction. Maybe both, but both sounds like too much work.
diduuz
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by diduuz »

Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I'd really like to take on city/port music. That sounds like it could add a lot of atmosphere.

There a couple of things that we could replace the midi piano with. I have some great musician friends, who would gladly help recording with a real piano (i think). However, should we do something like that, i'd like too keep canon in d in the game. That playing when you die is hilarious. As a cello player 1st and foremost, i've had to play that stupid song's bass part an awful lot of times, so it makes it sound like the game is mocking you for dying.

Having played the game with music on a bunch has made me grow a bit attached to the midi piano, so it may be actually a better idea to lean into that old-game aesthetic. I don't know how that could be executed though.

Also, keep in mind that if the songs i've composed will end up being in the game, the volume levels will have to be adjusted. I think i will tweak the songs a bit, i'll post the updated versions eventually.
impaktor
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by impaktor »

Just a thought: it's probably a good idea if any potential future contributor can make music in similar style as what's there, so it fits in. I guess midi piano is on the "very easy" end of the scale.

Caveat: I don't know anything about game music.
WKFO
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by WKFO »

I think my main problem with MIDI pianos are that Pioneer isn't playing MIDI but audio file exports of MIDIs generated via virtual instruments, and they kinda "sound different all over the place", if that makes any sense. I guess just remaking the MIDIs and playing them through the same fine-tuned virtual piano would be okay. They are just classical music pieces anyway, so it's not like they have to be reverse-composed (like reverse-engineering, but for music) by ear.

MIDI piano can be considered one of the baby steps of making computer music. But this shouldn't fool anyone; after all, composing piano MIDIs is just composing for a regular old piano... in MIDI form. And they are of course not necessarily bad or even simple ((black MIDI :D)), some of the most world-famous music pieces are written to be played on a single piano.

If you want it in the game, can I ask you to try tweaking focus.ogg so that the percussion sounds aren't so dominant compared to the synths?
impaktor
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by impaktor »

Now I got stuck reading up on MIDI, this was a fun / nostalgic video for me:

"How MIDI in Gaming Works - Sound Profile" (15 min):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTRxrWnUomw

Looks like SDL Mixer can be made to play MIDI files, with some massage:
https://wiki.libsdl.org/SDL2_mixer/FrontPage
diduuz
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by diduuz »

WKFO wrote: Fri Jun 02, 2023 7:10 pm If you want it in the game, can I ask you to try tweaking focus.ogg so that the percussion sounds aren't so dominant compared to the synths?
This was exactly what i'm thinking of doing, but i haven't had time to do that. I've had two really long rehersals today, and yesterday was rough too. Maybe tomorrow.
diduuz
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by diduuz »

Hi,
As i wrote yesterday, i tweaked my songs a bit.
Focus calm: i removed the 808 drums entirely, i left only the kick in. I automated the volume of the hardpanned percussive noise thing, so it's not as oppressive.
Space warfare v2: I changed the sound of the main lead, now it doesn't jump out as much. I toned down the kick a bit, and made the noises quieter.
Insignificance v2: I added an extra instrument that plays a melody in a high register, as someone suggested.
Plus, I fixed some weird clippings, and everything should loop perfectly now.

I have an idea for the replacement for the midi piano: the BBC symphonic orchestra plugin has some really nice samples, and a lot of options for additional control over the sound, i think i will remake all the current midi piano songs using that (except Canon in D, i still find it hilarious).

Edit: here's the link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... drive_link
impaktor
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by impaktor »

Please also consider if there's anything that would be useful for the wiki, for future music contributors, like using the BBC, or settings, etc. to reproduce a "sound" that is consitent across all current and future tracks.
diduuz
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by diduuz »

Hi,

Sorry for not having posted any updates, i was really busy. I made an ambient song for just flying around, and now i'm gonna start working on city/port songs. I'm thinking of sorting them by population size, but differentiating the factions could add a lot of flavor. That has to be tested. For now, i only want to focus on population size. My idea is to make some ballroom-esque jazz-ish tunes for more populated cities, and for less populated, there would be more "patient", spaced out soundtrack, using maybe cigarbox-guitars, or something. Maybe for huge cities, synth-focused songs could work as well. What do you think of that?
sturnclaw
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Re: Music Contribution

Post by sturnclaw »

diduuz: apologies for not responding for so long, real life has taken priority for the last month and I haven't had time to check the forums. I'm evaluating these songs on laptop speakers right now and will follow up with actual headphones soon.

I'm definitely a fan of space_warfare_v2! The deep instrument that plays the opening notes of v1 definitely deserves its own track, but the v2 version feels a lot more polished and cohesive and definitely seems like a fitting track for combat that doesn't steal the show from what's going on in the game. I'm not sure what feedback I could offer to improve it any further; with some code work to start the category playing at an appropriate time I think it'd be ready for inclusion if there is no further feedback from other contributors.

Insignificance v2 is definitely getting very close to what I'm envisioning a "good" ambient exploration track would sound like. I think the background synths are a little bit loud/aggressive when the melody is not playing, and would maybe tone them down by ~10% perceptual volume, especially when they play their higher notes. This track is one that I feel might benefit from being 30s or so longer, as I feel like the melody hasn't really "completed" when the track ends (and the loop would start). A few notes of the melody more spaced out or generally "winding down" to transition back to the quiet/synth only section at the beginning of the track might help.

Focus definitely needs the kicks/snare hits toned down, they steal the show from the rest of the instruments immediately. Might be due to playing on laptop speakers, but a balanced mix is necessary because laptops are one of the places where the game will be played. The track itself feels quite nice, not quite "dangerous" enough for an all-out assault, but definitely fits some kind of racing or evasive maneuvers use. I think I'd want something with a different beat/rhythm entirely for a calmer but still stressful situation like scooping from the atmosphere of a gas giant, but I'm sure we can put the track to good use somewhere!

I'm not sure about the opening 2s of focus_calm (leftover notes from the "regular" focus version?) but it overall feels like it would be a very good track for most activities in Pioneer, whether that's the map or just general spaceflight between worlds. At 2:27 it seems to get quieter and the beat and general feel changes - while I don't hate that section of music I think it doesn't fit the rest of the track and might be a better idea for the main version of focus to include that "quiet but aggressive" section to help change it up a bit.

Regarding Canon in D / other MIDI classical songs; I don't mind the general concept but I would like to ensure they fit in with the general soundscape of the tracks you've presented here and the other "science-fiction"-sounding tracks. I'll leave it to your discretion if that involves re-recording them with different instruments or changing the arrangement/composition of the music itself. Having the death track and an automatic docking track be classical music is fine by me as long as they don't jar you out of the futuristic mood the way the current marches and classical tracks do.

I'll leave it to your discretion where you want to head first for port tracks - I'm looking for the kind of background track that's appropriate for both sitting on the pad looking at the cityscape and also in the context of "interacting" with the port offices and the spaceport's cantina/bar. High population/tech vs. low population/tech is a good way to split it up if you want different tracks. Factions would also be another good way to make ports feel different from each other - we have three(?) major factions (SolFed, CIW, Haber) plus any independent/minor factions if you wanted to mix in some cultural influence into the music.

In terms of overall feel, I think synth-focused tracks are a good fit for large, high tech ports from the major factions, trying to hit the feel of a very futuristic, not-quite dystopian cityscape. Changing up the instrument use slightly and going for e.g. a slightly more European vs. Oriental melody structure to the track based upon faction (paging Nozmajner for lore decisions...) could help a lot to produce a consistent soundscape for ports which still helps cue the listener as to where in the universe they are in a seamless and immersive way.
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