Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

General discussion about tracking, help and support.
Threxx
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:34 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby Threxx » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:49 am

Because of the interest of many members to create music in the vein of Capcom NES games, and in order to create a more straightforward instrument pack for said purpose, I have created this instrument pack inspired by the sound design in capcom games post-1990.

This instrument pack is not intended to emulate any one specific game, but rather simply help any users capture the sound of these games.

Notably, this sound engine was used in Mega Man 3 through 6 and Mighty Final Fight. There are some examples on this pack which are from games using the pre-1990 sound engine, but these were selected in order to demonstrate compositional techniques rather than sound design. A song from Mega Man 9 is also featured as an example; while not true 2A03 chiptune, its sound design is close enough to the original games that it qualifies as a valid example.

Detailed explanations about instrument usage and techniques one can employ are in the module comments.

These instruments are completely free to use, no credit required (though credit will not be uninvited). I will not be creating any instrument packs emulating the sound design of any other well known game developers.

Questions will be fielded in the replies. Any questions answered in the module comments will be ignored.

Hopefully this helps someone create this style of music.
Attachments
capcomstyle.ftm
(22.96 KiB) Downloaded 4634 times

LordAndrew
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:47 pm

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby LordAndrew » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:51 am

but is mayonnaise an instrument?

User avatar
RRThielNC
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:09 pm
Location: North America, America
Contact:

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby RRThielNC » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:02 am

>post 1990
>mega man 2 track

:^)
GIVE ME LIVERTY GIVE ME RICE
Jewtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rrthiel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rrthielnc

User avatar
MiniMacro
Posts: 932
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:47 pm
Location: Trapped in a 2A03

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby MiniMacro » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:30 am

amazing
this is really good
i wish i could think of better melodies
if you could answer that in the module comments... jk
wow this is total BS
mmsound.bandcamp.com
you can see my beautiful music there~

User avatar
iYamWhatIYam
Posts: 429
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:19 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, IN

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby iYamWhatIYam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:05 am

Hmmm...

...thank you, Threxx. This is a very promising set, and I will provide credit for any future use I may have with it.
These are really cool.
born to fuck life is a die

she/her

Threxx
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:34 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby Threxx » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:10 am

RRThielNC wrote:>post 1990
>mega man 2 track

:^)


Threxx wrote:There are some examples on this pack which are from games using the pre-1990 sound engine, but these were selected in order to demonstrate compositional techniques rather than sound design.

User avatar
HertzDevil
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:39 pm
Location: Hong Kong SAR
Contact:

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby HertzDevil » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:35 am

Threxx wrote:This instrument pack is not intended to emulate any one specific game, but rather simply help any users capture the sound of these games.

Notably, this sound engine was used in Mega Man 3 through 6 and Mighty Final Fight. There are some examples on this pack which are from games using the pre-1990 sound engine...

Mega Man 1-2 has no tremolo control, and although very fast tremolos can be simulated by using a high decay value and a loop for every note using it, this method is clearly unrealistic since that sound engine has no support for nested loops (yet). Mega Man 3-6 does not allow tremolo as fast as 30 Hz; specifically, it does not allow tremolo with a period shorter than 512 ÷ 127 ≃ 4.03 ticks. In other words,
...moreso simply capturing the general sound of the Capcom sound engine.

[​b][​i][​u][​size=150]the Short Retrig instrument does not capture the general sound of the specified Capcom sound engine.[/​size] Removing unused instruments also shows that the FTM fails to justify the usage of the retrig instruments for the given sound engine.[​/u][​/i][​/b]

I will not repeat the statement about how MM3-6 does not have a real pitch slide, seeing how said tom instruments are presented as such in MM1-2. However, as a general reminder, toms may have an effective increment of as little as 9 ~ 12, as opposed to 15 ~ 20 as seen in most fan creations. The triangle kick in Charge Man is much deeper, about { | 10 } for hi-pitch.

More on channel economy: arpeggios and single-channel echo are rare for about the same reason as doing tremolo in MM1-2 as above. (Rockman 4 Minus Infinity did an arpeggio similar to 0xy, and the music data for that part looked like the Shovel Knight NSF.) Toms are used sparingly since the music data must respect loops; any reasonably long chord progression on the triangle channel will incur a huge burden on the data size, because every tom requires temporarily changing the instrument index or setting up the pitch slide. The cost is about the same as putting a pair of 2xx effects in FamiTracker, but games at that era cannot go haywire with the music data size. This remains true even in Mega Man 9, which used commands analogous to the MIDI program change, while Mega Man 10 decided to use separate channels for each tom instrument (they were melodic instruments rather than percussion samples to allow different pitches), exchanging enforcement of per-channel monophony for ease of use from a sequencer.

Technically, MM3-6 does not have "short" and "long" snares. As instruments are compatible across all 4 channels, these instruments are also controlled by a note release whose delay is proportional to the note duration (of the last note command that is not tied), usually about 30% for percussion and 75% for lead, often called "gate time" in DAW contexts. These games generally pad the space between long percussion notes in order to maintain a uniform release rate, but may choose to not do so when using cymbals, which MM4 does a lot.

Because of the gate time and ADSR envelopes in general, lead instruments in MM3-6 are rarely as simple as the ones given in the FTM; instruments with a blank volume envelope are present, but often used for sound effects only. A more realistic volume envelope would look like:

Code: Select all

15 13 / 11 10 9 9 8 7 7 6 5 5 4 3 3 2 1 1 0
MM1-2 are incapable of generating ADSR envelopes, and these volume envelopes start at a fixed volume, then increment or decrement by a fixed amount every few frames, so all the volume sequences look like this:

Code: Select all

15 15 11 11 11 7 7 7 3 3 3 0
Again, this is not just unique to the noise channel, but applies to all instruments. The lead instruments provided in the FTM alone cannot guarantee any Mega Man-style instrumentation, and the Axy effects do not represent the actual practice of volume control in the specified sound engine. (MM3-6 instruments also use relative volume rather than a multiplicative volume table, but that can often be simulated with just 1 or 2 volume sequences.)

Moreover, again because of the gate time, note cuts in MM3-6 do not always occur 1 tick before the next note begins; usually 2, sometimes 3 or longer, depending on the gate time. Track #6 mostly represents this accurately.

Vibratos are also used sparingly in both sound engines, as neither can put commands in the middle of a note without explicitly enabling ties notes then disabling it after the vibrato ends; however, this is no longer the case if vibrato starts as soon as a note begins, i.e. there is no vibrato delay, hence no 400 effect to stop the vibrato for each individual note except possibly when switching to a new instrument. Using very fast vibratos like 4F2 causes no problem in MM1-2, which specifies the vibrato period by tick count directly, but 48x is the fastest one can achieve in MM3-6. Furthermore, vibrato and tremolo share the same LFO, the latter of which is exactly twice as fast. This is important when creating pulsate instruments; the pitch goes down during the first volume oscillation, and goes up in the second. A fair amount of songs use vibrato and tremolo this way simultaneously.

General reminder: avoid using parallel fifths! Most one-against-one voice leading is based on parallel thirds.

MM1-2 has no detune command, so the best approximation is to use a vibrato on either the lead or the echo part when doing double-channel echo, or deliberately design the melody in such a way that the frequencies of the two channels rarely coincide. MM2 epilogue used a vibrato on the lead to achieve this. For MM3-6, in many situations a P7F is applied on the non-lead channel regardless of whether that channel is being used for countermelody or echo.

MM2 Wily Stage 1 Lead is not a plain blank instrument; it is roughly equivalent to putting an A02 command at whichever volume it begins with, and tssf's "Wily Stg1 Lead" is known for putting that entire volume envelope as an instrument sequence. Most lead instruments in MM1-2 use a decay rate too fine to be represented by the Axy effect.

Shadow Man uses an automatic portamento that is between 0x10 and 0x20. The sound engine performs a right shift of the current period in a way similar to hardware sweeps in the pulse channels, so that pitch changes are nearly at the same speed for the same parameters. (MM3-6 actually does this for all pitch effects except detune, so in a real setting the composer does not have to pay attention to the vibrato depth varying with the note frequency.)

Be careful about the vibrato in the MM9 Wily 1 example, since considerable clashing between the lead and the echo occurs when the vibrato frequency is at its lowest; this is about as bad as the case with no vibrato, especially if the vibrato rate is also low. Replace 462 with 461 or P7E with P7F, so that the maximum vibrato displacement does not align with the detune in the other channel.

I do not know where you got the idea that The Moon uses a single-channel echo. Such music data is essentially forbidden due to space constraints unless the sound engine itself has an echo buffer, which to my knowledge Capcom never used one; Duck Tales for the Game Boy used an even more primitive sound engine. MM10 Staff Roll is able to use this as a result of using a sequencer and multiple tracks for the same channel.

It seems a variety of the common practices actually seen with the MM3-6 sound engine, technical or compositional, are missing. I might provide concrete examples in an FTM at a later time.
refactoring 0cc-famitracker

Threxx
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:34 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby Threxx » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:08 pm

I will make this post less spam worthy.

HertzDevil's explanations on the sound engine are excellent if you wish to have the most accurate replication of the techniques possible. I was simply attempting to cover a small range and allow anyone using the set to take their own interpretations.

I do still wish to see HertzDevil's possible FTM example. It would prove helpful and I would be willing to add it to the first post along with my own.

User avatar
Stratelier
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:46 pm

Re: Capcom-Styled Instrument Pack

Postby Stratelier » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:52 pm

I agree with Hertz that single-channel echo is not a faithful effect to the DuckTales Moon Theme. But overall this is a nice pack and has a lot of good stylistic tips.