FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

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DRW
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FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby DRW » Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:41 pm

Are there any composers on this forum that make NES music that is supposed to sound like the typical songs on a C64?


I know that the main effect that makes a song sound C64-like is the arpeggio effect. But it cannot be just that.

For example, this video shows the arpeggio on the NES from various games:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HWHneafZ8w

But from these songs, only the one for "Overlord" (at 2:56) sounds C64-like to me. (And of course the song from the beginning because it is actual C64 sound.)


The kind of C64 music that I like best can be found here:

"Double Dragon": www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL35HvTIMmw
"Giana Sisters, "Get ready" jingle and overworld theme: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8teXm6723-g&t=45s
And my favorite: "Batman", level 4: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeCA0Fvrg4s&t=12m40s

Two of Shiru's NES songs have a pretty C64-feel to me as well:
http://shiru.untergrund.net/files/mus/2 ... treets.nsf
http://shiru.untergrund.net/files/mus/2 ... e_rain.nsf


The start of the "Batman" song and the level intro jingle in "Giana Sisters", as well as the C64 song in the NES arpeggio video have that really hard beat that you can also hear on the NES in "Lethal Weapon" and "Asterix":
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjV7GzDtWyE
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrNQrPeJPus

But again: Apart from that beat, the rest of the music in these two games doesn't sound C64-like to me.
And on the other side, the three C64 songs above also have parts where this hard beat doesn't play.


So, I'm asking you: Apart from the arpeggio effect, what else is it that makes the "Overlord" song and Shiru's songs sound like the kind of C64 music that I like while I don't see anything particularly C64-like in the NES soundtrack of "Magician", "M.C. Kids", "Asterix" or "Skate or Die 2", even though they use the arpeggio effect?


And: Are there any composers here that do C64-like music on the NES/in FamiTracker? Or do you know of any NES songs from someone else that sound like the C64?

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ImATrackMan
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby ImATrackMan » Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:17 pm

I've done and helped with a few.

DRW wrote:what else is it that makes the "Overlord" song and Shiru's songs sound like the kind of C64 music that I like while I don't see anything particularly C64-like in the NES soundtrack of "Magician", "M.C. Kids", "Asterix" or "Skate or Die 2", even though they use the arpeggio effect?


Short Answer: I don't know, because three of those soundtracks were done by two people who did 50% of all C64 music in the late 80s

Long Answer: Nothing. I listen to those Shiru songs and nothing in them sticks out as "C64" to me at all. especially on the second one. Songle-channel echoes are something that's possible on a C64, but aren't very practical due to the SID's volume handling, everything has to hit maximum volume before coming down to any other level. You can skip that entirely, but then you get a pop. The C64 doesn't have a dedictaed sample channel, either. These just sound like chiptunes to me, and because of the waves and methods used they sound like NES chiptunes. There's none of the waveform switching, or filtering, or PWM, or anything that's strictly C64. This same tune could be done similarly on any number of platforms, and hell, barring the sample playback (unless you really know what you're doing with your DMA magic) these could be made to sound almost THE SAME on a C64.

Basically, the only thing that makes "C64 music" is the hardware.
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DRW
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby DRW » Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:37 pm

Yeah, these two songs already have some of the C64 stuff that I'm looking for.

In Hubbard Wip, it starts at frame 0C.

In Cracktro Tune, it starts partly at frame 04, although I must say that the main melody in the whole song isn't really my taste. But frame 08 is a pretty much what I would consider C64-like.

Unfortunately, both files use the Namco channel. And I'm looking for something that I can show to my composer, so that he knows what I want to have. And since my sound is supposed to be used in an actual NES game, I'd need something that can be done with pulse 1, pulse 2, triangle and noise only (since the game is supposed to run on a standard mapper 0 NROM cartridge).


In general, does anybody of you know what exactly it is that all the NES songs that I called C64-like have in common? As I said, the apreggio itself cannot be the only thing since not all apreggio songs on the NES sound like the C64.

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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby MiniMacro » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:19 pm

usually, that "C64" style on NES hardware is referred to as "Eurostyle" because those European composers that had experience with the C64 (Tim & Geoff Follin, Neil Baldwin, Alberto Gonzalez, Rob Hubbard, Matt Gray etc.) carried over their techniques to the NES hardware. one of the more famous techniques is triangle + noise drums. this was because a lot of the smaller European game developers had lower budgets, so their games had more limited memory. they weren't able to add fancy stuff like DPCM samples so their composers had to use the limited memory more cleverly than the big-budget software houses like Nintendo and Capcom. i've attached a module that includes several of these techniques.

euro.ftm
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DRW
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby DRW » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:37 pm

MiniMacro wrote:usually, that "C64" style on NES hardware is referred to as "Eurostyle" because those European composers that had experience with the C64 (Tim & Geoff Follin, Neil Baldwin, Alberto Gonzalez, Rob Hubbard, Matt Gray etc.) carried over their techniques to the NES hardware.

But the thing is: Most European NES games don't sound like the C64 to me. For example, the first seven seconds of "Lethal Weapon" are the only thing that reminds me of the C64. The rest of the soundtrack doesn't. Or take "Magician": That doesn't sound like the C64 at all. "Overlord" sounds a bit like the C64.


So far, different people have said different things abou what makes an NES song sound C64-like:

Somebody said it's the pulse-width changes/changing the duty cycle.

Then I've heard the C64-like songs have a chord on the weak beat and use the shuffle tempo.

You say it's triangle + noise drums.


So, what is it?
I don't understand enough about music to judge for myself. All I know is that I want my composer to create a C64-sounding song on the NES. But he's not European and probably didn't grow up with the C64, so when I tell him what I need, it would be better to have some definite facts what makes an NES song sound like on the C64.


Also, which songs from NES games from the composers you mentioned would you consider C64-sounding songs?


By the way, your FTM file returns the error: "This file was created in a newer version of FamiTracker." Even though I have the most recent verion (FamiTracker-v0.4.6).

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MiniMacro
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby MiniMacro » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:45 pm

Oh yeah, forgot to mark it as 0.5.0 beta 5.
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DRW
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby DRW » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:49 pm

Yeah, this one also sounds a bit like the C64. Maybe a bit too soft still.

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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby MiniMacro » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:27 pm

Now, a C64-sounding PWM lead can be created on the VRC6 pulse channels using the pulse width MML string |7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 and then using noise + 2A03 pulse channels. Also, the C64 is able to produce triangle waves, if I remember correctly.

However, I'm not European. What I'm saying is that the Europeans used these techniques the most.
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Overlord99
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby Overlord99 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:58 am

One way you can get a C64-ish sound from FamiTracker is through 32-step N163 waves. You'll need three channels and a 100 Hz module in order for it to sound good, but basically there's a way you can get N163 channels to sound like noise instruments. I attached an FTM I made recently that exemplifies this technique. There are three songs in it that you can play around with.

EDIT: I didn't download ImATrackMan's module before posting this please don't kill me
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DRW
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Re: FamiTracker songs that sound like the C64

Postby DRW » Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:43 am

Overlord99 wrote:One way you can get a C64-ish sound from FamiTracker is through 32-step N163 waves. You'll need three channels and a 100 Hz module in order for it to sound good, but basically there's a way you can get N163 channels to sound like noise instruments. I attached an FTM I made recently that exemplifies this technique. There are three songs in it that you can play around with.

In the attached file, I would say that the apreggio, that constant beat that continuously plays in the background, is the only thing that sounds like the C64.
That's also the case in most of these NES games: The apreggio is there, but the rest of the song doesn't sound that much like the C64 to me.
In the current example, I wouldn't say that the entirety of the songs sound C64-like, just one single element. Which is different from, for example, the "Overlord" song in the linked video. This one sounds like the C64 in its whole.

By the way, when I try to use something like that, it will be for an actual game, not for a standalone composition. So, using the Namco sound channels isn't an option for me. In my case, my composer needs to be able to recreate that sound with the regular four channels: Pulse 1, pulse 2, triangle, noise.