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Topic: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

  1. #1

    Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    Hi, I have been hired for some game work and the Developers are restricting me to the 128 GM Sounds.

    Does anyone have experience with effects, layering, instrument combos, etc...I usually have a 12KB Size limit.

    I am running a Sonic Implants GM soundtable in Cubase SX3 on a Mac G4Dual 10.3.9

    Thanks, Jeff

  2. #2

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    Well.. here's your chance to hone your composition skills

    Honestly, that's the best you can do. Work with lots of velocity changes, pitch bends, and volume automation, but ultimately, arrangement is by far the most important aspect when it comes to 128-sound GM compositions.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  3. #3
    Power Profile User lukpcn's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    on the end of the bow...

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    But remember.... the pitch bending or every cont. effects in midi take so much precious bytes in this situation...
    12kb is very much space but You can waste it very easy too

  4. #4

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    12KB is precious little space - even for a MID file. I just checked a few of the files I'm working on for a MMORPG that is using GM for the low-bandwidth client, and even the 2 minute songs come in at around 16KB. With that in mind you'll need to limit, as Luk pointed out, your continuous data such as pitch bending, FX changes (such as reverb or chorus) and any kind of modulation or volume change that happens over a period of time vs. on a single note.

    Other things to keep in mind: use reverb and chorus very sparingly. Not all GM capable synths treat them the same way, and often with too much of either it may sound good on one machine and awful on another.

    Find a 'palette' of sounds that works well for your project. Limit it to, say 6-12 instruments. That way you'll be able to remain consistent and keep file sizes low.

    Aside from that it is really trial and error. Best of luck!

  5. #5

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    Thanks! I have been pulling my hair out trying to get the 128 sounds to behave or have some style.

    I have realized that velocity is your volume control and the midi effects I have inside of SX3 are not the coolest but all I have.

    I have been hunting for alternatives and found this Company www.beatnik.com

    It seems they have a developed a file extension for phone & game audio?

    Is there some sort of file format directory that would show the file extensions required for different platforms?....game audio, mobile audio, ringtones etc...?

    Thanks for the Help!

  6. #6

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    You opened a big can of worms there! XMF is an up-and-coming format that offers vastly improved control over your audio. It can be implemented on any platform. Unfortunately it still isn't widely supported yet - particularly on the music-development side of things.

    For your needs, you may want to explore using DLS or SoundFonts - though you're at the behest of the game developers as to whether or not they're willing to give you the additional space or not, as a DLS or SF library will take up additional space.

  7. #7

    Lightbulb Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    I think it is interesting that when the first "hi rez" games came out like Doom, game music were all midi and limitations that finally worked up to the point of today where anything goes. Now all these hand held devices are on the market and they are back to midi and limitations. I guess what comes around goes around.
    Doyle W. Donehoo, Composer
    Radar Music

  8. #8

    Cool Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    Hey Indicator, XMF is a file extension? .XMF? (eXtensible Music Format) Would you import midi and other files to convert them to .XMF?

    Sorry about all the questions, I am stupid but not dumb. I know the more I know the better....ya know?

    So XMF is will be accepted by phones and other handheld devices?

    Beatnik has a RMF file format? I am calling them on Teusday 7/5/05 to have some questions answered. They have some cool sounds and instruments within the Editor. It will open up as a VST.

    Peace, Jeff.

  9. #9

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    XMF is a file extension, yes. I, however, have no idea how to make an XMF file. None of the applications I use for composition can do it, so I assume it is a proprietary-type format that, thus far, requires proprietary software to create. The RMF format is specific to Beatnik products, but it is by no means a 'standard'. The mobile device manufacturer - or developer of whatever mobile game/application you're working on - would determine if they're going to use Beatnik's tools to implement audio. I like the idea and concept of Beatnik, but it never really caught on. DLS and SoundFonts are far more pervasive, but again it is up to the developer whether or not they want to implement something of that nature. Mobile phones and ringtones can use a host of different formats, including but not limited to .MID (common for ringtones), .MP3 (also common for ringtones), .OGG and a host of 3GPP filetypes.

    The biggest problem we have, as musicians and composers, is that we don't have a standard that delivers the quality of an audio file, with extensibility and flexibility of a MID file. The closest thing we have right now is DLS and SoundFonts, but even those are quite limited. XMF could eventually become that next 'standard' but it is going to take a lot of promotion to get it implemented on any broad level. For more info check out www.iasig.org for some interesting thoughts and developments on XMF.

    If you're new to the industry - as I am - I think it is best to figure out where your focus will be. If it is on mobile games, ringtones, etc. then focus on that and learn about the 3GPP protocols, etc. If it is PC or console gaming, then the best technologies to focus on for the present are MID (get a solid foundation of how to take advantage of what MIDI has to offer), DLS, SoundFonts, and, of course, audio files and compression codecs.

    Quicktime is also a good resource for mobile stuff, as the newer versions support a host of 3G mobile protocols for audio and video.

  10. #10

    Re: Being Creative with the 128 GM Restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwdonehoo
    Now all these hand held devices are on the market and they are back to midi and limitations. I guess what comes around goes around.
    Exactly! I still chuckle when someone sends me a ringtone of a familiar song and it's the exact same MIDI file as the one I found back in 1996.

    Phones and such have gone from beeps and blips to FM synth, then wavetable synth, to some kind of MIDI + custom samples, and now digital audio... Seem familiar?

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