Wednesday, April 6, 2011

EarthBound SoundFont + Development Log

Currently working on an EarthBound soundfont/sample pack.

This is something which has never been done before, and for of a few simple reasons:
1. The most audio samples in any SNES game, at least in my experience.
2. Compiling, identifying, setting loop points, tuning, organizing and testing every sample is very, very time consuming. This is a mind-numbing and perpetual process for a game this big.

As a fan, I'm personally excited for this project to be finished and hope you'll find it useful, too. Email me for an advance copy once it's finished, or if you're interested in testing and error reporting.

Development Timeline:

April 2nd:
Found approximately 30 EarthBound samples on my computer, decided to create a soundfont since not even a partial EB one existed.

April 3rd:
Spent the night getting a little mad scientist-y. Soundfont expanded to 130+ instruments, some of which being manipulated sound effects (Flash attacks, wounds, a drill).

April 4th:
Fleshing out ideas/guidelines for eventual EarthBound-influenced compilation album. Email me if interested in submitting something.

April 5th:
Finished a beta draft of the soundfont. Finally allowed myself to play with the sounds. Posted a showcase piece which you can listen to here. Began ripping samples from the actual ROM to make sure all sounds are accounted for.

April 6th:
Sent SF2 first draft to artist fluidvolt to test/experiment with. Later he sends a showcase song, which I like very much.

April 7th:
fluidvolt sends report of loop-point errors and pitch adjustments.

April 9th:
Sorted through all samples ripped from EarthBound ROM. Found several new samples and researched where they were in the game. Instrument count is now at 176, I assume nearing completion. Listening to the soundtrack in its entirety tonight to make sure I recognize all sounds by now. Will then hunt down any missing samples and begin tuning.

April 10th:
Sorted through all files and was able to accurately name ones that were confusing me. Also realized I was missing one sample, the vocal sounds from the Dungeon Man's dungeon. Used OPENSPC to isolate it and into the soundfont it goes. Presumably all sounds are now accounted for. Tuning will be a bitch though. After cutting duplicates, the number now sits 165 individual instruments.

April 12th, 6:17 a.m.:
Accidentally stayed up all night working on the soundfont. Today is going to suck.
Tuned all melodic samples by ear (listened to a square wave middle C for somewhere around two, maybe three hours straight), organized them all into a neat and flowing soundfont, and had to slowly edit individual preset names like 7 times.
I also had to cut all the battle sound effects, but since some of them are actually very useful and I already went through all this time tuning and cutting I'm creating a second soundfont, "EarthBound Battle Sounds", which will be included with the regular one. Next is revising loop points and testing for a while.
Numbers crunch:
109 (MEL) + 25 (PERC) + 29 (NOI) = 163 INSTMNTS

April 21st:
Will be ripping apart individual SPCs since my rip of the ROM apparently missed samples (thanks again fluidvolt). Still testing and compiling things to be done, such as loop point errors in trumpet and accordion.

April 22nd:
Went through individual SPCs and grabbed missing samples from a list compiled by fluidvolt. I don't know why my original rip of the ROM missed so many but they should all be accounted for now. It's finals season so work on the soundfont will probably be slow for the next week or two.

May 8th:
For the last week fluidvolt has been tuning samples for me, which has been a big help. Now that more artists have been interested in joining the compilation I've realized that samples I haven't ripped using the openSPC to ModPlugTracker method don't retain loop points. fluidvolt has found a program which may prevent me from having to go back and rip all looping instruments but if it doesn't work, that's what I'll be doing for a little while. Luckily this is exams week and after this I'll be good to pick up the project more in depth again.

May 19th:
Currently organizing a (final?) cut of the soundfont. We'll see if this method of labeling works. I would have never guessed how many samples could be in an SNES cartridge. I think I have over 200 presets. I might leave the battle sounds and miscellaneous extra instruments I made out and include them as bonus downloads or something. We'll see what the numbers look like. To amend the loop point/tuning issue for the sample pack I'm just going to focus on getting the soundfont done. Then I can export the tuned samples out of Viena and back into openMPT to set loop points for the last time. Honestly, I'll probably do that at a later date or divide the labor between myself and other artists. Requests for the soundfont have picked up though. If you're reading this rest assured things are still being worked out and I will email you when I have your appropriate versions ready.

May 22nd:
Thank you to Blitz Lunar for testing the new labeling system in several soundfont loaders. It looks as though things are on their way. What I'm doing now is writing out all the instruments on paper and dividing them into like classes. Then I will create maybe twenty individual soundfonts and piece them all together one by one for the final soundfont. This may take a while, but hopefully it's on the way out.

June 1st:
In Columbus until the 8th.

June 10th:
Time to organize this thang.

June 23rd:
Maaaaassive computer failure. On a new computer but I have all my files backed up. Unfortunately I don't think the organized soundfont in process was ever backed up and if so, I'm just throwing everything together. Most soundfont players reorganize the order of presets anyway. Pretty burnt out on his right now and I know a lot of people (including myself) just want to get the sounds out there. I'll be sending the first copies out soon.

July 12th:
I've sent out an email containing a nearly finished copy of the soundfont to people who have agreed to test, write, or otherwise been directly involved.

January 4th:
The soundfont has been released! Check your inboxes or follow this link:


1 comment:

  1. Hi, can I use this soundfont in a song?
    What type of licensing is there?