Hella Gems | Original Music Blog

Some SNES style music

October 6th 2013 by

Lately I'm working on some SNES style tracks, sort of like the great Square RPGs of the Super Nintendo age.Games like Secret of Mana and the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger and so forth.

I've been interested in capturing the flavor of the SNES. Unlike the original Nintendo, there's no built-in wave tables. Each game had their own, which they could loud from memory. This means that there's no real "signature sound" that you can get from using tools like Famitracker or whatever. The only common bond between these games is that the samples are always really short and looped, due to the overall low memory available. Additionally, there's some sort of delay effect built-in to the hardware.  If you go back and listen for it, you'll hear SNES games universally making excessive use of the effect for all sorts of things.

I pulled together a bunch of cheezy, fake-sounding samples to use that sounded about right. I also made a particular "delay" preset which I named "SNES". It basically duplicates the cheezy "double-attack" effect that I was hearing in a lot of games. It's subtle, but it makes the over-all sound seem "bigger". At first, I was going to go real authentic and cut my samples down into quarter-second looping bits like the SNES would have used, but I figured that would just be a lot of work. Instead, if it sounds "about right," I'll just be satisfied with that.

So for these tracks, imagine some RPG style wars-of-elfen-magic-bla-bla-bla.

The first track would be for some part of the game were you emerge onto the overworld after forging some grueling monster-infested underground tunnel. The enemy's forces are still hiding all around, but it's good to see the sun and the trees once again. Oh, and it's daybreak.

The second track is for some Dungeon. Maybe the final boss's fortress, which you can only enter by finding the seven pieces of whatever. I reused the arpeggio from the first track, so that will represent some sort of tie-in between the two areas.

These are intended to loop indefinitely in the video game, so they end abruptly. Just imagine them repeating continuously.

I do have an idea about what to use these for. I'm working on a game in Gamemaker Studio that would incorporate these tracks, but don't hold your breath for the release. I'm not very good with finishing these types of projects. If I were to use these tracks for the game, they would be heavily down-sampled, which would probably make them sound even-more Super-Nintendo-ish.




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