I’ve been looking for a way to compose interactive music with note-based sequences. DirectMusic Producer fulfills a lot of the criteria, but it’s unfortunately A) DirectX only (not multi-platform) and B) kind of, er, hard to use.
Tracker music is an okay solution for downloadable games. With MO3 packing you can pack very good quality music into a very small package. However it’s difficult to manage multiple songs inside one tracker song file (which you have to do, if you want to save disk space by sharing the sample set), and interactivity is difficult to achieve.
Whereas FMOD Designer already has an interactive music feature, it is designed to only work with streamed music segments. These work great in most cases, but streamed audio can use a lot of disk space. Also, if you want to edit a couple of notes in the music, you’ll have to go back to Cubase/whatever and re-write the sample segment to disk.
So I was thinking, maybe FMOD Designer could be complemented with a Sequencer feature? Sequences would resemble MIDI data with noteons, noteoffs and control envelopes. The notes would trigger Sound Definitions, but could be played at noted pitches, just like any MIDI instrument. (People would probably like import support for Sound Fonts, DLS or such)
After creating a set of sequences, you could then use these as Segments in interactive music, or as clips in Events. Within the Interactive Music area you could define parametrization, randomization and other rules required for interactivity.
At least in theory this would allow you to create note-based interactive music that together with other FMOD features (DSP effects, multi-platform support) could make a powerful tool for compact interactive music.
Just a thought… have there been any proposals to make a VST plugin of FMOD? It would act as an interface between your favorite sequencer software and FMOD runtime, so you could compose / audition your song in the external sequencer [size=75:1li9jdzz](I suppose most people have their favorite sequencer and are used to the way it works)[/size:1li9jdzz], and hear exactly how it will sound when played thru FMOD.
Presumably the sample banks, sound definitions etc would still be edited in FMOD Designer, but the VST plugin would open an FMOD Designer Project and receive MIDI data. After the composing is done, you could export the MIDI files, and import them to FMOD Designer’s sequencer.
Would something like this work? The idea is a bit similar to Farbrausch’s [url=http://www.kvraudio.com/get/1464.html:1li9jdzz]V2[/url:1li9jdzz] synthesizer plugin, which records MIDI data, and allows you to compile ultra-compact realtime synthesizer music into your executable.
Of course, nobody will miss their familiar old sequencer if the FMOD Sequencer has a really slick, powerful and intuitive interface.
[b:daqia1hz]Events[/b:daqia1hz] could form the basis of the sequencer instruments. This would require a parameter "(MIDI) Note" which you could add to an event to turn it into an instrument.
You could then add an AutoPitched sound instance that refers to a looping sample (why not even a set of randomized hi-hats) to create an instrument. Sample Zones could be added by simply placing more than one sound instance along the Note parameter (some "snap to note" functionality may help here) – and best of all, these zones could be crossfaded. I don’t know many samplers out there that can do that. To create a drumkit, you would just add a set of sound instances mapped to a row of keys (with each zone just one key wide).
To map different samples by Velocity instead of Note, make Velocity the Primary parameter, and link Pitch to Note.
All FMOD effects, like filters and such, would be naturally available, and could be mapped to time or linked to Note Velocity or sequencer envelopes. A reverb bus would enable different reverb send values for different instruments.
As a visual guide, if you add a Note parameter, a horizontal piano keyboard could appear on top. Clicking on the keys would test-play the instrument.
Could something like this work?
I like this suggestion of adding sampler-like functionality to FMOD. I wouldn’t necessarily need/want a sequencer if I could connect my sequencer to FMOD via MIDI Yoke, Rewire or another method. As Skaven mentioned, I could just import the midi sequence into FMOD once it was done (like some older midi based audio engines do).
If I end up working on a Wiiware title at some point, I assume I might have to use sequenced/MIDI music for it, so such a feature would allow us to use FMOD for it.
- capybara answered 9 years ago
Well… if the FMOD sampler were to hold a MIDI note sequence, it would need some kind of sequencer functionality anyway.
I’m all thumbs up for a sequencer built into FMOD Designer itself. It would allow you to utilize FMOD’s built in features (effects, filters, sample randomization, etc) very well.
Note-based music is very good for games in many ways:
– It’s more compact than streamed music for fast online downloads (especially if the samples used are encoded)
– It’s easier to make tempo changes as time-stretching is not required
– The music can be interactively transposed if necessary, while retaining the BPM
– It uses more CPU as all mixing and DSPs are done realtime
– It may not sound as good as music recorded from a live performance or composed using high-end sample libraries and top-notch DSPs
While we’re on the subject, I’m fascinated by the idea behind DirectMusic. Among other things, it allows you to [b:3vo2j9kt]randomize[/b:3vo2j9kt] elements of the music (solos, drum beats, etc) to introduce variety to looping music. This can make songs that play in the background much less repetitive without a large increase in file size. Unfortunately DirectMusic is fast becoming dead and buried. (it doesn’t work in Vista any more)
I would love to have this kind of functionality built into the successor of FMOD Ex. It doesn’t need to be quite as complex as DirectMusic. You’d just have some kind of an arrangement tool which would allow you to combine drum beats, chords, leads, et al to a sequence, and have ways to randomize these elements if needed. Combine this with the other ineractivity rules already built into FMOD’s Interactive Music, and you’d have a pretty powerful multi-platform interactive music tool at your disposal.
Thanks for listening.
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