BloomingLate

1. work-in-progress Volley Fire (Gameboy)- Stage A, Stage B and Stage Select, with a touch of Starfox's Corneria

10 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

UPDATE: FL Studio Version

 

 

Hello,

I'm a new user here and I would like to share a remix that I am working on with you guys and ask some basic feedback about the project in its current stage of development. Before jumping in, please consider the follow comments, to get an idea of where I am coming from and what I'm trying to accomplish. I am looking for feedback on some specific points.

Tracks Used

So I tried to combine a number of BGM's from the classic Gameboy game 'Volley Fire'. During development I noticed some easy to make connections with snippets from Starfox's Corneria theme, so I put those in as well. That gets us the following list:

  • Stage Select (VF)
  • Stage A (VF)
  • Stage B (VF)
  • Corneria (SF)

I wanted to at least give the old source tunes a sound update and create a progressively expanding scene, adding more instruments, driven by a nice beat. I initially started playing around on the piano, going on my memory of the original tracks, but soon found out my memory was slightly off. But this created some nice variation that makes it a more true remix.

What I'd Like Feedback On

You should know that I have only started making music since november 2014. I have made a number of private compositions since, and this would be my second "completed" video game remix. I do not have professional music making software, but rather am using MuseScore2, which is a notation program. For that reason, I am not looking for feedback on the quality of sounds and instrument samples. I know these are lacking. Mastering is not too much of a concern at this point either, because the program isn't made to do that.
Until I can invest in something like Fruity Loops, I want to limit the scope to other areas:

  • Does the overall composition work?

  • Do you think the transitions between sections are alright, or are they too sudden or weird? What would be a good way to transition them nicely so that it feels like a whole?

  • Is the total length alright?

  • Does the track have enough variety, keeping it interesting enough to listen to from beginning to end?

  • What do you think of my use of the source material? Is it 'remixy' enough?

I realize that sound quality and mastering might effect how you answers some of these questions, but hopefully this will be useful enough anyway.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and respond! Looking forward to learning from you guys and becoming a better musician in the process.

Remix Link

Find the track on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/user-227517766/folly-fire-volley-fired-feedback-ready

I'm naming it either "Folly Fire" or "Volley Fire'd", probably preferring the first.

Source Tunes Link

Volley Fire: (video description has timestamps to the relevant sections)

Starfox Corneria: https://youtu.be/eclAC0JQJYk

--RM

Edited by BloomingLate
Added FL Studio version link

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Before I go further I'd like to throw the idea of grabbing Reaper initially rather than FL. Not the easiest thing to work with for sequencing but an extremely capable DAW, and there are plenty of free VSTs out there to get you started that sound fantastic. Just throwing it out there. 

Anyway, back on topic. Does the overall composition work? It sounds smooth enough to me. Not sure exactly on the direction you want to go with it in terms of sound choice overall so that kind of limits what I can say in that regard. If you're going for a more electronic approach then you'd be fine with your current notations as it were, but if you decided to do something more orchestral in nature than you'd need to humanize this more. 

Transitions sound mostly fine to me. 1:13 though is just kind of lacking. The bass kind of rolls into the next section and splash cymbals indicate that something is coming up, but what really makes it underwhelming is the snare. It just does not sell it. I dunno if it is the sample in use here or velocity or what, but it just doesn't work all that well. Granted with a full on DAW you could just put a noise sweep there to make it more "exciting", but as it stands I don't buy it. At 2:24 the draw down works wonderfully, and 2:45 the cymbals and little kick roll work again. So, that really isn't the problem. 

Personally, I felt that the last section could be beefed up and made more exciting. There is more going on in the beginning than at the end and that is kind of a shame because you've got some really nifty ideas in the beginning and it seems you kind of ran out. What also is kind of a downer is the length of that section it just seems so short compared to the other parts. Maybe another 15-30 seconds. I think that'd really even it out.

I found it interesting enough as an overall listen. I mean really as I'm typing this it is playing and it isn't boring. Plenty of things to keep my interest. Lots of details in things. 

Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with the Volley Fire soundtrack to really say "objectively" if it is "remixey" enough. I say that not as a bad thing on your part, but a quick perusal of the provided video and I can hear motifs here and there, but it is kind of difficult to really pick out exactly what parts of that video you're remixing. 

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Thank you for your input APZX! I really appreciate it.

Source

On 16-6-2017 at 3:22 AM, APZX said:

Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with the Volley Fire soundtrack to really say "objectively" if it is "remixey" enough. I say that not as a bad thing on your part, but a quick perusal of the provided video and I can hear motifs here and there, but it is kind of difficult to really pick out exactly what parts of that video you're remixing. 

Ah, I see I forgot to mention that the video description has markers to the parts I was using. You could use those to navigate to Stage Select, Stage A and Stage B, which are the tracks I'm throwing in there.

I guess my definition of "remixy enough" would be not just copy/pasting the original notes, but providing variation of my own.

The last section

On 16-6-2017 at 3:22 AM, APZX said:

Personally, I felt that the last section could be beefed up and made more exciting. There is more going on in the beginning than at the end and that is kind of a shame because you've got some really nifty ideas in the beginning and it seems you kind of ran out. What also is kind of a downer is the length of that section it just seems so short compared to the other parts. Maybe another 15-30 seconds. I think that'd really even it out.

I think you're right about the end being somewhat short. Each of the stage tracks has 2 parts, with 4 measures each (I think). I ended up leaving out one part (so 4 measures) because I was kind of hitting the tops of the string instruments and couldn't really go higher from there, which I would have liked. Since I already had kind of settled on my "finale" I could no longer transition to the second part anyway. And around that time I was running out of ideas, but by now I have some fresh ones that I will try and incorporate to make that climax more "beefed up and exciting" to use your words :)

Direction

On 16-6-2017 at 3:22 AM, APZX said:

Anyway, back on topic. Does the overall composition work? It sounds smooth enough to me. Not sure exactly on the direction you want to go with it in terms of sound choice overall so that kind of limits what I can say in that regard. If you're going for a more electronic approach then you'd be fine with your current notations as it were, but if you decided to do something more orchestral in nature than you'd need to humanize this more.

Hmm, to be honest I haven't really thought about the direction in terms of style or genre. I'm having a hard time labeling my original compositions, which are similar in instrument usage. I guess the inclusion of the strings kind of happened by accident, and because I have a little more experience with them. The Electronic Piano was not originally intended either, but I had to find some alternative to the unbearable piano sound of MuseScore 2 :D. Eventually it kid of grew on me, and it works well for the little Starfox Corneria loop.

I did want to emphasize the beat and speed of the track, and I happen to love the strings, especially the viola (alt violin). I wanted the track to build up to a climactic point with the full range of strings in there. So the ending definitely needs to do its job.

When you say "humanize it more", are you referring to velocity and perhaps a non-mechenical tempo keeping? Or does that term refer to it being playable by humans? At this point I have no idea what, for example, the limitations of the cello or violin is in terms of how many notes can be stricken at once, and how that might effect which notes you can play next.

Misc

On 16-6-2017 at 3:22 AM, APZX said:

Before I go further I'd like to throw the idea of grabbing Reaper initially rather than FL. Not the easiest thing to work with for sequencing but an extremely capable DAW, and there are plenty of free VSTs out there to get you started that sound fantastic. Just throwing it out there.

Transitions sound mostly fine to me. 1:13 though is just kind of lacking. The bass kind of rolls into the next section and splash cymbals indicate that something is coming up, but what really makes it underwhelming is the snare. It just does not sell it. I dunno if it is the sample in use here or velocity or what, but it just doesn't work all that well. Granted with a full on DAW you could just put a noise sweep there to make it more "exciting", but as it stands I don't buy it. At 2:24 the draw down works wonderfully, and 2:45 the cymbals and little kick roll work again. So, that really isn't the problem.

I'll have to look into this Reaper thing you mentioned. I watched a promotional video of - I think it was - Reason first, and that just overwhelmed me, giving me the idea that you need to have a ton of knowledge of all these different devices. I tried the demo version of Fruity Loops and am already working on reproducing this remix on there. I do like it a lot, but I have to know for sure that I can get really good sounds if I want to follow through with it.

The first transition did trouble me the most. I'm glad to hear you think the others are alright :) This first transition is important because it is supposed to reflect the opening part of the Stage A theme (see video again). The way I'm setting up the track is: [basic Stage A] prelude that sets the stage for the climax. It is the primary source for the remix - goes into [Stage Select] to get the beat going - transition into [Stage A] - transition into [Stage B] - breakdown into [Stage A variation]  - full blast into [Stage A climax]. The Starfox parts are of secondary importance and appear here and there throughout the track. I'm not sure I understand your comment about the splash cymbals. Do you mean to say they suggest something is coming up, but nothing actually does?

You also brought up the snare. Getting the drumkit to sound nice has been one of the most consistently annoying things to do in experience so far. The hats and cymbals are even worse at this point. I'm also discovering that FL will drop out certain sounds if it already has its "hands" full with the snare and hi-hat, so I'll have to figure out how to utilize the drumkit properly.
I definitely do want the snare to sound better, because it is one of my favorite things in music (I so discovered when analyzing the original soundtrack's MIDI file). I'll have to post the FL version when it is done so we can see if you think the snare has improved. In that version I am using a second snare also, which I think helped it a little, but dealing with those velocities has been challng so far. I have a lot to learn and dig into at this point.

 

Thanks again for your time and comments! :) I was afraid my remix would go by unnoticed, only to disappear into the dusty parts of the forums.

(Apologies for the long reply. I can't help myself!)

--RM
 

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4 minutes ago, BloomingLate said:

Ah, I see I forgot to mention that the video description has markers to the parts I was using. You could use those to navigate to Stage Select, Stage A and Stage B, which are the tracks I'm throwing in there.

I guess my definition of "remixy enough" would be not just copy/pasting the original notes, but providing variation of my own.

What I meant by that was that it is due to me being unfamiliar with source makes it hard for me to say whether or not the track does enough personalization to the source. I know Corneria pretty well, and it is well integrated and such, but I just cannot say about Volley Fire, you know? 

 

6 minutes ago, BloomingLate said:

I think you're right about the end being somewhat short. Each of the stage tracks has 2 parts, with 4 measures each (I think). I ended up leaving out one part (so 4 measures) because I was kind of hitting the tops of the string instruments and couldn't really go higher from there, which I would have liked. Since I already had kind of settled on my "finale" I could no longer transition to the second part anyway. And around that time I was running out of ideas, but by now I have some fresh ones that I will try and incorporate to make that climax more "beefed up and exciting" to use your words :)

Beefed up and exciting is just what I say. Typically, most tracks end on a high energy finale. So, the thing that was disappointing about this track was that it didn't have that high energy end to it. Not that is a bad thing, but at a minimum you've got to differentiate that last part from the rest of the track enough so that it stands on its own, which right now it does not. You don't have to make it super high energy and super duper climatic. It could simply be an interesting interplay of the sources or another style of interpretation on them. It just has to be different enough to separate it from the rest. 

 

10 minutes ago, BloomingLate said:

Direction

Hmm, to be honest I haven't really thought about the direction in terms of style or genre. I'm having a hard time labeling my original compositions, which are similar in instrument usage. I guess the inclusion of the strings kind of happened by accident, and because I have a little more experience with them. The Electronic Piano was not originally intended either, but I had to find some alternative to the unbearable piano sound of MuseScore 2 :D. Eventually it kid of grew on me, and it works well for the little Starfox Corneria loop.

I did want to emphasize the beat and speed of the track, and I happen to love the strings, especially the viola (alt violin). I wanted the track to build up to a climactic point with the full range of strings in there. So the ending definitely needs to do its job.

When you say "humanize it more", are you referring to velocity and perhaps a non-mechenical tempo keeping? Or does that term refer to it being playable by humans? At this point I have no idea what, for example, the limitations of the cello or violin is in terms of how many notes can be stricken at once, and how that might effect which notes you can play next.
 

This is kind of the downside of not working with a DAW with your principle sound choices unfortunately, and really I could see this going both ways depending on what it is you want. I can tell you that it'll be easier to do an electronic interpretation than an orchestral one simply due to the sound palette you have available with VSTs for electronic sounds rather than orchestral ones in terms of price. 

Personally, I'm a lover of string machines and pads from synths. There is a lot you can do with those if that is the path you want to go. If you want real strings then you'll have to fork over some cash for some sample libraries and work with their triggering schemes to make them work for your composition, which leads to the humanization bit. 

See, as humans we're not perfect with timing. A computer is perfect with timing. Which in some circumstances is very desirable, but with any real instrument it isn't. So, you'd have to play with the velocity, triggers, note timing, and automation available with the sample library to make it behave the way you want it to and make it sound more human. Then of course you do have to take into account just how a human would be able to play the instrument. Most of the time they are transposed instruments as well in that the note you write isn't necessarily the note that they play. They could be an octave lower or higher. We've only got so many fingers so climbs up and down are limited by that. There is a lot to it, and I'm not very good at it lol. The best I can do is give you an okay piano. I'm sure there is at least one other fellow out there who could give some pointers on how to humanize a bit for stringed instruments. 

22 minutes ago, BloomingLate said:

I'll have to look into this Reaper thing you mentioned. I watched a promotional video of - I think it was - Reason first, and that just overwhelmed me, giving me the idea that you need to have a ton of knowledge of all these different devices. I tried the demo version of Fruity Loops and am already working on reproducing this remix on there. I do like it a lot, but I have to know for sure that I can get really good sounds if I want to follow through with it.

The first transition did trouble me the most. I'm glad to hear you think the others are alright :) This first transition is important because it is supposed to reflect the opening part of the Stage A theme (see video again). The way I'm setting up the track is: [basic Stage A] prelude that sets the stage for the climax. It is the primary source for the remix - goes into [Stage Select] to get the beat going - transition into [Stage A] - transition into [Stage B] - breakdown into [Stage A variation]  - full blast into [Stage A climax]. The Starfox parts are of secondary importance and appear here and there throughout the track. I'm not sure I understand your comment about the splash cymbals. Do you mean to say they suggest something is coming up, but nothing actually does?

You also brought up the snare. Getting the drumkit to sound nice has been one of the most consistently annoying things to do in experience so far. The hats and cymbals are even worse at this point. I'm also discovering that FL will drop out certain sounds if it already has its "hands" full with the snare and hi-hat, so I'll have to figure out how to utilize the drumkit properly.
I definitely do want the snare to sound better, because it is one of my favorite things in music (I so discovered when analyzing the original soundtrack's MIDI file). I'll have to post the FL version when it is done so we can see if you think the snare has improved. In that version I am using a second snare also, which I think helped it a little, but dealing with those velocities has been challng so far. I have a lot to learn and dig into at this point.

 

Thanks again for your time and comments! :) I was afraid my remix would go by unnoticed, only to disappear into the dusty parts of the forums.

(Apologies for the long reply. I can't help myself!)

--RM
 

So, DAWs are a bit of a learning curve regardless of which one you go with. I just mention Reaper because you can get a 100% fully featured DAW for $60, but lacking in VSTs for making bleeps and bloops with. With FL you kind of have to jump to $200 to get it mostly usable and really if you want something that will get your feet wet with you'll have to go $300 for the extra plugins on offer. With that being said I compose in FL and mix in Reaper. And there is a reason for that, while Reaper's piano roll works, it is cumbersome at best IMO. Honestly, we could talk for days on which DAW is the best starting DAW and still not come to a conclusion. There are just so many variables at play here that you have to basically figure out what works for you and roll with it. 

Go listen to some Rock and how the drummers use the cymbals to indicate that the track is about to do something else. The little roll you have their just tells me that and it works if the pay off right now is a bit lackluster lol. 

Drums are one of the hardest things to get right in general. Since you're not using a DAW at this point it'd be kind of counter productive to really talk on it. FL won't drop the sounds out if its "hands are full". Check to see if there is a Limiter on the Master Out, and if it is there remove it. This can cause sounds to sound like they're dropping off when they're not really dropping off. The real problem you run into is that there is a limited amount of frequencies and dynamic range available. That is what ultimately limits how much can stuff into a track. There is a lot of information out there and it can be difficult to get your head around all of it. Take it one step at a time and eventually things'll start clicking. 

When I come onto this board I tend to look for the WIPs and then look at the thread and see what is said. If I feel I can offer advice that hasn't been brought up already I'll add my $0.02. If not I just move on. I try to at least get the ones without any responses, but I miss a lot of them anyway. But I at least try. 

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Okay, I'm going to continue working on this soon,  and see how far I can go with what resources I have available. Right now I'm thinking about a more orchestral direction, for which I have the most ideas.

But first, I need a bit of a break. The music is starting to repeat in my brain over and over again, keeping me awake at night so that's a sign I've been working at it too much :D

I'm honestly frustrated with researching the DAW/VST software side of the story right now. I gave Reaper a try, and it looks like it will work smoothly enough, but my main wish is to have something that has a decent enough sound library from the start. If the basic FL Studio package delivers on that, then that's something I think I'll go for, but right now I feel a little insecure about the whole issue and don't want to end up spending my money wrong and regret it.

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Ha, I decided my first contribution to OC Remix would be Volley Fire since when I typed it in the search nothing came up so I figured I'd be free from any comparison.

Yours is really neat with your choice of style!

Fortunately mine will be very different style. Glad someone else out there has played this little known game. 

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On 7-7-2017 at 5:43 AM, pengwndude said:

Ha, I decided my first contribution to OC Remix would be Volley Fire since when I typed it in the search nothing came up so I figured I'd be free from any comparison.

Yours is really neat with your choice of style!

Fortunately mine will be very different style. Glad someone else out there has played this little known game. 

I would be very interested in your take on the track :) I remember looking for a remix years ago but nothing really came up except a guy who just put his guitar play over the video of the original source. My initial wish would have been to make an energetic rock-style mix, but seeing how guitar samples are generally even worse than my piano samples, I figured I'd go with something else.

Have you posted anything yet? *sets out to look for it*

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I've semi put it on hold because I'm actually writing music for a tiny game in development, but I think I will try and finish it up soon and I'll tag you or something, dunno how it works

 

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I did it, but I shoulda done a third solo. Kinda hasty finish.

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Okay, posting the FL Studio version I managed to squeeze out of the demo version before my laptop signed me out and blocked my access to it :D

This one hasn't changed much in terms of structure, but I had already started working on an improved version with some new ideas, that I'll continue on when I decide to get FL Studio or not.

 

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