I can’t believe it’s been three years since my last YouTube video! That being said, I’m back – this time with my 8-bit cover of the theme song from the popular animated TV show Attack On Titan! I have a few more 8-bit songs in the pipeline… one thing at a time though; watch the video here:
The ‘Titan’ theme was a suggestion by one of my YouTube subscribers named “Arch Angel.” While I have only seen the first episode, I am familiar with the show and with the theme song. With the live action trailer dropping last week, I knew it was a perfect time to make this! I also worked hard to learn how to create much better pixel art and step up my NES animation for this video. Check out my new intro and outro animation too!
Please make sure to leave a comment on the YouTube video to let me know what you think! And be on the lookout for the next chiptune jam!
Until next time, enjoy life and keep creating!
Thanks for reading!
I have just posted another 8-bit track! This is an older one… but I think the quality still mostly holds up.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these 8-bit tracks though:
First, there’s a reason my Halo 8-bit is at almost 50,000 views and growing at a rapid rate (I get a few comments daily), and my Mario 64 and Sonic 8 bit tracks aren’t even breaking 300. This could be for a few reasons, but I think the main thing is that making retro versions of games that are already semi-retro isn’t extreme or cool enough for people to search. They just don’t stand out. As well, a Nintendo version of Halo just seems strange because the franchise didn’t exist in the 80s/90s. Also, having a picture/animation probably helps a bit too! So… I need to find better games/movie soundtracks/songs to do 8 bit covers of (any suggestions?!)! As well, I should include some kind of 8-bit artwork!
Second, this is more for the blog, but I am going to stop doing a big ‘making of’ for each track. I’ve said most of my techniques, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. In addition, I’m sure most of my readers don’t make 8 bit music, so the blog will mostly go unread or be uninteresting. Although, I think I will, at some point, do a series all about making 8-bit music that covers all the main techniques with included examples.
So with all that being said, I do have a few more ‘older’ tracks to post over the next few months. I have 8-bit versions of one more Mario 64 song, one more Sonic, a Zelda Wind Waker track, and the Professor Layton puzzle music. I also want to release some ‘Originals’ too! As well, I still have at least five Nintendo versions to post next month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of something! Should be awesome and might develop into a whole twelve song album release! Details on that next month!!!
Ok, here’s the track – Mario 64 – Koopa’s Road 8 bit:
(Originally posted on Blogspot on Saturday, July 2, 2011)
Hello dear readers! I know it’s been exactly a month since my last post… I apologize. This summer has left me rather busy catching up on life and catching up on bills, paying people back money I owe (all paid back now!), and struggling with a car on the fritz! Yowza! During the year, I work a consistent weekly job at a school with consistent pay, but, being at a school, I am let go for the summer. So in the meantime, I’ve been finding odd jobs/freelance work in order to pay the bills. It’s been consistent enough where I haven’t had any major problems, but it’s left less time for music, sadly.
So in short, I haven’t forgotten my readers (and listeners)! I think once September returns and I have consistent work again, I’ll be able to work on things and post more often! I still have big plans for an awesome September remix or two (celebrating a 20th year anniversary of something…) and a TON of 8-bit remixes in October (to celebrate the three year anniversary of something else!!!) As well, my EP is still in the works… and still being delayed. Heh. It’ll be finished this year, for sure!
Well, onto the 8-bit remix! This one is for Sonic 3’s Ice Cap Zone (one of my fav Sonic tracks!) Once again, I made this one a little while ago, so it’s hard to remember all the details, but I’ll speak on what I can remember:
Drums and effects: I made the hi/hat metal sound with the noise channel, with a Duty/Noise at 25%. This gives a more metallic sound than the usual ‘white noise’. You can hear this effect used extensively in the famous Mega Man 2 – Quick Man stage. As well, the backwards ‘sweep’ sound was a simple noise channel track with a reversed volume slope. I used a simple ‘kick’ wav sample on every quarter note on the DCIM channel. Pretty basic stuff there, but it works well.
Instruments: The bassline was simple – just the triangle channel (as used in most NES tracks.) For the intro parts, I have two square channels with a little bit of a fade-in with the volume channel. This gives it more of a ‘pad synth’ feel, much like the original. For the ‘chorus’ part I have one square channel playing the melody – once again, pretty basic stuff. For the arpeggios, though, things get a little bit trickier. In the instrument editor, the arpeggio tool only goes from -10 to positive 10. This means you can’t do octaves at -12 to 0, which would be ideal. In order to achieve the arpeggios the way I needed, I set them at ‘-6, -6, 6, 6’ – which means in order to play the notes I wanted, I’d have to play a 6 half tones higher (example: to get a G I’d have to play a C#.) Here’s a picture of the editor:
Well that’s pretty much it! Here’s the track!
(Originally posted on Blogspot on Sunday, May 1, 2011)
Alright, so it turns out I have a few 8-bit tracks on stockpile. Phew! So I was able to release this April’s second 8-bit remix (a day late… I know…) This one is a short, easy one – but it has a unique element to it, especially for a Nintendo track!
Yup! It’s Mario 64’s Endless Staircase music, a personal favourite ever since I was a kid! It’s interesting because it uses the Shepard’s scale.
“…named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.”
In lament’s terms, the same notes are played an octave apart, with the higher set of notes fading out, and the lower set of notes fading in (repeating forever). This gives the illusion that the music is forever ascending (much like trying to walk up an endless looping staircase!)
In order to achieve this effect in 8-bit, a feat I was curious if even possible, I needed two of the exact same sound. Lucky for me, the NES has two square channels! I programed the sequence in Square 1 and slowly adjusted the volume to fade in from the bottom and fade out at the top. I pasted a duplicate of this pattern in Square 2 at the half way point. IT WORKED! With this done, all I needed to program was the string part – I simply used the triangle channel for this. Nice.
Enjoy! Comments always welcome!
(Oh, and I do have a remix for April. It’s not the track I intended to release, but instead, it’s a remix I did for Imogen Heap’s ‘Song That Never Was’ a while back. Expect that tonight or tomorrow!)
(Originally posted on Blogspot on Sunday, April 17, 2011)
Portal 2 comes out Tuesday (or Monday due to the Potato ARG)! In honour of this, I programmed Still Alive in 8-bit!
There is an incredible amount of crappy fake 8-bit covers of this on YouTube… kind of disappointing. Anyhoo, this one took a bit of time to program because of all the sections, layered/changing instruments, and the overall length of the song. I’m pretty satisfied with the results, though!
A few things of note: I love the bass roll at 45 seconds. I programmed a separate instrument for those few notes. Also, near the end, there was a tricky bit where all the instruments are going, including the electric guitar. I almost left the guitar out… but then I figured a way to include it without totally removing the backing instruments. To accomplish this, I have the electric guitar take over the Square Channel 2 for a moment (which is what I was using the the ukulele sound). Then I used Square Channel 1 (used for GLaDOS voice) to pick up the Uke melody. By doing this method, the Uke is only gone for a few notes, and since the emphasis is on the Electric Guitar, you don’t even realize it’s gone. (This is a technique I actually use on a lot of my 8-bit songs.) It makes it sound like I have 3 Square channels in a way. Here’s a picture of what I did:
As well as an audio file:
(Square 1 by itself first, then Square 2 by itself, then both Square channels together, and finally all five tracks.)