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Katamori

How do you make your music decisions?

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Even though I've been playing and making Doom WADs for at least six years now, I can hardly go through the music choosing "process" properly.

Either I use interesting MIDIs from (often well-known) WADs (which is not exactly what I want to achieve, in terms of originality) or use OGG music having the appropriate license to allow me to do so. (but those take a lot of space)

If you don't make your own MIDI, how do you find appropriate music for your maps?

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I make my own midis for each map, so I like to make them concurrently if possible. Listening to a half-finished midi can get in the zone for mapping, and the map taking shape can help me figure out where to go with the song.

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I find a wad I liked the music from that pulled its music from MIDIs of songs from well-known videogames. Then I go find other MIDIs from that videogame and choose what I think fits.

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Music definitely plays the main role in setting the mood of the level. Selecting the right MIDI can be a tedious process, but how I do it:

1. Try "Goin' Down the Fast Way" from Rise of the Triad. No, seriously.
2. If it doesn't fit, download a bunch of music WADs from /idgames.
Throw a few MB of MIDIs from these into your WAD, replacing all music lumps whose names you remember with songs that fit the tone of the level at least a little.
3. Whenever you playtest the level, switch to a different song. The song that makes you feel the best and play the best is the ideal one for your level.
4. ???
5. P R O F I T

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I've made only a few midi tracks in the past. But I composed them based on how I learned to structure songs from being in bands.

Example:

Intro
Verse
Chorus
Verse
Chorus
Bridge
Solo
Verse
Chorus
Outro

////

Example 2

Verse
Chorus
Verse
Solo
Chorus
Verse
Chorus
Chorus (reprised)

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I you know some cool songs, try googling midis of them. That's what I did for Lebanon Connection, for example.

Searching for midi sites and listening to a whole bunch of random stuff gives great results sometimes.

If you try playing your map without music, perhaps eventually a familiar midi will start playing in your head?

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Kontra Kommando said:

Example:

Intro
Verse
Chorus
Verse
Chorus
Bridge
Solo
Verse
Chorus
Outro

I recently wrote some songs like this where no part repeats:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
...
Part 100

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When I was making my DMP16 map I had a very specific MIDI in mind, and I think it's by Mark Klem - not sure what it's called or which WAD it was from (I thought it was Requiem but not sure..), but it started off with fast high pitched harps.

It was while looking for it I found another harp-driven Klem MIDI, and it was probably a better fit than the one I had in mind :P

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People are usually comfortable delegating music picking for their maps to me. I've been using almost exclusively modules instead of midis recently because I'm tired of hearing the same stuff with boring instruments. Midis probably do rock/metal music better though (do all rock modules use the same guitar?).

The most important part is just finding a good song. Then I try and match the genre with the map's detail and playstyle. Fast/chaotic/hell maps or whatever get the fast metal music, and slow pretty temples get the slower ambient music. Techbases are the best place to use all the electronic dance stuff. More chiptune-like music occasionally works on maps, making sure it does not detract seriousness from the map. Singleplayer maps can of course get more slow ambient music than multiplayer maps. The music should match the spirit and design of the map, not go against it.

That's pretty much it. I think bad music can detract from the experience of a map easily, so its important that some thought was put into deciding.

Oh yea there are some midis that have been used like hundreds of times, boring. At least there are several ppl here that make new midis.

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When I make a map I will of course have the playstyle in mind... is it fast paced or slower paced? Is it an adrenaline pumping map? Small or large size? Types of enemies? Types of encounters?

A good example is the direct difference between E1M1 and E1M2. The first map of Doom is short, small, and is designed to throw you right into the action. So logically, you need a solid, heavy, and powerful MIDI to accompany this map.

E1M2 starts off with a bigger starting area with many more ways to go. There's a locked door now, and generally the pace from E1M1 has most certainly changed. You need a slower MIDI. It can still be a strong MIDI, but nothing too strong to invoke the adrenaline pumping style of E1M1.

In short, choosing a MIDI is something I do by ear depending on each individual map. Just gotta find what fits.

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Grain of Salt said:

1. Pick a midi you like
2. Fuck yeah


But what if I'm out of MIDIs? Should I find luck by exploring a random site?

Soundblock said:

I scored my megawad Echelon by asking around.


Fine, fine, but considering your reputation, I think it was much viable for you to ask for help. In my case...I'm not entirely sure.

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Combinebobnt said:

(do all rock modules use the same guitar?)

Yeeeeeeah, just like there's this one piano sample that's used almost everywhere, there's a pair of go-to generic guitar samples that I see everywhere.

BTW, since you mentioned modules, might I recommend you this one artist? He's been my go-to artist for an underway project of mine as he makes some pretty unique metal:
http://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_artist_modules&query=85729

Do check out (and ignore the name of) Latex Slavery, man that track gives me goosebumps.

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Katamori said:

But what if I'm out of MIDIs? Should I find luck by exploring a random site?

Yes. This is the first site that popped when I googled "game midi". There might be something that fits there:
http://www.vgmusic.com

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If you expect the player to spend a long time playing the map, note that the music is going to repeat. So make sure that the music you pick is not too annoying, as it repeats.

I guess what I'm saying is to make sure the music sounds ok being played over and over.

Edit: Another thing: Music can be thought of as universal, emotional language. The music conveys and communicates feeling to the player. If done right, those feelings will be congruent to the atmosphere of the setting. I hope this makes sense - I can't really elaborate any further. Deep stuff.

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The music and map layout matter if you really want to immerse the player. Tbh I keep my music volume at 100% and sound volume at 25%, just for the sake of setting the mood. The music changes your outlook at a map.

Let's say you make a map which is pretty fun to play. Then you put in horseshit as your music, and next thing you know, the map sucks too.

Here's something I noticed. Playing Freedoom's C3M7 is much more fun now. The music starts out slow then speeds up like as if I'm on some killing spree. By the time i reach the blue key/cyberdemon trap, the music has played through its first and starts out its second half with this new tune. Quoting Not Jabba here:
D_E3M7 has more of a narrative to it than the other tracks, with a shift from hard guitar to a more creepy, hellish mood around halfway through.
The more creepy and hellish part almost all the time starts whenever i reach that specific part of the map. Gives the illusion that the music and map were made to be with each other.

Point is, the music is the main part of a map. It gives it soul if you ask me. I can't really explain the feeling one gets when music and map go together like bread and butter, and you get to play. It's just feels heavenly.

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Katamori said:

But what if I'm out of MIDIs? Should I find luck by exploring a random site?

Fine, fine, but considering your reputation, I think it was much viable for you to ask for help. In my case...I'm not entirely sure.


If you make maps, you should constantly be looking for and gathering MIDIs you like. Just 15 minutes or so a week of idle searching on a repository site, along with extracting any good tracks from wads you play, will go a long way. I hate designing a map only to realize I have no good tracks on hand for it.

kb1 said:

If you expect the player to spend a long time playing the map, note that the music is going to repeat. So make sure that the music you pick is not too annoying, as it repeats.

I guess what I'm saying is to make sure the music sounds ok being played over and over..


My rephrasing: If you expect to replay your map (which you should, otherwise why make it), you should pick a track that you would enjoy listening to as it loops.

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This clip sums up the importance of music in games in general.

After testing a map often enough, I get a good feel for the overall mood of the environment and usually think of a music track that suits it really well. If I don't think of one I'm already familiary with, I start shopping around until I find something. My gut always tells me when I've found a match, although sometimes technical issues prevent me from using it, and I have to use a runner-up. For example, I wanted this track for E2M2 of Project Einherjar, but all midis of that track are too old to be recognized as midis, so I went with a track from Operation Biowar instead.

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dobu gabu maru said:

For me, the MIDI shapes the map—I usually start with a concept/name and tune in mind, and then go from there.

This. Exactly this.

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Katamori said:

But what if I'm out of MIDIs? Should I find luck by exploring a random site?

Fine, fine, but considering your reputation, I think it was much viable for you to ask for help. In my case...I'm not entirely sure.


Not entirely fair... The midi authors simply pointed out available resources, they didn't do me any special favors. I found the most time consuming part was just sifting through all the available material. For example, Jimmy's catalogue, is massive. The thread's there for all midi-hunters, not just me... Why not as Fisk for that unused batch of midis he's holding on to (at the end of the thread), they came in to late to affect my effort...

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I like a midi, ogg, etc... I use it. Done. :)

More seriously, I do try to make it a least stick to the mood of the map.

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It's always good to have new, never heard in a Wad before music. Keeps things fresh. Do common source ports support mod tracker modules like .mod, .it, .s3m, etc.? There are oceans of royalty-free songs out there and they take very little space which would be great for compact Wad files. I've heard a few tracker songs before in certain Wad's but they might of just been converted .ogg files.

Choosing the right song for your map is always a tough decision and it mostly comes down to what you want to compliment in your map. The Level-design or the game-play. I would choose fast and aggressive music for smaller maps with intense monster encounters. The slower and moody tracks for bigger maps to compliment architectures with big scaling and detailing. But that's a matter of taste tbh.

If Tracker Modules are supported, I'd think this would be a good place to start :
https://modarchive.org/

Edit : Didn't read trough all the posts, turns out modarchives and modules were already mentioned. So just ignore that part :P

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I'm not experienced in making or editing MIDIs. I re-use midis from other wads that allow content re-use, or just search for MIDIs from various websites. Normally my DM maps are fast paced so I would most likely use midis that have a fast tempo (rock or metal MIDIs).

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Back when I was maintaining the giant pile of midis for Revilution, for playtesting and experimental slot placement, I made a pack assigning all of the midis to slots that made sense. The original Kyka/Ragnor/Megamur team had a very specific shared vision and we wanted each episode to have certain styles with matching music, and from that, assigning midis became a lot easier. The darker E2 levels had the moodier tracks for example. Certain tracks fit certain levels like a glove, and some tracks were made with a specific level in mind, and things changed slots as more maps came in and as mappers requested specific tracks.

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TimeOfDeath said:

I recently wrote some songs like this where no part repeats:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
...
Part 100


Since the song loops in-game, you don't need really to repeat some parts (like the chorus). The song itself only needs to make sense though lol

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