Duke2go told me via PM that there will be two versions, one with the N163 chip and one without it as the ROM with the N163 can only run on emulators. Until we get the okay from Duke2go for my new Chaos battle theme, it can be inserted. I was thinking of using thew newest track I made for Chaos and the other one for the fiends. Here's a download to the latest themes that were tweaked a little bit:
Also greetings, NARFNra; I presume my video brought you here.
More or less, Chpexo. I'd heard of the project on Acmlm's board, but hadn't really looked too far into it, so you're to thank for making me interested in helping out :p
I have some thoughts on your music, please don't take this personally, just I feel it's important to give useful critique.
To be honest, your fiend theme sounds like a normal battle theme to me! It's a bit light and not quite driving enough to work as a boss theme. There are some other issues with it, but in general it's not too bad. It does share issues with the chaos theme though, which I'll go into as I talk about that.
The chaos theme suffers from being... shall we say, unfocused. It's full of really jarring changes and it doesn't really feel like a single song. One of my biggest stumbling blocks was figuring out how to make a song feel like it's one song, and the key to that is transitions.
The intro is a little weird. The bassline doesn't really go together with the melody, which is a sort of intro. Ignoring that though, the second frame feels really weird because you're off time. I understand you're trying to make it segue to the double time segment, but it just comes across as weird and not very final bossy intro to me. In particular, the fact it's not in time with the bassline is really jarring. In frame 3, you try to switch to a transition, but that doesn't work because the transition doesn't continue logically from the intro. The intro doesn't feel over, it just ends, and the same thing happens at the end of that transition measure too. The bit from frames 4-7 is actually pretty good for this type of song, bar perhaps some timing issues. Coming up with a good intro can be kind of hard, so let's look at some existing dramatic battle themes:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFNOF6ifDXU#t=0m48s
- FF1's wonderswan remake has a weird syncopated version of the original jingle which crescendos (gets louder) then jumps down to the quiet background bassline (forgive me, im bad at musical terminology) that ties the song together. This is a case of having a strong intro sound, which can be a bit difficult to do so I wouldn't suggest trying to imitate it.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6Lr7nRjvEk
- FF6's Fierce Battle (atma/ultima weapon theme) is actually a great example for this; it starts out by having a quick timpani fade in, which plays the same role as the rising notes the FF normal battle theme has. Then it plays long sustained notes, which are a good way to make a song seem strong. Then it transitions at 12, shifting to a repeatedly quiet segment that escalates into the main melody. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FncYFCrkF5c
- I'm going out of order, but w/e. As we can see, Zeromus has a similar sustained notes -> transition -> main melody structure. This song is actually a bit more complex in that it has a dark beginning that's looped before shifting into the more positive segment that really gets your blood pumping, so to speak.
But enough of those advanced sound engines, let's look at something more relevant!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll4KT2w4xUg#t=0m52s
- Final Fantasy 2 has a final boss theme, and it follows a similar pattern of sustained notes that transition into the melody. To be honest with you, I think the melody of this song is a bit weak at first (1:09) for a final boss theme, but it still has this sort of ominous vibe to it. The bit at 1:30 is a good example of how to make a dramatic melody for an NES rpg theme. Also of note is that during the intro, the bass is playing low fast notes to stop the song from sounding "slow".
So as you can see, much of the time, a final boss theme starts out with some sort of powerful chords to set the mood of how dangerous this foe is. Then when the actual fight starts, they shift into a battley driving melody. I remember one of your versions started out with the original FF bassline, I thought that was pretty cool.
Also, this isn't an FF theme, but...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhVRXp8E6tE
- This song isn't really NES, but it's pretending to be. The intro here is very similar to the FF intro in that it starts out with a big descending scale; most importantly though, when the intro ends it doesn't feel like it comes out of nowhere. It cuts off and the melody starts on beat without feeling weird.
Anyway, back to analyzing your track. After you've set the scene, you need some cool energy to get you through the battle. The original FF's theme was kinda plodding; it has a sort of strategic push to it, made by a pretty simple melody and a bassline that hit on the beat. If you want to make a more energetic theme, I'd suggest trying to add more variety. Right now you've pretty much locked the pulse tracks together and the result is that the music doesn't have very much depth, so it kinda feels like a really long intro or something. The bassline also isn't really doing anything to help the music, it's just kind of playing low notes that aren't connected to the music. Here's a general music theory rule of thumb; the bassline should try to be playing the root note of whatever chords you've got in the melody. In layman's terms, whatever's at the beginning of the measure is what the bassline should be playing, though maybe an octave down.
The bit in frame 8 doesn't feel right, it's just melodically not all that good sounding, and it shifts too fast to work as a transition. It then tries to build up, but that doesn't really go anywhere, and the ending where it repeats the same note a lot doesn't sound too great. The melody at C-F has some potential, but I don't think it sounds like a final boss theme melody, more like a casino or something. It's also another moment where you're lacking a good transition, so it just feels like you randomly changed songs.
I'm not really sure what to think of 10 to the end. They might work as a transition somewhere, but they also feel out of place. In particular, they're a really horrible loop point.
Essentially, the whole song feels like you're putting down whatever melody you feel like writing and then immediately skipping to another thing, which doesn't sound very good. I would suggest studying how songs transition and working on that. In your fiend theme, the melodies tend to fade out before the end of the measure or use an audible transition note, which isn't the best but works much better than just letting the previous melody cut to the next one like you do here. And please make use of the fact that you have 3 channels! With the bassline not really helping the music at all, the end result is that this song honestly kinda only has one piece of movement happening at any one time.
Also, you may want to consider putting these songs in the same ftm, which you can do using the module properties window. That way you can distribute them all in one file, without having to zip them, and you can reuse the same instruments in every track.
Sorry if this was a bit harsh! It's just my honest thoughts. The biggest and most important thing to understand about making music is that it takes time, and you need to keep trying to get good. I'm certainly a total amateur myself, but all we can do is keep on trying. Don't give up!