News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Author Topic: Final Fantasy Reconstructed  (Read 95451 times)

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #100 on: May 17, 2015, 11:29:47 am »
Quote
Thankfully, when editing the overworld map in FFHackster, the changes are automatically updated on the in-game map screen (B-select). I know Grond removed the in-game map in Final Fantasy ++, but I felt like you lost something without the map option. So the new areas are included on the world map in-game, although they are small so they just show up as flashing "location" points for real (although the skull is big enough to be recognizable as such on that map)

Final Fantasy does build pattern tables dynamically from in-game map data.  So changes made to the map will be automatically reflected in the minimap.

HOWEVER, the game assumes the overworld is arranged a certain way, and if you make heavy edits to reshape the continents, then it's possible/likely that you'll trip up the minimap and it'll look stupid.

Hackster doesn't support editing that part of the minimap, but it's all reasonably easy to edit by hand.  The nametable (including attributes) is stored raw at 0x27010.

The tiles at which to draw the Dragon and Title decorative text CHR are stored at 0x27B9A (for Title CHR), and 0x27CF9 for decorative CHR.

From the disassembly:

Code: [Select]
;;  Minimap Title CHR Dest LUT  [$BB8A :: 0x27B9A]
;;
;;    There are $28 tiles that make up the "Final Fantasy" title that is displayed
;;  in the minimap.  These tiles (along with those for the dragon graphic thing)
;;  are scattered around in the pattern table so as to not interefere with the map's CHR.
;;
;;    These LUTs tell where the game is supposed to put each of those $28 tiles in
;;  the pattern tables.  Each entry is the desired tile ID of each graphic left
;;  shift 4 (to make it a CHR address).  One table has the low byte and the other
;;  has the high byte.


Lastly, the table to do color assignment for individual tiles in the minimap is at 0x27F90:

Code: [Select]
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
;;
;;  Minimap Tileset color assignment LUT  [$BF80 :: 0x27F90]
;;
;;    Each entry in this table coresponds to an overworld tile.
;;  This table specifies what color (of the 4 colors available
;;  colors) this tile will be represented by in the minimap.
;;
;;    The low 2 bits specify the color... bit 2 ($4), is set if
;;  the tile represents a town/dungeon and indicates that a sprite
;;  should be drawn on that tile.
;;


Ramble ramble.






This is much more interesting:


Quote
I was worried when I began this idea that the FF I music engine would be fairly simple compared to other games within the series. I could never find out if the game was MMC 1,2,3 etc. when I searched. I was hoping it would at least be MMC3 since I think that this game came out around the time that Megaman 2 first showed up. I am surprised that nobody has ever done an MMC3 or MMC5 conversion of this game. I would certainly be interested in trying to do something different with the sound engine because my music updates probably won't work with the limitations that are there now.

FF1 is MMC1, but that has nothing to do with the capabilities of the music engine.  Megaman 2 and Blaster Master were also MMC1 games, but their music engine was much more sophisticated.

It just depends on how the engine is coded.  Everybody loves MMC5, but really, Namcot has the better audio.  More than once I have kicked around the idea of doing a Namcot mapper change and rewriting the music driver and songs to be 'fuller', but I never wanted to spend the time to do it.

Honestly, though, the major turn-off for me with the music driver was redo-ing the score.  Writing the engine is super fun.  If someone else would be willing to actually rewrite the music, I think I'd be willing to rewrite the driver to support it.

The downside:  to do what I want I'd probably have to expand the ROM, which means compatability with Hackster would be questionable.  We might have to develop the main hack stuff and the music stuff in two separate ROMs, and then merge them later.  Which means we'd have to be careful not to trip over each other (though I don't think that'd be much of a problem since the music driver is pretty isolated)


Let me know if you'd be interested in this.  I could probably start working on it today.

The big downside here is that the Namcot mapper uses additional audio -- which, while awesome in emulators, makes it next to impossible to make a repro cart (at least for an NES -- you could do it for a Famicom).  So if you want this hack to be playable on a real NES, then you probably don't want what I would do to this game.

Duke2go

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #101 on: May 17, 2015, 12:23:06 pm »
Final Fantasy does build pattern tables dynamically from in-game map data.  So changes made to the map will be automatically reflected in the minimap.

HOWEVER, the game assumes the overworld is arranged a certain way, and if you make heavy edits to reshape the continents, then it's possible/likely that you'll trip up the minimap and it'll look stupid.

Hackster doesn't support editing that part of the minimap, but it's all reasonably easy to edit by hand.  The nametable (including attributes) is stored raw at 0x27010.

The tiles at which to draw the Dragon and Title decorative text CHR are stored at 0x27B9A (for Title CHR), and 0x27CF9 for decorative CHR.

From the disassembly:

Code: [Select]
;;  Minimap Title CHR Dest LUT  [$BB8A :: 0x27B9A]
;;
;;    There are $28 tiles that make up the "Final Fantasy" title that is displayed
;;  in the minimap.  These tiles (along with those for the dragon graphic thing)
;;  are scattered around in the pattern table so as to not interefere with the map's CHR.
;;
;;    These LUTs tell where the game is supposed to put each of those $28 tiles in
;;  the pattern tables.  Each entry is the desired tile ID of each graphic left
;;  shift 4 (to make it a CHR address).  One table has the low byte and the other
;;  has the high byte.


Lastly, the table to do color assignment for individual tiles in the minimap is at 0x27F90:

Code: [Select]
;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
;;
;;  Minimap Tileset color assignment LUT  [$BF80 :: 0x27F90]
;;
;;    Each entry in this table coresponds to an overworld tile.
;;  This table specifies what color (of the 4 colors available
;;  colors) this tile will be represented by in the minimap.
;;
;;    The low 2 bits specify the color... bit 2 ($4), is set if
;;  the tile represents a town/dungeon and indicates that a sprite
;;  should be drawn on that tile.
;;

This actually makes a lot of sense. I swear at one point the "Dragon's head" and "Skull head" were actually shown in the in-game minimap, so I assumed that Hackster did this for you. However, having gone back into the game today to look, this is what the in-game minimap looks like now:



One of the dragon's "horns" are clearly gone now and the "Skull" is just a flashing dot (which I'm actually ok with to tell the truth since a lack of any landmass is going to give the player a "wtf is that" feeling hopefully). I will certainly have to look into fixing at least the way that Cardia looks on the mini-map in-game.

This is much more interesting:


FF1 is MMC1, but that has nothing to do with the capabilities of the music engine.  Megaman 2 and Blaster Master were also MMC1 games, but their music engine was much more sophisticated.

It just depends on how the engine is coded.  Everybody loves MMC5, but really, Namcot has the better audio.  More than once I have kicked around the idea of doing a Namcot mapper change and rewriting the music driver and songs to be 'fuller', but I never wanted to spend the time to do it.

Honestly, though, the major turn-off for me with the music driver was redo-ing the score.  Writing the engine is super fun.  If someone else would be willing to actually rewrite the music, I think I'd be willing to rewrite the driver to support it.

The downside:  to do what I want I'd probably have to expand the ROM, which means compatability with Hackster would be questionable.  We might have to develop the main hack stuff and the music stuff in two separate ROMs, and then merge them later.  Which means we'd have to be careful not to trip over each other (though I don't think that'd be much of a problem since the music driver is pretty isolated)


Let me know if you'd be interested in this.  I could probably start working on it today.

The big downside here is that the Namcot mapper uses additional audio -- which, while awesome in emulators, makes it next to impossible to make a repro cart (at least for an NES -- you could do it for a Famicom).  So if you want this hack to be playable on a real NES, then you probably don't want what I would do to this game.

I would ABSOLUTELY be interested in updating the music driver for the game. I had discussed earlier in this thread of making a "traditional" version of the game with all of the original audio intact, and then a true "Reconstructed" version that has updated music that is amalgamated from the many different sources out there. I am interested in making at least 2 cart versions of the game (1 for myself and one for my friend Riffman whose Megaman 2 hack originally brought rom hacking to my attention). He did warn me however that having a cart created for an MMC5 game would be much more expensive because it required an additional chip or something when making the new cart. I only used MMC5 as an example because I knew that mapper had more advanced sound capabilities (From my own limited understanding of mappers and such). I reached out to Chpexo to help me with the sound portion of the game, so if he is willing (or not), I would be willing to do the compositions for the new music. Is there ANY way that someone who is making an NES cart could alter the pins or anything to allow a Namcot style to play on an original NES? I really like this idea, but I'm worried about "pigeonholing" the game to be strictly played on emulators. I'm going to PM you in a minute and we can discuss it further. Thanks again for the input and advice dude.

I'm almost done with the majority of the graphics hacking aspects of the game (although I came up with an interesting idea for the Castle of Ordeals that would be more like a version of the "Dark Side cave" in Empire Strikes Back, i.e. the player would go through either an actual cave, or more likely a tower, that would teleport the player to different locations and bring back Garland and Astos for another battle. I actually thought that this might give me what I needed to expand upon the story as well because I'd be able to call the "real knowledge" of the Sages into question.

I'm still really trying to do something where the Fiends are only under the control of Chaos because the crystals were his to begin with, and the Fiends were initially given the crystals to safeguard, but ended up becoming corrupted by them because of Chaos' influence from the "other dimension". Either that or I'm going to alter the dialogue of the Fiends so that they actively question the motivations of the player as to whether they are doing good or evil by restoring the crystals.  I'm not trying to alter the story but so much, but there's SO MUCH room for little alterations that make more sense than a 2000 year old time warp that keeps repeating itself. Personally, I always found that idea pretty dumb and REALLY want to alter it into something that makes more sense. I especially want to make Garland into an unfortunate casualty. Like he knew that Sarah's lute was the only thing that would break the seal on Chaos, so he was trying to destroy it in the beginning of the game, but was taken for an Evil-doer because he kidnapped the Princess rather than asking (Although he might have asked but was turned down by the King and by Lukahn). I actually started altering the Garland/Chaos sprites in the final floor of the Alternate Temple the other day so that they weren't all Garland. It was a way I thought of having Chaos basically taunt the player that they were the reason that he was released because he planned it. Kind of like Chaos has been pulling the strings the whole time, but expected that his "pawns" would be simple to defeat once they had broken the seal upon his "prison".

Off-topic, I started noticing that apparently my alterations were moving bits of code the other day because the overworld map tiles actually shifted it looked like one or two tiles and whole rows of established map had moved. I thought this might have been because I'd added (and removed) NPC's to/from areas. I ended up going back to a version that fortunately I had started earlier in the day and made an ips patch for in which the map hadn't shifted. Do you have any idea what could have caused this? I'm always interested in learning why things are happening that I didn't expect.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 12:40:35 pm by Duke2go »
Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest... is silence...

http://www.ffreconstructed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DevilHunterMiyumi/

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #102 on: May 17, 2015, 12:42:15 pm »
He did warn me however that having a cart created for an MMC5 game would be much more expensive because it required an additional chip or something when making the new cart.

Cost of cartridge would go up with mapper rarity.  MMC5 wasn't as broadly used as MMC1 or MMC3 (which were freaking everywhere), so an MMC5 repro is going to be more expensive for sure.

An N129 / N163 (what I would want to use) would probably be even more expensive as they were only in Famicom cartridges and were never seen in the States.

If you want to get crazy we could even do VRC7 (infamously used by Lagrange Point):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQrUU2Fqdt0&list=PL2917FA48A56DB74C&index=9

But personally I like Namcot more -- and VRC7 would be crazy expensive as only 1 game ever made used it.

Quote
Is there ANY way that someone who is making an NES cart could alter the pins or anything to allow a Namcot style to play on an original NES?

As far as I know, no.  It's not an issue with the cartridge, but with the NES itself, as the NES does not run audio through the cartridge like the Famicom did.  So it would only work on a Famicom or on a modified NES.

Quote
I really like this idea, but I'm worried about "pigeonholing" the game to be strictly played on emulators.

Yeah.  If that's a concern than maybe this isn't the best idea for this hack.

Personally I don't care about that as IMO emulation is pretty much a superior way to play these games anyway, so going through the trouble to put the game on a cartridge seems like a waste of time to me.  But I know some people really like it.. so whatever.  Different strokes for different folks.

Quote
I'm going to PM you in a minute and we can discuss it further. Thanks again for the input and advice dude.

No probalo.

Quote
Off-topic, I started noticing that apparently my alterations were moving bits of code the other day because the overworld map tiles actually shifted it looked like one or two tiles and whole rows of established map had moved.

o_O  That's... weird.

The only way I can think of that happening is if you trashed the map pointer table somehow.  But that would probably have much more dire consequences than just shifting tiles over.

No idea what could be causing it apart from that.

Chpexo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
    • View Profile
.
« Reply #103 on: May 17, 2015, 05:21:35 pm »
.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 09:48:12 am by Chpexo »

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #104 on: May 17, 2015, 05:33:01 pm »
I'm not really for reworking the sound engine and changing the music chip. But if you insist, do convert it to VRC6 as it's one beautiful chip. There's a partial VRC6 cover of Final Fantasy NES on the famitracker forums , it's one of my favorites.

VRC6 can't be expanded beyond 256K, which means ROM space for music data will be painfully small.  And with 3 extra channels, that space will burn up very fast.

Namcot has superior audio anyway.  You can simulate VRC6 with it reasonably well and do so much more on top of that.

Chpexo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
    • View Profile
.
« Reply #105 on: May 17, 2015, 11:41:30 pm »
.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 09:47:03 am by Chpexo »

Bobolicious81

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 208
  • Keeper of the Taco Sandwich
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #106 on: May 18, 2015, 12:34:32 am »
I have no idea how the 'Chaos in another dimension' thing is going to affect the overall story, and you might not want to tell in order to keep an air of mystery until its release, but I was thinking about the original story and have come to the conclusion that thinking about time loops is not good for one's sanity.
I spend a lot of time alone at work, and my mind wandered toward trying to make some logical sense of the story (just going on what's said in the game itself.)
Near as I can tell, after the initial conflict a nearly dead Garland was found by the Fiends and sent back 2000 years. But to go from puny Garland to badass Chaos, he must have been given additional powers by the Fiends from the elemental orbs they drained. However the Fiends would have no reason to do this unless it benefitted them, so perhaps Chaos' job was to spend his time in the past working on weakening the 4 elements so when the Fiends arrived in the future, they would have an easier time draining the power from the orbs. Perhaps the Fiends were even responsible for pulling some strings and causing Garland's fall from grace, thus ensuring his own involvement.
But Garland/Chaos was not content with his role, and his power had grown beyond what the Fiends had intended... but if he betrayed the Fiends he would never have received his powers in the first place.
When the Light Warriors restored the orbs and slayed the Fiends in the past, Chaos was presented with an opportunity. The orbs from the future had shown up at his doorstep and if he could kill the Light Warriors and take the full power of all 4 orbs, and then add that to the power he could take from the orbs in the past, the combined effect of all that craziness would either allow him to break free and exist outside of time as a god, or maybe just screw up the fabric of time beyond repair and destroy all of existence...
Did any of that make sense?

NARFNra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #107 on: May 18, 2015, 07:12:52 pm »
Hello, I'm very interested in this project and was thinking about maybe trying to compose some music for it, but wanted to make sure; Do you guys have serious plans to replace the sound engine, or is it alright to compose within the original limitations first? And is it alright to just start working on stuff or is it a bit presumptuous of me? Thank you!

As a note about the songs you linked, unless I'm mistaken from the quick overview of the sound engine I did, pulling those tracks off would be REALLY difficult to get something good out of.

Well, anyway, if you did replace the sound engine it'd probably be an excellent tool for future hackers, and I would be willing to recreate the songs for you guys. Summer's coming up for me so I'll have a lot of free time soon, and it shouldn't be too hard once I get the format down.

EDIT: Decided I should probably present some credentials, hah. I compose music sometimes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGYiX7Z8egQ

I've had a bit of experience with transferring music into games through hex editing too, such as with the Mega Man sound engine, so that wouldn't be a stumbling block.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSw6aGqUIEM

I also notice that you mentioned some tracks you wanted to use earlier, and you found some other variants of them; I could take a shot at converting those into the FF format.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 07:24:54 pm by NARFNra »

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #108 on: May 18, 2015, 07:30:16 pm »
Quote
Hello, I'm very interested in this project and was thinking about maybe trying to compose some music for it, but wanted to make sure; Do you guys have serious plans to replace the sound engine, or is it alright to compose within the original limitations first?

I've already written a large chunk of the new engine.  I'd say I'm about 30% done, but I suck at predicting time frames.  From my private talks with Duke2go it seems like he has every intention to implement the engine when it's complete.

We've settled on 8 channels total:  The 4 on the NES/FC (2 squares + Tri + noise), and 4 channels from the Namco 163 mapper (configurable waveform).

The new engine is similar to the one currently in FF, but adds a few new things, notably arpeggios and the ability to change/animate the duty for the squares.

NARFNra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #109 on: May 18, 2015, 07:32:09 pm »
Yeah, I'm familiar with the N163. Only audible downside is the channel buzz. You can get some real gameboy-like sounds using it though. :)

Are you adding any sort of fine pitch control?

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #110 on: May 18, 2015, 07:39:26 pm »
Quote
Only audible downside is the channel buzz.

Is that so bad with 4 channels enabled?  I know with all 8 it's pretty horrific, but most Namco games only used 4 for that reason, and they sound OK to me.

Quote
Are you adding any sort of fine pitch control?

I didn't, no.

Perhaps it would be prudent to hash out ideas with the composer(s) and see what kind of features they actually want rather than just trying to guess.

Since this isn't my project I can't really say "you're hired", but if you were to compose these songs, what features would you want?  Better yet... here is a rough blueprint for the music format that I whipped up:

Code: [Select]
0x = C
1x = C#
2x = D
3x = D#
4x = E
5x = F
6x = F#
7x = G
8x = G#
9x = A
Ax = A#
Bx = B
Cx nn nn nn FF = arpeggio   (nn = high 4 bits is tone, low 4 bits is octave
Dx = sustain
Ex = rest
Fx = octave  (x=0-8)
F9 xx       = set tempo
FA xx yy    = set env id/speed
FB xx yy    = set inst id/speed
FC xx       = set arp speed
FD nn xx yy = partial loop   (loop to $yyxx... loop nn times)
FE xx yy    = full loop

FF          = extra
FF 00       = end song

Could you whip up something similar that would let you compose the music the way you'd want?

NARFNra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #111 on: May 18, 2015, 07:56:31 pm »
Went ahead and checked, NESDev says below 5 channels buzz is outside human hearing, so I guess we're good.

Fine pitch control isn't really particularly necessary, but it can be useful for a few cool effects. Looking at what you've got, I'd say that's enough to make some pretty decent music. The biggest thing you seem to be lacking is vibrato, I think, though I don't know how hard it would be to implement that. Perhaps FF xy, where x is speed and y is pitch range (as it works in trackers)?

Also, does the instrument command set duty cycle for pulse tracks and waveform for N163 tracks?

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #112 on: May 18, 2015, 08:06:55 pm »
Fine pitch control isn't really particularly necessary, but it can be useful for a few cool effects. Looking at what you've got, I'd say that's enough to make some pretty decent music.

Coolio.

Quote
The biggest thing you seem to be lacking is vibrato, I think, though I don't know how hard it would be to implement that. Perhaps FF xy, where x is speed and y is pitch range (as it works in trackers)?

The biggest hurdle with vibrato is RAM consumption.  I'm stretched pretty thin as it is, and vibrato seems less important than everything else added (I was never a big fan of it to begin with).  Though, you could sort of simulate vibrato with a slow-speed arpeggio.  The biggest problem with that is you'd only be able to go up/down full tones.

Quote
Also, does the instrument command set duty cycle for pulse tracks and waveform for N163 tracks?

Yes.  It is that exactly.

For pulse tracks you can set a fixed duty have the duty "animate" by walking through a table at the given speed.

For N163 tracks, the waveform is fixed only -- no animation.

NARFNra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #113 on: May 18, 2015, 08:19:56 pm »
Hmm, alright, no problem there. Another suggestion, perhaps some form of loop break command? Let's say you wanted something like this, with letters representing musical phrases:

ABAC (such as at 26 seconds in this song http://tsubu.ath.cx/~worldout/music/ym_stage2.mp3)

If phrase A is sufficiently long, you would probably not want to waste space on writing it in again. In the Mega Man 3-6 sound engine, they deal with this by having a loop break command which checks if it's in the middle of a loop command and jumps if it's on the final runthrough of the loop. Like, in that example, the first time it reads the break command it'll ignore it and go to B, where it'll find a loop command to go back to A, and then when it hits the break command at the end of A it'll trigger the break now that it's looped and follow a pointer to phrase C.

Does that make sense?

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #114 on: May 18, 2015, 08:24:02 pm »
Yes, that makes sense, is easy to add, and does not require any more RAM!

How about 'F8 xx yy'  where $yyxx is the address to break to?

NARFNra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #115 on: May 18, 2015, 08:31:44 pm »
F8 xx yy sounds great. Glad that works well!

Chpexo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #116 on: May 18, 2015, 09:09:38 pm »
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:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/2u49cdw9ba66vqa/Battle+Themes.zip

Also greetings, NARFNra; I presume my video brought you here. ;)

NARFNra

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #117 on: May 18, 2015, 10:36:48 pm »
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:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/2u49cdw9ba66vqa/Battle+Themes.zip

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!

JCE3000GT

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 433
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #118 on: May 18, 2015, 10:47:52 pm »
I've already written a large chunk of the new engine.  I'd say I'm about 30% done, but I suck at predicting time frames.  From my private talks with Duke2go it seems like he has every intention to implement the engine when it's complete.

We've settled on 8 channels total:  The 4 on the NES/FC (2 squares + Tri + noise), and 4 channels from the Namco 163 mapper (configurable waveform).

The new engine is similar to the one currently in FF, but adds a few new things, notably arpeggios and the ability to change/animate the duty for the squares.

This is awesome.  I will be paying attention to this! 

Quick question.  With this new engine can it improve the vanilla songs as-is or would one need to recompose the songs to utilize any new commands.  Are there any audio examples of a part of your engine?  I'm really in to game music as I'm sure the SNES Final Fantasy hackers know. :D

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2814
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: Final Fantasy Reconstructed
« Reply #119 on: May 18, 2015, 11:05:03 pm »
Quote
Quick question.  With this new engine can it improve the vanilla songs as-is or would one need to recompose the songs to utilize any new commands.

All songs will have to be recomposed.  I effectively trashed the entire original music engine and rewrote it from scratch.

Quote
Are there any audio examples of a part of your engine?

Not yet.