Author Topic: Music Questions  (Read 7180 times)

Offline Ben J

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Music Questions
« on: July 28, 2009, 02:57:02 PM »
I have decided to dust off my keyboard and create some music for "The Sect".

But I'll definetly need your help.

I browsed through the UA FAQ and the Newsletters for a while, and it was informative, but I still haven't found some of the information I need.

What I gathered from the newsletters is that a track cannot use MIDI channel 1 (no problem) and cannot play more than 32 notes at the same time (again no problem, I'm not going to write symphonies). And I can convert MIDI to XMI with MIDIFORM from the MIDPAK file, although I have not tried this yet.

But what about the length of the tunes? One Newsletter said that the pieces within the six-song file (DQK2.XMI) can be changed, but cannot be any longer than 10 seconds each.
But I know Olivier Leroux's "Two Cities" design incorporates a lot of different tunes that are each much longer than 10 seconds, and I think they're even longer than the six small songs in the original DQK2.XMI file. So the information from the newsletter seems to be outdated.

Maybe someone can answer these questions: How long can the "small songs" be? Is there a list of the length of the original DQK songs (this is probably important, because my game is already completely "scored" with the old tunes, so if I change them, I'd best stick to the mood and basic length of the original pieces).

And finally, how do I piece the "small songs" together to form the six-song-file and get it to work in the game?
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Offline hans

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2009, 05:57:45 PM »
I haven't bothered with mini-tunes since the discovery of how to use expanded tunes was implemented (playable by UAShell v8.40 or later).  If you check out my EGA mod, you'll see that it has replacement *.XMI files DQK1-9 with the exception of 2 (which would play minis if the expanded tunes DQK4-9 were not there). 

Even with the old DQK2, though, that 10 seconds rule was really just a guideline.  If you were to play my Marshal Mars mod, you would find that I included a pretty long piece of classical music ("Aire," IIRC), but the actual file size was not big, so all the DQK2 tunes together fit in a 5.9KB .XMI.

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2009, 06:53:16 PM »
But what about the length of the tunes? One Newsletter said that the pieces within the six-song file (DQK2.XMI) can be changed, but cannot be any longer than 10 seconds each.
But I know Olivier Leroux's "Two Cities" design incorporates a lot of different tunes that are each much longer than 10 seconds, and I think they're even longer than the six small songs in the original DQK2.XMI file. So the information from the newsletter seems to be outdated.
...
And finally, how do I piece the "small songs" together to form the six-song-file and get it to work in the game?

Hey Ben J,

I've never bothered with mini-tunes either, I use David Knott's CKITMUS via UAShell (Editors/CKIT.EXE/CKITMUS). You just select a .xmi file and choose one of nine tunes to replace with it. No. 2 is the mini-tune slot, but I ignore that and choose one of the 8 other songs (the ones you know from UA: Victory, Mystery, Treasure etc.).

If you use this method, you don't need to worry about the length of the songs, only about the file size. The .xmi file will be a little smaller than your midi file (usually about -2k) but it shouldn't be bigger than (I think) 8k (9k might still work, too, but I don't make any promises). If they're any bigger, they will cause issues after a certain playing time (e.g. play a minute then repeat a single tone over and over, or, worst case, crash your game).

Offline Rosestar

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2009, 08:19:54 PM »
I have decided to dust off my keyboard and create some music for "The Sect".

But I'll definetly need your help.

I browsed through the UA FAQ and the Newsletters for a while, and it was informative, but I still haven't found some of the information I need.

What I gathered from the newsletters is that a track cannot use MIDI channel 1 (no problem) and cannot play more than 32 notes at the same time (again no problem, I'm not going to write symphonies). And I can convert MIDI to XMI with MIDIFORM from the MIDPAK file, although I have not tried this yet.

But what about the length of the tunes? One Newsletter said that the pieces within the six-song file (DQK2.XMI) can be changed, but cannot be any longer than 10 seconds each.
But I know Olivier Leroux's "Two Cities" design incorporates a lot of different tunes that are each much longer than 10 seconds, and I think they're even longer than the six small songs in the original DQK2.XMI file. So the information from the newsletter seems to be outdated.

Maybe someone can answer these questions: How long can the "small songs" be? Is there a list of the length of the original DQK songs (this is probably important, because my game is already completely "scored" with the old tunes, so if I change them, I'd best stick to the mood and basic length of the original pieces).

And finally, how do I piece the "small songs" together to form the six-song-file and get it to work in the game?

 |sf>I think I'm the last "hold out" who creates DQK2 mini-music files, but that's because I create modules in UAShell version 6.30A.  I've only done it once though, since I normally don't need many songs in a mod.  There's a certain program (whose name escapes me at the moment) that's used to build the DQK2.  As Olivier said, total file size is what counts, because some song slots can be left blank if you want to use longer songs.   

Playing a module with the 9 song method, though, can work with the new version of UA Shell or the old 6.30A version that I use.  It only means that I as a player have to copy the music to the correct directory by hand (which is very simple).   
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Offline Ben J

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2009, 08:47:17 AM »
Thanks for your answers!

Now, before I get to composing the music, I'll first have to get my copy of cubase running again. After a change of operating system, it now simply refuses to work...  >:(

I haven't bothered with mini-tunes since the discovery of how to use expanded tunes was implemented (playable by UAShell v8.40 or later).  If you check out my EGA mod, you'll see that it has replacement *.XMI files DQK1-9 with the exception of 2 (which would play minis if the expanded tunes DQK4-9 were not there). 

I think I'll also go with the expanded tunes and ignore the mini-tunes file.

I've never bothered with mini-tunes either, I use David Knott's CKITMUS via UAShell (Editors/CKIT.EXE/CKITMUS). You just select a .xmi file and choose one of nine tunes to replace with it. No. 2 is the mini-tune slot, but I ignore that and choose one of the 8 other songs (the ones you know from UA: Victory, Mystery, Treasure etc.).

Ok. Can CKITMUS convert MIS to XMI? I tried to converty a small MIDI of a short Bach tune with MIDFORM, just for test purposes, and I already got confused. The program asked me for quantization rate, callback triggers and 'newline-separated MIDI sequence files'. Can somebody give me assistance with using this program? What do I have to enter in the command line?

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Offline hans

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2009, 10:11:31 AM »
If you're using the proggies contained in Midpak, click on MENU instead of MIDIFORM.

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2009, 10:34:02 AM »
CKITMUS is just for assigning an xmi tune to a slot in UA, not for converting.

If you've got problems with MIDPAK, download Miles Sound Tools and use Miles Sound Studio to convert midi to xmidi. That's what I do. It's just 1.3 mb, free and an easy to use windows tool, just point and click. :)

Offline Ben J

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2009, 03:33:28 AM »
Miles Sound Studio sounded easier to use for some reason, so I tried that, and it worked! Thanks!  :)

Now I'll just have to get my Cubase working again and then I'm ready to go.

Maybe I'll return to this thread with some questions when I start using CKTIMUS...

« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 03:37:33 AM by Ben J »
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Offline Ben J

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2009, 01:28:44 PM »
Help!

CKITMUS screwed up my game and UAShell!  :-[

Of course, I have 1000 backups of it, but still...!  :-[

I was trying to replace the ouverture with an *.xmi file. Under a minute long, only 8K, only 8 channels, not using channel 1. But it still failed... horribly!

Here's what UAShell says now:



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Offline nologgie

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2009, 02:58:18 PM »
DON'T PANIC.XXX!

Next, check your diff.tbl file format. Extra spaces between entries, a space at the end of a line, or not ending with a zero followed by a return are the most common problems.

Another common problem is Dosbox screwing up or failing to write a diff.tbl. Diff.tbls should probably be created when running uashell outside Dosbox if at all possible, or using an alternate method.

At this point I suppose it's okay to panic if you want. I recommend the Modified Stationary Panic, as outlined by Patrick McManus, for these occassions.
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Offline hans

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2009, 04:50:29 PM »
I'd be willing to have a look at that *.xmi for you (no promises, of course, as I'm no super-expert).  I'd be willing to check your original MIDI, too, if you wanted to zip them up together...

Offline Ben J

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2009, 05:50:16 PM »
Thanks hans and nologgie for your replies!  :)

It works now, but it's weird.

I took the easy way out and deleted the DSN folder and replaced it with the backup that I did before I changed the music (wise decision).

Then I tried changing the music for an empty test design, this time without using DOSBox. I chose the treasure music instead of the overture (but the same *.xmi file), and voilá, it worked!
That means the *.xmi is working.

Then I tried the same with "The Sect"... fail. The identical error.

Then I tried to change the treasure music instead of the overture... fail. All music and sound effects went mute.

Then I tried the same thing again, and this time it worked with the treasure music, for whatever reason, but not with the overture.

Then I changed the treasure music again, and renamed the overture RODQ1.XMI and copied it into the game folder, and now it works fine!

I don't know why, but it works, so I can just rename the files now and copy them over the other files.

Another thing is, the overture sounds nice with soundblaster (roland?) for music, but crappy with AdLib (the melody is too quiet, most of the time only the piano chords are heard).

But I guess everybody plays this with soundblaster sound, am I right?
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Offline nologgie

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2009, 06:40:24 PM »
  I think most people use Roland/Soundblaster, but I've heard that for those who actually have an AdLib card, the Adlib versions sound 'awesome'.

  I'm glad to hear (1) you had a current backup, and (2) you got it to work! :D

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Offline Ben J

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 04:08:06 AM »
I'm glad to hear (1) you had a current backup, and (2) you got it to work! :D

Yeah, I mentioned elsewhere that I'm paranoid at making backups. Especially before a big change such as this.  ;)

Quote
  I think most people use Roland/Soundblaster, but I've heard that for those who actually have an AdLib card, the Adlib versions sound 'awesome'.

I must says that the AdLib version of UA's standard Dark Queen of Krynn music does sound better than the soundblaster/roland version, at least on my PC (with soundblaster card).
The soundblaster version sounds like a bad MIDI where the volume of the different tracks is all wrong. Drums too loud, melody in the background, etc.
Most of the replaced music in newer mods sounds better with soundblaster, though.
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Offline Ben J

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Re: Music Questions
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2009, 07:28:24 PM »
There's something really weird going on with the music. I was walking around in the game for a bit, testing how the music plays in the game, and the volume of the different MIDI channels keeps changing. Sometimes it sounds the way Intended it, but sometimes the percussion is quieter, or the track is not in stereo, or the volume of the bass is too low... I think I even had a track twice playing a wrong instrument on the first note, but now I can't reproduce this error.

I suspect it has something to do with the sounds that preceeded a song, and the way they handle the MIDI channels. But maybe I'm wrong.

It could be a problem with the two different file formats, e.g. ADDQ1.xmi and RODQ1.xmi
Because I was having problems with CKITMUS, I sometimes just wrote over the RODQ files, and it worked. But other tracks were successfully imported with CKITMUS... and some even exist in two different versions now.

What is the difference between the ADDQ and RODQ files?

I guess I should just try and import everything again through CKITMUS, maybe that will stop the confusion.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 07:30:24 PM by Ben J »
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The Sect