Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creating 8-Bit Sound

The soundtrack for “A Valley Without Wind” is getting off to a great start. For those of you who have heard some of the music in the trailers, you’ll notice the key component in all the pieces: the 8-bit melody. It’s a sound that is not only fun to play with, but nostalgic for any one who grew up in the Atari/Nintendo age and can still hum all those classic game themes.

Most of the composers for the early games used Mod Trackers to generate these classic sounds. At first I thought about using some, but then found a great way to create these sounds in Logic.

The steps:

1) Open a new empty project
2) Create a “software instrument” track
      * The default software instrument track that Logic creates is “EVP88 Electric Piano”
3) Hold down the I/O “EVP88” button on the environment window on the left side of the screen. There you will see a variety of different options to choose from. Choose “ES P (Polyphonic Synth)->Stereo”
4) On the “ES P” window you will see a ton of different options. These are the settings you want:

5) Next, open up the “Mixer” window
6) Under your newly created 8-bit sound, hold down one of the empty “sends” boxes, and click on “Bus 1”. A new track will appear in the Mixer called “Aux 1”
7) On the new Aux track, hold down one of the empty “inserts” boxes, then go to “Reverb->PlatinumVerb->Stereo”
8) In the PlatinumVerb window, look at the top and you’ll see a button that says “view”. Click on it and select “Controls”. These are the settings you want:

9) You’ll notice in the Mixer Window that “Bus 1” is now highlighted inside one of the “sends” boxes.  To the right of the highlighted box is a circular dial. Click on it and set the dial to “-8.0”

And that’s it! Now you have an awesome, classic 8-bit sound to play around with. The last few steps in adding reverb are not necessary, but I like to use them because it makes the harsh 8-bit synth sound mix better with other instruments. Be sure to turn the volume down as well, the default “0.0” volume setting in the Mixer window is loud.

If you have Logic, try this out and play around with the 8-bit sound. It’s a whole lot of fun and brings back a ton of memories!


Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying the blog so far; are you planning on updating it soon? Your posts seemed to be roughly weekly before, but there's been nothing for 2 weeks now. Have you just not got many more aesthetic updates that can be shown off? Or are there not enough viewers of the blog to warrant weekly updates?

Anyway, I hope everything's going well for you guys. What I've seen so far looks amazing and I really look forward to the Alpha test.

Christopher M. Park said...

New post coming in the next few days! Our delay was from roughly three reasons:

1. We were sort of oversaturating the news media with our updates, which made them a lot less effective overall, and so we were sort of defeating ourselves by being slightly too frequent with news posts as far as the wider media was concerned.

2. Doing the videos, screenshots, and blog posts is roughly a six hour process for me, and taking six hours out of every week at this stage is even more self-defeating. Stretching that to every two-ish weeks, with smaller updates in the interim, thus became my goal.

3. But you'll notice that I didn't even hit that, because in this specific span of time we've been working on some extremely tricky and time-intensive things (interiors, lighting, etc), most of which are pretty close to done now, but which weren't really attractive yet because of being too empty. After the backlash of the very early screens about those being too empty because they simply weren't done, I was wanting to hold off on showing the new stuff until it was further along.

Things are coming along smashingly, though, so no worries about the project itself -- we've got a ton to show this week. :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I'm glad to hear everything's progressing well. Looking forward to the new post :)

Jeppeboy said...

I'm looking forward to a new post as well!