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Vlacarus

Why use MODS???????

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I am an accomplished composer and I would like to know what the big deal about using mods in games is all about? I mean...to me they dont sound as nearly as good as compositions done with real music gear and high quality professional samples. Whats the big hype about?? I do understand how they work(not too partial to it though)but the sound quality they produce is of low standards. .....????

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OK, first of all - MOD is a generic term meaning "tracked music." The MOD format itself is basically obsolete, having been replaced by S3M, IT, and XM formats, which allow for much higher polyphony (I think IT can have up to 255 tracks), and many more effects (IT has instruments which support panning, ASRD envelopes, etc.)

In general, tracked music is preferable in games because it doesn''t take as much space as CD audio. Yes, the format isn''t as flexible, and the quality might not be as good, but you can fit an entire soundtrack into the space that one song of CD audio would fit in.

And besides, it''s my opinion that for in-game music, you don''t really *need* 44 Khz sound. The music is usually the last thing that most users pay attention to. And it''s usually drowned out by gunfire anyway





Mason McCuskey
Spin Studios - home of Quaternion, 2000 GDC Indie Games Fest Finalist!
www.spin-studios.com

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hi everyone,

yes this is what I thought, I was talking with our sound engineer for our game Zargadia and well, he thinks that Midi is SOOOO much better than mods, but of course, it''s great if you have like £600 sound cards and such, but most people dont. So if you want sequenced music, then yeah, if you''re got GOOD midi hardware then you''re ok, but some dont, they have lousy midi and that means youre music will come out sounding trashy, just remember what midi sounded like on sb16? and you''ll understand.

the good thing about mod, is that it doesnt matter what soundcard you have, if you can support the output format, which if you cannot, you''ve got something wrong with you or your computer, cause it''s VERY unlikely. It''s always going to sound the same, cause they are wave files playing in a sequence.

mp3 is coming into it''s own in games, there are more and more people using this now, it''s starting to take over CD audio, fine, it''s more CPU intensive, but the benefit? Well, since CPU''s are more powerful, you can afford to waste 5% or so on music, it''s fine, no slowdown.

full on CD audio, wow, you''re talking about 1MB/minute arent you? (aint done the maths, just remembering something someone said) compare that to about 3 minutes of mod music, which is fine for most games at about 200KB, mp3, erm, dont know, aint thought about that

anyway, just my little £10 to the discussion

kosh

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I just thought I had to answer this. MOD files can sometimes be as large as Audio, because it all depends on the samples you use. Its not at all dificult to have samples of about several MB if you want your music to sound good.

It´s about 10 MB/min if you want your music to be 44 khz, 16 bit. You could lower this to 22 khz, 16 bit to half the size. this has been used in many games with great results.

But today I would also go for the mp3. Its definately good enough.

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Using mp3 in my program (game), caused the animation to look bad. I have a Celeron 300.

So for low end machines mp3 is out of the question.

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I think with the recent addition of hardware DSP chips on sound cards for MP3-decoding and encoding, using MP3 music in games is becoming more and more feasible. It will not tax the CPU much, and lets face it, a few megs for five minutes of music is not that much


#pragma DWIM // Do What I Mean!

~ Mad Keith ~
**I use Software Mode**

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Something you guys have forgotten is that mp3 nor CD audio are very good for modern gaming experience. OK, you might think I''m stupid now - "high-quality, real music IS the future...!" - but I think the prerecorded soundformats is very limited. Maybe gamemusicians dreamt for this many years ago when they had to bear with squaretones and sinustones like on the NES, but now it''s all about _interactive music_. You can''t change the channels and instruments, changing the musicstyle, etc, very easy using streams. Maybe I''ve played too much N64 that has a lot of games with this kind of interactive music. Music and sound you listen to should be static, but gamemusic, should play with your actions.

OK, MIDI or MOD? Let''s be honest. When people buy a new computer, do they even care about the soundcard? Most of us will just care about the videocard, it should look as beautiful as possible. I have a SB32 AWE since 1994 and I''m a music freak. You see? It''s truly selfish to say MIDI is good because it sound good on "my" computer. Well, in that case your music might sound shit in other''s opinion because it sound soo bad on their computers. Later, bad music, bad sound,...weak sound, affect the gameplay, don''t you agree.
There are no really restrictions using tracker formats. XM and IT are both great formats and if mastered well, XM-music or IT-music will sound just like real music. Big files, you may say, but not necessarily. Tracking music is just like programming (literally) and everything can be optimized. I personally like it when I can see the samples myself and edit them myself.

At the moment, I think tracked music is the only way to go when doing gamemusic because it sound generally best. Also it''s very easy to learn (at least it was for me) and you can use sample with ease.

Yeu Kang Hua
HBT Developement Studio

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You seem to forget to mention one of the best things about module music (.XM, .IT or whatever). The module music can be looped in a way that the music never ends. It repeats from the looppoint you set out in the tun when editing it. That mean, if this is done good it seems like one neverending tune. Thats the thing about modules that beat CD streamed music and such, becouse you cant loop those in the same way.

Im not really saying that module music IS better than CD streamed or MP3 music, just that sometimes it can be beter to use those. like if the game is gonna be downloadable shareware or something like that, modules can sound very good at the same time as it is very small.
Though in fullscale games, you need the best sounding stuff you can get, and that means CD streamed music or MP3 (MP4 is also used nowadays i think).

Have a nice day!

------------------------------------------
/Marcus Knudsen //MDM
Game music composer
For work examples: www.mp3.com/marcuz
------------------------------------------

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About MIDI vs. MOD:

Technologically they are on par with each. Both can be interactively controlled, both have methods of storing sampled instruments and accessing them.

The real difference is in how integrated each is. From day one MODs included samples in their implementation, but MIDI has very slowly added it, and their is no standardized way of keeping the samples with the composition

Still, there is the issue over which allows for more control over the playing of the actual notes. I know E-mu has a system for MIDI with 6-sectioned envelopes for each sample; Delay, Attack, Hold, Decay, Sustain, and Release. These envelopes provide control over how a sample acts such as if it were hammered, plucked, blown, pressed, etc. I have no idea whether this control is provided in any of the "MOD" formats. The 4-sectioned envelope of ADSR is resonable at least.

As for large samples, I got a 1MB or so sample of a grand piano. That''s just one instrument, but it sure sounds great. {I think they sampled each key} That''s where a real problem for both formats lies; either samples are efficient, small, and cruddy, or they''re wasteful, large, and sound great.

The worst problem; not all languages / authoring enviroments allow for these formats. I ran into this problem importing a MIDI I made into Director for a school project. I was working on a Mac, so I had to convert it to a Quicktime Movie {Director doesn''t support any type of MOD.} Problem is, Quicktime Player didn''t understand it, so it couldn''t convert. Ironically, on the same exact Mac, I could play the MIDI though both of the browser plug-ins. AAaaahh!! I ended up recording it as a .WAV at home and has gone from 5 KB{stereo} to 5 MB{mono.} That sucks!

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You see. 1MB samples. Even if it''s built-in (sampled every key) in your soundcard, not everybody would have it. About the envelope-thing, XM uses it, and I think the IT is even better at handling that (comparing to XM). Playing mods nowadays is childish easy with the BASS DLL which plays all kinds of formats, including mp3, (but unfortunately not midi but that can be done anyway), and is very effective.

I think if you''re making a highbudget game, maybe you''ve hired an orchestra, you should use recorded music. Still you won''t as Marcuz said, be able to loop your music the way a module loops, and you won''t be able to change notes, fade channels, etc, in realtime, doing interactive music. I think if you''re good enough, have the right sample, be a little bit smart, you can do all kinds of music, like orchestrated music, using MOD. Look at those 4 channels amiga module makers, with only 4 channels they can (could?) make very professional sounding music.

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