Your Own Keen Music!

This is where you can post your Commander Keen related stories, artwork, or other stuff that is related to Commander Keen but otherwise doesn't belong in another forum.
Hisymak
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Re: Your Own Keen Music!

Post by Hisymak »

Gridlock wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:36
This is really cool! It's a treat to hear new, improved renditions of these themes. I've added this video to the AR soundtrack playlist.
Thank you! I hoped you will get pleased.
Gridlock wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:36
Some of the tracks work better than others, for sure. It seems that switching formats sometimes causes certain instruments to get lost (like the strings in Exile of the Krile), but then other instruments end up sounding a lot better. A few tracks seem especially improved in this format, like The Elder, which was one that I struggled quite a lot with on the instrumentation. And Sky Sanctum, wow, having a better organ instrument adds a lot to the opening of that track.
Well, you are quite right, the instrument volume balance is a bit of issue there. Some instruments are highlighted in my instrument set, and if some instrument sounds too loud, it will mask the other, more quiet instrument, but all instruments are actually playing there. I needed to explicitly adjust volume of a few instruments, which were extremely loud, to keep some balance, but I could not catch all the cases.
Gridlock wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:36
I haven't had a chance to listen to every track intently yet, but I'm really enjoying this. Thank you for taking the time to make these!
Alright, if you get to have any more comments or thoughts, I'd be happy to see them.
Gridlock wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:36
And yeah, I love that terminator text music. Maybe I could actually make use of that in the future.
Not sure if you mean that you would make actual update to the game/mod and adjust/improve the music based on the improved instrument set. You said you're not going to do that, which is perfectly fine.
However, as you are probably working on a completely new game/mod where the music is not yet finalized, I suggest you to take advantage of this. Here I would need to have some talk to K1n9_Duk3, who is author of the MIDI to IMF tool and check the technical possibilities. This instrument set requires more OPL voices, so use of OPL3 would be unavoidable. But as your game is source code mod, it's much more easier to alter the game's musical engine.

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Gridlock
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Re: Your Own Keen Music!

Post by Gridlock »

Not sure if you mean that you would make actual update to the game/mod and adjust/improve the music based on the improved instrument set. You said you're not going to do that, which is perfectly fine.

However, as you are probably working on a completely new game/mod where the music is not yet finalized, I suggest you to take advantage of this. Here I would need to have some talk to K1n9_Duk3, who is author of the MIDI to IMF tool and check the technical possibilities. This instrument set requires more OPL voices, so use of OPL3 would be unavoidable. But as your game is source code mod, it's much more easier to alter the game's musical engine.
Yeah, I don't plan on updating the music in AR anymore. If I did end up using anything from these tracks, it would be for the sequel. However, if the sequel happens, it'll be something completely different in the Unity engine, not a source code mod. At that point, I can use any modern music format (.ogg, .mp3, .wav, etc). I'm not sure what format these OPL synth tracks are in, though if they can be put in a format without being absurdly huge file sizes, then I could potentially use them. Still mostly hypothetical, though.
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Hisymak
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Re: Your Own Keen Music!

Post by Hisymak »

Gridlock wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 21:57
However, if the sequel happens, it'll be something completely different in the Unity engine, not a source code mod.
I was hoping it would be a source code mod (even more advanced) similar to AR, and it would be played through Dosbox like any classic Commander Keen game. But that's rather off-topic for this thread.
Gridlock wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 21:57
At that point, I can use any modern music format (.ogg, .mp3, .wav, etc). I'm not sure what format these OPL synth tracks are in, though if they can be put in a format without being absurdly huge file sizes, then I could potentially use them. Still mostly hypothetical, though.
It could be simply pre-recoded tracks in .ogg format.
The harder option is to synthetize the music on the fly, using similar means I used to create my renditions. That means use a MIDI file + OPL chip emulator (same that is used in Dosbox for example) + MIDI playback engine (which processes MIDI file and sends commands to OPL chip) + instrument patches file (OPL register values for each MIDI instrument). But this is VERY hypothetical option, you see.

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Gernot66
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Re: Your Own Keen Music!

Post by Gernot66 »

Right on commander(s)

It seems that i found the proper space for some stuff of which i don't know what exactly i should do with except to stick it somewhere.
I don't expect frenetic reactions to what i will post now, but perhaps it pleases some.

I made some, no quick conversions to MIDI of all Commander Keen tunes to find in Ep. 4-6.
I like and respect the crafty music of Robert Prince much, well not everybody does but i do, it is what attended me to this game at all after i fell a little in love with the score of Doom. In fact yes both games i didn't knew (never played them in the past, i was an Amigoid), Doom isn't what i would call the genre i played most in the '90s, i preferred sims and i don't like to repeat what i would have uttered about them 30 years ago, nothing good.

I'm as new to Keen as if i would be myself a nine year old boy (oh boy!).
Let me count back when i was nine i played "Pong", yep a homebrew Pong and Lightgun game which my daddy made back in .....
1975.
My launch into the world of comp.... no videogames (it always puts a smile on my face if i read today "videogame")
While due to some misfortune (called burn in) my daddy disassembled this "thingy" quite soon (dammit, even the paddles was homebrew, from guts to shell and the gun was made from a classic pellet gun made in HK).

In general i didn't did much, i ran some software one could say, DRO2MID to be precise, most of what you hear is already to hear after a simple conversion. Of course since i like classical music and jazz (besides of blues and rock music) i hear different instruments so the arrangement is quite different to what i've heard so far.
Thus the track are maybe a little more jazzy or classical or marching band inspired, in my opinion i kept what is already there but well i hear different, each hears different.
I didn't added any instruments so the tunes are as sparse and simple as they was but i like them in this way.
But i have to say no i didn't like the AdLib sound to well, it's a personal opinion.

Perhaps you already noticed this in my "who is me" post, there i linked a clip containing the music of CK5 (and some other tart).

This MIDI thing i started a year ago when i discovered "DOSBox ECE" (a bit before but this was a milestone for me), since this community release drives "Munt" and "Fluidsynth" it's ideal for the PC games from the '90s.
Somehow it blew my mind, that is because i played my most loved game for 30 years with the wrong sounding music, stupid me i had no idea something like a MT existed and foremost that it wasn't GM compatible and i had not a glimpse of an idea that the MT is a programmable synthesizer. The questionable game is Frontier, apart from being an Amigoid this is the game i played most (and also digged through every single byte of it). Frontier is (as i know by now) one of the games from the '90s which works only with an MT or AdLib, because it was so wrong sounding i only played it with this score and it is that meager that i almost never played with music.
Neither i like the brittle sounding small modules of the amiga release, it can't be as good as a midi because you need space for the samples, how much space do you guess was left on the single floppy for FE2? very little! How does it sound to me? Painful!

So here the Keen score interpreted by gernot66, you will have access to the all content of the directory "ckeen" on OneDrive.
Which will include;
the midi conversions of ck4 - ck6
flac files made from the midi which are cut to loop perfect (almost perfect) might be you like to use them even if it's just to flush them down the toilet.

The MIDI folders will contain slight variations, in general they are the same but i had to respect a few specialities for either the MT-32 or the FM version. Usually the FM version didn't differs from GM/GS except that it leaks of the GS hall and reverb, but it's also there to be modded especially for FM. The MT version differs because i have to place the channels diferent, even if the default setup for the MT would be ch 2-9 + ch10 (ch 1 is for the standard piano which can't be changed) i had to set them to use ch1 - ch8 +ch10 when i like to play them back with "PX" (more about that proggie later), while for the FM version i need to have ch1 clear else you won't hear either the percussion or the instrument which is assigned to ch1. For the GM/GS this whole tart doesn't matters.

For a optimal playback of all versions i recommend "Bristlehogs PX" which is a derivation of the original Miles Sound System XMI Player ("XP").
It's a simple command line controlled player but due to the fact that it uses the MSS AIL2 drivers it is exactly what you need to playback games MIDI from the '90s. Forget anything else, this is best. For an optimal FM playback take care that "PX" uses the FAT.OPL i provided with the MIDI files.
If that isn't easy just drop the garg into your virtual "C:" directory of DOSBox and PX will use it when it's run from "C:"
Otherwise if you like to use it like i used it for my "Commander Keen Thingy" you will have to run "PX" from the directory the files to play and the FAT resides in.

Bristlehogs PX Player

Intentionally Bristlehog made "PX" for a use in a directory browser such as the "Volkov Commander", that's why it is a little complicated to handle for any else use but it's more as just fine to use in a batch proggie.

But not only for FM music PX gets more out of your games MIDI also and foremost if it's a dedicated MT-32 MIDI (SMF, standard midi file).
Because only "PX" (compared to modern media players) will respect all programming for the MT and send it proper to the MT ROM. That is as example if you playback a MT-32 version from BARIS (Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space) it will not only respect the sysex messages (which you have to send seperate to the MT if you use i.e Winamp or Windows Mediaplayer) it will similar as to the FM load instruments from the FAT.MT provided with this game, so if you play back this MIDI with any else player you will lose the instruments which are stored in the FAT (on the other hand it won't and can't play back if the FAT.MT is requested and isn't present, if it's a different FAT.MT like the one provided with PX itself the instruments will be wrong or it can't play because it misses one in a certain slot, this can happen also with the FAT.FM always use the ones which came with the games, almost always ;) the fat.opl you find in my midi conversions is in fact from simcity classic it has the best sounding acoustic instruments imho, experimenting is allowed for sure and it's possible to create a FAT from .ibk (instrument bank files) yourself, i never did so far). GM/GS won't need no FAT only AdLib SBFM and MT do which are usually named *.AD *.OPL *.MT. Sometimes they are hidden in the music library and named totally different (i.e. for Doom).

PX also and of course makes use of the GUS GF1 and Ultramid which squeezes out the maximum of the virtual or real GUS, much better as MegaEm does even if Gravis themself claimed that "MegaEm replaces Ultramid" it doesn't and it is imo even better as the GUS AIL3 "loadpatch".

Long text - short sense.
I just liked to show you that you will get most out of your games MIDI using PX, it will be exactly played back as in the games which make use of AIL2 and them are quite a lot, one could claim any classic DOS game.

It won't be needed to playback my CK midi conversions (except you like to have SBFM sound), but it will sound different or it is a pain to play them back otherwise. I.e. if you like to make use of "Munt", to playback a GM on the MT you will have to send Rolands own GM emulation sysex to the MT.
This you will find as well in the directory i linked. Unlike Roland i didn't named them confusing MT2GM while the SYSEX does the opposite to what the name implies to program the MT for GM, i named them GM@MT which makes the purpose clear. included are two variations, one is sending additionally a GS like reverb and echo and one programs "reverse cymbals" to "explosion" which is of need if a track contains a "gunshot" (which is the case for one CK6 track where i used "gunshot" as a sort of bass drum, i guess you can already imagine which track that might be).

If you play them back with PX you only have to program the MT once to GM, except you change the volume of "Munt" in DOSBox this will cause a reset of the MT. Take care to use the GMIDI AIL2 driver the dedicated MT32MPU will reset the MT at each start of a track thus your programming will be lost, the GMIDI driver blatantly sends all to the device disregarding what data it is it performs no reset (the SC32MPU and it's specific GS reset neither does affect the MT but imo the GMIDI is the proper driver to emulate GM on a MT)

In fact i don't play any MIDI with Winamp or VLC or whatever anymore, MIDI music will be only played back in DOSBox using either "PX" or the quite nice "MegaMID" player. It offers the best sound imho.

Using "GUS MegaEm" you can let sound "MegaMID" exactly like the GUS Playmidi, there is no difference between how Playmidi and "MegaEm" playback a MIDI since both use the same configuration file. And it's like i said minor to "Ultramid".
You never heard the GUS so well before, it's a quite good wavetable synth and despite of it's age it easy beats the meager MSWS.
Throw away any "GUS on Win" project such as "Timidity" it can't reach the sound of the GUS in DOSBox.
Apart from that MegaEm can emulate the instrument setup of the MT (but of course it can't be programmed, which is the case for quite some games, it's the real advantage of this synth, check out my "Dune2" clips, there are worlds between the MT and the GM version because only the MT version makes use of the spacy instruments Frank Klepacki programmed for this game, at least 50% of the instruments are programmed, the SYSEX has a "gigantic" size of 30kB that is quite more as most games midi use and it's only to program the MT)

So far to my different versions and their purpose, each sounds different, sure a different soundfont sounds different to but imho it isn't the same and most of all the MT-32 isn't to reach with a soundfont even if anything else would work it won't have the depth and saturation of the MT.
The MT is a really PHAT synthesizer (and a true one), i like it much.
(by request even if this user didn't know yet that he requested this i will create a special MT-32 Doom version(s), yet it's future music still. It was because he uttered on a clip of LGR that Doom would have sounded so much better with the MT, well you can't playback the Doom score so easy on a MT-32 you need to reassign the channels which are random spread for the GM over the 16 available channels, the files need some changes and three or four of each D1 or D2 i had to strip down to use only 8 channels, "Bunny" needs a "bird tweet" which i haven't yet found in a game as sysex i can use for this. The "Explosion" sound i used as "Gunshot" is btw from "Wing Commander")

FURTHER (grin)
Ther folder will contain "cut to loop perfect" recordings of the MIDI as flac.


I guess the upload should be finshed ;)

Commander Keen .imf 2 .mid conversions

poncije
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Re: Your Own Keen Music!

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