MIDIs or MP3s

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by KG_Brad, May 8, 2007.

  1. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    The music that's put into a game really leaves an impression. For example, every self-respecting gamer knows the Mario music.

    My question is, should I put MIDIs in the game or should I record MP3s and use those? Even though I'm not going for an old-school/retro style game, MIDIs would reduce the file size a great deal. On the other hand, recorded MP3s would have a much greater quality.

    What's the best route to go?
     
  2. GrahamGoring

    Original Member

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    Well, it depends. If this was 1995 I'd say go with midis. But it isn't.

    Either go with a good quality mod format (XM/IT) or mp3s.
     
  3. ZeHa

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    Well I think MIDI is too restricted for that. The song will sound different on every computer, some instruments might be too loud etc, and you're very limited with the ability to express some cool moods.

    Today mp3 or ogg shouldn't matter. It's small enough but sounds incredible compared to the standard MIDI sounds. Also, you can do everything if you use mp3 or ogg. But you can't use delay effects, vocals, powerful drum sounds or whatever else with MIDI.

    To create some music that leaves an impression, as you said, you'll need to use the appropriate sound. The C64 music is not only so kickin' because of the melodies - it's also the unique sound. Recently I played Doom again using ZDoom, which used MIDI music by default. Of course I remembered all the background tunes, and it was okay, but then I found out that ZDoom has got a built-in Soundblaster emulator which gave me back the original sound from the days of DOS. And it was a blast. Every sound was exactly like it was back then, and it's a HUGE difference. So, if you really want to make interesting music, you have to use interesting sounds, and also Mario music wouldn't be as good if it sounded different on every NES console ;)
     
  4. oNyx

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    The question should be: "tracker modules or ogg?"

    Midi is too limited and sounds wrong everywhere. Mp3 costs license fees and it sounds pretty bad at low bitrates.

    Tracker formats (mod, xm, it, s3m etc) give you more flexibility then midi. They are also kind of compact (bigger then midi tho, because the samples are included), they sound equally everywhere and playback doesn't require much cpu power.

    Ogg sounds pretty good even at very low bitrates. Unlike mp3 you don't get painful artifacts, instead the sound gets smoothly "washed out", which is certainly more pleasing to the human ear.
     
  5. Sharpfish

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    ogg all the way baby!
     
  6. electronicStar

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    Tracker music can be very impressive if the composer is experienced. It has a distinctive "techy" sound from "normal" recorded music:
    some samples
     
  7. Bad Sector

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    Pointing to modarchive generally doesn't prove that tracked music can be very impressive. It's better to give links to specific modules :). Here are some i just dug:

    Attack Point (this sounds far from "techie" i think)
    Technoid
    Timeless Emotions
    Moonrise
    Avenging Angel
    Departure Event
    a Triumph in A-major (orchestral/symphonic in tracker format for 6:36 minutes in 760KB :)
    Hard to believe
    Blown (this has some techie tone for sure and it has a very good melody :)
    Distance... (nice guitar tune in 400KB)

    and of course

    Enigma, your standard "here is how MODs sound like" module :D (which, however, is very good ;-).

    @ZeHa:
    I prefer to play ZDoom using the sample-set that comes with DirectX (Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth). The samples come from Roland which creates professional syntherizers. The DOOM music was originally created using one of those synths (it wasn't Roland, but anyway it was "pro-level" :p) and i believe that the music sounds much better using this sample-set.
     
  8. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    I'm looking into ogg's now.

    I was going to mention Doom and ZDoom in my original post. They use MIDIs but that was acceptable back in '93.
     
  9. disaffected

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    you can also further compressed tracker music sizes down by compressing the samples the xm files use into ogg format.
     
  10. KG_Brad

    KG_Brad New Member

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    When I mentioned the Mario music, I meant that everybody knew it (even non-gamers know it!). I was saying that the music in the game can make a big impression on the player, even 20 years later!
     
  11. oNyx

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    Forgot to mention something about midi. You can eventually make it sound equal everywhere.

    a) If you're using an API that allows you to load specific "sound fonts" or "sound banks" (same kind of thing).

    b) If you convert the midi to some tracker module (eg with GMid2Mod).

    The former is pretty appealing if you have lots of midis, but the latter is less hassle and a generally available option.
     
  12. Nikster

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    I'm with oNyx, the only difference between midi and tracker is the way the data is stored and the extra feature of tracker having synthesis built it, midi is much more effecient, but you have the problem of sound rendering itself, farbrausch v2 synth is hardly outdated, which is midi based ;)
     
  13. ulfster

    ulfster New Member

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    go for ogg.
     
  14. James C. Smith

    Moderator Original Member

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    There are lots of pros and cons to using sequenced music (like MIDI or MOD) vs. a big compressed sound file (like MP3, WAV, or OGG). There may be reasons sequenced may be better for you. But if you decide to go with a compressed sound file you should use OGG Vorbis rather than MP3. With OGG there is no licensing fee for the IP and the libraries are free. MP3 is a licensing mess.

    In other words, go for OGG (unless you want to use sequenced music). Just avoid MP3
     
  15. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Use Variable Bit Rate OGG format. Compression ratio and sound quality are barely believable.

    You could also consider XM format as a middle ground.
     
  16. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Battle Castles and 50 Castles used MOD for which I used the Hekkus engine for a small donation and never had any problems.

    I used Ogg for Real E$tate Empire using the free audiere engine which had an obscure bug that would cause a crash on maybe 2% of machines One of the the authors has since contacted me and said that it is fixed but that was after I had switched to Fmod who do have indie licensing rates.

    Fmod was easy to drop in - I would expect I'm using about 1% of it's feature set so if you need something to grow with and can get the indie rate (I would expect they would give it to most of us) then I can happily recommend it. I ended up buying the multi-title PC license so I don't have to worry about the issue again. Knock on wood.
     
  17. NO9

    NO9
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    Sure - even funny sounding midi files, without any extra sound banks can sound nice and give good impression. And there are many mp3 and mod crap soundtracks. But of course the last two are more flexible in sound meaning (yeah, this could be quite difficult to make real midi-techno tune). Nevermind...

    Just ask yourself how big game you want to have and split it between gfx and music... then you will know what you can use. Mods are probably the best alternative for most of the indies.
     
  18. Jesse Hopkins

    Jesse Hopkins New Member

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    ---------------
     
    #18 Jesse Hopkins, May 21, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  19. B_Level

    B_Level New Member

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    Quick question about licensing with mp3's. If I (or anyone) were to use MP3 audio in a game that were selling are you required to pay royalties even if you've designed you're own decoder/player or are using an open source one?
     
  20. James C. Smith

    Moderator Original Member

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    Yes. You must have a license to decode MP3 even if you wrote the decoder yourself. It is imposable to write code that can decode an MP3 without using algorithms that are patented. Some commercial MP3 decoding libraries include the MP3 patent licenses in their purchase price.

    This is what makes OGG/Vorbis so appealing.
     

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