Thursday, May 28, 2009

The game sound track

Nowadays, most games choose MP3 or OGG for storing and playing in-game musics, indeed it provides the artists full flexibility in the choice of creation tools. However, the data folder will quickly grow when a few MP3 are stored in.

Retro or not, we are using the old Amiga style MOD format for the music in our next game, Super FloboPoP. The format basically contains a list of samples and patterns in which you play samples at different pitch and apply a few sound effects. It's kind like MIDI with the samples stored in if you like. It's the PDF of music formats!

Its strength: a bunch of kilobytes can contains hours long musics. Also a lot of so-called trackers can be found freely all over the internet.

But it have also downsides:
- the so-called trackers are all but intuitive to use by a newcomer and have long learning curve;
- the range of effects you can apply is quite limited (and you must know hexadecimal!);
- the samples are stored as raw sound. They surely could be made lighter with new stuffs like OGG.

I'm wondering if there are alternatives, an ideal tracker-like format, with an open specification and even better: an available open source portable implementation. If I find one I'll let you know!

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