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A few questions on video game soundtracks

Haakond

Member
Hi all!

In the past, I have made a few tracks for smaller video games and projects. Now I am working on my biggest video game soundtrack so far, with a total of 60+ mins of music. Because of the size of this project, I kinda want to do everything right, and therefore I have a few questions I was hoping some of you could answer me.

1. When composing soundtracks, what sample rate do you use? There are no plans to release the soundtrack other than on Soundcloud/YouTube.

2. Do I need to change frame rate? Logic chooses 25fps as standard, but the developer is targeting 60 fps for the game. Could this be a problem?

3. What do you do to make the music loopable, when you have a track with an intro? Now I am bouncing one track including the intro (without the audio tail), and then a track without the intro (but with audio tail). Then the developer let the first track play once, and then let the second track loop after this. Is this the standard way, or are there any other/better ways to do this?

Thanks!
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
1. When composing soundtracks, what sample rate do you use? There are no plans to release the soundtrack other than on Soundcloud/YouTube.
I usually go with 48kHz/24bit. you can always go down from there, but going up is hard.

2. Do I need to change frame rate? Logic chooses 25fps as standard, but the developer is targeting 60 fps for the game. Could this be a problem?
Only when you score video - essentially you can choose 30 and roll with it if there is a ingame-rendered cinematic.

3. What do you do to make the music loopable, when you have a track with an intro? Now I am bouncing one track including the intro (without the audio tail), and then a track without the intro (but with audio tail). Then the developer let the first track play once, and then let the second track loop after this. Is this the standard way, or are there any other/better ways to do this?
Middlewares. E.g. in FMod, you put in the whole track and define the loop region - that way you have an intro and outro, and a looping middle part. The programmers can then control when the outro should occur etc. That way you can make one track, and not make strange cuts, which then result in popping and dropouts because of engine failures.

My 2 cents
 
OP
Haakond

Haakond

Member
I usually go with 48kHz/24bit. you can always go down from there, but going up is hard.


Only when you score video - essentially you can choose 30 and roll with it if there is a ingame-rendered cinematic.



Middlewares. E.g. in FMod, you put in the whole track and define the loop region - that way you have an intro and outro, and a looping middle part. The programmers can then control when the outro should occur etc. That way you can make one track, and not make strange cuts, which then result in popping and dropouts because of engine failures.

My 2 cents
Thank you! This helps a lot! I will check out FMod!
 

MartinH.

Senior Member
Thank you! This helps a lot! I will check out FMod!
Talk to the developer about it, audio middleware is usually picked based on project requirements and not on composer preference. It's a mix of license terms, supported target plattforms, feature sets of different solution, quality of integration into the game engine used etc..


When I made short loops for a game, I basically copied the last part of a loop in front of it, assigned a region to each in reaper, and rendered out the regions so that the loop starts with the reverb tail of the end of the loop in the beginning. I just cut the tail off at the end because I had no fancy setup where can be blended between tracks. Something like FMod or similar would be usefull indeed for blending gracefully between different loops.
 

fish_hoof

Active Member
Talk to the developer about it, audio middleware is usually picked based on project requirements and not on composer preference. It's a mix of license terms, supported target plattforms, feature sets of different solution, quality of integration into the game engine used etc..


When I made short loops for a game, I basically copied the last part of a loop in front of it, assigned a region to each in reaper, and rendered out the regions so that the loop starts with the reverb tail of the end of the loop in the beginning. I just cut the tail off at the end because I had no fancy setup where can be blended between tracks. Something like FMod or similar would be usefull indeed for blending gracefully between different loops.
Second the the reverb tail cutting. Did this for many games.
 
OP
Haakond

Haakond

Member
Haha, I quess that is the most common way to do it! If I understand it correctly, you can get the same effect by checking the «bounce 2nd cycle pass» in Logic?
 

FredW

Member
Haha, I quess that is the most common way to do it! If I understand it correctly, you can get the same effect by checking the «bounce 2nd cycle pass» in Logic?
Yes, that's correct! And if you are using Fmod you can use the ADSR envelope to fade in on the first pass.
 
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marclawsonmusic

Senior Member
Hi all, just to get nitty gritty on details...

In a normal non-looping world, I would set my start / end locators beyond the music - a little space at the beginning, and some space at the end to let the reverb tails and delays finish. I can then render the track to audio and set fades to avoid any pops / clicks.

But with a looping track, I assume you need to set the locators precisely at the start / end of the music so no beats are missed... When I do this and try 'Bounce 2nd Cycle Pass', there is a nice click/pop at the beginning of the audio (of course... there is no x-fade), but I do get the trailing notes from the end of the tune. OK... those trailing notes are nice when I'm looping, but not the first time through the tune!

Are you guys creating a 'normal' version of the track and a 'loopable' version? Or is there some way to create one track that either plays nicely on its own or is 'loopable' if needed? (not sure how that is possible).

In terms of middleware, I assume that if you were implementing a track in middleware, you could create a x-fade to avoid clicks / pops, but then you wouldn't have the FX from the track - and the reverbs / delays would get truncated. Ahhh - I'm so confused! :confused:

If someone could spell out the exact steps for taking a regular track and 'making it loopable', I'd really appreciate it. I'm sure it's not that complicated - I feel like an idiot who is missing something obvious here. :alien:
Marc
 

Henu

Senior Member
If someone could spell out the exact steps for taking a regular track and 'making it loopable', I'd really appreciate it. I'm sure it's not that complicated - I feel like an idiot who is missing something obvious here.
It's really simple! Please note that this is for just looping of a track, nothing fancy or long intros/outros. Just a seamless loop for a...well, loop. :D

1. Import the (at this point still non- looping) full track in your DAW. Yep, that with those pre- rolls and reverb tails.
1.png
2. Cut it exactly to the looping area. (= remove the pre- rolls from the beginning and reverb tails from the end)
3. Duplicate it twice. You should now have three "loops" in one track.
3.png

But Henu, the loop points still sound like shit! What to do now?

4. Select the second file of the three. You know, loop #2.
5. Drag it into a new track underneath.
5.png
6. Now, select loop #1 from the track above. Now, bring back the ENDING you cut away earlier. It should now play on top of the loop #2 in the track below in the beginning.
6.png
7. Select loop #3 from the track above. Bring back the START (pre- roll, drum fill, whatever you might have) you cut away earlier. It should now play on top of the loop #2 in the track below at the end. You know, just what you did with the earlier screenshot but now just the other direction.
8. Select loop #2 (that being now the lower track) and loop that region now.
8.png
9. Adjust volumes to taste (the less you need the "above" track heads and tails, the better, but start from 100% same volume first)
10. Export the region you looped, and make sure you have BOTH (upper and lower) tracks included.

You'll get naturally even better results and it's even more faster if you can use the same tempo in this "loop project" that you have in the original file. In this project I didn't bother to do that, so the files are not in grid, but if you do it so the whole process will take no more than a couple of minutes to complete, if even that.

EDIT: Screenshots added!
 
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marclawsonmusic

Senior Member
Very nice! Basically this is the 'checkerboard' concept that we sometimes use to create a mixdown of cues for a filmscore. I like it - very straightforward.

Thanks so much, @Henu!
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
Yep, it's really simple and straightforward. :)

I added some screenshots also to make it even more clear. Hopefully this helps also!
Just to get it right - you simply explained the pre/postroll adding to the loop, right? I already know that technique for seamless looping (although I try to go with a middleware as long as it's not a mobile game, so I used it quite a lot for various projects) - but you prepared it in a way that seemed like something new ;)
 

Henu

Senior Member
Just to get it right - you simply explained the pre/postroll adding to the loop, right?
Yes! As said, the process is simple and in that context the screenshots may be a bit too simple as well- heck, now that I think of it, did I really need a screenshot for "import your original audio file to your DAW"? :D
 
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