Community Discussion: Blog by RushJet1 | RushJet1's ProfileDestructoid
RushJet1's Profile - Destructoid



OK so I figured I should expand on this. I write NES music mostly but occasionally other chiptunes. I also live in Georgia, have 2 jobs (one of which is an IT job that causes crazy amounts of stress and the other is a boring but predictable work-on-your-own-time job) and I have a black lab who is a serious attention whore.

She tries so hard


I've been looking into trying to get into game music for awhile now (and even into making games myself).  I started writing music specifically for a video game around 2009, but that project is now on hold.  I've written original music for 6 indie games so far, and only one of those has been released (1001 Spikes) - so I was getting a bit annoyed with the whole idea of doing game music 2 years ago.  That's when Tyrone Rodriguez of Nicalis contacted me.  He was asking about working on 1001 Spikes and got me to do some really short incidental music for logos at the time.  I was pretty happy about that as Nicalis is an established video game publisher/developer and would probably not put a game on "indefinite hiatus" like every other project I'd been a part of.  Unfortunately I was still pretty busy at the time, so I made a couple demos but really didn't get started on writing music more actively until December (before that I was working on Mega Man 3 Remade, plus working 2 jobs).  

The first demo I worked on was track 1 of the album - the theme they eventually used for the 1001 Spikes loading screen on the Wii U, which is a remix of the title theme.  I also did a nearly identical replication of the original 1000 Spikes main theme.

Since that time I'd gotten a new keyboard, a Yamaha YPG-635 for pretty cheap at a pawn shop, which replaced my old Casio CTK611.  I didn't really enjoy playing the Casio as the keys were way too sensitive, so having a weighted 88-key keyboard has been nice.  To write new music, I usually just mess around on it for an hour and record it.  If anything happens to sound good, I'll flesh it out, then transfer it to Famitracker.  Sometimes I write melodies this way, sometimes I piece those together in my head and sometimes they just come to me naturally.

Started more actively writing music in Nov/Dec 2013 - I'm pretty sure that's when I worked on the remixed "key versions" of the World 1-5 songs.  Then I went to MAGFest and played my first "set" (it was pretty small-time and kind of a walk-in thing) so nothing happened for a few weeks.  Then we adapted one of the soundtracks I had worked on before that fell through (Tower of Nannar music) to 1001 Spikes, and they used a couple tracks I was just working on that weren't related to any games as title screens for the alternate game modes.

Nicalis was pretty easy to work with and listened to suggestions, which was great.  I even got in some bug testing work because I found a bunch when I was just messing with the game (I love platformers like Mega Man etc, so I was playing it a LOT at that point).  I also have done programming work so I knew what to look for in some cases.  In 1001 Spikes I'm credited as my real name as a tester but as RushJet1 for music.

Recently, after the game's release, they got me to write 3 more themes for Antarctica and replaced the level 6 song with a remixed version.  Working on those was a lot of fun; I like writing originals more than remix/covers in general and hope that I can do more of those in the future!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I didn't release the NSF of the soundtrack for a few reasons:

1) There's no real coherency as to which expansions I used - some are VRC6, some is just plain 2a03, some is MMC5, some is FDS.
2) There are at least 15 different FTM files all with several songs in them, most are duplicates.  I was really sloppy with the sources and I'd have to spend a crazy amount of time making sure the correct ones were used.
3) Several of the songs use stereo and would sound wrong in NSF format unless you use the same settings I'm using

I'll try to make it more streamlined next time around.

As with any major project, there were several unused songs.  A lot of these were just me goofing around or doing more than necessary, and some of them were turned down in favor of other ones (for example I'd write 2 songs as an idea for stage music and they'd choose 1).  You can hear the unused music here: Soundcloud: Unfinished 1001 Spikes Music

OK so people said they might want to see me write things based on chiptune stuff.  Here you go.  Hope it's not too haphazard etc.

Hello, I'm RushJet1, and I write chipmusic.  I've been writing NES stuff for about 10 years now, and have dabbled in Master System, Game Boy, C64, Spectrum, and Amiga music during that time a bit, but usually the focus is more on NES/Famicom music.  

The NES has 5 main channels for audio, each of which can be doing one thing at a time at any given time.  The first 2 channels are square waves, which have the same functionality as each other.  These usually are used for melody and harmony in most games.  The third channel is the triangle, which is usually used for bass.  Fourth channel is the noise channel, which plays white noise and is usually used for sound effects and percussion, and the fifth channel is the DPCM, which is 1-bit sample playback.  The DPCM channel is not used in a lot of games due to its higher memory use for the sample storage.  Here's a good visual/audio explanation of these channels: 

If you're into chip stuff and are just learning about it, watch Explod2a03's other chiptune explanation videos.

The fact that there are 3 channels that can output actual melodic tones means that only 3 notes will be playing at any given time, which means either you can base your composition around that, or you can use tricks to accommodate your composition and simulate more channels.

The main tools I've used are MCK and PPMCK (which are text-based and use a language called MML), and FamiTracker.

MCK/PPMCK are pretty user-unfriendly, and even for a person like me who got really good at it, it was pretty limiting and took too long to write really complex music.  The most effects-heavy thing I did in MML actually took a lot of work because of how the music is written out, and trying to make sure all the different channels stayed in sync.  

[edit: ok apparently all tags and font sizes in this thing work in the preview, but not in the published blog.  gg]


A o5 MP9 q6 @vr17 @@r22 @@21 SD1 c<b>c8<g8a-8>c<b>c8d8<g8>c<b>c8d8<fga-gb- q8 SM v7 @1 a-48 b-48 a-48 @v31 q6 SMOF @@21 gf v3 SM q8 gf @v31 SMOF q6 @vr16 >gf+g8c8e-8gf+g8a8d8gf+g8a8cd SDOF  e-4 SD1 dc<b-8>e-de-8<g8a-8>
A fe-f8<a8b-8>gfg8<b8>c8de- SDOF f4. SD1 e-dc<b-a-g
A l8 f>a-gfe-de-f<b>cd<b>cg16f+16gd SDOF q8 e-8 < PS o4 g+16 > v3 e-8 < PS g+16 > @v31 q6  SD1
A l16 e8 f8 fef8 c8 q8 SDOF d8 PS<g> v3 d8 PS<g> SD1 @v31 q6 d8 e-8 e-de-8<b-8>c8 e-de-8 f8 <b-8> e-de-8 f8 <a-b-> SDOF c4 SD1 < b-a-
A ge-fga-b->c d e- d c d e- f g a b-< f g a- b- >c d e f e- d e- f g a b >c8<bagfe-d    c<g>e-<g>d<g>c<g>


This is just the melody track from 1:14 to 1:39 in that link above - and this is with the added PPMCK shortcuts that drastically cut down on how much you've got to type.  Without PPMCK this would easily be 4 times longer.  This is partly why I switched over to FamiTracker.   The other main reason I did that was because a lot of group projects from other artists were being made in FamiTracker.  If you still want to look into PPMCK, go to mmlshare, where people upload their PPMCK music as text files and the site converts it to NSF format.  Some great things are on there.

If you were to want to start writing chipmusic, It's usually easiest to go with FamiTracker.  Danooct1 made a pretty good Famitracker tutorial that can get you started.  Basically since everything is visually represented, you don't have to worry about note lengths and different channels lining up.  I also have a video of me writing a short 2-frame song that was kind of meant as a "show people famitracker" thing more than a tutorial, but you can check it out anyway to see how I write music.  It's definitely not my best composition but it's OK for being written on the spot, I think.. maybe I'll do more of these in the future.

Oh, and I released another Mega Man cover playthrough thing.  It didn't get posted here yet so Bandcamp Link and youtube:

I also plan on doing a bloopers video because there are a lot of absolutely stupid bloopers, not limited to: falling through the googly-eyed platform enemies to my death, jumping between two platforms for 30 seconds trying to make a jump, countless bottomless pit deaths 2 seconds after a couple stages started... there are a bunch of dumb moments that I need to compile :X

5:28 PM on 11.15.2013

Does anyone really want to know what I think about things?