1. The long journey to 1k real-time ray-tracing
  2. Making of the visual
  3. Making of the music (part1) by ern0
  4. Making of the music (part2) by TomCat
  5. Download page and source code

Making of the music (part 1) by ern0


Platform characteristics

Traditional restricted music platforms (e.g. monophonic ringtone, Amiga mod, General MIDI etc.) have constraints engraved in stone, like polyphony or tone set, but usually have no significant restriction on data size. In our case, on the PC-DOS speaker platform, the opposite is true. We can generate any waveform, and there're no player constraints, but every single tone calculation and sequencer feature eats up the space of the visual effect.

Cover considerations

First of all, making a cover of a well-known song for a restricted platform is fun and it's also a great challenge. When the cover is accurate, as we listen to it, the original also plays in our heads, which adds to the experience. On the other hand, we are not allowed to modify the score for gaining some bytes. All we can do is omit complete parts (e.g. skip the verse), omit voices (e.g. don't use bass), or simplify them (e.g. use simpler drums). Extreme cases, like 549Notes, we are not allowed to change or skip anything.

Song structure

The song, "I Remember" Deadmau5 and DJ Kaskade, is an ideal candidate for sizecode music. It's chord progression is characteristic enough to represent the whole song, so I could skip the vocals. It's also only 8 pattern long, and contains repeats:

 1 2 R R
 3 4 R R 

As every chord consists of 4 tones, we have to store 5x4 = 20 notes.

There is only one difficulty: the chord changes happen one quarter earlier than expected, but only every 2 of 4 cases:

 [1 1 1 1] [1 1 1 2]
 [2 2 2 2] [2 2 2 R]
 [R R R R] [R R R R]
 [R R R R] [R R R R]

 [3 3 3 3] [3 3 3 4]
 [4 4 4 4] [4 4 4 R]
 [R R R R] [R R R R]
 [R R R R] [R R R R]

Fortunately, the drum is pretty simple and repetitive:

 [BD HT BD+SN HT] etc. 

According to the rules of house genre, the song starts with drums only, but only for a half round. Then 4 full rounds follow, playing longer notes each round. In the 4th round, with longest notes, drum track is muted. Then the song continues almost at the beginning, but skipping drums-only intro.

  [drums only]
loop point:
  [drums + chords - short]
  [drums + chords - long]
  [drums + chords - longer]
  [no drums, only chords - longest]
    continue at loop point

Alternate version

We've tried to reach the authors, but we've failed, so we do not have a permission to publish the cover. Maybe, we have rights to do it, but party rules are stricter, so we needed to change the music.

I wanted as few changes as possible, so I changed only the chords, keeping everything else unchanged, even the chord structure:

 1 2 R R
 3 4 R R

My main goal was to create a song as different from the original as possible, and I think I succeed. My version is brighter, happier, and lighter, and it sounds like a refrain, not a standalone song.

I like the original better; it's a very unique and unusually nicely-done chord progression, especially for a contemporary song; it reminds me of the 80's, the golden era of pop.

But I don't hate my version; in fact, I've started writing a little happy song in which this theme is the refrain.

If you like this writeup, then leave a comment at the download page
And make sure you have also read Making of the music (part2) by TomCat