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Subject: Persona 3: FES
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Date: 3rd October 2014 Time: 16:00 EST
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Wild Armor
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« on: March 31, 2013, 11:12:16 PM »

(I originally posted this elsewhere in the help section of a game music forum, but I think it would be more suitable in this subforum. This is a bit copy-pasta'd from the other forum post. I'm reposting it because I'm hoping to get some help with this, and I know some of you peeps are interested in game music and such. ;) )

Understanding ADX


Hey everyone!

I have a question in regards to ADX that has me a bit baffled. This is specifically in regards to its use for the Sega Saturn/Playstation game Grandia.

From what I understand the wiki about ADX is that it is possible to create a loop point within a track that could continue its loop until some condition is met to continue/mute/or change the track. If this is true, then what is happening in the following scene is this in action:

Grandia - Ghost Ship (Starting at 1:35)

What's happening here is a loop of pizzicato strings from the orchestral track, "Ghost Ship Theme", which then moves on to the next segment of the track @ 2:38 (clarino register clarinet). When the player moves to a lower level of the ship after this room, the music (5:28) returns back to the segment opening that was used upon entering the ghost ship @ 2:38, then looping the pizz. strings once again until the player leaves the floor. As the player progresses, so does the "Ghost Ship Theme". Of course, there are transitions that don't occur in these, or any, scenes--such as the ghoulish tone bending laughter in the strings during the track @  0:39-0:42.

Here's the "Ghost Ship Theme" to get an idea of how it progresses in the game's respective soundtrack:

Grandia - Ghost Ship Theme***

If what I am understanding as how ADX works is true, then all of this makes sense and I can use it in my paper with confidence. If not...then I'll have to postpone adding this information until I get a better grasp on what's happening with the recording orchestral track. If it is true, again, then that would make sense why the soundtrack's have grouped together some of these fragmented/whole pieces/themes in a single track, such as in the track "Garlyle" and "Four Volley Rounds of Tension".

***This "Ghost Ship Theme" used in the game and the soundtrack is a live recording of an orchestra, and the reason why I'm curious as to how this works in game.

I appreciate any and all help from anyone who knows how ADX works...

If you're curious on why I'm writing a paper on Grandia, just shoot me a PM and I'll explain in detail this extreme--borderline obsession--curiosity with Grandia and it's use of music. Thanks everyone again! (also, if this is in the wrong thread...sorry!)
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 12:22:15 AM by Wild Armor » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 11:59:46 PM »

I know very little about music, but I love when the music changes fluidly (your links are bugging up on me).I'm curious!  Keep us updated and maybe give the deets on assignment when you got it.

IIRC, if this is what I think it is, Banjo Kazooie does a great job of this and to a lesser extent, Skies of Arcadia.
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 12:55:18 AM »

I know very little about music, but I love when the music changes fluidly (your links are bugging up on me).I'm curious!  Keep us updated and maybe give the deets on assignment when you got it.

IIRC, if this is what I think it is, Banjo Kazooie does a great job of this and to a lesser extent, Skies of Arcadia.

Thanks for showing interest Dice. I fixed the links, so they should work (they somehow added an additional "http" to the field). In regards to Banjo-Kazooie, you are remembering correctly that the music does seamlessly transitions into a different orchestration (change of instruments) when entering certain areas in the game. One of the prime I give in that is when going under water (This is a commonly remembered one).

Example: Banjo-Kazooie Longplay Part 1 (If the player time doesn't work, it begins @18:46).

Of course, you don't have to limit yourself to that example, as you  will see another example of a smooth transition of instruments when encountering (occurs @19:32).

See, I wish I could find a way to buy Skies of Arcadia without offering a body part, because someone else on a different forum mentioned that the boss music was programmed that depending on how close to beating the boss--or how close the boss was to defeating your party) the music would change.

Example: Skies of Arcadia Legends - Boss Theme (~crisis, ~opportunity)

From what I understand from this track, the actual "Boss Theme" music begins at 0:00 - 1:03 (this is where I feel the loop cycle repeats). Then, a transition is made (1:23 - 1:26) when your team enters a state of "crisis", as the track title would entail, which then begins the "Crisis Theme" @ 1:27 - 1:53. After this, the transitional musical material occurs (1:53 - 2:00) then leads to the "Opportunity Theme" (2:00 - End). The track then fades out on that theme, which I take it, is a short loop--like the "Crisis Theme" used earlier.

Though, I've never played the game or witnessed a playthrough that offered a decent audio presentation of the game, so I could be incorrect here. This analysis of this track is in context to and of the track, not as it would appear in the game (Boss theme plays first, then crisis, then opportunity theme). For all I know, a player could be so skilled that the cold embrace of death is a foreign element to them.

I've recently purchased the soundtrack to Skies of Arcadia Legends (or rather, Eternal Arcadia), so I'll get to listen to more tracks from the game and attempt to grasp how the music is presented. Of course, in all fairness to the composer and game's audio crew...I should hear it from the game as well--if not first. So, if anyone has a copy of the gamecube version of Skies of Arcadia...I would be more than happy to purchase it off them...please? :)


Oh, and I'll keep you posted Dice on what I find out. I might have to email their website directly (They are on ADX2 right now, and very much so operational!)
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 01:04:55 AM »

No sir, I meant the world map to Skies/Eternal Arcadia follows the same method, it changes the world map theme to add an "instrument" that suits each moon's arbitrary land and culture (citar for indian-redmoon, drums for african-greenmoon).

Oh! And Skyward Sword pulls it in the Skyloft plaza area.

Maybe it's the problem of trying to "think on the spot", but yeah... I can't think of many games that employ this method without just being an out-right song change than instrument change.  Zelda games are really sloppy for this and their "battle music" (which is just a creepy song thrown in and gets progressively louder the closer you get to your enemy).
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 01:52:08 AM »

No sir, I meant the world map to Skies/Eternal Arcadia follows the same method, it changes the world map theme to add an "instrument" that suits each moon's arbitrary land and culture (citar for indian-redmoon, drums for african-greenmoon).

Oh! And Skyward Sword pulls it in the Skyloft plaza area.

Maybe it's the problem of trying to "think on the spot", but yeah... I can't think of many games that employ this method without just being an out-right song change than instrument change.  Zelda games are really sloppy for this and their "battle music" (which is just a creepy song thrown in and gets progressively louder the closer you get to your enemy).

That's interesting and worth checking out for that in Skies of Arcadia. I think I know of a system that works the way you might talking about...of course, I'm a little tired to write much on it for now. I'll just leave this here until I return for a post update...

iMuse Demonstration


Also, for anyone reading my previous post on the boss music track, I found an example from a playthrough on the cubex55 youtube account (a youtube account I am heavily indebted when I need gameplay examples of certain games.):

GameCube Longplay [003] Skies of Arcadia Legends (Part 5 of 11) (if the link doesn;t work, the Boss battle begins @1:33:33). Example of the character's in a pinch and music change. Need to watch the rest of this tomorrow...
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 09:44:03 PM »

This is a fascinating topic. I'll be keeping an eye on it :)
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 10:38:04 PM »

Your understanding of ADX is pretty much correct.  Before I shut down my website (fuck Sega), I had transcoded all the music from Lunar 2: Eternal Blue for the Sega Saturn from ADX to MP3 format since there isn't a complete soundtrack for the game.  The ADX files are set up to loop forever until whatever conditions are met, and in the case of the Lunar 2 main battle theme, there is a slight error in the timing where the music doesn't loop just right.  This happens for three songs in the game, and I actually opened up the files in an audio editor and manually corrected the issue when I made the MP3s.

In the case of Skies of Arcadia, the Dreamcast version makes use of Cybersound, which is third party wavetable synthesis software used in several Sega games that functions more or less like Yamaha XGSynth, where you feed the software song data and audio is produced on the fly.  Cybersound is used in a lot of Sega Saturn games such as NiGHTS: Into Dreams which also has adapting music, and Panzer Dragoon Saga which does not have adapting music.

The company that created Cybersound went out of business in the late 90s, and I'm guessing Sega ported Cybersound to the Dreamcast themselves.  When it came time to port Skies of Arcadia to the GameCube, they apparently didn't port Cybersound over.  They likely used whatever default wavetable software was available on the GameCube, fed it the same sound data that they used on Dreamcast and called it a day.  It'd explain the mistimed sound effects and shitty sound quality for the music.
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2013, 01:03:38 AM »

Your understanding of ADX is pretty much correct.  Before I shut down my website (fuck Sega), I had transcoded all the music from Lunar 2: Eternal Blue for the Sega Saturn from ADX to MP3 format since there isn't a complete soundtrack for the game.  The ADX files are set up to loop forever until whatever conditions are met, and in the case of the Lunar 2 main battle theme, there is a slight error in the timing where the music doesn't loop just right.  This happens for three songs in the game, and I actually opened up the files in an audio editor and manually corrected the issue when I made the MP3s.

In the case of Skies of Arcadia, the Dreamcast version makes use of Cybersound, which is third party wavetable synthesis software used in several Sega games that functions more or less like Yamaha XGSynth, where you feed the software song data and audio is produced on the fly.  Cybersound is used in a lot of Sega Saturn games such as NiGHTS: Into Dreams which also has adapting music, and Panzer Dragoon Saga which does not have adapting music.

The company that created Cybersound went out of business in the late 90s, and I'm guessing Sega ported Cybersound to the Dreamcast themselves.  When it came time to port Skies of Arcadia to the GameCube, they apparently didn't port Cybersound over.  They likely used whatever default wavetable software was available on the GameCube, fed it the same sound data that they used on Dreamcast and called it a day.  It'd explain the mistimed sound effects and shitty sound quality for the music.

Thanks Parn, I appreciate any and all information on tech specs that influenced musical production/sound/presentation. Thanks for the extra info about Skies of Arcadia and the other games as well! If you have any more information or resources where I can look to in regards to the tech part of audio, let me know! :)
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2013, 01:09:57 AM »

I don't think it's especially germane to "advanced sound systems," but Phantasy Star III modulated the music based on a few things. The battle music shifted each round based on your performance and the difficulty of the fight, and the world map song became fuller and added more instruments as your party grew or shrunk in size (and totally changed to a sad song if your hero character was dead). Phantasy Star Online 2 uses a system called Sympathy as well to procedurally generate dynamic music. There's a pretty great interview available with Hideaki Kobayashi (the composer) about it.
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2013, 01:23:33 AM »

I don't think it's especially germane to "advanced sound systems," but Phantasy Star III modulated the music based on a few things. The battle music shifted each round based on your performance and the difficulty of the fight, and the world map song became fuller and added more instruments as your party grew or shrunk in size (and totally changed to a sad song if your hero character was dead). Phantasy Star Online 2 uses a system called Sympathy as well to procedurally generate dynamic music. There's a pretty great interview available with Hideaki Kobayashi (the composer) about it.

That's interesting info about PS3 and online 2. I played ps3 once and never bothered to go back to it while not even touching PS02. Do you have a link to the interview by chance? I don't know why, but when I read that about music shifting on performance, I think of the low health tone in the old Pokemon games. I'm playing through Black version 2 right now, and I noticed as a play on that tone, they turned it into its very own "crisis" track:

Pokemon Black & White - Low HP Music (seems it was first played in the first Black/White pokemon game?)

Also, I haven't read this blog post, but I'm going to leave it here as a note to myself to check it out when I come back to this thread tomorrow to edit my previous post on iMuse (or perhaps just start a new post altogether). (Phantasy Star Online 2′s Dynamic Music System “SYMPATHY”)

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