Log In  

I’ve been building a kind of music-machine-cart to help new Pico-8 users get a head start in composing their own music.


Using this machine, I composed the above snippet in about 5mins using mostly finger wiggling and button mashing. Here's a tutorial on how to use it:

Feedback is appreciated! Some questions to consider:

  • Is this a good/easier way to start a music composition (particularly for users with minimal music experience)?
  • Do you like the variation in custom instruments (drums, melody, bass)?
  • How would you improve this process?
  • Is there a better name for this besides “Music Machine?”

Download the cart here to try it (it's not playable)

Cart #musicmachine-0 | 2020-09-15 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

P#81857 2020-09-15 13:59

Heads-up: I think you uploaded the cart with the music instead of the cart with the code.

P#81860 2020-09-15 14:40
:: Gruber

@packbat, yup, that's intentional. It's not a cart with code, it's a cart with music and SFX. The idea is to experiemnt with inputing notes using custom instruments. (see tutorial) Thanks for the heads up though.

P#81862 2020-09-15 14:53

Aaah, I completely misunderstood. I'll check it out, thanks!

P#81863 2020-09-15 15:06

In no particular order:

  1. This is a very personal thing, but I find it unpleasant to work in a tool that doesn't give me a clean slate. (This was my big problem with TIC-80 - you tell it you want to make a new program and it pre-loads the code and sprite sheet with a demo cart.) I get why examples are helpful, but I'd rather have them on a separate cart from the one I'm invited to do the creative work on.

  2. A text tutorial with illustrations would be extremely helpful. It's a serious pain to have to refer to a video in the middle of working.

2a. Wait, you can drag SFX from the SFX grid onto channels? That's really really convenient!

  1. ...I'm not a fan? As a composer already, I'm also not in the target audience, but on the scale from learning music composition to rolling dice and copying down fragments of sheet music written by someone else (YouTube link), it feels much closer to the latter than the former. At the end, I felt a certain amount of ownership over what I made, and I did make some creative decisions in the course of it, but it ended up basically sounding like one of your pieces and not my own and I wouldn't say I learned anything about how to write music I like.


It was fun, but I feel like I just wouldn't get use out of it.

P#81866 2020-09-15 17:15

Could you make more instruments (so you can have sample-like instruments) like steel drum, guitar, and others if you can. it would be really helpful for music remixers and other music makers. You could add these sfx as the rest of the empty sfx (sfx 25-63).

P#90754 2021-04-18 00:26
:: Gruber

@Gabe_8_bit - You can only use 8 custom instruments in Pico-8. If you figure out how to import steel drums and guitar into SFX, let me know ;)

P#90799 2021-04-19 13:32

I was thinking of using the other sfx to allow more options for sfx instrument customizability.

P#90801 2021-04-19 15:04

@Gruber I have a guitar-like instrument! The only thing is it needs to be about one octave higher than other notes.

P#90820 2021-04-19 23:33

Grubers magnificent music modulator
Grubers magically musical masterpiece mixer
Grubers big beutiful beat box
Grubers tiny tune toolbox

Just a few name ideas.

P#90841 2021-04-20 13:52

[Please log in to post a comment]

Follow Lexaloffle:        
Generated 2021-10-26 03:15:12 | 0.063s | Q:28