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Hi all, I got inspired to work on a sequel to PICOhaven (tactical card-based RPG-lite) and am about 70% done-- enough that I'm confident I will actually finish and release it (maybe in a few months?)

I wrote music for the original PICOhaven, though I have no particular musical background-- I noodled around on a mini keyboard with minor chords and an arpeggiator to find some ideas I liked, then built a simple version of that in PICO-8, see the cart below.

For the sequel, one idea I had was finding someone who'd be interested in creating a 'remix' or adaptation-- creating their own take on one or both of the theme songs. I'm open-minded about where on the spectrum of "clear remix" to "loosely inspired by" a composition ends up, but I thought the PICOhaven 1 theme songs could provide a useful creative constraint / starting point.

If this sounds interesting, reach out and let's chat, either here in the comments, in DM on the discord, on mastodon, or so on. I'm also very open to critique+tips on the previous music!

This cart contains two theme songs, for reference:

Cart #bakyohw-0 | 2023-09-14 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

(in case it wasn't clear, this will be another free labor-of-love game, and there is no pay involved :)

P#134352 2023-09-14 18:01 ( Edited 2023-09-14 18:10)

I'd be willing to try my hand at a remix, though I don't have much prior compositional knowledge either.
I do have a few questions:

-Should I reserve channels for SFX?
-How many SFX should I reserve?
-I noticed you didn't have any percussion instruments. Is this a purposeful choice that you would want a remix to be consistent with?
-You used a lot of Instrument 5 and 7. Would you want this to be consistent, or at least keeping a very mellow tone?
-Do you have an approximate length you want the songs to be?

And lastly: Do you have any easy methods of knowing the player is in a bad spot? I could do an alternate track of the Dungeon theme with percussion or a faster tempo if you wanted a bit of dynamic music.

P#134414 2023-09-15 23:46 ( Edited 2023-09-16 11:28)

Alright, well I've experimented with them both. Here are my current iterations:

Cart #picohvn_hwd_rmx-0 | 2023-09-16 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Personally, I am very fond of the town remix.

P#134430 2023-09-16 12:10

Cart #jikifeyita-0 | 2023-09-16 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

I had a go at interpreting the town theme. Feel free to use it / adapt it / re-re-remix it etc.

I like the original, and there are some interesting decisions to make when adapting it, because the exact key/mode is a bit ambiguous.

I went one direction, but I'm kind of interested to hear what other people's interpretations would sound like.

P#134429 2023-09-16 12:19

Whoa, thank you both! That was fast, and I like both of the unique variations— but so far I’ve only listened to them on my phone while traveling, I’ll listen fully when I’m home at a computer later…

P#134450 2023-09-16 17:31

Thanks again, and sorry for the slow response!

All three of these are interesting in different ways, and I'm going to cycle through playing them in the background as I work on the game over the next week and see which parts really click for me.

@gearfo I really like that use of vibrato in the town music, I'm enjoying listening to it on repeat. Thanks for also saying it's fine to re-re-mix yours.

@hwd2002 would you also be fine with me re-re-mixing or using just elements from yours? I especially like the intro and way some of the 'verses' use the sfx#23 percussion, but got some playtest feedback recently on the original picohaven 1 music that my use of minor chords was more obviously "repetitive" in long dungeon music sessions, so am thinking about making chords less overt (quieter? different instruments?) and highlighting more of the "single note melody" type structure more like the town songs use.

(also @hwd2002, to reply to your questions though this is less relevant since you already played around-- I'm flexible on instruments and use of percussion, it's fine to use all SFX channels (I will use one for SFX, but SFX are rare and can knock out one music channel temporarily). I probably have room for ~10-20 SFX slots for music as I'm using other SFX space to store binary game data. One of my goals for the dungeon is something long or that feels long-- mostly, that doesn't obviously repeat quickly. I do like the idea of an "in peril" version of a dungeon theme, which I could trigger on low health or when entering final rooms of each level-- even just you mentioning that idea has me thinking! I am a bit tight on tokens and SFX slots so probably can't have two entirely different songs, but I wonder if there's a way to just add in a variant on a few of the SFX (louder percussion?) and/or programmatically speed the music up a bit to get this feeling without 2x the SFX-- I may play around with that idea as well...)

P#134988 2023-09-27 18:15 ( Edited 2023-09-27 18:29)

@icegoat You are totally free to do whatever with the songs! I would agree that the dungeon track is a bit repetitive, but I did try to mix it up a bit without altering the fundamentals.

About the alternate track: Fading in and out parts of music would involve POKE() calls to the right memory addresses. You would be better off using two separate but similar tracks if you want to save tokens. For example, the regular version has light percussion but the intense version uses a heavier militaristic percussion set. The rest of the notes are identical, so you aren't using double the SFX space. Does that make sense?
An example I could give is the music in the game FTL: Faster Than Light. If you listen to "MilkyWay (Explore)" and "MilkyWay (Battle)" you can sort of see what I mean. The battle version has percussion, but both have the same notes and melody.

P#135057 2023-09-28 18:34

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