[8-Bit Cover] File Select | Super Mario 64

A bit is a bit. You can’t say it’s only a half.
A frame is a frame. You can’t say it’s only a quarter.
A Pannenkoek reference is a Pannenkoek reference. You can’t say it’s been done before.
I expect numerous very creative and unique Pannenkoek/ABC/other ABC community members/SM63 references in the comments. How about this one: 8-bit is 8-bit. You can’t say it’s only 7-bit. Or 16-bit. Or GXSCC. …I think that’s enough for now, I’ll continue building up my 8-bit soundfont collection now until I reach QPU BPM in my trial version of FL Studio and record the result with UnregisteredHyperspeedWalkingCam_Softonic.exe.

⬇ Downloads

8Bit-SM64-FileSelect.mp3
8Bit-SM64-FileSelect.flac
8Bit-SM64-FileSelect.wav
8Bit-SM64-FileSelect_loopable.wav
8Bit-SM64-FileSelect.0cc

You may do anything with these as long as you name the source of the original song and credit me as the creator of the cover version by linking to my website or one of my social media accounts (licence: CC BY 4.0).

📒 My Thoughts

Prologue

According to my list™, the DPPt lake legends battle theme should have come next. But because I’m busy with a lot of stuff irl right now I haven’t felt like doing a cover. But I didn’t want to do nothing for yet another month, and when I was listening to music, this song started playing and I immediately felt the desire to cover it. It sounds incredible and is nostalgic, but also very simple, so I could cover it quickly to at least do something and to have some fun without having to focus on a very complex piece. And it was definitely worth the weight, as I did have fun and love the result.

Now for the obligatory dedicated dedication which has become a tradition by now. This cover is, unsurprisingly, dedicated to pannenkoek2012. His videos, skills and knowledge are impressive, fascinating, educational and entertaining. I really recommend checking him out, even if you don’t care about SM64. You’ll learn a lot about the innards of video games.

The Song

I made a triangle + noise kick in addition to a triangle bass by placing short downward slides within the bass notes. Kicks sound a lot better with a triangle instead of just noise, but after my earliest attempts I’ve always been using the triangle channel as bass. I think I’ve noticed the triangle being used for both the bass and kicks at the same time in Branflakes’s’s songs. When the beginning of a bass note aligns with a kick, my usual arpeggio attack envelope adds a little triangle kick anyway. But this time, I tried adding triangle kicks in the middle of bass notes by inserting the usual short downward slide in the aforementioned middle and going back to the bass note again. Since I haven’t used a triangle kick since my earliest attempts, I wasn’t exactly sure how to make one. I used to use a | -127 pitch envelope. This time, I used an arpeggio envelope to precisely control the pitch and to make it go back to the original note after a few ticks, but I’m not sure I’ve executed this well. Both regarding the speed and height of the slide as well as the timing, since I made the first pitch change one tick after the noise kick starts because I thought the first tick at the original pitch should count as the starting point and it should go down one tick later. When the song was done, I compared it with and without the triangle kick and I barely heard a difference while still slightly noticing the bass note missing for a very brief moment, so I’m not sure if doing this is a good idea or not, or if I just did it wrong. But at least I tried it, maybe it’ll turn out better next time.

I didn’t use note releases for the first note of each note group because I felt like it would sound interesting. When I did add them later to compare how it sounds, it really sounded much better without them.

This cover could have been an exact recreation using only 2A03 channels, I believe. It sounds like there are only percussion, melody, bass and an accompanying string instrument playing single notes. At least if one doesn’t count the Panned echo. But, since I’m a perfectionist and only using 2A03 channels looks too simple and therefore lazy, bad and worthless to me (if I did it), and to make it sound richer, I slapped MMC5 channels on, using one for a P7E echo and the other to add string chord notes, turning the bass and now two string notes into triads. I used major chords except for one minor chord at 0:12 and it unexpectedly sounds perfectly fitting. And not only that, the chord progression as a whole as an accompanying voice sounds really good. Maybe I don’t have to be that scared of chords anymore. I also was able to quickly learn to play this simple chord progression on my keyboard, albeit in more usable constellations as someone whose hands don’t span the length of half the keyboard. This is the second song I’ve “learnt” to “play” with two hands since I stopped playing piano after fourth grade, the other one being Windmill Hut / Song of Storms from OoT. I’d really love to be able to properly learn how to play songs again. But, apparently unlike back then, time and self-confidence are scarce. But now I have the motivation and love for the songs I’m playing, unlike back then when I hated the lessons because I was forced to learn a boring song I didn’t know or care about at all each and every week. And I for some reason never thought of playing songs I actually like, I probably wasn’t that actively and passionately into listening to music and music as a whole as I am now.

I wanted to use speed 5 for the flute’s vibrato, it sounded a little fast but much better than 4. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was too fast for the echo channel because when both of them played at the same time, it didn’t sound like a vibrato anymore, it only sounded properly with one channel. I guess I really shouldn’t use dual-channel echoes that often. It doesn’t make much of a difference when the song is done and well made, though it still noticeably improves it, but when I’m working on the melody and a lot of other stuff is still missing it usually doesn’t sound that great but the dual-channel echo makes it sound great from the start, so it’s very tempting to always use one to get an early feeling of accomplishment. I compared 4 and 5 again and now the faster option didn’t convince me even with only one channel. 4 is too slow and 5 too fast. I’m wasn’t sure what to think of this vibrato. After 1, 2k attempts to change it for the better, I came up with the idea to alternate the speed between 4 and 5 which works and to also start the vibrato 2 rows earlier. Now it’s good enough, I think. It was once again worth the weight to work on issues like this for hours instead of just calling it done. Or was it. This time, definitely. Now I have more echo speeds at my disposal.

Editing

The song itself is only 20 s long. Looping it twice, as I usually do, would be too short, also because it’s so beautiful that it has to be listened to longer without being interrupted by the fade-out and having to restart. My first plan, right after it was done, was to loop it for 3 minutes. I couldn’t get enough of hearing it. But of course, as always when I hear something too many times, which especially happens when I make it, I soon got just a little sick of it and changed plans to 2 minutes. Which is probably a more sensible length. Not too short and not too long without too much bother if you want to repeat it.

NSFPlay Synthesia suddenly didn’t start. It still won’t start to this day. I did get it to start using Lutris’s’s Wine version, so I guess new Wine changes broke compatibility. But my NSFPS version is probably very old anyway, I downloaded it from that one forum thread. When I looked for the current version, I realised that I had the wrong link in these descriptions the whole time. And the proper repository by the good old and great HertzDevil doesn’t have compiled releases, only the source. I asked the good old and great Amaratzo how I could compile this and he told me to compile C++ with G++. I tried but it told me a file called afxwin.h was missing. If I understood the few web search results correctly, that file is only included in the paid version of Visual Studio. So I guess I can’t compile it and can’t get newer working and improved versions. I could of course, as Amarizo said, contact the great HertzDevil, as they offered on their NSFPS repository, but what is contacting people.

The NSFPS recording was somehow again a tiny bit off regarding the speed, like in Drenched Bluff, I believe. It was off by two frames during the outro. I had to set the speed from 76 fps to 75.984 to get it right. But FT/NSFPS visuals are very choppy anyway, so I guess it doesn’t make a visually noticeable difference.

The noise recording was very weird. The delays compared to the music were all over the place, instead of the usual 0-1 and occasionaly 2 frames off it went up to like 5. I had to cut out two frames in the middle to make it a little better. The other recordings weren’t that much better either, I had to spend hours synchronising everything and cut out frames on multiple occasions. A bad day for recording/displaying FT songs, apparently.

I made the NSFPS yellow note bars a little less transparent and changed the hue to be a little more orange to make it more wisible against the yellow background of the SM64 main menu. I actually like the resulting slightly orangeish yellow much better, maybe I should keep it that way. But maybe that’s just if it’s in front of the disgusting NES colour palette yellow. I made the light white bars as little less transparent as well because of the background.

The Drawing

Since this fideo was supposed to be something quick, simple and fun yet great, I wanted to quickly and simply draw the SM64 file select menu. Maybe a beautiful landscape Bob Ross painting would do the song more justice but I didn’t feel like doing one and the file menu would also be a great opportunity for easter eggs. Because I wanted it to be done quickly and because it’s a rather boring theme, I thought I might as well use the predefined rather boring but different (compared to the N64) NES colours again for a change.

The number 17 at file B is a reference to the remaining A-button challenge A presses. I hope it’s the correct most recent number which it seems to be according to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1yssoTbplI_42LgjTbERd6UuSt0gaI0iOtp-5muS5hKw/edit#gid=2107908634 while Ukikipedia seems to be outdated, saying 19. I also wanted to replace the stereo button’s description with something wisible. Some other kind of technology. My first thought was VR because VR is new modern hip shit just like stereo sound was 1000 years ago. But it didn’t convince me. Eventually, the Dolby™ Atmos™ audio setting in Overwatch, Windows and probably other games came to my mind. Some modern technology that we’re told is incredible and futuristic. At least I think that’s what some Overwatch presentation told us. And it’s audio-related as well, so it fit perfectly.

Other

I would write about other stuff now, like what exactly made me cover this simple song now instead of the scheduled less simple song, the usual RL stuff. But I don’t really feel like spending hours writing about that right now and I also still have to write the descriptions for Ice Path and Twinleaf Town. And the Jeff song from two years ago. And of course there’s still RL issues to resolve and other PC stuff on my to-do list. What is fun. I’m not sure what to do about these descriptions. It can be fun and I really want to document the creation process because I love reading these kinds of descriptions from other people. But it also takes me quite a long time to write them and I’m usually not motivated to do so. They contribute to me having less fun and making fideos less often. Maybe I should write the things I describe here down properly as they happen instead of just quick notes to remember what happened that I then have to go through and turn into a novel later.

👆 Links

Website: https://phal.io
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/phalio
Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/phalio
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/phalio
YouTube_2: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6OogQGNdNLLRix0TR0Ke_A
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Phalio_
Discord Server: https://phal.io/discord
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/phalio
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/phalio7
Twitch (German): https://www.twitch.tv/phalio_
Mastodon: https://mstdn.social/@Phalio
Matrix community: https://matrix.to/#/+hylians:phal.io
Odysee: https://odysee.com/@phalio:6
I’m on almost every site because I don’t want to exclude anyone, find out if I’m using the site you’re using here: https://phal.io/links

💾 Programmes Used

8-bit audio production: 0CC-FamiTracker https://github.com/HertzDevil/0CC-FamiTracker/releases
Pixel art: Aseprite https://www.aseprite.org/
Fideo editing: DaVinvi Resolve https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
Screen recording, media conversion: FFmpeg https://ffmpeg.org/
Note visualisation: NSFPlay Synthesia https://github.com/HertzDevil/nsfplay/releases
Audio editing, playing back and timestamping original song to analyse: Audacity https://www.audacityteam.org/

🎵 Music Used

Original song: Super Mario 64 – File Select https://youtu.be/PNesKjfP2OU