[8-Bit Cover] Twinleaf Town | Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum

A small town with the fresh scent of new leaves in the air. It feels like a place where adventures start.

⬇ Downloads

8Bit-DPPt-TwinleafTown.mp3
8Bit-DPPt-TwinleafTown.flac
8Bit-DPPt-TwinleafTown.wav
8Bit-DPPt-TwinleafTown_loopable.wav
8Bit-DPPt-TwinleafTown.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

Two things. Firstly: Nostalgia. Secondly: Why does the house only consist of the protagonist’s room and the living room, where does the protagonist’s mum sleep? On the carpet? On the kitchen counter? Then again, most buildings seem to lack necessary interior elements. Thirdly: I dedicate this cover to my best friend Amarizo, who requested it, without whom I don’t know how I could have survived life until now, who is always a delight to converse with and who wrote an incredibly useful Python tool for me that lists all possible settings to achieve the desired BPM in FamiTracker, as I’m sure I’ve already mentioned before. Three, three things. You better don’t ruin your birthday for me by not congratulating me for your birthday present.

The Song

For the first time, just about half past ten, I let FamiTracker play and input the notes by playing them on my midi keyboard in real-time instead of manually navigating to each row with the arrow keys and then inputting the note. The latter method usually throws me off the rhythm and where I am in the melody because I have to focus on how many times to press arrow down to natigate to the right row. The high latency and the fact that the notes usually get placed one row too late because FT goes to the next row as soon as a row is activated, it doesn’t activate a row when it reaches it as I make it look like in the fideo visuals, doesn’t make playing along live that easy. But it’s definitely faster and more fun. But it sounds disgusting, being the sum of my low skill and high latency.

I couldn’t decide whether to use 12.5 % or 25 % for the clarinet (the first instrument playing the main melody). 12,5 % can sound great but it’s quieter and more difficult to implement well, I feel like. I prefer the sound of 25 % but that already had to be used for the piano, so I wanted to use 12.5 to distinguish both parts. I was really frustrated and believed the 12.5 wave would ruin the song. Now that it’s done I don’t have hat much of an issue with the clarinet anymore, I believe the great Pxx echo improved it a lot.

I love the note slide I added at 1:03, it sounds so good! The bells at 0:59 don’t sound very melodic in the original, you can’t really tell the pitch and there isn’t much of an audible difference between different notes. A pulse wave of course is very melodic, you clearly hear the notes. The notes in the original game file don’t really sound like what I hear, they are always starting low and going higher, but I hear them going up and down, so I inputted notes the way I hear them.

Also for the first time, I used Mxy, a delayed channel volume change, for those very short notes at 0:33, to make the note quickly fade out a little without having to make a new instrument just for those two notes. I remembered that 0CCFT added a delayed release, so I looked up what tag it is and found the delayed channel volume change which is even better since the release would be too slow. It also resets to the previous channel volume after that which is even more exactly what I needed, that way I didn’t have to change the channel volume back for the next note. It’s like this effect was made exactly for this exact case which will probably never come up again.

As (almost) always, I put one instance of each percussion instrument, along with their usual volume and “note”, nicely ordered somewhere, this time in the noise channel instead of DPCM. I put them at the beginning of the frame starting at 0:18 and I became so used to hearing the drums there that I almost forgot removing them. It didn’t sound bad either, so I kept the last two notes, though I changed them from the loud other drum going high-low to quiet bongos going high-low as that part is supposed to have no or at least quiet drums, the loud drums are reserved for later.

Otherwise, there are no new or noteworthy things to write about regarding the integration of the song into 8-bit. This seems way too short, something must be wrong.

The Drawing

I (again) used a different style. Shaded, of course, but with outlines again, but coloured with a blue-ish dark drey I used for outlines for some experimental drawings. It does look interesting, but it also looks different depending on the brightness and hue of the colour it surrounds. I wanted to use this one grey for all outlines but maybe I should adjust the brightness to fit the context, and not just when I’m absolutely forced to do so because the thing the outlines outline already is dark grey.

And not only did I change the Pokémon style a bit, I completely changed the “style” of 8-bit fideo drawings. It started out as tile-based environments with sprite-based characters “animated” in game form in RPG Maker. But after 2, 3 fideos, I transitioned to full hand-drawn scenes. Which has been an incredible challence each time to this very day. I slowly improved my FamiTracking abilities and gained skill and confidence, but the same cannot be said for the scene drawings. While I definitely improved, it’s still very difficult for me to make it look good, probably partly because I draw so many different things, different Pokémon, occasionally humans and many many different landscape elements or structures. So there wasn’t much of an opportunity to focus on something and improve that. And when I’m not good at something I want to be good at, my self-doubts kick in and I feel terrible for being bad and can’t believe that there is the possibility of improvement if I keep going and that being bad and making mistakes is good and a natural result of trying something and improving. But this makes me have almost no fun at all most of the time and prevents me from even touching the tablet with my pen. It’s like those dreams where you want to run but there’s an invisible force preventing you from doing so. I’m having a dėjāvü, I feel like I used that comparison before. So the drawings most of the time just were a chore I had to force myself through to get to the next song I want to have fun covering. When I made Ice Path, I told myself I’d try one last time, and while the background was interesting and fun to make and I successfully learnt something new, the second half of Lyra was already getting frustrating and I had to stop soon after. I was also a little depressed due to IRL stuff which contributed to me not believing in myself and not having fun. I started collecting ideas for a full scene for this cover, especially because it’s dedicated to Amarizo and I of course had to make a good drawing for him and not “just” a good cover, especially after last year’s cover for him, Cynthia, had a disgusting drawing apart from the monitor and the thumbnail Cynthia. And I’ve been planning to draw a scene with the protagonist(s) at the small pond thing for a long time, before I even knew I would cover this for Amarizo. I love that pond and a scene of human and Pokémon looking down into the water at their reflections or something, thinking about their long life-changing journey ahead, with the Sinnoh landscape stuff like Mount Rodent in the background, could look really great. But I couldn’t start drawing, I had no motivation whatsoever. So I decided to make a change. I would not draw full scenes anymore and just one Pokémon or human that fits to the song. That way, I can focus on 1, 2 thing and improve that and I would be done so much faster instead of spending many days on something very difficult with a disappointing result. It would mean more fun, more improvement, less time per fideo and therefore more fideos for you and more FamiTracker fun for me. So I decided to draw a Turtwig, being a Sinnoh starter in the Sinnoh starting town with twin leaves on its head.

I almost forgot this because I didn’t mention this in my notes for some reason, but I think this is the first fideo drawing I didn’t make a perfectly posed SFM/Blender reference for. Making those takes a lot of time as well and the models don’t look that good and I make the drawings look way too close to them. But no full scene meant I could just take any good screenshot from the anime and use it as a reference, there was no very specific pose and no need to get the scales right according to their different sizes and distances from the viewpoint.

I really liked how Turtwig turned out. And I was surprised how a weird bunch of pixels suddenly turned into a realistic impressive Turtwig after shading it. As reference, I chose one of those battle scenes where someone flies through the air with an artificial background right before attacking. I thought, if I don’t make a complete scene, I could at least make the empty background a little more interesting by using this background style. That could be the new style for fideo drawings.

I was done. While it didn’t look bad, it was so much less than what I usually do. My perfectionism can’t tolerate that. And it’s supposed to be for Amarizo’s birthday and he likes Chimchar the most. I can’t just give him a Turtwig instead of his Lucas with his Chimchar. Having one Pokémon per song would also mean that there probably aren’t enough songs to get all starters’s’s first evolutions into a fideo. But they are great and important, they have to be featured somewhere. So I decided to draw Chimchar and Piplup as well to satisfy my perfectionism and to disappoint Amarizo less.

Chimchar’s hand and feet turned out really good, I love them. Especially how three-dimensional and dynamic the hand looks. And I didn’t even mean to make it look that tilted, it just sort of happened when I tried shading it a little more interestingly and then I adjusted the hand’s shape to fit that.

I think Piplup was the most difficult and took me the longest, which might be surprising since it looks like just a circle head with a rounded square for a body. Getting the beak right was especially difficult but after many ctrl-z `s, it looks really good and realistic for what a 6×4 area allows. Shading that light blue was a nightmare, though. Blue is usually diffcult to shade for me because of its weird properties. Piplup looks alright, the only thing I’m not sure about is the back foot. It’s too pointy.

Picking the background colours was not easy, especially to make each one’s three colours fit to one another, as if they had the same brightness and overall feel with just a different hue. Which is not the case of course since colours are highly illogical. But it was worth the effort, the colours I settled for after many hours and countless retires look good and fitting, I believe.

Regarding the outlines, I’m not sure if I should use the distinct outline colour only on the outside according to the perspective or also around parts that are physically three-dimensionally separated with a bit of space between like Piplup’s front foot against its body or Chimchar’s hand in front of the fire. But now that I think about it, that is basically every coloured line. I somehow thought it would only be a couple of them. Maybe it’s good like this. I thought it would only be for extreme cases of z-axis distance. I’m too tired to think clearly.

The order of the drawings of the starters happens to also be the order in which they appear in the game’s intro and in the professor’s briefcase, so I kept that order for the fideo. It’s the order of how much I like the drawn result as well. The order of how much I like the Pokémon themselves is Chimchar > Piplup > Turtwig. Chimchar was my first ever Pokémon and I only associate bad things with four-legged shelled creatures.

Now I had three images for one fideo. My first thought was to show them one after the other but that didn’t convince me. So i put them all next to each other. As it turned out, the cut between Chimchar and Piplup exactly matches the end of the piano claviature, not counting the outline.

The result doesn’t look bad but maybe action-packed battle-styled Pokémon-drawings don’t really fit to a slow-calm sad-nostalgic Pokémon-less hometown-song.

Conclusion

I take back what I said earlier regarding this description being short. It might be shorter than the others but the drawing section made up for the short song section. I was partly worried and unsatisfied while I made the song, but I like the result now.

👆 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
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, video conversion: FFmpeg https://ffmpeg.org/
Note visualisation: NSFPlay Synthesia https://bbbradsmith.github.io/nsfplay/
Audio editing, playing back and timestamping original song to analyse: Audacity https://www.audacityteam.org/
Playing back original notes and instruments to analyse: LMMS https://lmms.io/
Extracting original music from game to analyse: VGMTrans https://github.com/vgmtrans/vgmtrans/releases

🎵 Music Used

Original song: Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum – Twinleaf Town https://youtu.be/HhDBpjabNyg