Sunday, April 12, 2015

Getting Real Pt 6. - Let's Talk Turkey

Last time, we talked about entropy in your productions and how it affects song size. We determined, ballpark-like, that just the Skaven introduction seemed like it was already well over my byte-budget. It was time to ask myself, "is this really possible?"

So I looked around at some of the other ports and remixes out there. The one that really came to mind was the Commodore 64 port, Second Reality 64 by Smash Designs and The Obsessed Maniacs. Second Reality 64 is an unbelievable tour-de-force that reproduces in almost exacting detail the entirety of Second Reality, on a machine a fraction of the power computer the original was designed for.

Fortunately, the SIDs for that production are out and around and I thought it might be instructive to look at them. It turns out that, at least in this case, the Commodore 64 offered less restrictions than a modern 8k competition. The soundtrack is broken up across 4 song files, the first 3 of which fairly cleanly mapped to the portions I needed to reorchestrate. However, 7-zip, on Ultra, compressed those 3 files down to 16,655 bytes or about 4x my byte-budget.

Back to the drawing board.

One lesson I can say I learned from this project was that spending too much time up-front fretting about how you're going to do the impossible really makes it seem impossible. Despite these setbacks, the song still had to be written. Worst-case, we'd get neck deep and simply decide to either quit or start cutting scenes till we could fit within the constraints of the competition.

It was time to just dive in and get the job done.

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