Music with a tiny footprint

I received a really nice email this morning with some high praise for the music I wrote for the Nintendo DSi app, myNotebook (Nnooo) back in 2009. I’d almost forgotten about this project, but listening back now it does sound pretty sweet if I do say so myself!

The track was written following the same technical specifications as writing for the Wii, but with an even smaller memory footprint. I was aiming for a very clean Nintendo-esque sound, which at the time meant something similar to the Mii-channel music; modern bossa-nova used in an ambiguously kitsch tongue-in-cheek fashion.

I found the folder and the source files: around 500kb of very short 11khz samples, all sequenced via MIDI file.

I’d like to imagine that the skills I acquired back in the day on projects like these (and several Gameboy Advance titles) for saving memory and CPU might again one day be relevant, but so far I’ve not met many developers looking to save space. Perhaps some lightweight app developers could one day appreciate the need for MIDI or mod files…?

Anyway, the email I received was from someone by the name of Ethan, and he wanted to know the source of the samples for this project, just so he might experiment with them and make some tracks of his own. I figured this could be a useful exercise for anyone else wanting to dabble in game soundtrack work so I’m providing all the samples I used to to create the music for myNotebook in this zipfile.

If you really want to stick to the limitations of the era, consider these points:

  • make a track using only these samples
  • no external effects (this includes eq or compression)
  • pitch up, pitch down, but no fancy time stretching
  • panning & portamento are allowed
  • loop points are allowed, as is ADSR envelope automation
  • good luck! 😅💙👍

I’m very curious to hear what you come up with – so be sure to email me any links to your tracks on Soundcloud etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *