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How Important is MIDI support in ARC? (Please read below before voting))

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Author Topic: MIDI support in ARC  (Read 9392 times)

Offline Ryex

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MIDI support in ARC
« on: November 21, 2011, 02:51:05 AM »
Ok folks here's the deal.

MIDI sucks. at least from our point of view it does.

now hold on, let us explain.

MIDI was a great idea, really it was, still is even. the idea to reduce file size by storing the interments on the computer and then synthesizing the sound from a series of notes is great.  But support for the format stagnated a decade ago. I've been researching how to play the format in python for ages and have come up flat after almost a year, that's not a good sign.

the truth is, trying to implement midi support is a pain in the ass, even more so if we want to support the pitch change function with it and still be cross platform.

so here's the thing.

we are seriously considering dropping MIDI support even with the first release of ARC. MIDI files can be rendered down to WAV files pretty easily and from then converted to ogg or flac ect. in fact if you have the right software and some VSTs you can render them with a higher quality instrument sounds that the standard synthesizers found on most computers. Yes the file size would increase and it would take you a bit of time to convert all the MIDI files you might want to use, (heck 90% of the audio in the ARC RTP is MIDI and it would all need to be converted)


so with all that in mind...
just how important is MIDI support to you guys?

on a scale of 1-10, 10 being  "OMG I HAVE TO HAVE MIDI SUPPORT OR I'LL DIE!", 5 being "Meh I'd like it but I don't need it", and 1 being "BURN IT WITH FIRE!"

vote above

« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 12:20:45 AM by Ryex »
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Offline Reives

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 05:31:59 AM »
Something else with MIDI is that you don't really have full control of the sound when you use it. It essentially uses the local on-board sound collection to play a sheet music, so what it sounds like on one machine wouldn't necessarily sound exactly the same on another (though there are some common norms).

There also seems to be a problem with RPG Maker's midi playback system as of recently -- well, more like a compatibility with the newest windows updates or something. But on many pcs, it seems like there's a giant freeze when a midi file is meant to be played. It's odd; happens to my PC but not my laptop. Still got some complaints about it though, so I personally ended up changing to full .OGG just to be safe.
:~

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 05:58:36 AM »
Yeah something happened between XP and Vista that screwed MIDI playback horribly. Ever since Vista, people have had issues with it.

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 08:10:09 AM »
The only reason I use midi is for the b06f command, "when at end, loop to here" so when the song ends, it starts at that point rather than at the beginning.
INCREDIBLY useful. ( Added in RMXP, not default players )

If we could use like a LOOPTO tag or something in the audio file with the sample number/time after it, which will loop it to there instead would be great.
Otherwise, please include MIDI support (with the looping support RMXP has :))

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 12:35:16 PM »
Voted 5.
Quote
If we could use like a LOOPTO tag or something in the audio file with the sample number/time after it, which will loop it to there instead would be great.
This was planned for ARC, wasn't it?

Quote
in fact if you have the right software and some VSTs you can render them with a higher quality instrument sounds that the standard synthesizers found on most computers.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 01:42:53 PM »
There are so many people that uses MIDI and will probably be very disapointed if their projects can no longer contain it. Mainly becous they have to use OGG or something instead that will increase the sound file's size 100times or more.

If it is possible would say that ARC should support MIDI, becous so many people use it.
But as you said, Ryex, importing the function to play MIDI's is a pain in the ass. I understand this as i know how MIDI's work(well, sort of) and if it's too much work then we chould just skip it. It's realy up to you programmers.

It's a boring and old sound file so i wouln't use it unless i wanted to bring out a classic feeling to my games, but that's just me. I guess we need a vote from a lot more people to understand how we all feel about this.

I voted 6.

+ because many people still use it.
- because i never use it.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 01:45:39 PM by MarkHest »
   

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 09:03:43 AM »
I like how RPG Maker XP and VX used midis, but it gave me an idea..
What if ARC used it's own instrument library?
That way it WOULD sound the same to one person from another?

And yes, i noticed that after i did a system update recently, midi's stop working worth a crap in windows 7.... and in fact, RPG Maker XP lags a little if it's using Midis, and RPG Maker VX lags before starting up no mater what, which sucks.

Offline Blizzard

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2011, 09:20:10 AM »
This isn't an option. Then we're moving away from proper MIDI even more.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2011, 05:38:34 PM »
I don't think what i said made sense cause of how i said it.
What i'm saying.. is midis would use a sound bank in ARC, it would eliminate things like a game's music sounding different on other people's PCs.
It's gonna suck if i can't use midis, especially if i can't script in the use of other audio formats, i don't care for OGG or what ever, formats like wave and OGG and MP3 and what ever else that's actual recordings, can get to be pretty huge.... and i'm not willing to mess with things uploading huge files cause all we're left with are such large files.
I honestly gotta have midi support... or... no i won't die.. i just won't see myself using ARC sadly...

Offline Blizzard

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2011, 05:44:02 PM »
We didn't say that we won't implement it, but there will be obvious limitations, that's what we are trying to say. Now we're trying to figure out if the limitations are severe enough that we'll just skip the whole thing completely.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2011, 06:49:46 PM »
Now that's a die-hard MIDI fan.  As Ryex said, finding MIDI support for modern systems, especially that is cross-platform, is quite difficult. In all likelihood, we can allow the playback of MIDI, at least for some platform(s), but pitch changing is looking rather grim.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 09:57:53 PM »
Wouldn't pitch changing just involve adding / subtracting a specific amount to or from the note on and off commands' pitch bits? That shouldn't create any problems on any platform whatsoever.

Offline ForeverZer0

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 10:07:51 PM »
You are more than welcome to code such a function that works in Python and C++.
I am done scripting for RMXP. I will likely not offer support for even my own scripts anymore, but feel free to ask on the forum, there are plenty of other talented scripters that can help you.

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2011, 10:10:23 PM »
If we can simply generate raw audio data from the MIDI file, then pitch is no problem as we can just resample and speed it up. The questions is whether we can, because I have noticed that most MIDI systems don't abruptly stop the MIDI from play but have a short fade-out. I suspect that the audio mixer is inside the OS and we don't really have access to any audio data.
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Offline Ryex

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2011, 11:32:17 PM »
there are software rendering libraries for midi that could generate wav data...  timidity http://sourceforge.net/projects/timidity/ and fluidsynth http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/fluidsynth/ were what I found when looking for it. but I'm not sure how well they will integrate into XAL if at all.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 11:34:20 PM by Ryex »
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2011, 12:21:56 AM »
I think DirectSound already does that. I'm not 100% sure, but I think it does.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2011, 04:05:53 PM »
I was sure that, that was how RMXP does it, it's not playing the midis normally, it's running them through a wave thingy..

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2011, 04:32:59 PM »
But you will notice that RMXP stops other sounds immediately while there is always a reverb fade-out with MIDIs.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2011, 12:38:35 PM »
No it does not, not for me.
It still plays fine, the sounds keep playing.

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Re: Differences between RGSS and Zer0 RGSS
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2012, 05:31:27 PM »
It's final, there will be no MIDI support.

Why? There are many reasons. The first reason is that there is no really good multi-platform solution to play MIDIs which would basically mean that MIDIs might work on Windows, but don't work on Mac and Linux. This is not something that's acceptable. Third party libraries that provide the functionality of handling MIDI files often don't have what's necessary to seamlessly load and play the files. All of them complicate things even further instead of making it simpler to play MIDI files or convert them on-the-fly into WAVE data. I really hate to give up on MIDI, because I believe it's a great format for something like a hobby game maker engine because of the size, but sadly we can't support it. We will make sure to provide at least links and ways how you can convert your MIDI files into other formats. I am really sorry about this.

XAL will support the SPX format properly in the future which means that ARC will support it as well. This format is used for lossy compression of speech files. The compression ratio is amazing. You can get high quality speech recordings with little space requirement. This will help people who want their games to have voice acting a lot since the speech files will be very small.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 08:25:21 AM by Blizzard »
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Re: Differences between RGSS and Zer0 RGSS
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2012, 06:51:04 AM »
If you are interested in converting the RTP audio from MIDI to OGG, I have already and can upload them. I just used a program to run a them as a batch, so I didn't experiment with any sound fonts or anything to get the best sound. I used a mid-level quality of 160 kbps, so the files are a little bigger than need be, but don't sound bad either.

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Re: Differences between RGSS and Zer0 RGSS
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2012, 08:08:48 AM »
Did you use this site? http://www.hamienet.com/midi2mp3
I found that it converts the MIDIs great with the settings:

16 bit
Stereo
Set 3 - Freepats
On
75%
No Change
No Change

They sound good, the volume is about the same as the original MIDIs and there is basically no clipping.
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Offline winkio

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2012, 10:01:42 AM »
I hate to be 'that guy', but did you ever look at this library?

https://github.com/jdkoftinoff/jdksmidi

Under their readme, it says:

Quote
Supported Operating Systems
          win32,
          win64,
          Mac OS X,
          Linux,
          UcLinux,
          other Unix style systems,
          other embedded systems, 16 bit, 32 bit, 64 bit.

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2012, 10:21:20 AM »
I took a look at it. The lack of any kind of documentation makes it really hard to understand what this library is actually for. :/ Browsing through the source, I came to conclusion that this is basically a library to work with MIDI files, it's not a synthesizer. Even though it does mention something about I/O:

Quote
MIDI Driver implementation for Win32 for I/O and sequencing

But I couldn't find any code that plays a MIDI file.
Any pointers on that?

EDIT: After going through more code, I found some stuff that seems to be actually playing MIDI files. I'll take a more detailed look at this library. This might just be what we needed. Funny how this library never turned up during my Google searches. :/
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 10:54:38 AM by Blizzard »
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 06:46:46 PM »
Or mine for that matter...
the main purpose of this library seems to be working with midi objects and events not a synthesizer for midi instruments. ie it allows for the building of interfaces to hardware midi controllers
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2012, 07:02:04 PM »
Under the examples folder, there seems to be a synthesizer example:

https://github.com/jdkoftinoff/jdksmidi/tree/master/examples

synthesizer readme:

https://github.com/jdkoftinoff/jdksmidi/blob/master/examples/vrm_music_gen_readme.txt

unless I misunderstood, it seems to be able to play back MIDI commands with the full set of parameters.

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2012, 08:10:57 PM »
I don't think that one's a synthesizer. It seems to me it's a MIDI input example which writes the data into a MIDI file. This one is an example that actually plays the MIDI file:

https://github.com/jdkoftinoff/jdksmidi/blob/master/examples/win32/jdksmidi_test_drvwin32.cpp

It uses the MIDIDriverWin32 class for the interface to the OS, reads the file, then queues the sequencer and finally plays the file through the manager. It's still a bit complicated, but this is far simpler than any other system I have seen. The others were just horrible to work with.

And this example seems to have some generic driver usage.

https://github.com/jdkoftinoff/jdksmidi/blob/master/examples/jdksmidi_test_drv.cpp
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 08:12:13 PM by Blizzard »
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2012, 05:47:05 AM »
The reason I feel midi is needed is simple. I have a folder with 30 midis in it, all being used at one point or another. At the moment it is at 2.1mb. If I was to convert it to ogg,wav, or even mp3, the folder would increase to anywhere from 10mb-50mb depending on which format I use.
It may not seem to be a problem, but getting people to download your game will be hard. I've seen great games that I "want" to try, but due to the file being 60-180mb I just NEVER do. I have downloaded maybe 3 games because they were decent sizes. The simple fact is nobody wants to play a non-professional 180mb game (unless of course they have a good connection).

What I'm planning on doing is releasing it with midis and then another one with mp3s that way people can choose what they want, but no midi support is just :O idk. I'd still use it because it has TONS of shit that would make life easier for me, but idk. Lol.

Edit: By the way I haven't read the rest of it lol. So yeah..
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 05:49:13 AM by Zexion »

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2012, 07:07:23 AM »
A library with cross-platform MIDI support is a very difficult thing to create/find.
Although MIDI is a rather nice format for creating audio with small file size, it is an absolute nightmare to work with on any one platform, let alone trying implement something that works on multiple platforms. The synthesizers that actually produce the sound are on the operating system themselves, therefore any sort of "universal" code is not really possible without an extensive library.

Hopefully a solution presents itself, even the above mentioned library, but no promises are being made. We do not want to omit MIDI support any more than anybody else, we realize its importance. As of the moment, we have only a few options:

  • Drop MIDI support
  • Drop cross-platform support
  • Find/create a cross-platform library, which may be project that rivals the size of ARC itself.

Everything that can be done to have MIDI support will be made, but if it comes down to it, dropping it may be the only viable option. Cross-platform support is hardly worth dropping over a single audio format.
I am done scripting for RMXP. I will likely not offer support for even my own scripts anymore, but feel free to ask on the forum, there are plenty of other talented scripters that can help you.

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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2012, 04:18:33 PM »
Well, if this library works out, I don't think we have to drop anything. As winkio already posted:

Supported Operating Systems
          win32,
          win64,
          Mac OS X,
          Linux,
          UcLinux,
          other Unix style systems,
          other embedded systems, 16 bit, 32 bit, 64 bit.
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Re: MIDI support in ARC
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2013, 07:46:29 AM »
I have some news regarding this. Since MIDI isn't supported properly on any other platform than Windows, it is highly likely that we are going to drop support for it. It doesn't work on Linux, Mac, Android and iOS so there isn't really a point for it. But the MOD format is self-contained (and technically one can convert MIDIs into MODs) so we might add MOD support later on.
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