(46 replies, posted in Nintendo Handhelds)

If you guys are into 3DS software now, you should also give my program Rhythm Core Alpha 2 a shot. It is about 1/4 the price and actually has some advanced features that none of the other programs have. More voices, more patterns, the ability to change key of sequences live, buttons reprogrammable to jump around in the song live, lots of options for soloing, on-screen druming, some unique synthesis options, tons of great sounds. It's like $10 and you can get it in the eShop right now...

herr_prof: as an old Atari guy, I can't bring myself to support Apple. Sorry.
jefftheworld: Thanks! I'm glad you are enjoying the Rhythm Core Alpha programs! I want to hear your songs done with it! I am actually considering doing something with the Propeller chip from Parallax. It has eight 20MHz cores and a ton of IO pins, and I can program it in C, so it seems perfect for doing a synth thing on. But I think I should still do a console program. I'm just having trouble deciding which one. They all have good and bad points, and starting over is hard to do, so I want to make the right choice!

I didn't include iOS in the list because this isn't the "most profitable" thread.
I have to balance making enough money to live with what I think folks would actually use, what I think would be the coolest thing to do, and what my conscience can deal with. I think Atari would be really cool, but probably only I would use it, and I'd starve.
I don't really have resources to make more than one at a time. Portability isn't really a thing if you want it to be any good.

So, my chiptune creation system "Rhythm Core Alpha 2" has been out on Nintendo DSi and 3DS for about a year now, and it is doing alright, but it is time to start working on the next version. But I am stuck deciding on a platform for it. Whatever is next is going to be a complete rewrite by necessity, so I want to make it count!

* The 3DS is nice and has a huge user base, but Nintendo rules limit what I can do with it and how and where I can market it.

* I'd like to do Android, but audio latency is still an issue, as is porting everything to Java.

* Windows PC might be an option, but selling stuff on it is a lot of work. Piracy and competition are a big issue.

* The PS Vita is a solid machine, and I can probably get decent terms out of Sony, but sales are low and it is hard to even find stores that have it in stock.

I have also considered porting it to non-portable consoles, although I worry that would make it hard to use live...

* The Nintendo Wii U has all of the problems of the 3DS and the Vita combined...

* Sony Playstation 4 might be decent.

* XBox One... I don't know if I could bring myself to do it.

There is also the possibility of doing a version for classic game consoles, although I don't know how I would make enough money to live on that...

* Sega Genesis / Megadrive - I have programmed this machine professionally, and you can still get various knockoff portables that will run stuff written for this, although I am not sure how good they are.

* Atari 8-Bit Computers - My first love. Could be fun, but would anybody care?

Finally, I have been considering the idea of doing dedicated hardware. This is far more risky and expensive, and a bit outside of my current skill set. I *do* have a degree in Electrical Engineering, I  just haven't used it in over 20 years. It could be funded via kickstarter, and maybe even sold in music stores someday. Not having to answer to any of these gatekeepers does have some appeal...

So, what do you think? Which platform should I support next?


(13 replies, posted in Nintendo Handhelds)

Hi, I just noticed this thread, and since I made Rhythm Core Alpha 2, I thought I should answer it, even if it is a few months late...

It does use preset samples, but I give you a ton of control options for how you make sounds with them. Not only do you get ADSR envelopes for volume and pitch, but you can actually change the interpolation curve it uses for the transitions, something I've never seen in any other synthesizer, hardware, software, or otherwise. So besides linear and exponential curves, you get reverse exponential, a smooth in/smooth out curve, a square wave, a double peak wave, a stair-step curve, and a random curve for extra grit.
There is a vibrato feature, but I give you 14 different vibrato waveforms. So not only do you get sine waves, but you also get triangle waves, sawtooth waves in both directions, several square waves, and major and minor key arpeggios so you can do the chiptune thing of using one note to play a chord. You can also synchronize these waves to the beat clock by running the rate to less than 0 - it will give you options 1/4 beat, 1/3 beat, 1/2 beat, 1 beat, etc.
Portamento is now implemented so you can do those awesome glides you get in so many of the C64 chiptune songs. This also sounds really great in the solo mode.
Finally, each and every track can have its own independently adjustable live echo. So you don't have to burn echo permanently into tracks anymore (although you still can).
And that is just how the synthesizer has improved!

Editing blocks (loops) has always been different from the tracker metaphor that other programs use, because you can change the block with a single button press, so that would make the tracker thing unwieldy. But there have always been a very complete set of editing commands for copying some or all tracks / beats to other tracks / loops / beats. So when you want to use the old drum part with a new bass line, you just copy it over. It is really fast and easy to do, especially since I let you select multiple tracks by tapping on the number and then use the top edit button to copy multiple tracks. I tried to do it in the simplest way possible.

As far as normal editing goes, I can't imagine that anybody finds it difficult. You tap on the screen at the instrument and time you want a drum to play and when the little green bar goes by, it plays it! Similarly, you just draw the notes onto the note grid. How anybody could think that is harder than the spreadsheet editing in trackers is beyond me. You can scroll the screen and so can draw notes all the way out to beat 64!

Oh, I should also mention that by holding the L or R button it gives you recording controls so that you don't even have to draw the notes in, you can just play them live and record them into the currently selected edit track! That is super easy.

Pattern editing has also been improved, with the ability to insert and delete steps in the middle of a pattern. I don't think any other program lets you change the key of your playback, and then sequence the key changes. You can even build multiple loops of chord and block changes and then define the buttons to switch between them.

I haven't even mentioned the drum screen, the mixer screen, the 10 different solo modes... all of the tiny little tweaks I made to make it awesome for playing live shows.

As far as the 8-bit aspect of it goes; like the original version it is loaded up with C64 and Atari 800 sampled drum sounds and waveforms. The new version adds a whole bunch of pokey noise waveforms from the Atari.as well as a bunch of other sounds, like different duty cycles of square waves, dubstep WUB sounds, a PWM sweep, etc. Between those and the awesome envelope, vibrato and echo settings, one can build a wide variety of sounds for oneself. They are all downsampled to 8-bit so that they would fit well into the available memory. So I don't think you will be disappointed once you dig into it.

So, far from being limited and inflexible, I would counter that it is the least limited and the most flexible program for creating chiptune on any platform. I think the demo songs prove that pretty well. And for playing live, nothing else even comes close. The chord changing capability is completely unique. The ability to press a button and jump to a completely different loop or chord sequence is not really possible in other programs. And the stylus based solo modes are more flexible and capable than any other program on anything. Hell, even if you are going to still do your music with LSDJ, having Rhythm Core Alpha 2 in your live show just to play solos on is something you should seriously consider!

There is a learning curve, but that is because it is a serious piece of music software, crammed into two 256x192 pixel screens. I think it is just as intuitive as Propellerhead's Reason, or Ableton Live. I've made the PDFs of the manuals available on the website so that you don't have to stop the music to look stuff up. Lucky Button Pusher made an awesome demo video for RCa2 to show people how to really make music, and of course the RCa1 tutorial videos are still mostly relevant.

So please give it a shot! I've worked for five years to make this the absolute best chiptune program that I could, but without you guys to use it, I am nothing...

I'm going to be at Rockage 2.0 in San Jose on February 7-9,  giving demos and perhaps performing a few songs live, so if you are in the San Jose area, please stop by! I'm also playing shows and doing demos in LA all the time, so if you want to learn how Rhythm Core Alpha 2 really works, attend the event and let me show you!

SuperBustySamuraiMonkey wrote:

I dont see anything but amazing artwork on your link, can you extend on what does you software do (ie is a tracker, a synth, something to mess around, something for full songs, etc) or give me a link to it?

Well, since you asked...

I guess it is kind of "all of the above". Instead of being a tracker, it has a piano-roll style sequencer and drum grid editor attached.

It is sample-based, but it has a full ADSR envelope for volume and pitch (it even has controls for the envelope curves), a really powerful vibrato feature with 13 different waveforms, including waves for major and minor key arpeggiations, portamento, and echo. It is also filled with chiptune instrument samples from Atari 8-bit and C-64, as well as square waves in different duty cycles, saw tooth waves, sine waves, PWM sweeps, etc.

It has a "Solo Mode" where you can use the stylus to solo on the screen, which sounds really nice with the vibrato, echo, and portamento. There are 10 different variations on the solo screen, including a normal piano keyboard, a 6 way grid, an 8 way grid, and "wide" versions of all of the above so you can play with your fingers.

There is also a "Drum Pad" mode so you can do drum solos too.

It recognizes what key you are in and lets you change key by pressing the +Control Pad or the face buttons. You can redefine what all of the buttons do and what keys/scales are available.

You can make loops of up to 64 beats and then use the pattern mode (which is sort of like a tracker) to build sequences out of them. This includes chord changes. You can put loops in the patterns if you want, and then set the face buttons to jump between the different loops. This is really handy for live performance.

All the notes in the solo mode match the current key and scale of the playing loop, so you can't hit a wrong note. Of course, you can override this.

There is a mixer screen so that you can mix and pan every track, and so you can so smooth fade-outs without need for an external mixer.

You can save your songs to the internal memory and load them back later. You can also save individual loops. You can export your songs as MIDI files to the SD card.

So, it is a sequencer and a solo instrument designed for making live chiptunes. It comes with 13 demo songs, and 91 loops to play with. The songs are by Lucky Button Pusher, Terence James (of Here Between You Me), Timon Marmex, and Tina Belmont. So, you basically get a free chiptune album with it...

There are tons of other features and stuff I crammed into it. I spent 3 years writing it, doing chiptune shows, trying to put every thing I could think of into it.

I really hope everybody likes it!

Delek wrote:

Your software is not for Game Boy, SoftEgg.

If you read further down on the list, you will see that it has a whole section for Nintendo DS / DSi programs. In fact, the original version of Rhythm Core Alpha is in it.

So, my request stands.

I just released "Rhythm Core Alpha 2" on the Nintendo DSi / 3DS. It is a download in the Nintendo eShop / DSiWare store. Could you please add it to the list?

I'm looking for chipmusic artists to perform (and exhibitors to exhibit, and attendees to attend!) at my new Developer Interest Group meetings! I'm intending to have two short 10 minute sets. The event is at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) in North Hollywood, CA. I'll be arriving for setup at 7pm and opening the doors officially at 7:30pm.

What is the Developer Interest Group?

Developer Interest Group is a group for people who are active in the geek arts. Initially, it was to be a game developer meetup group, but as those groups end up getting filled with lawyers, HR people, PR people, insurance salesmen, and people who don't create anything at all, I decided to open the doors to people who develop all manner of geek arts, kind of an "open-mike" for people who actually make stuff, with an emphasis on the the digital. Sort of like a science fair, only it's for the geek arts and sciences! The idea is to give the feedback of a human audience to media that rarely gets a public viewing. Something that harkens back to the old "computer user groups" back in the 80's.

I want people to SHOW OFF! Bring your art, games you have made (finished or not!), interesting flash experiments, Arduino projects, chipmusic, kinect hacks, steampunk paraphernalia, indie or web comics, home-made animations, independent films, original machinima works, game mods, science fiction or fantasy writings, robots, Lego artworks, laptop symphonies... anything that might be enjoyed by gamers, makers, computer geeks, scifi fans, hackers, engineers, chip musicians and synthesists, electronics hobbyists... you get the idea!

Selling merch is ok, but if you sell anything, donating a little of earnings to cover the costs is appreciated. Actually, donating a little to cover the cost for the space is appreciated anyway wink Even if you don't get to perform, you are still welcome to grab some table space and sell merch and demo your music (bring a player and headphones so people can hear your tracks without everybody blasting at once!)

If you don't have anything to show, this is still a great place to meet interesting, like-minded, creative people, and see some great stuff. I'm going to try and have some chip-music bands play short sets, and I might let people say a few words about their stuff if it seems interesting.

The venue has sodas and coffee/tea, but no real food. We might bring some snacks. We might have an aftermeeting later at the Coral Cafe down the road (as is traditional for the LASFS), but that is to be determined.

One thing I want to make clear: this is an event for developers, artists, musicians, writers, designers, engineers, filmmakers, producers, directors, and other creative folk. Gamers and students: sure, we need an audience! This is *NOT* the event for lawyers, PR people, HR people, insurance salesmen, etc. unless they have a genuine interest in the exhibits. This is not about schmoozing or business opportunities. This is not your dad's industry meetup group. It's about sharing the things we do and the things that we love.

One last thing: The venue has no internet service, so exhibits will have to be able to run without it unless you have some sort of internet device of your own.

Table space is limited, but currently plenty of space is available, so please contact us to let us know if you would like some exhibit space.

Please help us to get the word out!

For more information and table reservations, please contact:
Tim Trzepacz
(818) 588-6344
[email protected]

Developer Interest Group
1st Wednesday of Every Month
at 7:30- 9:30 pm
at the
Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society
11513 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601-2309


(64 replies, posted in Collaborations)

I'd still like to do Mongoloid. Is there any word from Jellica as to whether their version is forthcoming?


(64 replies, posted in Collaborations)

Could you list which songs have been sent in and which have not been completed and / or dropped out? There were other songs I didn't do because somebody had already reserved them, but I could always do another!

Hey Genoboost! I haven't heard back from you since your first e-mail. I'm still videoing and demoing, right?


(64 replies, posted in Collaborations)

Just completed and e-mailed "Be Stiff" . I managed to salvage the horrible vocal by vocodering it wink

The backing was entirely done with my program Rhythm Core Alpha. I layered in the solos separately using the new European version that will be out "Real Soon Now"™ because I wanted to use one of the awesome new features. The vocals and mastering was done with Ableton Live.

So, what happens to the songs when they are all received? Is somebody going to press CDs or something? I put the song up on the Rhythm Core Alpha website, but I notice other folks haven't shared theirs. Are we not supposed to share them?


(64 replies, posted in Collaborations)

I changed my song over to "Be Stiff". I'm getting close, but I don't think I'll have it tonight.


(64 replies, posted in Collaborations)

So many good songs to choose from! Dibs on "Mongoloid"!

I had a song I had recorded tracks for, but it just wasn't working. I was able to drag all the tracks into Ableton Live, try effects and EQ on the fly, fix missed notes and places where the rhythm had gone wrong, and layer in extra tracks to fill it out.
It saved the track, and ever since then I have used nothing else.