So, it’s my first foray into the world of a chiptune composer.

First things first, time to listen to a lot of chiptune music before doing anything else. “Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree and I’ll spend 4 sharpening my axe.” I think Abe Lincoln said that.

One thing I noticed right off the bat is the sophistication of the syncopated rythms. It’s very nostalgic for me, I can clearly remember these sounds from when I was a kid.

I like the grittyness of this one. Not sure exactly what kind of drum effect that is, but I’d like to find out. I remember playing this game.

I played this one too as I recall. I like the square wave sound of this track. I’ll keep it in mind when I’m building a sound palette.

It would be really interesting to see the chiptune composer’s interface, or DAW, or whatever they used to make this music in the 80’s.

I think for my music I’d like it to as authentic as possible in terms of instrumentation so I’m going to keep trolling through retro games.

1987 Uematsu-san, the first Final Fantasy. The counterpoint is truly amazing. You can definitely hear the talent even at this beginning stage in his career. It’s foreshadowing the masterpiece he created later (FF7).

About 30 minutes into my investigation I came across this video explaining how the sound channels worked on the old NES system.

So we have a total of 5 sound channels.
1 Square wave (each channel has 3 settings)
2 Square wave
3 Triangle wave (used for bass or pitch altered for percussion)
4 Noise (Ranges from sounding like a low snare drum up to white noise)
5 Sample channel (I’ll be able to be creative with this one but I’ll still use lo-fi drums)

I found some Sytrus presets modeled after the old NES systems here. Thank you Adventure Kid.

Now I’m off to writing.

Here’s the first one, there will be more to follow and I’ll be adding this pack to the free music page once it’s finished.