How much time do you personally spend on a track?
BotB Academy n00b s0z
Level 16 Pixelist
post #150619 :: 2022.01.04 10:49am :: edit 2022.01.04 10:52am
  607 liēkd this
I get frustrated because I find I can spend hours (5-6+) on a track and end up hating it anyway, hence why I haven't already shared more on botb. :D Would like to get to a place where I'm content with spending 1-4 hours on a track and moving on (unless I really care about a single track), so I could enjoy participating in some XHBs.

For me that's part of the appeal of botb... I see people putting aside typical creative blocks and just sharing stuff so you get a nice range of what's out there. I love the idea of just creating something for the sake of sharing with the community, regardless of your personal feelings on quality. I remember reading somewhere out there a quote like "the point of doing creative things isn't to be good at them". This idea helps me a ton, but -- honesty here -- biggest creative block for me is simple insecurity at personal lack of skill and comparing myself with others, but I recognize that people only get better at stuff when they actually work at it! And again, the end objective is simply to share, which for me is what makes the competition environment so interesting.

Anyway, how long do you typically spend on a single entry? I'm sure you get faster as you get more experienced, but I'm just curious.
Level 9 Playa
post #150621 :: 2022.01.04 11:25am :: edit 2022.01.04 11:27am
  kilowatt64 liēkd this
Hello, and welcome to Battle of the Bits, kilowatt64!

Years; there is so much that I am new to, from processor architectures, to implementing effects: It has taken me years to create a complete music track; in fact, I differ from even having notated one note pitch for one I would call my first track, and instead getting a working implementation on scopes I deem relevant to, and familiarize myself with sound engines and systems. Abstract concepts for me chiptunes yield.

I wonder if professionals in music-scopes call it a day when they differ from feeling drive to practice, or just get work done. May a difference between amateurs and professionals in fields be found by?

I entered on Battle of the Bits and participated on competitions seldom being aware of how chiptunes could be made; Battle of the Bits has been the best entry level place for me to get started on: And regardless of myself being about freshly unfamiliar about, I since feel it as a inclusive place to practice on: I am looking forward to see you participate in competitions in, kilowatt64!
Level 31 Chipist
post #150622 :: 2022.01.04 11:40am
  kilowatt64, cabbage drop and nitrofurano liēkd this
20-30 mins in OHBs, 1-2 hours on average for quick short stuff in majors, 4-5 hours for a usual major entry, no upper bound for stuff that i actually want to be awesome, usually longer on collabs
Level 16 Pixelist
post #150624 :: 2022.01.04 12:15pm
  607, cabbage drop, nitrofurano, kleeder and ViLXDRYAD liēkd this
Thanks for the comments and welcome. Nice to meet you all and looking forward to getting to know the community better.

Thanks kleeder, that makes sense.
Level 28 Chipist
post #150636 :: 2022.01.04 7:34pm :: edit 2022.01.04 7:42pm
  cabbage drop and ProjReRise liēkd this
In an XHB, I'll usually take like 80-90% of the allotted time, giving me enough time to do a quick listen and make sure the song is ready to submit on-time.
Sometimes I'll end up having to restart midway through, which sucks, because it usually ends up halving my allotted time.

One big issue I've had lately is that I've found myself taking way longer than an hour to get anywhere in a song, which is one of the big reasons I don't enter XHBs that much these days.

Majors can take an entirely arbitrary amount of time.

Like, taking my two Winter Chip XVII entries as an example, I started the song Fusion of the Kings on December 28th of last year, and finished it on the 3rd of January (according to the last modified date anyway), although a huge portion of that time was spent doing nothing because I didn't know where to go with it.
I did most of the work on the last three days and spent a bunch of the last day just trying to listen for any odd things with the song (and there are still issues that I could have probably kept trying to fix since I have so much time available to submit, but there's a point where it stops feeling like it's worth it to keep fixing things).

Then, you have my other entry so far, MEGASTORMER, and according to the created/modified dates, it took me just barely under two hours today, haha. I did start over at least once though.
Probably could have let this one sit in the oven a little bit so I could listen for any issues with fresher ears, but I didn't actually even intend to write a SID at all.
Level 16 Pixelist
post #150648 :: 2022.01.05 6:57am
  nitrofurano liēkd this
Thanks null. It sounds like the time you need could end up anywhere. As I've thought about it, maybe a better question would have been; how do you determine that point mid project where you decide to scrap a song and start over like you described, or to bag it entirely and go a completely different direction? When I'm working on something, I can't tell if my song is actually "meh" or if it only seems "meh" to me because I can't visualize very well what the final product could be like. A song that I think sucks could very well have really good potential but I may not yet see how to get it there. So I'm trying to figure out when is it worth putting in more effort vs. moving on.

A lot of people seem to have good intuition for this kind of stuff, and maybe it's just from experience, dunno.
Level 28 Chipist
post #150651 :: 2022.01.05 10:29am
  607, kilowatt64, nitrofurano and ViLXDRYAD liēkd this
For XHBs... it's a total judgement call that mostly ends up centering around whether I can think of any possible place to take the song, or can remove whatever bits that are bugging me or not.
If I'm restarting with less than like 25 minutes remaining on the clock, I'll probably just drop out from entering, but otherwise, I just keep on moving and try again.
Early on, less than ten minutes into the compo, it's usually worth restarting if you're remotely stuck.

I used to just submit anything, even if it was total, blatant junk (which might even be helpful for you, it helped me get better and keep working on things, but if you look at a lot of my early OHB entries, you'll see the reason why my avatar is the recycle bin).
One of BotB's mottos is "try your best, or do your worst", and sometimes, you just have to send it so you can get experience.

For majors, I'll try and space out a bit of time between when I made the song and when I listen for issues usually. If I'm just hard stuck or don't know how to fix the issues, I'll start over, but still keep the file so I can maybe go back and attempt to do something with it later.
Just having some time away from the song really helps, even if you spend a lot of that time working on another song instead.

Plus, a song isn't done until it's released. If you do manage to fix the song even after you've worked on another one to completion, you could just release it next time the format rolls around.
Level 25 Chipist
post #150652 :: 2022.01.05 10:49am :: edit 2022.01.05 12:08pm
  kilowatt64 liēkd this
well, i might be a bit "suspicious" (some people here will laugh! ;) ) here when i say sometimes i spend 30 seconds on a track (but most of the times around 10 to 15 minutes) - the reasons for that are a lot: i'm usually interrupted all the time, most ohb battles i use to find and wanted to submit something were mostly unscheduled and closing in 15 minutes or less, i want to improve workflow and creativity flow in a short time, improve techniques for that, etc. - it reminds me when i had drawing classes in university: first you start on 3 hour drawings, then 1 hour, then 5 minutes, then 5 seconds, and then 3 hours back again - the curious is that mostly your 5 first seconds in a 3 hours drawing will be like your 5 second drawing exercises (with elements you consider essential), and then you have almost 3 hours to try to improve that - so, i think a similar method can be used on song composition exercises like here - from my part, one difficulty i were mostly trying to overcome is not to get bored in the process, and being at botb is quite relevant in this (even if it is not noticed that easily)

edit: @kilowatt64 (welcome!!! :) ) ("A song that I think sucks could very well have really good potential but I may not yet see how to get it there. So I'm trying to figure out when is it worth putting in more effort vs. moving on.") - i think this is why musical analysis is usually a very important part in music theory?
Level 25 XHBist
post #150653 :: 2022.01.05 11:33am
  cabbage drop, nitrofurano and kleeder liēkd this
Level 16 Pixelist
post #150656 :: 2022.01.05 11:52am
  607, nitrofurano and ViLXDRYAD liēkd this

@nitrofurano - interesting analogy with your drawing class. It would be fun to do a similar exercise with music in some fashion. And you're right, what you put into it is largely dependent on what you're trying to get out of it.

@null1024 - seems like solid advice, I see the value in submitting some junk songs for myself just to get some experience going through the complete creation and submission process. I actually tried putting together a quick song today for an OHB but didn't finish in time because I had some technical issues. BUT, going through the process taught me what I need to figure out to try again next time. I figure I'll never learn much if I don't get outside the comfort zone. ALSO I dig the avatar :)
Level 25 Chipist
post #150658 :: 2022.01.05 1:06pm :: edit 2022.01.05 1:10pm
  damifortune, cabbage drop and kilowatt64 liēkd this
i think that submitting "junk" (quotation marks because defining junk is, or might be, very subjective) is important because you can find techniques and styles out of them, and eventually (and naturally) also learning and/or scoring something in the process - i think this is also one of the greatest things of botb
Level 23 Pedagogist
post #150667 :: 2022.01.05 2:13pm
Coming to think about: I think that I spend none of my time on a track, despite feeling desire to: In my mind, I deem as barely satisfying outcome to do any without my own mean to: I think that it will be long after I put time on a music track: I differ from feeling satisfied until it is made on a self made all, operating system, hardware drivers, file system, assembler and emulator and otherewise assisting software for. Fun it is: All be for earning the most satisfying outcome for me!
Level 25 Chipist
post #150668 :: 2022.01.05 2:54pm
my approach is different: since i grown up surrounded by most of these sound chips and formats, i always were curious to know better about them and what can be done on them, and even trying to develop tools for them
Level 16 Pixelist
post #150683 :: 2022.01.06 11:27am
  cabbage drop, mirageofher, nitrofurano and Oli liēkd this
I see a lot of that in this community. I remember running across two separate tools published by RainWarrior in the same day, only to discover that he was here on botb also (I don't think recently active, though). Anyway I have seen a lot of community members' names on projects around and I think that's awesome.

I think when it comes to the music itself, for me I always go back to the emotion I get from the sound chips, and the emotion itself within the sphere of chip limitations is more the appeal for me rather than the technical capabilities of the chip itself. I love here there's a little of everything out there when you listen to the music.

A personal favorite album is Equilibrium on Ubiktune from 2011 (again, with a few folks I was happy to discover here in this community)

That album was a great example for me of what can be done with chiptune beyond just video game centric music.

Anyways, kinda drifting on this thread but I do appreciate the comments.
Level 5 Mixist
post #150918 :: 2022.01.13 11:51am
  nitrofurano and kilowatt64 liēkd this
Usually 1 to 2 hours for me. I like to finish things in the same session I started them though, usually because after I get a night of sleep, I can rarely get absorbed in something from the prior day. Moods change constantly! I also get satisfied pretty quickly with a creation, even if it's short, and I don't feel the need to continue building it out into a bigger vision - as a result, my stuff typically comes out short. But short and small things are lovely!
Level 16 Pixelist
post #150930 :: 2022.01.13 2:19pm
  607, nitrofurano and ViLXDRYAD liēkd this
mmmbop - I can see the benefit of writing in a single session and calling it good once you feel satisfied, that's really cool. I usually don't do that myself simply because it still takes me a lot of time (which to me means 5-7 hours) even to make something short, this is part of my personal frustration that prompted me send out this question. I'm trying to balance the music with normal life also, and I have kids and so times when I can actually sit down and actively work on something tend to be a bit sporadic.

Once I actually get going though, I also get satisfaction from something smallish and don't necessarily need to flesh it out more (I don't think I've done anything longer than 1:30 yet). But the feeling of satisfaction from getting something you at least enjoy yourself is super rewarding.
Level 6 Chipist
post #150934 :: 2022.01.13 4:34pm
  kilowatt64, nitrofurano, cabbage drop and ViLXDRYAD liēkd this
I'm new here, but I think that the most important thing about music is to just be satisfied with the outcome, and put it out there, even if that outcome isn't something you were planning on.
the great thing about music and communities like this is that no matter what you make you will at least learn something. even if it is "trash". that's basically my perception of music.
that feeling of satisfaction, for me, doesn't come from the quality of the music, it comes from the fact that someone else is going to listen to something YOU made.
Level 25 Chipist
post #151034 :: 2022.01.17 11:00am
  damifortune and kilowatt64 liēkd this
  kleeder hæitd this
sometimes (or most times) its more interesting getting satisfied (or not necessarily satisfied) with the process than the result
Level 14 Taggist
post #152816 :: 2022.02.22 4:11am :: edit 2022.02.22 4:15am
  kilowatt64 and damifortune liēkd this

Hmmm, it depends...

Sometimes I'll have an idea that'll take me waaaaaaay more than just a few hours. But if this idea means a lot to me, then it's worth it.

But I'm also cool with doing things quickly for the fun of it while accepting imperfection.
Level 28 Chipist
post #152956 :: 2022.02.24 9:46pm
  607, kilowatt64 and Tex liēkd this
the amount of time i spend working on a song varies pretty wildly, and there's sort of a distinction between "just a song" and "song i really care about". the latter takes more time to percolate AND compose usually, as i'm extra incentivized to really flesh out every idea to its fullest. also it may be built upon an earworm and therefore have a gestation period

that said... "just a song" (in botb terms, something like "i wanted to enter this major battle format but didn't come up with the most inspired thing in the world") usually settles somewhere in the realm of 4-6 hours, and songs in this category are rarely more than a couple minutes long

on the other hand, songs i'm attached to: tunes i had good ideas for and planned out, sketched, were brought about from a burst of inspiration, or that i really want to go all-out for and polish the most... those guys are beefy and probably average out at 20 hours spent. often they are longer songs of 4-5min, but quite frankly, the level of detail i enjoy putting into chiptunes of all lengths is super high, so even some of the minute-long guys can take that long.

plus there is a non-trivial Planning Phase for most full songs of mine, which involves sketching at the piano and deciding what each section & phrase are going to do... for all but the longest songs, that's not huge but sometimes, many hours are spent sketching before ever setting foot in software. and sometimes software stuff requires a planning phase too lol, sample auditioning and setup especially

there's at least one thing that took me 80+ hours, another close to 70, and.. one more i have no time record of but actually probably exceeds 100
Level 10 Chipist
post #153844 :: 2022.03.18 5:34am
I spend between 15 and 30 hours on a track. It would be cool to learn to do tracks in a shorter timespan: I'm considering joining some XHBs in the summer.
Because I usually don't work for more than 2 hours in one day on a track, and don't have too many days where I have/make time for it, it is rare that I start and finish a track in the same month, I bet.
Level 5 Chipist
post #154056 :: 2022.03.25 7:13am
It varies like crazy, I think the shortest timeframe was a few hours in an afternoon for some pretty throwaway synthwave track. The longest was probably a eurobeat song that took me 3 months and I still hated the result! (although a portion of it budded off to become something I did become really proud of so in a way maybe the 3 months was to make that...)

I think i've generally gotten much slower as I gained experience, feels like once you get a grip on something *kinda* good, the pathway to make it really really good starts to open, and thats a long, long path.

I could probably crank out a song in the style of that eurobeat in like a week or so now with about the same quality though, so maybe a lot of it is just learning?

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