Jan 03, 2016
(and last updated on Jan 20, 2016)
Hi! Have you ever wanted to write your own music with the sounds of Mother 3? Well today's your lucky-- What? Say that again? You don't even know how this file ended up on your computer? Oh. That's... kinda scary. It's like a high-tech ghost story. Hm.
Well, wanna have a go at it anyway?
Oh! Before I forget, I wrote an album of 12 original songs, using only this soundfont. The album's called Clay Memory. Take a listen to hear this soundfont in action: https://fluidvolt.bandcamp.com
What is this thing?
After Bregalad created his fantastic program GBA Mus Riper, it's been possible to dump Mother 3's sounds into a massive soundfont of 1668(!) instruments. For the purposes of playing Mother 3 midis it's perfect. Trying to write your own music with it though... not so much. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's gonna be a struggle. There's not a name to be found and it has tons of near-duplicate instruments.
That's where this soundfont comes in handy. I combed through the gigantic raw soundfont of 1668 instruments, weeded out duplicate instruments, removed junk data, etc. Fast-forward more hours than I care to count, and, after naming and organizing, it's been pared down to a more manageable 214 instruments. Still a lot, but it's a "rubbing your hands together, can't wait to get started" a lot, not a "tearing your hair out, this is freakin' impossible" a lot.
How to use
If your music software supports soundfonts natively, just pop the .sf2 files into its soundfont/resource folder and get composing! If not, there are plenty of free VSTi plug-ins that will allow you to use soundfonts. Do a quick web search for one and you'll be set.
As for how the soundfont is organized, it's pretty straightforward. The main soundfont is split up between the melodic patches (patches no. 00 - 128) and percussive (depending on your soundfont player, percussion may start on patch no. 129, or it might be in its own bank, no. 128). The percussive set is also a catch-all collection full of weird pad sounds, drum loops, sound effects, and basic Gameboy sounds.
There's also an additional soundfont of 100 instruments where I split the drumkit into individual instruments. This is useful if you want to pitch the drumkit sounds independently or for more fine-tuned control.
Also, keep in mind many of the instrument names are suggestions, at best. Be creative with the sounds!
It goes without saying, but just in case it doesn't: all sounds in this soundfont belong to HAL Laboratory, Inc.
Thanks to Bregalad. Without GBA Mus Riper this wouldn't exist.
Thanks to sleepytimejesse, who started me out on this whole soundfont-makin' thing.
Thanks to the fine folks at Ubiktune, both for hosting these files and the companion album. Check 'em out for some great music.
Thanks to Clyde "Mato" Mandelin and the Mother 3 translation team. I'm sincerely grateful for the opportunity to play Mother 3 in English.
And, of course, extra-special thanks to Shigesato Itoi for making wonderful, deeply beautiful games, and to Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka and Shogo Sakai for making wonderful, deeply beautiful music to match.