Friday, August 1, 2008

The new generation codecs

... in writing for the new generation. The most interesting in the present time: that we think the best and most true now, for the following generations will be something "Mesozoic"-conservative and cumbersome. Rules will they, and we will only scold the elderly, saying "e-echo, assembler, th ... sorry, "e-echo, Windows Vista". And by the way, now taking place some interesting movements around Ads ( "codec" - encoder-decoder), as is talk. Talk it makes sense for other reasons, because very often, young readers write letters to the issues, not quite knowing how, actually, Ads work.

Of course, it is assumed that we now reads not quite prepared by the user, so the narration and will be built virtually "on the fingers."

To begin, let's have a look, as was the schedule, and take it as an example. Naturally, raster image can imagine in the form of BMP-file, which displays all at the expense of points. Naturally, originally thought about compression without loss (lossless-compression), and impinges on the basic question ... archivers, or rather, their algorithms. Inventions in this area was a lot, but at the same time limit onset of Technology. That is, the more it is not possible to pursue, but need! Accordingly, it was decided to use approximation, that is simplifying the complex, and are provided with compression losses in the data, but ... without tangible losses to the human eye (perception, and, accordingly, and result). GIF went, mainly by simplifying colours plus archiving using LZW-algorithm. And in the JPEG provided more complex, but a perfect arrangement with the division color models (just as was done in color television), followed by blocks of a single, razrezhivaniem on flowers and so on. As a result, became the most popular JPEG compression standard images. Besides, he was the precursor of technology, or better, a base for the emergence of MPEG and modern digital broadcasting.

In principle, if then engaged idealizirovaniem and does not imply algorithmic model with losses of information, before today's realities, it would be virtually impossible to reach. As the saying goes, be easier, and you pull people, or rather, "Do approximation, and the problem solved type":). Incidentally, the replacement of large quantities of data mathematical algorithms - this is the most optimal solution of modern problems. For example, in one of the publications your humble servant wrote a series of materials on II and leads a very good example. Recall than used in its calculations our parents when there was no portable calculators. Correctly, tables with values for calculating the results of roots, trigonometric functions, powers and even ... simply multiply. All of this data Gromada now replaced a few lines of program code. Of course, we have described the most ideal simplification, but in audio and video we can see something the average.

In sound confronted with a similar problem, and that in the schedule, and because BMP, and WAV - is virtually tabular data storage. And in the same sound as originally thought about lossless-option, but he has no panacea. Even now, for a modern PC user has no particular difference: store and the usual wav-files or their lossless-analogues. Indeed compression ratio is obtained sufficiently small, no matter how perfect algorithm is not used. Therefore, here and decided to go to the options lossy.

Initially, the most simple, as the saying goes, "not penetrating inside." For example, reducing the value Rate and wide (almost the same as in GIF'a x graphics - reducing the color palette), we get the win in the form of reducing the volume of data, but losses as a tangible listening. Also we can uzhat frequency range, for example, before the speech spectrum, but this option was not suitable in music. Incidentally, the question on the filling: uzhat as a frequency range up to the level of speech signal without using Fourier transformation, that is not moving in the spectral region? Correctly, "pohimichit" with frequency.

And one of the most interesting ideas in the framework of modernity can be seen in fresh draft lossyWAV. And the younger generation with its fairly interesting look at all allowed to look at the problem from the other side. The point is that they went on ways to simplify WAV-file, reset junior bits, and the versions of these deletions are calculated on the basis of filling each individual sample (digital record). To have been more understandable, it is as if at some point simplifies BMP. After that comes standard lossless-compression processing and we can already observe a greater compression ratio. And, again, drawing parallels with the graphics, in this case we can speak about intellectual reducing color palette. At the hearing lossyWAV perceived almost identical Natural file, so very often say it is about this algorithm, and the term can be applied lossless.

In fact, it is always obvious next. For example, most modern lossy-codecs include reducing the amount of data through the correction in the field of frequency (frequency domain, before that, we talked about a temporary - time domain). If you explain everything on a simple level, using conventional Fourier transform where to build a range of specific sound fragment must select a certain number of periods in the amplitude-time of submission. That is, the file is produced as if composed of personnel-spectrogram. He himself and in their stores. And in each of these frames can make certain operations circumcised surplus. That is, the simplification comes at that level. For example, if a piece of silence, and then fill out all zeros, if there are parts of the spectrum, which proslushivaemy poorly, they also removed for catches, and so on. You can apply and psihoakusticheskie model. It is therefore very much depends on the algorithm and its quality, because each of the developers realized their approach. Therefore, referring to the lossy-codec, they always need to watch at least the fact that he gives as a result of his actions. What many, for example, generally do not see the difference between Ogg Vorbis and MP3, although their algorithms work in different ways.

lossy-compression is based on simplification in the frequency domain, is the most convenient for today, when viewed from the perspective of quality / compression ratio. And, most likely, this picture would continue in the future. Even one can say that these technologies have already reached a limit in its development, although in each of the specific cases there are some mistakes or shortcomings. But ... in fact, a very interesting topic to study, so new items in this area appear often enough. In fact, a very interesting niche creating codecs with open licenses, which do not have to pay developers, because there is always such a demand.

And, apart from the very sound quality and coding, and now nasuschen another important issue - namely, performance of an algorithm. For example, most modern codecs operate with a delay of approximately 25 ms or higher. This is critical for the transmission of audio in real time (telephony, etc.). Although recent statements by new items can not be attributed to the end of last-start this year - CELT ( "Code-Excited Lapped Transform"). There has been this delay is from 3 to 9 ms. Besides himself algorithm is simply and clearly explained within the resources and

Also, for more detailed data can refer to the documentation on MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Speex, as well as starichkov type m-Law, ADPCM, and so on.

In conclusion

That is, in fact, within audiokompressii everything revolves around two principal schemes, namely:

* Employment in the temporary field, simplification + compression.
* Jumps in the frequency area, the work there, simplification + compression.

Soundtracks for games

Once we were friends ranged from nothing to make lists of their favorite genres of games. Friends looked to my list together and noticed that he very much resembles the soundtrack to the list of best games. The next time bitter dispute began about playing music. I krotko smiled, gathered all his objectivity in the fist and went to write an article about the best soundtracks.


There are RPG soundtrack better? Of course, the best RPG! Most gamers are used to allocate two naikultoveyshih series: Fallout and Baldur's Gate.

Soundtrack to Fallout in the distant 1997 - year wrote a composer named Mark Morgan. Virtually overnight, he and the game itself acquired cult status. Name Morgan knew and knows every fan of Fallout. In addition, Morgan distinguished music to another chic role-playing game Planescape: Torment (creation of the same team are aware of developers Black Isle).

His path Mark Morgan began with piano lessons at the game, which has already begun to take in seven years. In senior classes next composer Fallout 'and started playing rock' n 'roll, and received by the college, fell seriously jazz. Later, Morgan spoke with American groups such as Starship and Chaki. In the world of computer games, he went on a happy accident. During the work on the soundtrack to American television Bob Rice of Four Bars Intertainment heard of his compositions and decided that they are ideal for computer games.

Music for Baldur's Gate - this is something altogether. Symphonic songs from this game, as they say, "epichnee nowhere." Listening to them, so filled thirst for adventure and battles that dlinnyuschy Baldur's Gate took place at the same breath. The responsible for these things is the splendor of German composer Michel Hoeing.

At the end of 60 - ies Hoenig was the editor of the clandestine German magazine "Love" (this is about rock music) so seriously about rock music)). As a consequence, when he was growing part of the progressive rock scene of Berlin, which were parties to such famous once in Europe group, as Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and Agitation Free.

In 1996 - m Hoeing was nominated for Emmy for his music in the science-fiction series "Dark Sky". However, this bleknet before the fact, what pictures can be found in the filmographies of the composer. That is very bright. First, there is "Nine and a half weeks (the same film with Mickey and Kim Besinger Rurkom). Secondly, remeyk American uzhastika The Blob (look impossible, but once the film was a symbol of its era). And thirdly, uzhastik "Dracula 3000", a film category Z (in the sense of really bad). And all this - composer Baldur's Gate. As you are such a contrast?

The funny, but the fact: that unites these two composers that music to the latest series of games, they are glorified, wrote the same people. His name is Inon Zur. Music to Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal wrote it. Soundtrack RPG such as Icewind Dale II and Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader, too, his hands cause.


There are such, nothing less, brilliant man named Nobuo Uematsu and call it prohibited unless John Williams computer games. This composer is the creator of music for the NBA playoffs Final Fantasy, the author of charming soundtrack to the cult JRPG Chrono Trigger (steamed with Yasunori Mitsudoy), as well as to such frankness, as Kingdom Hearts.

Uematsu started with what appeared to different groups as an amateur keyboard. Then, when he felt cravings for writing their own music and revealed a composer Uematsu wrote music for advertising. And so, one day, his friend from the company's Square, he asked, he would not do Uematsu try to write music to a computer game. Uematsu agreed and began to write music for games. When Square began to develop Final Fantasy, soundtrack instructed him to write it ...

... Each new work Nobuo Uematsu increasingly disclose his talent and the audience brings to the very concept of writing the soundtrack playing something new. Special place among his compositions is "Eyes on Me", which has hitherto unprecedented success - won in the category "Song of the Year (Western Music)" at 14 - and an annual ceremony Japan Gold Disc Awards - this is not sought earlier none of the composition game.

In October 2004, Nobuo Uematsu, and Square Enix divided. The composer founded his own music studio Smile Please Co., Ltd. At that point Nobuo wrote music for more than 25 games, he created works that were performed at several concerts, created his own rock group, and its composition "Liberi Fatali" was the musical accompaniment to the Olympics in Athens. Nobuo Uematsu was named as the greatest composer in the history of computer games.

Survival Horror

The title of the best soundtrack of the gaming genre of music lovers unanimously gave a series of Silent Hill. The reason is fairly easy: the very concept of playing style and do not involve intimidation player vyskakivayuschimi from everywhere, as features of snuffboxes, monsters. Playing like scares and, above all, its unique atmosphere and entourage. It goes without corresponding music was vital project that he looked holistically. Silent Hill without his "firm" musical accompaniment, perhaps, watching would be disadvantageous as well as "Jaws" Steven Spielberg without her. Benefit, composer Silent Hill - a man who knows his case.

Akira Yamaoka. Akira was the Children's dream ... pottery art. By writing the same music in general, Akira Yamaoka attached gradually and only in 1993 - m hit the Konami, which was write music for games. The first project, on which he worked with the Konami, was platformer Sparkster, the game was a fairly successful and even won continued. However entirely on music for Sparkster 'and Akira did not work. The first independent project, in which he was the main composer, "nastig" it only six years - in 1999. This is precisely was Silent Hill. Akira wrote to play good music, nothing more. Write same music for the second Silent Hill, Akira elaborated, as fans talked, "his inimitable style," it is compatible incompatible: Akira ambient noise and mixed with melodic keyboards and going fantastically beautiful acoustic melodies and Electrics, using their electronic tracks as well and live drums. This was his finest hour.

Later, when developing Silent Hill 3, joined by composer Akira Joe Romerso and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn - "voice" Silent Hill, performer parties in the women's game.

The most interesting biography of Akira Yamaoka is that it self-composer and knows no musical instrument or music theory. Akira writes music exclusively through its computer and semistrunnoy guitar. As the composer himself said, "if I had to work with notes, I am sure that something would naputal."

3D Action

Games in this genre great multitude, and, therefore, be objective in determining his favourites quite problematic. However, the main composer in this area to identify something not so difficult. His name is Jesper Kid. In fact, his name and the phrase "music for 3D-ekshenov" are synonymous. Currently Kid is one of the best composers of the game industry, wrote the music for Hitman.

In early childhood Dzhesper liked to play the piano and, subsequently, for several years, took lessons playing the guitar, piano, as well as the lessons of choral singing and music reading ... Kyd always more interested in different aspects of writing music, rather than execution dismemberment. When he gave during adolescence Commodore 64, he had a new hobby ... Yes, yes - to write "computer music." He began by saying that he wrote the music for trekernuyu European demo-scene (s eight years, starting with the eighty-sixth year). His music accompanied demki written for the Commodore 64. He played his music at parties, which are arranged together with friends. And there went-went ...

Kida The record speaks for itself: Assassin's Creed, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, Unreal Tournament 3, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman 2 ... In general, the entire Hitman, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Freedom Fighters, MDK2, Messiah, Soldier, Reaction Quake 3 and so on and so forth. In addition, early in his career path was a musician Kid in the Danish unit demo group Silents. The group had offices in other countries. Incidentally, the Swedish unit Silents founded the company Digital Illusions, which developed Battlefield 1942, a series of games Max Payne was established Finnish unit Silents.

The most worthwhile project maestro of music lovers playing games of the series called lysom guy with the barcode on the back.

To be continued

1) "Get Money for Clicks" - Fastest Growing Domain Parking Company in the World.
2) Search your domain name wishing to have! FREE DOMAINS -