Ripping, in the context of video games, is the process of extracting songs from a game, therefore "ripping" the songs from the files of the game, completely unmodified.
On the SiIvaGunner channel, however, instead of being straight video game music, the songs featured on the channel are generally remixed, or involved in a mashup with other songs or memes. These "rips" are submitted to the channel and vetted by the SiIvaGunner backroom.
In July 2017, Matsu Muhō released the official guide to making rips in the Reddit thread "At long last, I proudly present: The SiIvaGunner Official Ripping Guide!". The guide mostly deals with melody changes and ripping.
The guide was originally hosted on Matsu's website at https://wildmatsu.xyz/ripguide. It can presently be viewed on SiIvaGunner's official website at https://highquality.rip/ripguide; the content appears to be unmodified (aside from formatting errors) and still presented from Matsu's point of view.
Matsu's guide is divided into seven parts:
- Part 0: Ethics – concerning the moral and legal implications of ripping, transcribing and music production, and the concept of the MIDI slap
- Part 1: The Idea – concerning the process of creating a workable idea for a melody swap, the basic technical elements involved in harmonically and structurally matching melody and accompaniment, and testing beforehand whether an idea will work
- Part 2: Tools – concerning software used in the ripping community for music production, including DAWs (digital audio workstations) like FL Studio and REAPER, and other editing tools like Audacity and Sekaiju
- Part 3: Getting Editable Music – concerning the difference between streamed and sequenced music, and the methods and software used in editing sequenced music from several consoles (as well as a handful of specific games with specialized tools)
- Part 4: Identifying Key – concerning methods of identifying tonality and changing the tonality of a melody
- Part 5: Quality – concerning note lengths, accuracy, and the process of exporting audio files
- Part 6: Conclusion – suggestions, further reading and acknowledgements
Extracting game music
(This section is analogous to part 3 of the official ripping guide. Additional guidance is available there.)
For arrangements and melody changes, it is usually necessary to extract files from the video game being ripped, in order to produce high quality rips from those files. This is often done through third-party software which aids in the extraction of music files, although intrepid rippers may sometimes rip the music files without such help. Those files are usually exported as MIDI, the standard format for editable musical data, and SF2/DLS, "soundfont" file formats which basically contain sound files for producing audible music from MIDI data.
This process is typically only possible for games with sequenced music (i.e. games for which musical notes are encoded as MIDI-like instructions); direct manipulation and sampling of audio is usually required for games with streamed music (i.e. games for which music is stored as complete audio files). Most retro console games have sequenced music, and most games published after the mid-2000s generally do not. Some PC games may also have sequenced music; although manual extraction is usually required, format conversions may not be necessary.
The difficulty in ripping video game music can vary wildly between systems and even between games on the same system, mainly due to the variety of proprietary file formats that have been used for game music. Technical issues can still be common, and for some consoles may be expected.
Of course, it's necessary to have access to games' source files in order to rip music from them. In spite of the global reach of copyright law, ROMs for many retro games are available on the internet and can easily be downloaded. It may also be possible to download "pre-ripped" files from Zophar's Domain. Additional resources are also available in the SiIvaGunner starter kit.
Applications commonly used for ripping are described in the sections below. The selection of applications is non-exhaustive and incomplete.
VGMTrans can export MIDI, SF2 and DLS files from several game file formats. It can be used to rip music from many (but not all) games for the SNES, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Capcom Play System consoles. Its output is generally (but not always) accurate for Nintendo DS games, but other methods may be required for accurate emulation of some games (notably SNES games).
C700 is a VST (virtual studio technology) plugin used for accurate emulation of the SNES's sound chip. Being a VST, it is normally used within a host application, usually a DAW (digital audio workstation) such as LMMS or FL Studio. It produces sound based on the information in SPC files. It can be used in tandem with the MIDI exports produced by VGMTrans.
N64 Soundbank Tool
N64 Soundbank Tool can export MIDI and DLS files from some Nintendo 64 games. Only a Windows version is available.
GBAMusRiper can export MIDI and SF2 files from some Game Boy Advance games. Only a Windows version is available.
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Sega Genesis tools
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In order to get rips uploaded onto the channel, contributors who are not part of the SiIvaGunner team submit their rips to the channel via email. (Team members use a parallel process localized entirely within the SiIvaGunner team's Discord server.) Potential contributors are warned that there is a backlog of rips that may delay the vetting process by as long as a few months.
Part of the SiIvaGunner team, QoC ("Quality of Control"; named such as an in-joke), performs quality checks on new submissions from both team members and fans. If a team member checking the email considers a submission to be good enough, it is passed to QoC. Typically, at least four different QoC members individually assess each submission. If a rip submission is ultimately judged to be accurate and of high quality, then an acceptance email will be sent to the submitter and the rip will be placed in the internal queue; if it is judged to have potential in spite of being insufficient, then an email with suggestions or instructions for improvement will be sent to the submitter; and in most other cases, the submitter is not contacted.
With the release of Main Theme - Superman 64 in August 2016, the SiIvaGunner channel explained their submission rules. These rules were later expanded, first in December 2016 with "YOU can join the fight! - A Recruitment Video from The Voice" , then in March 2019 with "The Haltmann Works Co. Training Video (Emailing Rips, Art, and King for Another Day Contestants!)".
In July 2017, Matsu Muhō posted a Reddit thread called "At long last, I proudly present: The SiIvaGunner Official Ripping Guide!", which linked to the Voice's recruitment video and included several more tips on submitting to the channel.
- Contributions to the SiIvaGunner channel are anonymous and uncredited, and contributors are only credited on albums if the rips are released there. It is advised to put the sentence "I understand all submissions are anonymous and I will not be credited" to save the team the trouble of asking.
- Contributors are allowed to upload their rips onto their personal YouTube or SoundCloud, but not to SiIvaGunner fan channels. This is a part of a policy not to steal from fan channels.
- Emails must follow the following format:
- To: highqualityrips(at)gmail(dot).com
- Subject: Song Name - Game Name
Song Name - Game Name Music: Composer: Playlist: Platform: *link to rip* Joke: (explain the joke) I understand that this is an anonymous submission.
- The link must be an external link (not an email attachment). It is strongly recommended to upload it to Google Drive, since it's the easiest way to make a backup of email submissions. After uploading a file to Google Drive, please right-click the file and choose "Get shareable link".
- If for whatever reason you absolutely cannot use Google Drive, please use the following:
picosong.com(as of Oct 26th 2019, picosong.com is no longer available and has shut down). instaud.io(as of September 2019, instaud.io is no longer available and the website has shut down).
- clyp.it (with downloads enabled)
- Note: ZippyShare is no longer recommended due to the frequent purging of hosted files.
- Rips that contain out-of-key notes/vocals (unless that’s the joke)
- Rips that go out of sync/beat (unless that's the joke)
- Rips that contain low quality audio (unless that’s the joke)
- Ripping a song which has already been ripped multiple times (more than 2) on our channel. In general, the more times a song has been ripped, the higher the standards are for it.
- straight MIDI swaps/slaps (aka downloading a midi and putting a soundfont on it with no changes)
- slapping a melody over a song verbatim without adjusting the backing music or melody itself to compensate
- Any song/audio/footage that will get your video blocked in a lot of countries. (eg. Kanye West/Drake)
- Rips of licensed songs (unless the song is heavily associated with the game)
- Rips titled under:
- "Title Theme" - The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy
- "Snow halation" - Love Live! School idol festival
- "DK Rap" - Donkey Kong 64
- Rips of songs by Morimori Atsushi (copyright)
- Rips using any direct audio from the Re:CREATORS soundtrack unless modified heavily (copyright)
- Rips featuring sentai show footage (copyright)
- Rips that have already been published publicly elsewhere, in particular other channels or SoundCloud (may be waived if the upload has few views)
- Anything related to The Jetsons
- Rips using Protegent Rap
- Rip - for a list of jokes and analysis of high quality rips.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Matsu Muhō. "At long last, I proudly present: The SiIvaGunner Official Ripping Guide!". Reddit. 5 July 2017.
- ↑ SiIvaGunner. "Main Theme - Superman 64". 14 Aug 2016.
- ↑ SiIvaGunner. "YOU can join the fight! - A Recruitment Video from The Voice". 15 Dec 2016.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 SiIvaGunner. "The Haltmann Works Co. Training Video (Emailing Rips, Art, and King for Another Day Contestants!)". 4 Mar 2019.