When I first started in the video games industry I'd had little experience with cartridges. This was the era of the Super Nintendo, Jaguar, Sega Megadrive and soon to be the new kid on the block, the Sony Playstation.
It's safe to say, that when I went for my interview at Rare way back in 94, I thought, the days of chip music was over, and it would be red book cd tracks for ever more.
My first project was Killer Instinct for the arcade. yes, we could use full blown music tracks, but they had to be mixed in mono (on an appalling tascam 16 track desk) and they had to be short with lots of loops.
Still good fun never the less.
Then, came the fateful day, I was asked to convert those tracks to the Super Nintendo.... yep... those full blown instrumental tracks that myself and Robin Beanland had thrown everything we had into, had to be converted to 8 sound channels and each track had to fit into 40kilobytes each.
Yep, that's right, 40k... what is 40k these days.... a notepad file maybe ? a tiny thumbnail perhaps... what about, all the instruments and music data for an arcade conversion ?
I panicked, Dave Wise, my audio boss at the time said, it would be like a suitcase when you go on holiday...we'd just jump on it until it shut.
That advice, and that experience is still proving handy today, 15 years later.... this week, i've been cutting down sounds to fit into something that they weren't originally built for... I'm really pleased with the results.... it's rewarding if not a bit mentally unstabling to listen over and over to a background ambience picking the closest loop point possible to keep the listeners interest, make the loop smooth, click free and small in memory.
In the days of gigs and terabytes and 100 meg net connections, this may seem un-necessary, but you'd be surprised.