6 Case study 1: Extending MIDI file performance – start me up!

Games have traditionally used Standard MIDI Files (SMFs) to play back music and background tracks. But the SMF specification was never designed for interactive use, and therefore lacks support for such key behaviors as looping, branching or arbitrary mid-file startup. This case study describes the musical demands behind and the technical implementation of a custom MIDI file format and playback system for interactive games.

MIDI recap

In the last chapter, we talked about the use of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, in games. By MIDI, we really meant playing SMFs. The MIDI specification, available from the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA), defines a set of commands ...

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