Star Control

Hyperspace Theme Remastered

Published on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 By Awkbird In Star Control

Before saying anything else, I have to give credit for what you see below to Riku Nuottajärvi. This is his music and all I'm doing is worshiping it by giving it a new paint job and a coat of wax. I am so happy to know this franchise is being brought back to life, and in light of the announcement of Stardock resurrecting this universe, I decided to start with the Hyperspace theme.

The soundtrack was cherished for its innovative sound format technology which is taken for granted in music today. It allowed a range and flexibility of musical themes that were largely unheard of before SC2 brought them into the spotlight. Prior to that, music and sound in games were generally very primitive beeps and boops. Even with all the innovation that the music brought to the game, the technical limitations of its digital module sound format are not up to par with contemporary game music, and preserving that feeling of wonder in a rebirth of the series will of course place new demands and expectations on the music for upcoming chapters in this franchise.

I've had the idea of remastering some of the music in my own way for years, not so much in the way the community did for the UQM project or even the 3DO versions of the game's music, but specifically enhancing the sound of the original PC versions. I wanted to freshen the sound and bring it into the 21st century, while still giving it a bit of that classic pulp sci-fi feel. Without turning it into a mix, remix or reinterpretation with any creative liberties taken to completely change the sound of it, I performed a lot of editing and processing on the original music in Renoise.

The original sound module suffered from the limitations of having to cram so many instruments into only four channels with no polyphony, meaning that sounds could not overlap. Consequently only four notes and/or instruments could technically play simultaneously during a beat. This made playback of chords and percussion lines extremely challenging for the composer.

That is not a limitation anymore these days, so I widened the sound space, eliminated clipping, reduced distortion and sample overlap, introduced stereo panning effects, balanced the sound levels, incorporated a completely new rock and roll drum line and remastered all channels to give it a fresh new feel. It is my hope that perhaps this may inspire the developers and fans, and serve to remind them not to forget to carry forward the musical elements that made this game so great! Enjoy.