Giftshaven: I'm feeling pretty happy today!
Erik: That's great to hear!
Erik: With intros outta the way, and before getting into the mod stuff. How did you find out about SMW Hacking and SMW Central?
Giftshaven: About 3-4 years ago, I remember being fascinated after watching YouTube videos of Mario levels on people's channels. I think raocow was one of those channels. I was mostly fascinated because I had no idea that level editing and map editing existed for SMW. Before that, I just had fun with Super Mario Flash.
Giftshaven: I did know SMWCentral was a thing upon searching up how people do this, but I didn't have an account at the time.
Giftshaven: The only things I really did were, make a couple of levels, and play a few levels of a hack called "Hack 2".
Erik: Interesting. I recall using Super Mario Flash too when I was like, 8 or something.
Erik: Moving on to the Discord now. Before we opened up our applications, what were your thoughts regarding the server?
Giftshaven: Before opening applications, I felt as if the Discord server was already a pretty convenient place to stick around in for learning things and for getting feedback.
Giftshaven: While it does just that to this day, the server didn't seem to be super chill for everyone at the time.
Giftshaven: At least the Discord server wasn't extremely chaotic at first when I joined, otherwise there probably would've been a lot of griefers in CaffieCraft to ruin my day.
Erik: I feel similarly.
Erik: What motivated you to apply once we opened up the application process?
Giftshaven: There was an announcement in the server that idol made mentioning that there's only 3 days left to apply. It was announced once before that time, but it seemed to me that this one was more desperate than the first one. I assumed that there wasn't enough applications being PMed.
Giftshaven: So then I was like, "Sure, why not?".
Giftshaven: I'm the kind of person that follows the rules pretty well, and I find myself to be a really nice person.
Giftshaven: Also, I just happen to like Discord a lot.
Erik: yeah discord is good.
Erik: How have you felt with the responsability you have now carried for the past few months, both initially and now?
Giftshaven: I find it pretty nice. Most of what I need to do involves reading and viewing other people's posts.
Giftshaven: There will be posts that I see that are interesting enough for me to want to enter the conversation, cool enough for me to comment on, or funny enough for me to want to react with a fitting emoji.
Giftshaven: ...but then there will be those few posts which raise red flags for me.
Giftshaven: This is the more crucial part of the responsibility. This is where I have to remind other users in a friendly manner that their posts break rules.
Giftshaven: I'll even bring up posts to some of the other moderators to see if we can come to an agreement to give out warnings or mutes.
Giftshaven: There's also some other things that us moderators do from time to time, such as add more emoji to the server... or replace them, because we hit the limit on static emojis.
Giftshaven: I think I've covered most of what I can say about my responsibility.
Erik: It's good to see you involved with the community.
Erik: Speaking of, do you feel that this new position you find yourself with has shaped the way you interact with the community? Or do you still feel like you act the same way as before having your position?
Giftshaven: Oddly enough, I still feel and act the same way as I did before I was a Discord moderator.
Giftshaven: Maybe this position of mine has helped me improve socially with the community, but it's not like I had a sudden change in heart when I became a moderator.
Giftshaven: It might be gradually shaping the way I interact with the community if anything.
Erik: I don't find it odd honestly; I think it's a bit normal. At least that's how I felt too.
Erik: I think that wraps up the Discord area, but not the interview. Moving on, I see that you have submitted quite a few songs to the SMW Music section. What got you into music in general, and into porting?
Giftshaven: Somewhere on some other Discord server I'm on, there's this music bot with select songs that play in a voice call.
Giftshaven: Out of some of the many songs it can pick, one of them happens to be playlists on YouTube of SMW music.
Giftshaven: I liked the way the SMW instruments sounded in some of the songs I heard, but some of those songs we're some of the old ones that wouldn't really sound good in today's standards.
Giftshaven: Here's the funny thing though, I had no idea about how high those standards are.
Giftshaven: For some reason I thought I could make SMW music sounds just as good in quality as those awfully old ports which I thought were as good as they at the time.
Giftshaven: I have perfect pitch, which means I could basically guess the right key of a note with my eyes closed. In fact, I could probably guess chords correctly too.
Giftshaven: But I felt like putting that to the test by transcribing a MIDI in a piano roll.
Giftshaven: I've heard of this tool called PetiteMM which converts the MIDI for you. That's what I first used to get the MML I needed, and to listen to it in an SPC. I really didn't want to type it all in a notepad because of the learning process behind it.
Giftshaven: Little did I know that just adding in the instruments immediately after without doing much else to the MML would get my first ports rejected.
Giftshaven: This right here is what made me realize that there's much more to the process of making good ports. I never even thought about checking readme's and tutorials for some of the many other things I could do in a port.
Giftshaven: I guess most of the ports I've first listened to didn't have echo, or ADSR.
Giftshaven: Thankfully there's people that have helped me improved in making SMW music.
Giftshaven: Wakana gave me a few hints, and showed me their porting tutorial, which really helped me with getting an understanding of looping, and how ADSR works.
Giftshaven: MarkVD100 also gave me really neat tricks that can be done with ADSR to make SMW instruments sound waaay cooler.
Giftshaven: Then there's also the people in the Discord server that gave me feedback and help when I needed it.
Giftshaven: Lol, I think I'm nerding out a little here.
Giftshaven: I just wanted to thank those that have helped me get to where I stand when it comes to SMW music.
Erik: That's quite the story.
Erik: Are you also into musical composition or do you only port from other games?
Giftshaven: I can do both.
Giftshaven: Though most of my compositions are not really that professional to me. Just a few of them.
Giftshaven: I do happen to like OSTs from video games that I like to play, or that are just nostalgic to me.
Giftshaven: This made me want to port some of the songs to make them compatible with SMW.
Giftshaven: Oh and for the record, I kinda like how some of them sound when unsampled.
Giftshaven: I'll sometimes do things sampled, but I think it's more fun to challenge myself by only ever using SMW's samples and by using many cool tricks that can be done by looking through the AMK readme.
Giftshaven: IDK why, but it's weirdly satisfying for me to make something as good as possible while also unsampled.
Erik: Well, practice makes perfect, so I feel eventually you'll get better at composing.
Erik: I note you've also participated in the latest edition of SMWCentral Idol. What has been your experience with the contest, and porting/composing over the various restrictions?
Giftshaven: Idol is no joke.
Giftshaven: Some of the round requirements forced me into learning how to do things such as, make samples, use pitch modulation, and finding just the right songs.
Giftshaven: I won't deny that there were times where I even panicked over some of the round requirements. I had no clue how to do a few of the things, but I still managed.
Erik: That's good to hear you managed.
Erik: Do you have any tips you'd give a newcomer that wants to start with porting?
Giftshaven: For first time porters, I'd suggest listening to some of the more recent ports in the SMW section to get an idea as to how ports should sound.
Giftshaven: Pick a simple or slow song as your first port.
Giftshaven: Try taking a look at the MML and command lines on some of the good songs to see how instruments are set up, as well as seeing how it "translates" when put into an SPC.
Giftshaven: Lastly, use the ADSR thread if your port will be unsampled. You will have better sounding SMW samples, and it will definitely help you understand ADSR if you check that thread out.
Erik: I think that wraps up all regarding music, then.
Erik: When it comes to SMW hacking in general, do you have any ongoing hacking projects?
Giftshaven: There is a project, but it hasn't been active for the past several months.
Giftshaven: IIRC, World 1 seems to be done, and I made this big map. I think the map might be a little too big for me to figure out where to go on with it, lol.
Giftshaven: Maybe I should've started out small.
Erik: Any pics you want to show off?
Giftshaven: Here's a preview of one of the levels of the hack that Roadhog360 and I have made so far.
Giftshaven: And this is the map I made that I might've overdone myself with.
Erik: That map's shaping up. The level looks good too.
Erik: Anything you want to add before jumping into the random questions?
Erik: Alright then it is Time for the random questions.
Erik: From your infinite supply of emoji (NITRO POWER) what's the best one you've got?
Giftshaven: The blobs
Erik: look at them boys dance
Erik: Favorite YouTube channel?
Erik: can't say i've seen em
Erik: What's your favorite videogame OST? And, among the various songs in it, which would you call the best?
Giftshaven: That would have to go to 100% Orange Juice. Some of the character themes that I like the most are Star Breaker's Theme, Kiriko's Theme, and Tsih's Theme.
Giftshaven: Also I enjoy Splatoon's OST, and Pokémon's OST.
Erik: Anything you want to add before closing the interview?
Giftshaven: Favorite vanilla sample I like to use is the @0, which the SMW flute.
Giftshaven: Least favorite that I barely use at all is the @9,which is the SMW piano.
Giftshaven: Favorite SMW song on the site: Battle Garegga - Degeneracy (Arranged Version)
Giftshaven: Favorite drink: Snapple
Giftshaven: Favorite Pokémon: Definitely Furret!
Giftshaven: Hmm, I think I've said just about everything I wanted to say.
Giftshaven: Thanks for having me!
Erik: Well, that wraps up the interview then. Thanks for your time, for allowing me to conduct the interview and, most importantly, for your help in the SMWCentral Discord. See y'all around