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Why do people misuse the term MIDI in regards to games


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#26 ApolloBoy ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 8, 2011 12:55 PM

By the way, isn't the Super NES' sound chip ADPCM-based? Does it work like MIDI on PC sound cards with predefined instrument sets or are the samples made by the game's developer and stored in the game's ROM? That's one thing I've always wondered about with the Super NES' sound chip.

Yes, it's ADPCM-based. It doesn't have predefined samples, all the samples are stored in the game and transfered to the S-SMP's RAM (or are streamed from the game in some cases).

#27 Nikdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 9, 2011 10:17 AM

I generate MIDI files and convert them to MML (Music Macro Language) for PC Engine music.

How? Are you doing it by hand or did you find a convertor program that actually works decently?

#28 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:19 AM

For onboard sound, the Amiga chipset was superb. Perhaps you need to listen again to what was done with sound on the Amiga, say with something like the Blood Money intro or any of the dozens of other top notch examples.


I think most of the Amiga music is complete crap given the release date of some of the games in question. Especially crap like menace where they used cheesy sampled guitars. R Type and Ghouls and Ghosts were butchered compared to the arcade or other home counterparts (PC Engine). So many games were just complete crap music wise. There are some exceptions, like Shadow of the Beast...... but the majority of it is just bleh, especially when you compare it to other possibilities.

PC Engine's PSG is still probably the best non-FM soundchip. 6 channels, 32 byte waves, stereo panning. Then you add on the CD hardware, and all the CD games have *amazing* tunes. Beats out the Amiga to me.
MSX's FM capabilities were excellent too.

The PCE and MSX had audio that fit the game better. Alot of Amiga games, the music doesn't really mesh well with the SFX, and it just sounds off.

Some examples:
(FM goodness)
(Arguably better than the arcade one sound wise)
( Sapphire. Its epic. Real guitars! No corny farty sampled bull)


The Amiga stuff is nice for demos, songs on their own, and RPGs, but actiony games, eh.... no. Show me a good example to prove me wrong. I've been looking myself and can't find anything other than garbage.



I generate MIDI files and convert them to MML (Music Macro Language) for PC Engine music.

How? Are you doing it by hand or did you find a convertor program that actually works decently?


3MLE works good. You can just yank out the stuff and put it right into the Squirrel template. Though you have to be cafeful. That 3MLE was designed for Mabinogi, and that features a few non standard MML commands in regards to octave shifts. If you're having trouble bug me on IRC or email me what you're doing. :D

Edited by Arkhan, Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:20 AM.


#29 high voltage ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:33 AM

Atari ST had lots of MIDI music in British made games

#30 high voltage ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:35 AM


MIDI is like the music from sim city 2000, right? I hate thate fake instrqment sound.


When it's done right (right programming, right hardware, etc.), it's awesome. Listen to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO6Jappcl30&feature=player_embedded



The Apple ][ sounds actually better than the C64, I always knew that

#31 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:44 AM

The Apple ][ sounds actually better than the C64, I always knew that


It's easy to sound better when you add a MIDI sound card to the Apple II that costs a small fortune. The downside is is that you only had a handful of games that supported any type of sound card add-on on the Apple II (let alone something that sounds remotely as good as that example), otherwise you were stuck with single channel chirps or the occasional clever hack.

#32 Nikdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:40 AM



I generate MIDI files and convert them to MML (Music Macro Language) for PC Engine music.

How? Are you doing it by hand or did you find a convertor program that actually works decently?


3MLE works good. You can just yank out the stuff and put it right into the Squirrel template. Though you have to be cafeful. That 3MLE was designed for Mabinogi, and that features a few non standard MML commands in regards to octave shifts. If you're having trouble bug me on IRC or email me what you're doing. :D

Apparently I was using some ancient version of 3ML that didn't work right. Got a newer one, works perfectly. Now the MML looks great, but is a 21kb file so it exceeds Squirrels 16kb file limit. :P I think I will give up on this song and do something that isn't 8min long.

#33 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:18 PM

Apparently I was using some ancient version of 3ML that didn't work right. Got a newer one, works perfectly. Now the MML looks great, but is a 21kb file so it exceeds Squirrels 16kb file limit. :P I think I will give up on this song and do something that isn't 8min long.


Use macros and repeats. If you do a straight copy paste, you're asking for a mess :D

Hint: Insanity's entire soundtrack was done in <8kb

Are you sure squirrel didn't like the file size? It makes sure the song fits w/i 2 banks of memory, (16kb). If the text file is 22kb, it doesn't mean the produced file will be anywhere near that big.

#34 thegoldenband OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:58 PM

As others have said, MIDI is a control protocol and makes no sounds of its own. All it does is say "play a C", and it doesn't inherently care whether the instrument on the receiving end is a trumpet, a snare drum, a sawtooth wave, or whatever. But it's easy to understand why people have come to associate a particular style of music -- or rather, a particular "sound" -- with MIDI's inherent limitations.

Like most computer music tools, MIDI is good at managing discrete events in a modular way, but not so good at representing the nonlinear qualities of those events as played by human beings. When a person plays a series of notes, there are all kinds of variations in dynamics, articulation, tempo, intonation, and color. These parameters are a big part of what makes the music "breathe" and sound organic -- but they're all things that computer musicians tend to neglect, whether they're using MIDI or another compositional environment.

(And it's easy to see the overlap with video game music here. The NES has one waveform that can only be played at a fixed volume level. The Atari 2600's TIA can't execute glissandi. Very few 8-bit games use any kind of dynamic envelope for their tunes, and even fewer have any kind of variation in tempo within a track. All these things are typical of by-the-numbers composition using MIDI-based sequencers.)

This misconception isn't unique to the gaming world. Many extremely well-educated musicians will still say "Ugh, I hate those MIDI sounds" when someone gives them a demo version of a composition to help them learn their part. It's a reasonable shorthand, I suppose, for saying "Ugh, I hate the sound of hardware and software synthesizers -- in conjunction with relatively primitive sample-driven playback -- and I hate the highly metronomic, stiff, choppy way that computers interpret notated music." And after all, these things are true of practically every pre-Redbook gaming system, right?

BTW, I think reverb (and the lack of it) also plays into this whole thing, but that's another discussion...

Edited by thegoldenband, Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:00 PM.


#35 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:31 PM

Yeah,but alot of chiptunes have effects and some dynamics going on despite being chiptunes. Just because its simple shouldn't mean people go OH ITS MIDI. ITS KINDA LIKE THEM OLD .MIDS FROM AOL. GARBAGE.

you can use MIDI to control really sophisticated synths and idiots like that would never know its MIDI driving all of it

#36 Nikdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:33 PM


Apparently I was using some ancient version of 3ML that didn't work right. Got a newer one, works perfectly. Now the MML looks great, but is a 21kb file so it exceeds Squirrels 16kb file limit. :P I think I will give up on this song and do something that isn't 8min long.


Use macros and repeats. If you do a straight copy paste, you're asking for a mess :D

But I'm lazy. If this were actually important I might go loop things. The bass line only changes twice, and could easily be a loop.

Are you sure squirrel didn't like the file size? It makes sure the song fits w/i 2 banks of memory, (16kb). If the text file is 22kb, it doesn't mean the produced file will be anywhere near that big.

It said:
mml2pce - convert mml file to pce playable data
Version 2.4.2 Alpha - internal use only.
Copyright 2010 M.E. Ward / Aetherbyte
For Non-Commercial use only.
Processing [Z:\Squirrel Public\MMLSongs\Blue Monady (Squiral Happy).mml]
Processing Track: [.TRACK]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 0  Setup]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 1 Trumpet]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 2 SynthStrings]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 3 SynthLead]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 4 BassSolos]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 5 BassChorus]
Page Overflow: Breaking File!
New File: [Z:\Squirrel Public\MMLSongs\Blue Monady (Squiral Happy)2.asm]
Processing Channel Section: [.CHANNEL 6 Drums]
Output Exceeds 16K Limit! Aborting!
The 2 ending asm files were 102kb xD

#37 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:30 AM

You put way too much crap in lol. You've exceeded the two alloted 8k banks of memory for music.

Solution: Use repeats/macros. Its friggin' blue monday. The bass line never changes for the whole song lol.

#38 Nikdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:08 PM

The bass line never changes for the whole song lol.

Yea it does.

#39 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:20 AM


The bass line never changes for the whole song lol.

Yea it does.


Yeah, a little, but you can still just use a crapload of repeats and macros and clean that part up severely, lol

#40 Petran79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:23 AM

Amiga games music 25 years ago was considered one of the best. Only in the 90s other systems began to catch up. The pc-engine games used a cd, the amiga games a few floppies. Big difference.

As for good music, crap music ratio it was the same in every system.

Game themes like Agony, Lotus, Turrican etc are still some of the best. That says a lot. The composer matters,not the system.

On a side note, american and european nes fans were cheated since the nes lacked an extra sound chip.

#41 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:44 AM

Whoever said that Amiga's sound chip was cack either is tone deaf or doesn't know their gaming music....I suggest they go to some of the amiga demo sites like lemon amiga and similar

Looks like some people also missed out the Apple IIgs (which has a little bit of commodore tech in there, thanks largely to the esoniqs chip made by former commodore engineers, yannes and charpentier....strangley enough, esoniqs was one of the first commodore spin off companies)

If you thought the PCengine chip sounded good, you should have listened to the demo's from the Konix multi system, which was like having 14 sound chips in one device (according to what Jeff Minter said about the system in his regular column in ST format)

It would have been interesting to find out how the Otis chip would have sounded if Atari had gone ahead and released the panther (another decendent from the team that designed the SID and Esoniqs chips)

Edited by carmel_andrews, Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:45 AM.


#42 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:12 AM

Amiga games music 25 years ago was considered one of the best. Only in the 90s other systems began to catch up. The pc-engine games used a cd, the amiga games a few floppies. Big difference.

What I've come to notice is that most of the time, the Amiga game music doesn't really fit the game, or just sounds super. frigging. cheesy. Menace uses such hokey guitar sampling that it just sounds moronic. The C64 version of that game sounds better since it's not trying to be some late 80s power rock band crap.

With great power (Samples) comes great responsibility. Don't use retarded samples for your games. Even if the composition is awesome, crap sounding instrumentation is going to ruin it.

PC Engine also had card games. The chip in the PCE produces some really nice stuff. better than farty-FM quality arcade music even!



Game themes like Agony, Lotus, Turrican etc are still some of the best. That says a lot. The composer matters,not the system.


Jeroen Tel got it right with Agony though for sure. That and Shadow of the Beast are my two personal favorite Amiga sound tracks. They fit the game perfectly, and use excellent sampling.

I blame Europeans trying to mimic Japanese chiptunes with awful results. R-Type sounds sooooo stupid on the Amiga.

The Title music was great, and then it cuts to some of the lamest crap I have ever heard on the Amiga. It's the instrumentation. It ruined it. Its a bunch of thinned out, really stale sounding chipbleepery.


Whoever said that Amiga's sound chip was cack either is tone deaf or doesn't know their gaming music....I suggest they go to some of the amiga demo sites like lemon amiga and similar

Whoa there fanboy, settle down with the obnoxious accusations. Amiga DEMOs are not GAMING music. We are talking GAME music. I don't care how awesome the tunes are in a bunch of demoscene stuff. It's irrelevant.

Compare Daimaikamura (Ghouls and Ghosts) on Super Grafx and Amiga. I don't care if it's friggin Tim Follin, the Amiga one sounds lame. Its another case of the Western world messing with Japanese stuff. It obviously can't be done properly so I don't know why the hell people even tried.

Paula, depending how you look at it, is crap. Its sampling with hard panning. Its all up to the sampler to make it not suck. Usually, the sampler went stupid and picked awful sounds.

At least computer systems or the Genesis, etc, that had FM, used pretty nice instrumentation most of the time. Smooth, non-abrasive sounds that fit the games better. Given the results of the Amiga, I often prefer FM over sampled music for games of the time. FM doesn't give you the option of picking hideous noises. Nor does the NES and PCE.

and finally, the PCE *can* play 6 channels of sampled stuff. It's a poor idea, but it can do it!

#43 Nikdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:46 PM

On a side note, american and european nes fans were cheated since the nes lacked an extra sound chip.

It didn't lack the "chip", it lacked input on the cartridge slot for sound expansions. Thus also meaning that the US/EU versions of games lacked the extra sound chips.

Too bad the US/EU FDS never came out. It would have allowed FM synth for cartridge games as well as disk games.

#44 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:10 PM

Not an amiga fanboi actually, you seem to be comparing two different technologies and companies

fact one, the amiga had already been designed (chip wise) before commodore bought them out and remembering that atari were going to come up with something to compete with amiga, commodore needed to act fast which meant they could'nt spend months redesigning the chipset thast explains why Paula is what it is...And you also seem to forget that unlike NEC commodore didn't have gazillions to spend designing the amiga, whereas NEC had the money to spend making the pc engine what it was as unlike commodore NEC were able to draw funds from it's other divisions (like consumer electonics)

Fact two, you seem to be comparing a computer with a gaming system, what you must remember is that paula probably did more then just audio generation (especially if paula is patterned after it's predecessor, pokey) whereas the pc engine sound chip probably was only responsible for sound/audio generation

You also seem to forget that most amiga games had limited space for putting music/sound tracks (apparently no more then the equivalent to a speccy or commodore 64's memory capacity, going by some of the articles i've seen about games programming on the amiga way back when) compare that to a pc engine which probably dedicated more memory capacity for sound/music tracks (considering that it was the first game system to work with cd rom)...I am pretty sure that if the amgia games programmer had the memory capacity for music/sound tracks that the pc engine had, you would have had much better music tracks emanating from the amiga

Can you point me to another gaming system that used NEC pc engine's audio technology, whereas i can point you to systems that used commodore or commodore related audio technology (i already gave you two examples, the apple iigs and the panther)

Edited by carmel_andrews, Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:23 PM.


#45 The_Laird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:29 PM

The Panther? :?

If you are reffering to the cancelled 32-bit Atari Panther that used the same Atari designed sound chip that is found in the Falcon.

#46 Nikdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:56 PM

whereas the pc engine sound chip probably was only responsible for sound/audio generation

It's the main CPU IIRC

#47 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:00 PM

The Panther? :?

If you are reffering to the cancelled 32-bit Atari Panther that used the same Atari designed sound chip that is found in the Falcon.







The panther used the OTIS chip, designed by esoniq

Here's the wikipedia entry

http://en.wikipedia....i/Atari_Panther

It features three chips, consisting of a Motorola 68000 running at 16 MHz, an object processor called the Panther, and an Ensoniq sound processor called Otis, featuring 32 sound channels (presumably a ES5505).


Esoniq being the same company that designed the sound chip for the apple IIgs

Edited by carmel_andrews, Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:01 PM.


#48 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:04 PM

Not an amiga fanboi actually, you seem to be comparing two different technologies and companies

fact one, the amiga had already been designed (chip wise) before commodore bought them out and remembering that atari were going to come up with something to compete with amiga, commodore needed to act fast which meant they could'nt spend months redesigning the chipset thast explains why Paula is what it is...And you also seem to forget that unlike NEC commodore didn't have gazillions to spend designing the amiga, whereas NEC had the money to spend making the pc engine what it was as unlike commodore NEC were able to draw funds from it's other divisions (like consumer electonics)

Comparing two different technologies is sort of how comparing retro computing/game systems works dude. They're all different. Duh. Also, NEC didn't design the hardware. Hudson did. NEC just manufactured it. Quit making shit up!

Fact two, you seem to be comparing a computer with a gaming system, what you must remember is that paula probably did more then just audio generation (especially if paula is patterned after it's predecessor, pokey) whereas the pc engine sound chip probably was only responsible for sound/audio generation

What is your point? We're talking about games and the hardware used to make them possible. Who cares if Paula was involved in other computational functions. As far as games go, she's the chip responsible for sound. You're making really off the wall excuses for why Paula may not be the best thing ever. And you're doing so after saying OH MAN YOU MUST NOT KNOW GAMING MUSIC OR YOU'RE TONE DEAF. GO LISTEN TO AMIGA SCENE DEMO TUNES. So I am not really sure what you're doing.

and btw, the PSG for the PCE is built into the CPU. It's integrated. Weee.

Paula, on paper, sounds great. Paula, in practice, sounds crapass alot of the time.. I blame late 80s/early 90s sampling fads. Paula tunes either sound kickass, or they suck. There is no middle ground.

You also seem to forget that most amiga games had limited space for putting music/sound tracks (apparently no more then the equivalent to a speccy or commodore 64's memory capacity, going by some of the articles i've seen about games programming on the amiga way back when) compare that to a pc engine which probably dedicated more memory capacity for sound/music tracks (considering that it was the first game system to work with cd rom)...I am pretty sure that if the amgia games programmer had the memory capacity for music/sound tracks that the pc engine had, you would have had much better music tracks emanating from the amiga

PC Engine used cards before CD-ROMs. The CD-ROM games typically use redbook audio. You sound like you're just guessing/making stuff up and don't have alot of experience with the PCE. The Amiga had more space for music/audio data. It had more space in general. Its a frikking Amiga. The game I made for PC Engine stuck all of the audio tracks in <8k of space. Pretty sure you have way more than 8k of space on an Amiga to put music data into. This argument is kind of poorly thought out anyways. The music format for the Amiga may be larger, so having more space is cancelled out by that fact. The PCE music format is generally small, to go with the small amount of storage.

Its all relative. Each machine has enough space to accommodate their respective sound formats.

Every Amiga game clearly shows that it can store lots of lengthy tracks that use Paula to her full potential. The problem, as I have stated like 5 times, is that the SAMPLES used, were complete crap. Maybe if Paula had a way to generate sound rather than just play samples back, there could have been more interesting sounds. And as it stands, hard L/R panning really sucks, especially when the PCE has stereo panning on each channel. Talk about awesome.


Can you point me to another gaming system that used NEC pc engine's audio technology, whereas i can point you to systems that used commodore or commodore related audio technology (i already gave you two examples, the apple iigs and the panther)

Considering Hudson made their hardware to compete with the other companies, there is no other system using the hardware. That argument is just retarded. Why would a company give up their secret weapon?

Though, the Konami SCC for the MSX computer is eerily similar to the PCE's PSG. It's only differences is it is 5 instead of 6 channels, has no stereo panning, and has 8bit instead of 5bit amplitudes.

Edited by Arkhan, Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:05 PM.


#49 Multijointed Monster Maker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:17 AM

Its like they're trying to sound all super hip and technically informed, but end up sounding like morons when they do it.


I hate those kinds of people, especially when they are hired as journalists for a popular videogame magazines like EGM and GamePro.

#50 Tr3vor OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:28 AM


Its like they're trying to sound all super hip and technically informed, but end up sounding like morons when they do it.


I hate those kinds of people, especially when they are hired as journalists for a popular videogame magazines like EGM and GamePro.



i was listening to a ign podcast, and they were talking about killzone 3 and how it "has to render more frames to make your guy's arm move more when using the playstation move." You don't render more frames, just cause your fps arm is moving around, you just animate it dorks.




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