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A Couple of Donkey Kong Questions

donkey kong sound

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#1 BillyHW OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:35 PM

Greetings Arcadsters...

I was playing some old skool Donkey Kong and I noticed a couple of things. First the sound is really muffled for some reason. Is this a MAME issue or was the real thing like this? Secondly, have you noticed that when you jump over a barrel, it rolls right off the screen instead of continuing down the girders. I just found this so odd, never noticed it before. A couple times it happened that I jumped over a barrel and didn't get any points for it, too.

Still trying to make it to the factory stage.

Also, I remember playing a lot of Donkey Kong on Coleco when I was really small (like 5 years old), what did people actually call Mario back then? Did they actually call him Jumpman or was it just The Man or did they already start to refer to him as Mario by then?

#2 mr. toast OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:46 PM

Jumping over barrels and not getting points is normal in the game. It has something to do with the peak of the jump needing to be over the middle of the barrel or no points will be awarded. Something like that.

Mario was called Jumpman in the original arcade Donkey Kong. By August 1982 (release of Donkey Kong Jr.), he was given the name Mario, so the name Jumpman was pretty much forgotten.

#3 CaptainBreakout OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:55 AM

Donkey Kong amazes me to this day. For such a mega hit, it seems none of the console ports duplicated it exactly right -missing levels and stuff. Also the game was tricky to emulate due to the sound scheme. Donkey Kong was one of those early arcade games with analog sound.

Really hard to emulate, as it takes an obscene amount of processor power to do correctly. The early versions of MAME used fast hacks (like samples) to get it to sound authentic. This worked well for playing, but didn't jibe with the credo of emulating a game proper.

The later versions attempted to emulate the hardware better, which means way more processor use to emulate analog hardware -which is just sort of inherently difficult.

Personally, since I use an older computer for my emulation fun, I like an older build of MAME for the classics with sound sample files. You could try an older version of MAME and see if the game plays differently. Donkey Kong has been emulated since the very early days of the MAME project... so it might be fun giving an ancient build of MAME a try.

As far as a similar experience on the consoles, there's also the hacked version of the NES ROM version of Donkey Kong which is supposed to contain the missing levels. Got a link for this project anyone?

#4 rxd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:00 AM

I hate it when Mame tries to be more accurate and makes the games play worse. The Donkey Kong sounds really are lousy in Mame now...

#5 BillyHW OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:45 PM

Well, I made it to the factory stage for the first time ever today. Finished it too.

What's there left to live for?

#6 BillyHW OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:19 PM

Donkey Kong amazes me to this day. For such a mega hit, it seems none of the console ports duplicated it exactly right -missing levels and stuff. Also the game was tricky to emulate due to the sound scheme. Donkey Kong was one of those early arcade games with analog sound.

Really hard to emulate, as it takes an obscene amount of processor power to do correctly. The early versions of MAME used fast hacks (like samples) to get it to sound authentic. This worked well for playing, but didn't jibe with the credo of emulating a game proper.

The later versions attempted to emulate the hardware better, which means way more processor use to emulate analog hardware -which is just sort of inherently difficult.

Personally, since I use an older computer for my emulation fun, I like an older build of MAME for the classics with sound sample files. You could try an older version of MAME and see if the game plays differently. Donkey Kong has been emulated since the very early days of the MAME project... so it might be fun giving an ancient build of MAME a try.

As far as a similar experience on the consoles, there's also the hacked version of the NES ROM version of Donkey Kong which is supposed to contain the missing levels. Got a link for this project anyone?


What do you mean about emulating analog sound hardware? What was analog about the way Donkey Kong made sounds?

#7 CaptainBreakout OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012 12:25 AM

Here's a link where they are discussing the topic.

Basically the earlier versions of MAME used sound samples files to emulate the sounds. As the project grew, they started emulating the way analog sound was generated with discreet hardware... this takes huge amounts of processing.

I mean, MAME has always been about accuracy in emulation... but for the vast majority of us who just want the game to play nice and smooth, well... the latest version might not always be the best for that.

If you download the older versions of MAME and find the sample files for DK, you can run Donkey Kong smooth. Or give RAINE or even RETROCADE a try. :)

#8 CaptainBreakout OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012 12:26 AM

http://forum.arcadec...p?topic=86146.0

here's the DK link I mentioned talking about analog audio emulation

#9 rxd OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012 2:08 AM

I never quite can understand what the Mame team means by "more accurate" when something plays worse.
It isn't that donkey kong stutters because my pc is under powered (I7 3gz, I mean come on) its that the sound is muffled like the OP said. How is this accurate?

It plays fine with no stuttering at all but the audio is just so muffled like its under water....

Also I have Raine but I have 1 question. When I play donkey kong on it even if I choose not to use emudx support (which is totally cool by the way) it uses the enhanced audio. How can I get it to just play original donkey kong with original graphics and sound?

Edited by rxd, Thu Mar 1, 2012 2:13 AM.


#10 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 1, 2012 2:27 AM

Lots of arcade games use fancy external filtering circuits to alter the sounds.

Just look at some of the Atari games that use Pokey as an example. They sounded great in the arcade but kinda ordinary in emulation.

If you aren't happy with the sound, you can always use your sound driver's equalizer to change it.

#11 Cynicaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012 6:06 PM

I remember reading somewhere that most of the world class DK players agree that the MAME emulation of the game is pretty much dead nuts. Now, maybe they were talking strictly about gameplay and not the sounds, not sure.

I run MAME v122 on my cab and I think this version still uses samples. Doesn't bother me, it gets the job done.

#12 NE146 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012 7:42 PM

Well, I made it to the factory stage for the first time ever today. Finished it too.

What's there left to live for?


Well you could play the original jap version and see the elevator and factory stage they way they were originally introduced on level 1.. i.e. EASY with 1 fireball, or 1 bouncing rivet, slow conveyor belts, and slow elevators. :)

#13 7800Lover OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 4, 2012 9:53 AM

I've never played the actual arcade game. I've been stuck with many of the home ports which don't have the factory stage. It's not on the Atari 7800 port I have - nor was it on the Atari 2600, Colecovision, or NES.

Off the top of my head, only the Atari 800 computer had the factory stage on its DK port.

#14 mbd30 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 7, 2012 4:58 PM

I hate it when Mame tries to be more accurate and makes the games play worse. The Donkey Kong sounds really are lousy in Mame now...


Be sure to go into the game's individual MAME settings and turn off all vertical sync/triple buffering. I get audio cracking and glitches if I don't turn them off.

#15 mbd30 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 8, 2012 2:18 AM

Does anyone have access to a Donkey Kong arcade machine to compare with the sound on MAME? I don't notice the sound emulation to be bad. Perhaps a bit scratchy. Shouldn't the sound effects in a 30 year-old arcade machine be a little rough?

#16 Knubberrub OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 8, 2012 3:42 AM

Greetings Arcadsters...

I was playing some old skool Donkey Kong and I noticed a couple of things. First the sound is really muffled for some reason. Is this a MAME issue or was the real thing like this?


If my memory serves me correctly, some of the versions did actually sound quite muffled/quiet when I used to play them in the arcades. I've heard a muffled MAME version which sounds the same to me. Also, I think they varied in whether they made a sound or not when he jumped (or ran, possibly).

#17 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 8, 2012 5:06 AM

It seems the version I have uses a mix of samples and synth sounds.
If you're not happy with the way some of the sounds come out, you could put them through an editor and rework to your own tastes (I don't think the audit cares if the samples don't match up).

In my sample zip, there's:

3 run, 1 jump, 1 stomp sample files.

#18 Cynicaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:38 AM

It seems the version I have uses a mix of samples and synth sounds.
If you're not happy with the way some of the sounds come out, you could put them through an editor and rework to your own tastes (I don't think the audit cares if the samples don't match up).

In my sample zip, there's:

3 run, 1 jump, 1 stomp sample files.


I wish I didn't read this because now it almost seems like a crime against humanity to not replace those files with fart sounds.

#19 HatefulGravey OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:06 PM

Well, I made it to the factory stage for the first time ever today. Finished it too.

What's there left to live for?


The thrill of finally raising your high score. I have played a mortal ton of Donkey Kong for a while now and I can't believe how happy I am when I finally move that top score up a notch. Its all I can do to top 130k right now, I can't imagine what it takes to learn the game well enough to hit those world record numbers.

For all that is worth you can work on mastering the 3rd elevator board. It comes after the factory stage and is kind of the line that marks you are getting better then average at the game.

There is also that Donkey Kong Foundry hack. It makes me a crazy person, but its something else you can play with the same general idea. You might give that a look.

#20 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:08 AM

What's there to live for?? The way I see it, the same reason I've been on a Pac-Man bender lately (playing the iPhone version during the commute to and from work, and the Mac version when I have a few minutes to spare) -- see how high my score can get, and to see if I have any hope of reaching the kill screen.

#21 darryl1970 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:29 PM

I have a coreDuo laptop with nVidia graphics and Realtec HD sound.. MAME Donkey Kong is pretty accurate, and the game play does't suffer.. However, my P4 has an ATI video card, and old Sound Blaster Audigy. I would almost swear that I was at the arcade. It's truly amazing the difference. I guess it just depends on the combination of speakers and hardware too. I have my P4 connected to better speakers too.. However, the arcade Donkey Kong sound could have been considered "muffled" because it had a low-end buzz to it. It was kind of the charm that I thought Samples neve captured.. Not the same on my Android phone with samples.. lol..

#22 M.A.M.E Offender OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:32 AM

There is also a scoring glitch that I have noticed on DK's barrel boards. You will sometimes have an opportunity to jump 3 barrels in one jump. When done successfully, it will indicate you get 800 pts for the feat. But if you watch your score, it will give you credit for only 500 pts.

Another neat little trick I read about was the taunting of ol' Kong on the rivet boards. Remove all the rivets on the left side of the screen. Then go to the right side and remove the top 2 rivets. This trick will be easier to accomplish if there is not a fireball in the middle of the level directly below you. Next thing to do is very cautiously approach Donkey Kong from the right hand side. Get as close to him as you can without dying. This may take a few attempts. When positioned properly, start jumping as fast as you can. You will get credit for 100 pts for every jump. This trick is only feasible on the first rivet board due to the fact that the bonus clock moves faster on level 2 and beyond. You can accomplish roughly 2 jumps for each time increment of 100 on level 1, whereas you will get only a little more than one jump per time increment on levels 2 and up.

#23 Dauber OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:21 PM

I read about that trick in a letter to JoyStik in 1983..I remember they responded saying that's all fine and dandy, but you'd end up with more points if you just finish the level with time left on the bonus clock.

#24 NE146 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:51 PM

It depends. If you watch the high score runs by Billy Mitchell / Steve Wiebel / etc. they actually do that on several boards to press out some points.

So it obviously gives you more than you get from the timer, depending on the level.

#25 darryl1970 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:50 PM

The number of points have to do with timing.. It's not automatically 800pts for 3 barrels. The direction of the joystick has something to do with it.. Even if you jump straight up, pointing the joystick away from an object is what gives you points. It's not like many of the generic home versions..

I can actually score more points using the hammer than just clearing the timer.. Might be different on higher levels though, because the timer starts out higher..




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