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Thomas Jentzsch

Synced High Quality Music and Sounds

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After having played DigiBeatz, while looking at Stella's current implementation of the Kid Vid Voice Module, I wondered if something similar could be done today again. But instead of targeting a cassette player, modern devices would be used. Having instant random access would allow the 2600 to play high quality music and/or sounds which are completely synced to the game play.

 

Implementing this in Stella would be quite easy (similar to what MAME does with its SFX samples), one would only need the sound files. But for the real thing some hardware would have to be developed. There I am running out of knowledge, but I suppose this wouldn't be too complicated or expensive.

 

Does that sound feasible and interesting for homebrewers? Maybe something like this already exists?

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Yes please.  I would love something like Beatnik.  In another life (at the dawn of mobile), it was nice to define samples and use MIDI triggers.  The ability to call samples, change the playback rate, select a starting position, and play it backwards would be handy.  We were always short on space, so we reused/recycled samples whenever possible.  I could definitely use something like that--and not burn a lot of rom (from my perspective as a dev using ACE) using it.  All I need is playback ability.  I can build the tools to handle MIDI myself.

Edited by orange808

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To elaborate more, this is a recording of the MIDI demo for my gameplay opening of my (apparently) endless, vaporware, black hole ACE project.  🙂 I have it running on real hardware, but without any kind of "DPC audio" support on ACE, it loses quite a bit.  Obviously had to be reworked and drop parts of the audio while looping to avoid driving gamers insane.  Anyhow, better audio hardware would be very welcome.  I could probably almost reproduce this audio.

 

**Please note that sharing this does not release this audio into public domain.  If you need music, hire me.  🙂

    

Atom Is Too Late__Time For Revenge.mp3

Edited by orange808

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There's AtariVOX. I wonder if that can be built upon? Seems to me that building upon something that already exists is a better route to adoption than an entirely new device.

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6 hours ago, batari said:

There's AtariVOX. I wonder if that can be built upon? Seems to me that building upon something that already exists is a better route to adoption than an entirely new device.

Do you think the AtariVox could be enhanced to play random samples? That would be a surprise to me.

 

BTW: Stereo would be another nice to have. Not only for music but also for sound effects, which could then e.g. move from left to right.

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16 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Do you think the AtariVox could be enhanced to play random samples? That would be a surprise to me.

 

BTW: Stereo would be another nice to have. Not only for music but also for sound effects, which could then e.g. move from left to right.

Sure, and by adding some extra hardware, it could potentially utilize the flash and play samples directly from that.

 

There is a chance that it could be done without hardware as well, as AtariVOXes have a PIC already on them that is apparently not actually used for the 2600 (it's only needed if the device is used on a Vectrex). Might be worth asking Richard Hutchinson if this PIC can be used (perhaps, if reprogrammed) for digital samples on the 2600.

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This goes way over my head, so anyone interested should push forward on the hardware side. 

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20 hours ago, batari said:

Sure, and by adding some extra hardware, it could potentially utilize the flash and play samples directly from that.

How would the samples get on the flash to begin with? Would it be something embedded in the ROM and transferred to flash by the game somehow?

 

I was thinking the original idea here was to allow piping in music and sounds from an external source, which could be controlled from a game via some hardware that interfaces with it.

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I knew that was the original idea. However, adoption of a new device for the system seems to take years if it happens at all, so I thought it would be better to look at something that already exists, or at least, to revamp an existing device that is already connected to many systems for easier adoption. The only successful external devices for the 2600 I can think of (in the homebrew era) have been the AtariVOX/SaveKey and the Quadtari, and the former is already established, so why not build upon that?

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Understood. But wouldn't it really be easier to modify an AVox? Even if you have one, how many people would do that? I suppose it depends on how complicated it will we and what the benefits are. For the latter I am skeptical if the AVox is versatile enough and can deliver high quality. But it never hurts to at least check different approaches.

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