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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:23 am 
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Do a search for one of these binary strings in your ROM collection (where ?? is a wildcard byte):

AF C8 F0 D0 FB 5D D5 00 01 C8 ?? B0 03 D5 00 02 3D D0 F3
AF C8 F0 D0 FB 5D D5 00 01 D5 00 02 C8 ?? B0 03 D5 00 03 3D D0 F0

Chances are the only two things that will come up are games developed by Argonaut, and demos/intros made by Anthrox (and other ROMs that recycle Anthrox's music). Some later Anthrox releases won't match due to compression, but you can see one of the same strings in audio RAM while the music is running.

At first one might assume that Anthrox just pinched an existing game's driver like nearly everyone else in the scene did back then, but all of their music was from scratch and I seem to remember Anthrox at least strongly implying that their sound driver really was their own. None of the instances of the driver (that I saw) are exactly the same as each other, but it's a lot of extremely similar code among differences that gave me the impression that both groups actually were working with original source code, rather than Anthrox hacking on multiple different revisions of Argonaut's code.

Later, on a whim, I typed "argonaut software" "anthrox" into Google and hit this page by former Argonaut programmer Ian Crowther. Scroll down to the list of games. Notice something? Shoot Your Load's programming was credited to "Duke Euphoria De'Gryn", which is the very same name displayed at the top of the main page of Crowther's site. That's one.

In the same game, as with many other Anthrox releases, the music and sound driver are credited to "The Doctor" and "The Assistant", respectively.

Listen to Vortex's soundtrack and Shoot Your Load's soundtrack. Listen also to this set of mostly scene-related SNES music, which heavily features more of The Doctor's work, especially tracks like the SNES Trainer Charts music which were released a few months before Vortex was. Maybe it's just me, but much of the instrumentation is extremely similar, not to mention some of the characteristics like all the spacy arpeggios (which I certainly couldn't associate with any other SNES composers).

So, based on all that, my conjecture is that "The Doctor" is Justin Scharvona, and "The Assistant" is probably Martin Simpson, who was commonly credited in Argonaut's SNES games with doing sound programming.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:53 am 
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That would be very interesting if it were true. Keep investigating!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:03 pm 
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Very interesting find in the sense that the sound driver turned out to be presumably developed at Anthrox then moved to Argonaut.

The sound driver in question is also found in FrogNES and World of Manga 2 (both by Insomnya).

Hysteria also appears to be a match, but it's noticeably different in the opening code in comparison to what you've got (this one uses 5D D5 00 01 D5 00 02 D5 00 03 3D D0 F4).


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:36 pm 
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Honestly, which of you does truly believe that all those rather sophisticated SNES demos that surfaced in the course of the 1990s were made by anybody else but, well, actual SNES developers from back in the days?

KungFuFurby wrote:
developed at Anthrox then moved to Argonaut

Or rather, the other way round. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:55 pm 
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I think the other way around is more likely, yeah.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:52 pm 
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Ramsis wrote:
Honestly, which of you does truly believe that all those rather sophisticated SNES demos that surfaced in the course of the 1990s were made by anybody else but, well, actual SNES developers from back in the days?

I certainly knew this was true in the C64, Amiga, and MegaDrive scene; I just didn't know of any clear examples on the SNES.

(eg: Martin Iveson of Core Design (Chuck Rock, Wolfchild, Jaguar...) was Nuke of Lemon.)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:40 pm 
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Che Lalic (Alfatech/Censor, who wrote the SidMania musicdisk and some intro music) also worked on the SNES version of NBA Hang Time.

Funcom (who developed Winter Gold) was made up of members of Spaceballs, and the visuals in the intro/main menu of Winter Gold were pretty much directly copied from their demos "9 Fingers" and "State of the Art".

Mark Knight was also a member of Anthrox but was only involved with their Amiga releases (as a musician, of course). All of his SNES stuff was completely unrelated to the scene as far as I'm aware.

Florian Sauer of "Infernal Byte Systems" released a shareware(?) SNES assembler for the Amiga and then went on to work on Factor 5's N64 games, but I don't think he did any commercial SNES work.

Likewise Kay Struve (Pothead/Anthrox, who made the "2.68 MHz" demo) has a MobyGames profile but probably didn't work on any SNES games either.

I think those are all of the other SNES scene connections I can think of offhand.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:42 pm 
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Ah, right, I knew about the Spaceballs / Winter Gold connection.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 1:45 am 
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The Censor members did their scene releases before getting into professional SNES development. However, they (and I would assume most other groups) had access to the early NOA documentation. There were also some "informants" helping out (especially with the APU which was a tricky beast at the time) from inside companies already enrolled for SNES development.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:04 pm 
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I just asked Justin about this on Twitter. No idea if he'll respond or even see it, since he doesn't seem to use it very actively, but who knows.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:12 pm 
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Revenant wrote:
Che Lalic (Alfatech/Censor, who wrote the SidMania musicdisk and some intro music) also worked on the SNES version of NBA Hang Time.


oh hey, look what KungFuFurby and I found

https://tcrf.net/NBA_Hang_Time_(SNES)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:06 pm 
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This is some neat stuff, filling in all the knowledge gaps in scene history.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:01 am 
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This was also pretty common in the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance homebrew scene. Several people were hired by companies based on a homebrew release.


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