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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:18 pm 
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Super Smash Bros. Melee is definitely streamed.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:24 pm 
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That's what I was thinking of when lidnariq claimed most GameCube music was generated in realtime. Not that Melee represents the whole GameCube library though.

lidnariq wrote:
The Gamecube DVD drive did support streaming ADPCM-compressed audio direct from disc—supposedly in so-called "ADP" files—but I didn't find a list where someone had already done the research as to how many games used prerecorded soundtracks and which ones didn't. Using dolphin to look for soundtracks in my own discs, roughly half seem to use pre-recorded audio and half don't.

Looking at them in Dolphin, Super Monkey Ball 1, 2, and F-Zero GX all use prerendered audio.

lidnariq wrote:
The GameCube hardware is claimed to support mixing 64 audio channels simultaneously, so I misspoke when I said softsynth. It's more like the SNES, PS1, and PS2.

I was always under the impression that everything after the PS1 didn't have dedicated sound hardware, like the N64 or the GBA (if you exclude the original GB sound channels), outside of a channel for each speaker. With how fast CPUs got, I wouldn't have thought hardware developers would bother. 64 channels is overkill for any scenario I can think of, (how could anyone differentiate that many sounds?) but proportional to the SNES's 8 channels and the PS1's 24 channels, it would actually be the weakest part of the system by far. :lol:

If modern systems (or at least the GameCube) still have dedicated sound hardware, what's the point in having all the audio being prerendered? You can't do much if there are vocals, but most modern game music does not. While some games are actually performed by an orchestra and recorded, I can't imagine they make up the majority. I also imagine the sound hardware is powerful enough to where you can use any kind of effect that you want to, so that's not a reason either. Convenience seems like it would be the main reason, as you don't have to program a music engine, although I'm sure an SDK would include this.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:39 pm 
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Chuck Rock II had a pretty sweet CD soundtrack. (Was on Sega CD and Amiga CD32.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Iaq80cesVM


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:44 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
Convenience seems like it would be the main reason [to use streamed audio], as you don't have to program a music engine, although I'm sure an SDK would include this.

That and you'd be DUMB not to use what's available.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:59 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
I was always under the impression that everything after the PS1 didn't have dedicated sound hardware
I'm pretty certain the PS2 had two of the PS1 sound units, for 48-voice polyphony. (Look for PSF2 files)

Xbox (original) also apparently had 64 voice hardware mixing, also as part of the GPU. (Audio DSP isn't so different from dealing with 2d textures.)

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With how fast CPUs got, I wouldn't have thought hardware developers would bother
The biggest advantage to moving audio processing off your main CPU is keeping your cache for things where speed and latency matter. If you can keep the whole audio engine out of contention with the GPU (for textures) or CPU (for game state or code) it makes the rest that much easier.

That's true regardless of whether it's a hardsynth or just a streamed soundtrack.

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If modern systems (or at least the GameCube) still have dedicated sound hardware, what's the point in having all the audio being prerendered? You can't do much if there are vocals, but most modern game music does not.
It's harder to master a MIDI than a fixed recording.


Last edited by lidnariq on Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Total Annihilation. All hail Jeremy Soule.

Xenoblade Chronicles is up there too. I think it's telling that my two favourite games of all time also have two of my favourite soundtracks of all time.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:14 pm 
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Jedi QuestMaster wrote:
Do you actually own these? Specifically the Red Arremer soundtrack?

Yes.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:40 pm 
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ccovell wrote:
Jedi QuestMaster wrote:
Do you actually own these? Specifically the Red Arremer soundtrack?

Yes.

Jealous.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:48 pm 
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lidnariq wrote:
I'm pretty certain the PS2 had two of the PS1 sound units, for 48-voice polyphony. (Look for PSF2 files)

Those 16 extra channels make all the difference though. :lol:

lidnariq wrote:
It's harder to master a MIDI than a fixed recording.

What does "master" mean in this context? I wouldn't think games would use a generic MIDI engine, but more akin to the SNES where only the instruments that are needed are used, at least on older systems; if I'm not mistaken, the Roland SC-55 uses a 4MB rom chip to store all the samples, which isn't insignificant.

Rahsennor wrote:
I think it's telling that my two favourite games of all time also have two of my favourite soundtracks of all time.

I'm like that too. At least for me, I think it's because I've played each game so much that I've been forced to like it. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:13 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
What does "master" mean in this context? I wouldn't think games would use a generic MIDI engine, but more akin to the SNES where only the instruments that are needed are used, at least on older systems;
Basically, mixing, again. Per-channel EQ, compression, expansion, sidechaining, &c.

The amount of effort it'd take to get the console-built-in hardware synth to do the same as the audio mix software is just not a great investment of resources, in comparison to just rendering the desired result.

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if I'm not mistaken, the Roland SC-55 uses a 4MB rom chip to store all the samples, which isn't insignificant.
A fixed 4MB sample bank is pretty small nowadays.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:30 pm 
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lidnariq wrote:
The amount of effort it'd take to get the console-built-in hardware synth to do the same as the audio mix software is just not a great investment of resources

I assume you mean development resource? Actual system resource should be pennies worth. It would be great if modern games weren't 60GB though. :|

lidnariq wrote:
A fixed 4MB sample bank is pretty small nowadays.

I actually just found out that it's 8MB, not that that really makes much of a difference. It's a bit bizarre that it's using a rom twice the size of Donkey Kong Country just for sound samples, although I don't know how many there are.


Last edited by Drew Sebastino on Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:39 pm 
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Yeah, development resources. Translating mixing instructions from whatever DAW your composer/musician/recording engineer favors to whatever the platform library supports is harder than not bothering, and modern audio codecs aren't enough less space efficient than sample bank + sequence data.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:37 am 
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lidnariq wrote:
I really liked the Castlevania: Rondo of Blood CD audio soundtrack, even though it's clearly just a recording of Mikio Saitou with some expensive synthesizers.

koitsu wrote:
Any of the Ys games on PC Engine CD / TurboGrafx CD / TurboDuo -- but Ys 3 is unmatched. (Glad to see ccovell shares my sentiments ;-) )


Came here to drop those two. The PC Engine CD library is a gold mine of early 90's synthetic Japanese game music from an era where they were just transitioning from purely FM sounds to redbook audio and weren't completely sure of what to do with all the extra fidelty, so they just went all in, combining sweet FM synthesizers with electric guitars and whatnot, while still keeping production completely electronic as no video game developer could afford fully orchestrated recording sessions.

A few more great example from less legendary games:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYfP680gQEc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-IuvOoXB_g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3RS0SGhCjk
The MegaCD was in on it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaAVsZgvIOM

For modern games, I'd say some games that really stand out are the Jet Set Radio ones, employing pop style music to help underline the fresh, contemporary style of the games. The original soundtracks by Sega's own Hideki Naganuma is amazing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbdDr3sK96I

And in the opposite ballpark, Dragon Quest 8 stood out by being the only game in the main series to actually have an ingame orchestrated soundtrack for its western release (something that was actually omitted in the Japanese release).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg236zrHA40
I think this is really interesting, considering all the music in the series, even since the very first NES game, was obviously created with a symphonic orchestration in mind, and usually translated very poorly to synthetic video game instruments, losing many of their amazing subtleties in the process. While especially egregious on the NES, even the modern remakes on the DS don't really sound too good compared to the amazing symphonic recordings that have always accompanied the series.


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Sexy Parodius (PS/PSX).

Only have the Saturn version of that, but as far as I recall, it's just recorded straight off the arcade board, isn't it?
Oshaberi Parodius got a complete overhaul for its PS1/Saturn incarnation though, including new soundtracks:
The Goemon stage particularly stands out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMrEX0H5Pes
And of course the hidden (activated using a code) vocal version of the Tokimeki Memorial song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkzzrm-dq9c


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:36 am 
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Sumez wrote:
Only have the Saturn version of that, but as far as I recall, it's just recorded straight off the arcade board, isn't it?

I own the PS/PSX version, and I also owned the arcade PCB up until late last year (yes really!). AFAIK the soundtrack is identical between the two systems, but -- and I'm being incredibly pedantic here (word-wise), so feel free to slap me -- I don't think the PS/PSX version is just "a recording of the arcade version", as the audio quality is very clear/crisp. It's more likely that it's a recording from whatever the true/original sound source was.

I played the Saturn version back in the mid-90s and I remember it being on par with the PS/PSX (soundtrack and quality-wise).

Which reminds me: Gradius Deluxe Pack (PS/PSX, Saturn) also has a great soundtrack, but it's Gradius and Gradius II from the arcade, so I don't know if it really counts with regards to this thread subject. I will say that the audio between the PS/Saturn release and the arcade differs -- it's in stereo on the former systems, the spoken voice samples are higher quality, the sound effects (enemy deaths, etc.) seem different, and some of the music just sounds different (sounds like it's played at a slightly different frequency base). But I'm nitpicking and don't wanna get off-topic.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:43 am 
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Espozo wrote:
Those 16 extra channels make all the difference though. :lol:

Glad to learn that 48-24=16.
You also have to know that not all those channels are dedicated to music, but also sound effects during gameplay, and that modern games tends to play lots of sound effects. So yeah, even though it's rare it can still happen that the 24 channels in the PS1 aren't enough.

Quote:
One thing I thought about though, is that while I like a lot of PSG, FM, and even sample based video game music, there are only a handful of games from the PS1 and onward (excluding the N64) where I find the music good enough to be memorable. I don't know quite what it is, but the music just feels a lot "weaker", and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Even I who am more fond of older games, I completely disagree with this. Many more modern games have amazing soundtracks and they are not a single bit weaker than soundtrack from older games. Of course you could find games with bad music but that's true for any console generation.


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