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Thread: SEGA Genesis music hacks

  1. #1
    Comrade as in friend. Master of Shinobi ComradeOj's Avatar
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    Media SEGA Genesis music hacks

    I'll start this thread up to maybe get the ball rolling. Expect the first post to be a bit disorganized for a while. I don't know how it's going to look in the end, with all the info that will need to be added.
    This thread is deticated to improving sound quality of Genesis titles. Mostly my replacing bad sounding instruments with good ones.

    My method:
    Open game in exodus emulator
    Dump Z80 RAM when desired song is playing
    Search for instrument values of desired channel in Z80 RAM
    Search matching set of values in ROM
    Replace in hex editor

    Current hacks:
    Rock N' Roll racing
    By: ComradeOj
    Status: In progress
    Sound engine: Sound Images v1.2
    Preview: Hack, Original. Skip to 1:06 for cool part.

    Games that need a hack:
    Doom 32X
    Rock N' Roll racking

    Format notes:
    Here are some notes on how instrument values are stored. This will help make it easier to replace instruments.

    GEMS:
    See here

    Krisalis
    Needs to be added

    SMPS:
    Needs to be added

    Sound Images v1.2 (possibly other versions):
    Instruments seem to be stored at $1400 onward in Z80 RAM. The format for storing YM2612 parameters is as follows:

    ??,??,??,??,multiply/detune, total level, attack, decay, sustain rate, release, algorithm/feedback/sustain level, PM/stereo pan, pitch stuff

    Everything separated by a comma is one byte. A slash indicates two parameters sharing one byte of data. Operators are set in the order of 1, 3, 2, 4.
    For example, this is a time trax guitar in Sound Images v1.2 format: 08 24 04 04 18 00 00 10 1f 1f 1f 1f 1f 19 15 1f 00 0a 00 00 0f 3f 9f 0f 3a c0.


    Resources:
    List of games by sound engine used
    YM2612 register info
    More YM2612 register info
    Modded consoles:
    Master System (v7040) with s-video & direct AV out
    Model 1 with 10mhz overclock & halt switches
    Model 1 with 10mhz 68010
    Model 2 VA2.3 with unfiltered Mega Amp, & s-video
    Model 3 VA1 with compatibility fixes & s-video
    32X with s-video
    Visit my web site at www.mode5.net
    Or my collection of homebrew Genesis games, programs, and music on SEGA-16!

  2. #2
    WCPO Agent LinkueiBR's Avatar
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    Good job!
    i I'll try hack Chakan with your method
    VISUAL SHOCK!
    SPEED SHOCK!
    SOUND SHOCK!
    NOW IS TIME TO THE 68000 HEART ON FIRE!


    Shadow of the Beast II - Enhanced Colors:
    http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2275/

    Sunset Riders - Enhanced Colors:
    http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2287/

    Turrican - Fixed:
    http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2535/

  3. #3
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Does anybody know why nearly every sound engine sorted operators in order 1-3-2-4 instead of 1-2-3-4? I recall that theoretically this is mostly related to which operators are slots for each algorithm (hence which ones should have TL affected when manipulating volume), but when making Echo I found it was actually easier to just leave them in the original order (you could tell if an operator was a slot or not just by doing a single > comparison, instead of having to rely on a look-up table).

  4. #4
    Outrunner Vludi's Avatar
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    Double Dragon 1! There is a gameplay fix + Pyron's color hack, the only thing left is fixing the awful instruments and it's a great port. Meanwhile Double Dragon 2 has nice instruments but it's an awful port.
    Spiderman & X-Men Arcade Revenge also uses Sound Images, but the game isn't that good.
    Universal Soldier (Turrican 2) needs a visual/sound overhaul...
    WWF Arcade maybe could use some better instruments
    Zombies Ate My Neighbours definitely needs some better instruments
    Smash TV sounds a bit mediocre, i like Furniss but considering that the arcade had a YM2151 it could have been a lot better.
    Pac-Mania port has some ok music, but it doesn't make justice to the amazing arcade tunes, a YM2151 too.
    Last edited by Vludi; 02-26-2016 at 01:12 AM.

  5. #5
    Comrade as in friend. Master of Shinobi ComradeOj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vludi View Post
    Double Dragon 1! There is a gameplay fix + Pyron's color hack, the only thing left is fixing the awful instruments and it's a great port. Meanwhile Double Dragon 2 has nice instruments but it's an awful port.
    Spiderman & X-Men Arcade Revenge also uses Sound Images, but the game isn't that good.
    Universal Soldier (Turrican 2) needs a visual/sound overhaul...
    WWF Arcade maybe could use some better instruments
    Zombies Ate My Neighbours definitely needs some better instruments
    Smash TV sounds a bit mediocre, i like Furniss but considering that the arcade had a YM2151 it could have been a lot better.
    Pac-Mania port has some ok music, but it doesn't make justice to the amazing arcade tunes, a YM2151 too.
    Thanks for for the suggestions!

    Also, does anyone know if there is a sound test for rock n roll racing? I googled it, but I couldn't really find any answers. It would make patching the music waaaay easier if I had quick access to it all.
    Modded consoles:
    Master System (v7040) with s-video & direct AV out
    Model 1 with 10mhz overclock & halt switches
    Model 1 with 10mhz 68010
    Model 2 VA2.3 with unfiltered Mega Amp, & s-video
    Model 3 VA1 with compatibility fixes & s-video
    32X with s-video
    Visit my web site at www.mode5.net
    Or my collection of homebrew Genesis games, programs, and music on SEGA-16!

  6. #6
    Master of Shinobi Alianger's Avatar
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    Pretty cool! A few suggestions:
    X-Men 1 - Pretty horrid guitars in this one. I wonder how it would sound with something like Wolverine, Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Puyo Puyo 1 or Urban Strike guitars.
    Nightmare Circus - Mostly the drums could use some beefing up here and there and some of the "string stabs" could be replaced with something less sharp.
    Demolition Man - Could use better drums and guitar IIRC
    Lost Vikings - Maybe try Second Samurai instruments?
    Fire Shark - Needs better drums, overall guitars, and synth/brass leads.
    Hellfire - Mostly the same issues as with Fire Shark.
    Eliminate Down - This one has very abrasive guitars and thin bass overall.
    Eternal Champions - The rhythm guitar and drums are usually subpar in this one while the lead guitar and bass tend to sound fine. Unfortunately it seems to use PSG only for a snare drum in some tracks.
    Battletoads & Double Dragon - Mainly the drums and rhythm guitar could be improved (the latter sounds OK but a bit limp), but also the bass in some tracks like the Title theme.
    ToeJam & Earl - Could have better FM drums, "funk keyboard" and brass instruments. Tournament Fighters, Yu Yu Hakusho and Lethal Enforcers have some nice funky sounds in them.

    Good FM Drums: Decap Attack, Time Trax, Two Crude Dudes, Devilish, Midnight Resistance, Batman, TFIV, Puyo Puyo 2, Chiki Chiki Boys, Dragon Slayer 1-2, Madou Monogatari, Elemental Master, Master of Monsters, Gauntlet IV, Monster World 3 & 4, Adventures of Batman & Robin, and Alisia Dragoon. But I'm not sure it would work to simply replace FM drums of games with some of these since they tend to use a fast downwards slide effect to sound good.

    Good rhythm or power chord guitar: Devilish (Graveyard, Air Passage, Volcano, Prairie), Shinobi 3 (Whirlwind), Master of Monsters (Golden Warrior), D&D: Warriors of the Eternal Sun, Alisia Dragoon (Stage 3), Elemental Master (Like the Wind intro, Setting Out), Sonic 3 (Ending), Cosmic Carnage (Naruto Fully Armored, Yug), Power Rangers: The Movie, Lethal Enforcers (Stage 3, Pursuit 1), Dragon's Fury (Bonus Table 4-5, Breach of Contract, Venus Fire), Battle Mania 2 (Open Mind, Mighty Gals, etc.), Sonic & Knuckles (Flying Battery), Zero Wing, Moonwalker (Title, Beat It, Dance attacks), Sword of Vermillion (Statts, Dungeon, Battle), Vapor Trail (Bloody Road), Gley Lancer, Valis (Fantasm Soldier, Flash of Sword, Ogre Battle), Contra HC (Moonlit Army, GTR Attack, Format X), Decap Attack (Potion 3, Level Clear), TMNT: Hyperstone Heist, Sparkster (Stage 4, Password), Steel Empire (2-1, 2-2, 5-2, Unknown Track), Dragon Slayer (Boss, Agnesia), TMNT: Tournament Fighters (Triceraton, Ray Fillet), RKA (Boss, Stage 2), Streets of Rage 3 (The Poets 1-2, Dub Slash), Ninja Burai Densetsu (Their Sadness, Moonlight), Alien Soldier (Runner/AD2025), Lethal Enforcers 2 (Boss, Final Boss). I would say TFIV but it uses detuning effects which might be a problem.. Some of the ones mentioned probably do as well like Alien Soldier and Lethal Enforcers.
    Last edited by Alianger; 02-26-2016 at 05:57 PM.
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  7. #7
    Outrunner EPSYLON EAGLE's Avatar
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    It's a long list, but would like to hear a less synthetic guitar in Maximum Carnage.

  8. #8
    Master of Shinobi Pyron's Avatar
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    Very Very cool, thanks Comrade i will try do something

    Visit my youtube channel Pyron's Lair
    Take here all my hacks made with love for all of us here
    Want to help me? Here is my Patreon!

  9. #9
    Master of Shinobi Pyron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    Good job!
    i I'll try hack Chakan with your method
    Nice!!!
    But please, just dosen't change the awesome music from second stage, this bass music is almost perfect

    Visit my youtube channel Pyron's Lair
    Take here all my hacks made with love for all of us here
    Want to help me? Here is my Patreon!

  10. #10
    Master of Shinobi Pyron's Avatar
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    X-Men 2: Clone Wars needs a hero to fix the music

    Visit my youtube channel Pyron's Lair
    Take here all my hacks made with love for all of us here
    Want to help me? Here is my Patreon!

  11. #11
    Master of Shinobi GeckoYamori's Avatar
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    Replacing patches will only get you so far, really.

  12. #12
    Bite my shiny, metal ***! Hero of Algol retrospiel's Avatar
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    Bare Knuckle III - needs better drums, punch sounds (from SOR2)
    Double Dragon - sounds awful
    Golden Axe - sounds great already but could use a bit more bass
    Eliminate Down - rhythm guitar sounds awful
    Empire of Steel - hit effects are annoying otherwise fantastic

    I wonder if it's possible to port sound effects over from FM to PSG in those games that did not use it ? PSG is so much nicer than FM for sound effects.
    The Mega Drive was far inferior to the NES in terms of diffusion rate and sales in the Japanese market, though there were ardent Sega users. But in the US and Europe, we knew Sega could challenge Nintendo. We aimed at dominating those markets, hiring experienced staff for our overseas department in Japan, and revitalising Sega of America and the ailing Virgin group in Europe.

    Then we set about developing killer games.

    - Hayao Nakayama, Mega Drive Collected Works (p. 17)

  13. #13
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    Phantasy Star 3 : great themes, but scratchy samples... Unless it's due to music being played slower in PAL ?

  14. #14
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    It probably has more to do with SMPS being pathetic with PCM playback (alongside most likely low sample rates not helping the case either).

  15. #15
    Master of Shinobi Alianger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retrospiel View Post
    Bare Knuckle III - needs better drums, punch sounds (from SOR2)
    I guess some tracks could benefit from a different snare sample or less annoying FM cymbal, but others like Moon, Poets 1-2 and Good Ending sound great as is to me.
    There seems to be an alternate, thinner snare which is occasionally used in Good Ending, that is used as the main snare in other tracks and it gets overpowered by the bass and other stuff. Hopefully it can be replaced only in those tracks, if samples can even be replaced and not just FM instruments. I also noticed that BK3's ost does the FM+Sample combo for snares less, but that's not something we could change with this method.

    Agreed on the others.
    Edit: Actually, Golden Axe could have most instruments replaced with ones from the later games in my opinion.
    Last edited by Alianger; 02-26-2016 at 05:17 PM.
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