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Thread: About games using SMPS audio drivers and a Sonic The Hedgehog improvement hack

  1. #1
    Hero of Algol
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    Default About games using SMPS audio drivers and a Sonic The Hedgehog improvement hack

    Hi!

    I've found this package full of interesting info and disassemblies of different SMPS versions and, considering the latest releases by Stef, I thought that some of you may not know about it yet and maybe also find it very interesting.
    Here's the original post at the Sonic Retro forums:
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.p...1&#entry791421

    And here's a direct link to the lastest version of "SMPS Research Pack":
    http://www.mediafire.com/download/am...rch_Pack_v3.7z


    By the way, there's also the Mega PCM thing which seems to be quite interesting:
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=29057

    And the new version of Sonic 2 Clone Driver; the Sonic 2 ROM in that post has FAR SUPERIOR sound quality for the drums - yes, I've tested that ROM on real hardware and it's fantastic:
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=32801


    Also, inspired by that Sonic 2 using the Clone Driver, I put together a version of Sonic 1 using the Mega PCM audio driver (I think the drums sound clearer and stronger now) but without the nonsense PCM music track and changes that his author had made in his tutorial post and built-in version.
    I also included in this version the spin dash (following all the latest tutorials of Sonic Retro) and that single-line modification which makes the special stages' rotation look a lot smoother. Oh, and since the disassembly I could use was based on the Rev00, I also included the background improvements of the Rev01 manually (following another Sonic Retro tutorial).
    In other worlds, I tried to put together a Sonic 1 hack which doesn't shit all over the original art and gameplay but which also provides some good enhancements when compared to the original game.
    Here's the xdelta patch: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0c...it?usp=sharing
    You'll need to download separately:
    1) ROM file: Sonic The Hedgehog (W) (REV00) [!]
    2) xdelta UI: http://www.romhacking.net/utilities/598/

    There's a very minor graphical glitch (which I'll try to fix ASAP) in one of the Sonic animation frames in the Labyrinth zone (during the waterfall sliding scene) but the rest seems to be perfect on real hardware.
    I had to adjust the pitch of the "Seeeeega" sound in the intro 'cause it was too fast/high frequency ONLY in my real Mega Drive (it was playing normally on the Kega Fusion). So I'd like to have some feedback about how well/wrong it's playing on your REAL Mega Drives.


    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Barone; 09-15-2014 at 12:49 AM.

  2. #2
    YM3438 Master! ESWAT Veteran evildragon's Avatar
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    I use Linux, what can I use to patch the ROM with?
    Customized Sega Genesis Model 1 - VA3. Energy efficient with buck converters instead of LM7805's.


  3. #3
    Hero of Algol
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    PM sent.

  4. #4
    Outrunner Wesker's Avatar
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    Awesome.

    It seems this was also implemented for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, but I can't notice any sound difference at all while watching this video (it's also desynced).

    http://www.sega-16.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=154&dateline=15683853  53

  5. #5
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    Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles badly needs a "fix" for its PCM playback. Playing it with headphones this weekend I've noticed how scratchy and distorted its drums and vocal clips get all the time. The music which plays during mid-boss fights suffers a lot. It's trailing behind the first two games with their improvement/fixes; a shame.

    But without some major advances in its disassembly, it will not be possible.
    Ristar is even more flawed but its disassembly is in a very very bad state right now, sadly.
    And its audio driver will probably be the hardest one to fix since it seems to use a Z80-only approach (music also on the Z80 side of things IIRC) which mixes 2 PCM channels. That's why its PCM playback quality is so shitty.
    Last edited by Barone; 09-15-2014 at 09:45 AM.

  6. #6
    YM3438 Master! ESWAT Veteran evildragon's Avatar
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    I like the quality, it's quite nice. Kega Fusion does play the SEGA intro slow but that's ok.

    I'm kinda curious to hear the extracted PCM samples in their original form, just to hear what is actually possible to get with what we have.
    Customized Sega Genesis Model 1 - VA3. Energy efficient with buck converters instead of LM7805's.


  7. #7
    Master of Shinobi LinkueiBR's Avatar
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    AMAZING!!!!

    But... Why Sonic Rev00? Sonic Rev01 is far superior!!!

  8. #8
    Outrunner Stef's Avatar
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    The smooth bonus level patch of Sonic 1 is amazing !!
    I always wondered why they made it look so nasty where obviously it could be better !
    I tested on my MD1 and the SEGA intro voice is too slow (as on Kega or even worst) but except that almost everything look alright (i say almost as the music and SFX seems a bit different here and there).

    About the MegaPCM driver, i was already aware about it and honestly i am not that impressed by what it has to offer. Of course it's probably a real improvement over the original driver but it does only play 1 PCM channel and does not take care of the DMA contention. The good point is that it was made to mimic and replace an existing driver but speaking about the features i have more advanced drivers available in SGDK.
    I wanted to test the Sonic 2 clone driver but it looks like the site is down :-/
    Last edited by Stef; 09-15-2014 at 04:52 PM.

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    Comrade as in friend. Master of Shinobi ComradeOj's Avatar
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    The drums sound much better with the new driver!
    And holy crap, those special stages! I had no idea they could be so smooth!

    I made the special stage patch into a game genie code for if your broke like me, and don't have a flash cart.
    (use both codes)
    RG2T-C6XA
    RG2T-C6XC

    Someone might have already done it, but there you go. I tested it on my own genesis with a game genie cart and it worked!
    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!

  10. #10
    Outrunner Wesker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    AMAZING!!!!

    But... Why Sonic Rev00? Sonic Rev01 is far superior!!!
    The patch adds most of the REV01 improvements anyway.
    http://www.sega-16.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=154&dateline=15683853  53

  11. #11
    Master of Shinobi GeckoYamori's Avatar
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    Speaking of drums, I always wondered what drum machines the samples in Sonic 1 and 2 are from. I'm pretty sure I heard them used in some Pet Shop Boys track.

  12. #12
    Hero of Algol
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    Quote Originally Posted by evildragon View Post
    I like the quality, it's quite nice. Kega Fusion does play the SEGA intro slow but that's ok.

    I'm kinda curious to hear the extracted PCM samples in their original form, just to hear what is actually possible to get with what we have.
    Thanks for the feedback!


    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    But... Why Sonic Rev00? Sonic Rev01 is far superior!!!
    Read the OP!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Stef View Post
    The smooth bonus level patch of Sonic 1 is amazing !!
    I always wondered why they made it look so nasty where obviously it could be better !
    I tested on my MD1 and the SEGA intro voice is too slow (as on Kega or even worst) but except that almost everything look alright (i say almost as the music and SFX seems a bit different here and there).

    About the MegaPCM driver, i was already aware about it and honestly i am not that impressed by what it has to offer. Of course it's probably a real improvement over the original driver but it does only play 1 PCM channel and does not take care of the DMA contention. The good point is that it was made to mimic and replace an existing driver but speaking about the features i have more advanced drivers available in SGDK.
    Thanks for the feedback from real hardware and for the informative reply.
    I already knew that the Mega PCM driver wasn't impressive in terms of features but I linked this thread to you more for the audio drivers disassemblies in the SMPS Research Pack; I thought you'd find that interesting.

    About the Mega PCM not taking care of the DMA contention, isn't this tutorial about it? -> http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.p...0&#entry715140

    Finally, despite the lack of more advanced features, I think it does improve a bit the DAC playback quality in Sonic 1 and makes it easier to add new samples, etc. I wonder about how hard it would be to adapt it to use with other SMPS 68K games, like Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (it would be cool to have a less scratchy playback for his voice samples) and Strider (more for the sake of adding narration samples from the arcade to the cutscenes).


    Quote Originally Posted by Stef View Post
    I wanted to test the Sonic 2 clone driver but it looks like the site is down :-/
    All links there are working for me right now, IDK.


    Quote Originally Posted by ComradeOj View Post
    The drums sound much better with the new driver!
    And holy crap, those special stages! I had no idea they could be so smooth!

    I made the special stage patch into a game genie code for if your broke like me, and don't have a flash cart.
    (use both codes)
    RG2T-C6XA
    RG2T-C6XC

    Someone might have already done it, but there you go. I tested it on my own genesis with a game genie cart and it worked!
    Thanks for the feedback and for the info.


    The pitch of the "Seeeeeeega!" sound with the Mega PCM seems to be affect by the CPU clock for some reason, so I had adjusted it to my overclocked MD and that's why it's off now. But I'll make a version for the stock CPU clock and try to fix the minor graphical glitch it has in Sonic's animation in the Labyrinth stage.

  13. #13
    ding-doaw Raging in the Streets tomaitheous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Thanks for the feedback!
    The pitch of the "Seeeeeeega!" sound with the Mega PCM seems to be affect by the CPU clock for some reason, so I had adjusted it to my overclocked MD and that's why it's off now. But I'll make a version for the stock CPU clock and try to fix the minor graphical glitch it has in Sonic's animation in the Labyrinth stage.
    And the original one doesn't have this problem with overclocked systems? Hey, then they cycle timed the 68k to write to the DAC. Or did you overclock both the 68k and z80 (is that even possible?)?

  14. #14
    Outrunner Stef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barone View Post
    Thanks for the feedback from real hardware and for the informative reply.
    I already knew that the Mega PCM driver wasn't impressive in terms of features but I linked this thread to you more for the audio drivers disassemblies in the SMPS Research Pack; I thought you'd find that interesting.
    Indeed, links weren't working for me last time i tried, need to have a look back to home
    Actually any 68K+Z80 music driver can be "easily" improved (as i did with the SF2 games) as in this case the Z80 is only working with PCM stuff so we can replace it to improve the PCM playback (which is always the problem).

    About the Mega PCM not taking care of the DMA contention, isn't this tutorial about it? -> http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.p...0&#entry715140
    Indeed or almost, it explains nicely the problem about interrupting the Z80 CPU and why we have to avoid it. One of the easy optimization we can do when dealing with 68K + Z80 driver is to interrupt the Z80 only when 68k access the YM2612 chip, in the case of SF2 games, it was already good on this point so i had nothing to change But then you have the DMA, which is another problem... almost time games disable the Z80 before doing a DMA, to be honest i don't know why they do that. Maybe if the Z80 access 68K bus during a DMA process it can return a corrupted value when the DMA completed. Anyway as the Z80 will lock on first 68K bus access it's not a big deal to disable it before doing a DMA in this case. But if you take care of not accessing 68k bus during DMA in your Z80 driver then you don't want to interrupt the Z80 anymore before any DMA so you have to tweak a bit the code for that.

  15. #15
    Master of Shinobi Pyron's Avatar
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    I tested it on real hardware today and I quite liked the music was pretty nice and those facing battery were really cool, especially in the Green Hill Zone and Scrap Brain Zone. I hope other games that use the same engine sound can be improved also. Congratulations and keep going!

    Visit my youtube channel Pyron's Lair
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