Retro, The Sounds and The Music.

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by power, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Perhaps, but for many it was a cost thing. Whatever mum and dad could afford, and in the US in the 80s NES was miles cheaper than a computer at the time.

    Can't fault people for not having nostalgia for things they never owned. All the same, I didn't grow up with a C64, and I still love C64 music. So I can't forgive people for not being open minded to it even if they never had it early on.
     
  2. OP
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    power

    power Member

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    their loss, i only bought my first PlayStation a few years ago. A PS3. The older I get the broader my horizons.

    I played and finished my first SNES RPG's only recently in SoM and Earthbound even more recently.
     
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  3. shredder

    shredder Member

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    I was reading a bit deeper in the Future Crew guys recently.

    I remember back in those times - guys like us would get inspired by the demo scene. Fire up Turbo Pascal, initialise mode x, and use simple code to map directly to the VGA memory, in a linear manner, and use simple maths functions to play with the pixels and colours. And onwards from there, into other languages and things.

    In that context, this Second Reality code review is very interesting in hindsight.

    I looked into what happened to them, where they are these days. PSI, Sami Tammilehto, was a particular coding talent - the lens section of SR is iconic. The details of exactly where they ended up don't really matter - they are public knowledge: 3DMark/Futuremark, Remedy Entertainment, amongst other things.

    There's more a sense of vague cynical anticlimax: that flares of brilliance in the industry are typically subsumed by mediocre corporate world, due to the mundane realities of life, and are not really heard of again....

    And, perhaps that vague disappointment - unimaginable by the 1993 teenager feeling a sense of futuristic awe while sitting through the ending credits of SR - is paralleled by the personal realities we all feel, this year in particular.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Demos don't pay the rent and put food on the table.

    Anyone who can make money from their true passion is a very lucky individual. For most of us, that's not a reality.
     
  5. OP
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    power

    power Member

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    in a way it's an anti-climax, but in another way at least it was the end of the bedroom coders, young talented and just having fun. I don't think any of them were in it for a payday, just the respect in the scene. I don't think them not going on to join the corporate machine is that sad. They were rockstars in their own way.
     
  6. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Often that type of short-lived young talent has a well of creativity, or at least untarnished-by-life originality, that isn't matched again.

    Seen in music a lot too.

    At a certain point, rote practice and experience become a cage.
     
  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Don't forget that things are exponentially more complex now. Nobody's making a spinning cube with a texture on it and having people jaw-dropping in awe. I show my kids old demos, and they respond with "What's the big deal?". I mean, they understand in context why it was a big deal then. But having been born in a different century, the true impact doesn't hit home for them.

    Today it takes teams of hundreds of clever people to make amazing entertainment experiences, just because of the sheer scale of things. Yes, indie is still around, but it's not going to make the sorts of money your average GTA / Last of Us type game does. Maybe Minecraft was the last of that era - possibly Star Dew Valley at a much reduced scale.

    On top of that, hard-discovered knowledge is easily taught a generation later. Newton and Einstein took a lifetime to figure out what's taught in first year physics. The amazing discoveries of old are now intro 101 courses for software, hardware and tools that expand well past those limits.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  8. OP
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    power

    power Member

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    different people, different times. i can pretty much guarantee that half the people in the industry today wouldn't have even been interested in the amiga in it's heyday. demographics were way different then.

    still it's a moment in history, like the arcades of the past something you can't really experience as it was, how it felt to be blown away by the next 16 bit game or demo.

    tbh this is why i try to experience games as they were given my current limitations. it's why i'm very big on accurate and period controllers. display tech, well i don't have the space otherwise i'd have some CRT's like some of you. Sound is a hard one, i don't have a 90's stereo to blast my Amiga tunes through anymore but yeah. Slapping the kids in front of an amiga demo would be very unimpressive because the people who consume digital entertainment today even do it for different reasons than they once did and i mean come on Microsoft is about to give you a 1:1 representation of the entire globe to fly around in. Just - wow.
     
  9. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Again with the music analogies (may be a hat tip to the thread topic :p ) : pop music makes the money, the clue being in the name, but in some ways it's not the pinnacle of the art form.

    Belated realisation "oh yeah, that lens I just mentioned is my avatar". :lol:
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  10. shredder

    shredder Member

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    The iMuse system is awesome, aye guys??

    The idea behind iMUSE is to synchronize music with the visual action in a video game so that the audio continuously matches the on-screen events, and transitions from one musical theme to another are done seamlessly.

    For me, that was the peak of gaming music as an active, evolving, computing subsystem.

    When things went Redbook (CD audio) + beyond, into rote-playback-of-pretty-tunes mode, something kinda special was lost.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  11. OP
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    power

    power Member

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    iMuse was so good, i tortured myself with the 11 floppy disk version of MI2 to enjoy it too. :)
     
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  12. Grant

    Grant Member

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    I've never played the game "Dune" before, but it had a full soundtrack composed externally, which was then "ported" to the computers the game ran on. It's a nice example of the PC (Adlib), Mega Drive (MCD game with FM music), and Amiga versions of the soundtrack all being fantastically treated with the care they deserve.

    Unfortunately the original soundtrack isn't being sold any more, so there's no way to get it:
     
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  13. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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  14. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    The highly anticipated Orpheus sound card is now available: https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=70682

    [​IMG]

    • based on the Crystal CS4237B controller which offers SB/SB-PRO/WSS compatibility
    • discrete YMF289B OPL3 chip
    • 44.100hz 16bit S/PDIF output of all internal and external audio sources
    • 4-layer PCB design with attention to analog output part and usage of audio-grade capacitors
    • 2 MPU-401 options: internal CS-4237 UART interface or PCMIDI intelligent mode one, card can be ordered with either option or upgraded at a later point from 4237->PCMIDI interface
    • Gameport, Line IN, Line OUT, MIC and Coax S/PDIF ports
    • Wavetable daughterboard and AC'97 headers
    • dedicated midi-OUT port with the ability to also use at the same time a common gameport->midi or DB15MIDI adapter to gain an extra OUT and IN ports
    All the MIDI bases covered, real OPL3 chip, high end audio. It's basically the ISA sound card to end ISA sound cards. The bad news is the price. With the PCMIDI option (which gives you intelligent mode) it's 180EUR shipped, or 293AUD. I understand that low volume runs like this are expensive. But I thought I'd be pulling the trigger on this instantly, and now it's a rather large decision.
     
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  15. OP
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    power

    power Member

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    wait? there's money in ISA sound cards?
     
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  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Heh, nobody's making this for mass profits. I'm very happy they exist, but everyone working on it still has a real job doing something else (just like all the folks making console mods - they all work for big companies doing boring things, and make their cool hardware in their spare time).

    These are all passion projects, and the money made covers costs.

    On topic though, has anyone got high quality recording comparisons? I saw a few MP3s in the VOGONS thread that I'll have to go through and listen to.

    S/PDIF on board is a nice touch. Means I can go and cherry pick my own DAC instead of listening to noisy line-out like cards of yesteryear.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Remember this guy? David from Plogue: https://plogue.com/ . The video above was him documenting the flood of fake or cooked audio chips on the market that negatively affect so many of the "real hardware" homebrew audio cards and projects out there at the moment. Just because something is "real hardware", doesn't make it accurate, because of this. So we still have a lot of documentation to do before the actual original hardware all dies, even with all this new stuff coming out.

    But I digress, Plogue is a virtual synth maker out of Montreal who emphasise accuracy. They've made virtual Megadrive synths and other stuff for ages, but now they're concentrating on the notoriously difficult SNES audio. This have given emulation and FPGA authors headaches for a long time.

    In this video, he compares a whole bunch of stuff, including an unnamed "HDMI console X" (left anonymous to give the author a chance to fix their errors), BSNES (same core as Higan), and his own chipsynthSFC. He goes into details on how tricky it was to do this without an entire real console, and only using the audio circuitry and/or his synth.

    I urge anyone who cares about sound to watch this, even if you don't care about the SNES. The issues brought up here are universal, and apply to everything, whether you're into PCs, mincomputers or consoles. Anything with chip-generated audio (FM, OPL, SID, whatever) will suffer these same problems, and as long as the market is flooded with fakes and repros. He also talks about problems with DACs themselves, and how that impacts claimed "bit accurate" audio that still doesn't sound right.

    The moral of the story is, it doesn't matter if it's "real hardware", an emulator or FPGA. Audio accuracy is a common problem for every retro fan, and we all need to be aware of the issues. I don't have the skills to fix these things, but videos like these help us understand that we need to be asking questions of companies and individuals who do, and make hardware that they claim is accurate without providing proof of that accuracy.

     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    How does the Orpheus compare to the Resound 2?

    https://texelec.com/product/resound-2-opl3-8-bit-isa-adlib-compatible-sound-card/

    Looks like there's two versions - a USD$59 4 channel MCA bus, and a USD$39 2 channel ISA bus.

    Resound-2-OPL3-Front-scaled.jpg

    Immediately noticeable differences are a lack of outputs compared to the Orpheus, and YMF262 instead of the 289. What else is lost for the price difference? Looks like a far less populated board.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  19. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    The Resound 2 is a sweet little card, with its sole purpose being OPL3 (from their page: "Please note, this card will not playback wav/digital files, it is an FM synthesis card only.")

    The Orpheus offers this of course, alongside the Crystal chip delivering full SB Pro and Windows Sound System compatibility. The Crystal is a common chip and nothing groundbreaking on its own. Pairing one with a discreet OPL3 is more novel. The Crystal also has its own internal FM implementation which AFAIK can be selected.

    The madness ramps up with MIDI. Most sound cards do MIDI on the gameport, so at a glance, big whoop. The internal wavetable header is a common feature too. What's not common is Intelligent Mode support, available if you take the PCMIDI option. Although Intelligent Mode is really only useful for a selection of MT-32 supported games, hardware that does this is highly sought after (an ebay search for MPU-401 will return prices in the $200-$700 range for cards that do MPU only, with no other sound features).

    For the 99.99% of sound cards with UART ("not intelligent") MIDI support, you can just run the SoftMPU TSR to give you this MT-32 compatibility. Which is great to have, but also eats valuable cycles on lower end systems.

    Taking it further, the UART MIDI in the Crystal chip remains available on the Orpheus, and addressable separately to the PCMIDI chip. This gives you two MIDI options routable to any of three MIDI outputs (gameport, dedicated MIDI jack, or internal wavetable header). It's a pretty wild card!
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
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  20. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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