Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

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Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:50 pm

I made game mod where plays music from mass storage in intro, and during game play too - then plays another audio track. This has some benefits: no additional RAM needed, so works on STEs with 1MB only too.
Audio tracks can be very long - up to size of partition on disk, SD card. What means over 2 hours . 3MB per minute.
And user can use own audio files instead supplied ones - so any music or whatever. Idea came when I saw how much remixes of Megablast music exist (and can DL) . I used 2 ones, what liked most, but tastes are different, as we know. Format must be: 25033 Hz sample rate, stereo, 8-bit signed, RAW (no header). Easy to convert into such with freeware Audacity. Len between 100KB (2 secs, not recommended :D ) and 510 MB.
Test version with basic ACSI disc access, so max 1GB - if your SD card or disk is bigger, still may use on first 2 partitions. http://atari.8bitchip.info/XENON2A.ZIP 24 MB .

Youtube record: http://youtu.be/odCv-2Om2vY

IDE version soon - so Falcons, STEs with IDE adapter too ...
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Brume » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:01 am

Impressive! :D
Will try it tomorrow.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Maartau » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:12 am

Good idea & great job [smilie=greencolorz4_pdt_01.gif] .

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Atari030 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:33 am

One of my favorites, well done. Can't wait to give it a whirl.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby exxos » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:14 am

Nice 8)

I do half wonder if it be possible to do something similar but with MP3s. There are simple MP3 decoder boards about. I guess it would transfer data form the drive over to the MP3 decoder instead of the STE sound system.
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:20 pm

Surely that it is possible to solve somehow MP3 playback - with usage of extra HW + of course need some (lot) of time to do SW for such solutions.
But idea here was to utilize what many people have: free space on their flash cards and hard disks :D
Solving all via SW only.

I did IDE and ICD versions too, so may run on Falcons, from Flash cards over 1GB, any partition. TT with UltraSatan for instance too. Minimum is STE with some mass storage.

Downloads here:
http://atari.8bitchip.info/SCRSH/xen2s.html
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby TheNameOfTheGame » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:08 pm

This is a fantastic idea! One of my favorites games too :D

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Dal » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:01 pm

This is a cool idea! Thanks :)
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby CiH » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:30 pm

I do half wonder if it be possible to do something similar but with MP3s. There are simple MP3 decoder boards about. I guess it would transfer data form the drive over to the MP3 decoder instead of the STE sound system.


There is a Falcon only solution, with MP2 Falcon DSP replay routines available which handily have zero CPU usage. (NoCrew routines from memory.) :D

What we've got here already for the STE is good enough though, I hope this technique is applied to other deserving games.

Edit:-

Found the link on the Dead Hackers site.

http://files.dhs.nu/files_coding/mp2_inc.zip
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby exxos » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:49 pm

I was thinking more of a hardware solution more than anything. Those MP3 decoders can already play music from SD cards etc.

In fact its probably possible just to bash in a MP3 decoder anyway and just wire it right into the audio circuit. Small software driver to "press play" on the MP3 board, or to select different MP3 files. Not exactly the same as playing from the Atari drive, but still playing from SD card.

My inital suggestion was to read the data via the DMA and pass the data to the MP3 Decoder that way. I don't know how the STE hardware works, though however the data gets from the drive tot he audio circuit, assume via the ST audio chip, just do similar , but pipe the data to the MP3 Decoder instead. There is probably a few ways to go about doing it. Was just a suggestion in anycase :)
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Strider » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:18 pm

Good idea! I'm going test it on my Mega STE + Ultrasatan right now.

For heavy metal lovers I would suggest the album Jets'n'Guns from Machinae Supremacy, it's power metal style with SID sounds :wink:
http://www.machinaesupremacy.com/albums/jetsnguns-soundtrack/ (free download)

Oh and BTW, funny thing... at the end of the readme files you mentionned year 2014 :D (who said nobody read the docs?)

Edit : tested and that's just amazing! It even beats the Amiga version. However it's not difficult with 24 MB of data :D
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby alexh » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:59 am

Strider wrote:It even beats the Amiga version. However it's not difficult with 24 MB of data :D

Heh, but these tracks are FROM the Amiga version (CDTV) where they are 44KHz 16-bit stereo (i.e. CDDA).

I imagine that is where Ppera got the idea from?

Nice work BTW. You'll be doing Turrican/2 next :)

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:42 pm

Considering MP3 decoder add-on: it is in fact not bad idea, and if such decoders are cheap may be interesting.
But feeding them with data from ST(E) mainboard is maybe not good idea. Probably better would be to use some port. They have SD card slot, so should simulate SD card somehow. Just a rough idea.
DMA : disk DMA writes/reads to/from RAM - from/to ACSI port. Audio DMA reads given RAM area in H blanks, and converts it to sound. None of them seems suitable for MP3 decoder feed.

In any case, there is space to improve sound, and I think that we have already some solutions made. For me, bad surprise is that DMA and PSG volume levels are not balanced, and even worse, that can not correct it with Microwire mixer setting.
Bad thing is too, that can not have 2 independent DMA channels for audio, with what could control music and effect playback separately.

Alexh: yes, it's CDTV , but remixed, newer release. I DL-ed MP3, of course.
Turrican sounds good :D But Giana too :lol:
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Strider » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:28 pm

alexh wrote:
Strider wrote:It even beats the Amiga version. However it's not difficult with 24 MB of data :D

Heh, but these tracks are FROM the Amiga version (CDTV) where they are 44KHz 16-bit stereo (i.e. CDDA).

I imagine that is where Ppera got the idea from?

Nice work BTW. You'll be doing Turrican/2 next :)


I was speaking about the Amiga 500 actually. On both Amiga 500 and Atari ST, a music channel is interrupted by sound effects.

When I played Xenon 2, I was thinking about the same enhancements for Turrican 2 too :lol:
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:52 pm

Just to note that there will be 5-th launcher in this release - for people doing fix in STE microwire mixer. Because it will give better sound quality. See HW section: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=27452

Ah. and I would like to see new switch in Steem SSE - "Fixed mixer" :lol: Steven will love me for this :mrgreen:
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby calimero » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:17 pm

superb idea! :)
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariCrypt » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:48 pm

You know I loved the vid... downloading right now :D

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby leglod » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:31 pm

Hi, I used a similar method in the 90s with my STE inflate a 1 mo to impress friends: D
I used a program to fool the STE he was only 512K after reset then I utilser free memory space about 500 kb to load a sample music and run it with the DMA and then I start a game!
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby alexh » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:15 pm

AtariZoll wrote:Just to note that there will be 5-th launcher in this release - for people doing fix in STE microwire mixer.

Presumably this will also work on FPGA systems such as MiST and Suska as it is unlikely they replicated the PCB error.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:34 pm

leglod wrote:Hi, I used a similar method in the 90s with my STE inflate a 1 mo to impress friends: D
I used a program to fool the STE he was only 512K after reset then I utilser free memory space about 500 kb to load a sample music and run it with the DMA and then I start a game!

Yes, that solution crossed my mind too. But I went on direct load from disk during game play, what allows playback of very long audio tracks - over 2 hours. Datarate is 50 KB/sec, so no big deal for disks, but must not harm game flow.

alexh wrote:
AtariZoll wrote:Just to note that there will be 5-th launcher in this release - for people doing fix in STE microwire mixer.

Presumably this will also work on FPGA systems such as MiST and Suska as it is unlikely they replicated the PCB error.

Maybe will work. Actually, I doubt that any version will work properly 100% on those clones. I even don't know is there microwire on them.
But, if they made balanced PSG and DMA audio levels, that's fine. Question is will it crash, or what, when address microwire ? Will ACSI DMA work well ?
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:03 pm

Did Cannon Fodder with same audio track playback during game: http://atari.8bitchip.info/SCRSH/cannonf.html
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby Atari030 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:41 am

Brilliant. I'm on that tonight. I was only playing it yesterday too. :cheers:

I was having a look through the list, any plans to do Millennium 2.2? One of the top 10 ST games IMHO.

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby MrMaddog » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:16 am

Now if someone can do the same for The Chaos Engine... :D

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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby AtariZoll » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:55 am

Atari030 wrote:..
I was having a look through the list, any plans to do Millennium 2.2? One of the top 10 ST games IMHO.

It is done - helps if you switch to alphabetical sorting. If you meant with this type of audio track playback, then pls. give some clue what song, remix to use for background in Millennium 2.2 (what is one of my favorites) ?

@MrMaddog:
Chaos Engine is good game and deserves it :D It still gives sound via PSG on STE, while uses STE HW scrolling. Pls. some advice about what audio theme(s) (song) to use ?
I must tell here that there will be not much of mods like this from me in (near) future. It takes lot of time to trace game code and find all places where need to add links, corrections.
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Re: Xenon 2 Megablast with Mega Music :-)

Postby joska » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:18 am

exxos wrote:I was thinking more of a hardware solution more than anything. Those MP3 decoders can already play music from SD cards etc.


I experimented with this a few years ago. Connected an Arduino to the printer port of my STE, and a VS1053 audio decoder to the Arduino. I wrote a small program for the Arduino that simulated a Centronics device, and forwarded incoming data to the audio decoder. The audio decoder understands mp3 streams, so basically all I had to do on the STE was to "print" mp3 files. It's still on a breadboard somewhere, maybe I should pick up this project again.

Btw the 1053 is a nice decoder. It handles mp3, ogg, flac, wav and midi directly. You don't have to do anything, just feed the decoder. It even autodetects the stream format.
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