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Cybersound used in NiGHTS and others

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Shoemanbundy, May 10, 2012.

  1. Shoemanbundy

    Shoemanbundy

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    I'll keep this brief. For those who don't know, NiGHTS used a Saturn adaption of a program called Cybersound that was being sold back in the 90's. Does anyone have any download links to Windows versions of it?


    I have one, but it refuses to open with anything though it's apparently an .img file. If anyone wants to take a crack at figuring it out that'd be neat, though I'm guessing I'm out of luck with it.

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/2ubgsf

    I'm mostly curious how much this thing can immediately allow you to emulate the sound of NiGHTS :p
     
  2. SoullessSentinel

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    From the layout of the file in a hex editor, when compared to other .IMG files, it appears to be a disc image for Mac systems, at least, the header looks very similar.
    I installed Mac OS 9 in SheepShaver to attempt to open it, however, it only appears as an unrecognised disk and asks me to format it, maybe someone with a more modern Mac machine could try it? Maybe the image was created with OSX from an old disc?
    Anyway, browsing with a hex editor, I saw a couple of reference to IBM-PC, as well as mac, so it would appear the disk image has files for both systems.
     
  3. dsrb

    dsrb

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    I have the CD and manual. I could upload it some other day, but it might be a while; it's at my other address.

    In any case, I don't know how much luck you'll have with emulating the sound of any particular game. The Saturn used one version of Cybersound, but each game had its own set of samples. I doubt any of the actual instruments from NiGHTS are in the default set on the Cybersound CD for Windows, which no doubt is a fairly different implementation of the same core idea. And I don't know if it's possible to get it working on non-legacy versions of Windows; I seem to recall it crashing for me, the few times I bothered trying it.

    Much more likely to bring you success is something like this, documented by my bad self. That is, there are already programs to convert/extract the MIDI/sample-pack type files from Saturn games into formats that you can deal with in a modern sequencer. I can't take much credit for the method, as it was a simple matter of connecting the dots. I'd like to think someone with the necessary skill could expand upon CWX's tools to enable some of their missing features, and all that.

    Anyway, I hope this helped.
     
  4. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    Do we even know what Cybersound is? A sound driver, a collection of sound samples, a sound editor program, a DSP effect, or a tracker? Because all the "Cybersound enabled" Saturn games I checked used completely vanilla generic saturn drivers for sound playback. In fact the only two games in the entire library that DOESN'T use the standard saturn sound driver is VF2 and VD Kids, both for like two tracks each.

    I think it was a tracker-like music editor, that they used to create the tunes, and nothing more.

    As for the "midi-like" tunes on saturn discs, they were created exactly that way. You pretty much just converted the midi dumps of your tunes into saturn sequence format with one of the dev tools, combined it with a sample bank, and pointed it all to the sound driver. Reverse engineering it so the stuff can be converted to another tracker format, like XM or IT, should be conceivable. There are 3 hiccups with this however:
    - you have to handle the DSP effects somehow. I don't know if they are possible to convert to whatever effects another module format could handle.
    - you have to get the 68k initialization commands to know the proper volume each sample is to be played back at. Sometimes tracks are set to run at a lower volume, and this radically changes the way some tunes sound - for example, Bug! tunes run at a lower volume, and some samples are nearly completely silent because of this.
    - the tracks in the Saturn are run with their own sound driver, which may have its own peculiarities or errors. The problem I mentioned with Bug for example should not happen, dropping the volume a little makes some samples completely silent, much more so than the volume setting indicates. Since there are many driver versions and many unique drivers, this pretty much kills the entire idea.

    So the current saturn sequence to midi converter is about as good as you can get in this direction. You can get most tunes to sound pretty close, but never the same way as on the Saturn. Tunes with DSP effects suffer the most.
     
  5. dsrb

    dsrb

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    The program for Windows is basically just a sequencer with its own formats and a bunch of bundled samples, so you're quite possibly correct here.

    Thanks for the rest of your info, interesting as usual.

    Oh, and of course, there's this, of which you reminded me:
    http://segaretro.org/Saturn_Sound_Format
     
  6. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    The Saturn Sound Format is the same as the SPC rips for SNES games. A dump of the sound ram, run through a 68k+SCSP emulator. It does it job well and works with 99% of the Saturn tunes. VF2 and Kids are the only two ones I found not to be working, because they use different sound drivers that the converters are not programmed for.
     
  7. SteelBrush

    SteelBrush

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    Have you tried opening it in System 7?
     
  8. SoullessSentinel

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    I can try that later on after I get home, due to the age of the program its probably a better idea.

    EDIT: No luck on 7.5.3 either, once again it asks me to format it. The issue seems to be that the first 0x400 bytes of this image are completely blank, where other disk images seem to have at least a partition table there. I concluded it might be a Mac volume, as with a hex editor, the data starting at 0x400 was similar in layout to the data in a Mac OS Disk image.
     
  9. Shoemanbundy

    Shoemanbundy

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    That sort of helps, but I can't even find any SEQ files on the NiGHTS disc :x Aw well...

    But I guess the possibility that Cybersound came packed with all the sounds NiGHTS used isn't pretty high, then?
     
  10. dsrb

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    Glad to have helped. The sample files aren't always entitled *.SEQ; just look for any big files, probably with numbers in their name and probably with corresponding small files (that is, sequences).
    Something that might trip you up is if they're stored as in Zwei: multiple files are concacenated into one, necessitating manual splitting before TON2DLS edit: TONcnv can handle them; but this was mentioned in the above-linked thread on TWotA and isn't impossible to surmount.
    You can tell from this that, for some reason, I never tried to unpack the files from NiGHTS.

    I wouldn't have thought so. If the Saturn only used the very core parts of Cybersound, composers would have had to supply the samples. Take PDZ or Saga, for instance: not many of those instruments would be bundled in a consumer product! :P I mean, never say never—but I doubt it.

    Anyway, hopefully you can find the sample files on the NiGHTS CD and go nuts from there.
     
  11. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    The files in Nights are compressed in .prs files. One of those ghetto compressions Sega used for a decade afterward and probably still do today. And they are all ripped in ssf format, so you can grab those and extract them into ram dumps, then get the seq data from those (the extractor scripts explain how to interpret the 68k ram area maps so you can find them easily).

    Not all games have separate SEQ files. Some have them combined with the tone banks and/or dsp effect binaries, 68k ram area maps, etc. Or have multiple sequences in one bank and so on. Cotton 2/Boomerang and Radiant Silvergun has everythin neatly packed in separate files, check those.

    Almost every Saturn game already has their sequenced music ripped by the way. The only exceptions I know of are crap titles like Alone in the Dark or Blazing Dragons which aren't even worth checking.
     
  12. Sappharad

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    The image in your zip file appears to be a normal Disk Copy 6 NDIF .img file from Classic Mac OS. The data fork contains what appears to be a proper header and footer for that version. (And it does seem to be complete)

    The problem is, whoever created the ZIP file wasn't familiar with the OS. The resource fork is missing, hence the "incomplete file" error you get trying to mount it in Disk Copy. Even though the resource fork is nearly useless in .img files, Disk Copy won't mount the images without one. If you copy the resource fork from another disk image and disable checksum validation in Disk Copy, it tries to mount but says it's "not suitable for this version of Mac OS". The resource fork contains important information (checksum, file version, compression keys) and the image cannot be mounted without it.

    As far as I know, there is no solution unless you manage to get the resource fork.
     
  13. dsrb

    dsrb

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    Well, in that case, it's not illogical to suppose that what Shoemanbundy has might be the Mac version [citation].

    Also, being from 1997, that article has some amusingly futuristic bits:
    Shit, I'm fucked!

    I never got that keyboard with my copy, either. :( Not that it'd probably be any use nowadays, if it was ever any good then! eBay lists no Cybersound Studio –related stuff anywhere, whereas I got my copy (Windows, disc and manual) there and previously saw a keyboard too.

    Anyway, I can (eventually) get you an image of the Windows version, but as I've implied, it'd only really be useful for academic purposes / lols. I bought it for much the same reason, by which I mean naively thinking I might be able to stick it in my computer and suddenly recreate and mess around with all this great music from the Saturn. Needless to say, I couldn't figure it out and buried it in the cupboard! Turns out I probably wasn't onto something really clever as I thought I might be.

    But now there are extracting tools that can enable you to do just that in any decent sequencer, so all's well that ends well. :) It would be nice if the omissions mentioned by Meat Miracle could be fixed up, if someone with enough interest and, more importantly, technical knowledge, were willing to address them. However, that might depend upon CyberWarriorX releasing the source to SEQ2MID and TONcnv, unless anyone fancies reinventing the wheel.
     
  14. Meat Miracle

    Meat Miracle

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    I think the available saturn docs do explain the seq format well enough for reverse engineering, and I'm sure that the official midi->seq converter from the Sega dev tools is available somewhere too.
    Tone files are very simple tone banks - a header that says x sample starts here, at this quality, and it is then followed by a stream of standard PCM samples of various quality. Extremely basic stuff.

    The problems I mentioned (68k driver quirks, DSP effect banks) are not something you can fix by clever converting however. The DSP effects just might be possible to SOME degree (I don't have enough info on how the DSP functions to tell - if it is fixed function, it is possible to convert its effects partially), but the driver quirks, I don't think so. Maybe if you'd be converting SSF files directly instead of seq/ton, on a note to note basis.