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What those unused SNCBNK files were for

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Shadow Hog, Nov 6, 2006.

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  1. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    I'll skip the whole "Hi I'm new" crap because rarely anyone reads that, and jump right into the meat of this topic: the SNCBNK files found in one of the Sonic CD betas. In short, did anyone ever figure out what those were for? I mean, I've done a search on both this board and Google, and the best I've come up with is "unused music". I've got an idea myself that's more specific than that.

    In short, the unused files are bridges to the CD audio. It'll play the CD track - say, Palmtree Panic Present's - then, when it reaches the end (which, in the beta, does not fade out), it would play the relevant SNCBNK file to hide the fact that the CD audio has finished, then when the SNCBNK is over it would play the CD audio track again from the start. The end result is a (mostly) seamless loop - a nifty idea on Sonic Team's part, I'll have to admit.

    Now, granted, they ultimately opted AWAY from that and toward fading out the CD tracks when they finished, but hey, it explains why the tunes were on the CD in the first place, why they don't loop, why they're so short... pretty much any question I've seen about the SNCBNK, all in one fell swoop.

    I have several MP3 examples of what I'm talking about (Palmtree Panic Present, Tidal Tempest Present, Stardust Speedway Present and Stardust Speedway Bad Future, to be specific); I've got a RAR file with four various examples I made myself using beta music and the SNCBNK files off ICEknight's page, though it's a little too big for me to host or attatch, so you'll have to settle for Stardust Speedway BF until I can find somewhere else to host it. For some reason, the MP3s of the SNCBNK files cut a splitsecond off the end of each tune, meaning I had to do some actual sound editing as opposed to merely appending the files on. Fortunately all the SNCBNKs for the tunes I mentioned pretty much just played the same thing twice, so it wasn't a big hardship. It does mean, though, that I can't do the Boss tune (which does NOT play the same thing twice, yet still has a bit cut off), which is a little annoying, since that's the tune that really made the whole relation stand out to me.

    BTW, if this was all actually old hat, then sorry for wasting your time. Given that I've seen nobody else say this, though, it probably isn't, but even then it can be hard to tell.
     
  2. Tweaker

    Tweaker

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    ...you know, I never even wondered why the CD audio tracks never faded out in the Sonic CD betas. Taking what you've said in mind, I believe your theory for their use is very plausible, and I wonder if this effect was ever in the game at a certain point in time (or if it was just something they were planning on doing, but never got around to).

    I listened to your mp3, and it fits together nearly seamlessly (other than the obvious lack of quality when strung together). Actually, the issue of the huge quality drop when the tracks DO end may be a good reason why the idea was initially scrapped, along with the possibility of lag between the end of the CDDA and PCM tracks' cue to start playing.

    In any case, this is definitely interesting. But, just to clear my memory: Did the Sonic CD betas have the past tracks in them as well? I wonder this because the past tracks use the same music format, and I figure it may be worth looking in to, since me and Stealth cracked the past music format to a point where custom tunes may indeed be possible. What I figure these files did was simply have a one-channel music track play a single note for as long as the PCM data was (or to repeat it? Who knows), at the rate they wanted it to play at. This could be set to loop as well, so however long they needed the interval to be, they could set it accordingly.

    Are there any sites that have these files readily available for download? Or do I have to get off my lazy ass and download the beta myself? :P

    EDIT: How big is the RAR file? If it's less than 50MB, you can try FileDen - if it's more than 50MB, you can try emailing it to me, and I'll go ahead and upload the file to the main site. This is definitely interesting enough to warrant some decent webspace.
     
  3. drx

    drx

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    I can give you FTP access so you can have unlimited upload :P
     
  4. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    As of right now, it's only 13MB for the four tunes. I'm working on a fifth (Collision Chaos GF, one of my favorites), but I doubt it'll increase size much, yet. (Maybe 4MB more, tops.) I'll check that link out, then.

    As for unlimited webspace - if I get around to finishing every single tune, then sure, but not yet. Thanks for the offer, though. :)

    EDIT: Okay, here's a few more examples inside a RAR file: http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/11/5/352...nicCDlooped.rar
     
  5. Lostgame

    Lostgame

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    That is the most brilliant thing Sonic Team has ever done with their programming, why the fuck did they throw that out?

    Brilliant, I wish someday to have that level of technical genius.
     
  6. Puto

    Puto

    Shin'ichi Kudō, detective. Tech Member
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    Another reason which might have caused them to throw this out was because of the "US Soundtrack != Jap Soundtrack" thing.
     
  7. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    I dunno about that; I'm pretty sure the new soundtrack was made well after beta 920, at which point this concept had already been ditched.
     
  8. Tweaker

    Tweaker

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    The US soundtrack was composed in exactly two weeks, so I think it's safe to assume that the whole "seperate soundtrack" thing was a last minute addition. As such, I don't think it has anything to do with ditching this idea. It does sound like a good reason at first, but I'm sure that since the two disks were burned seperately anyway that they could've easily replaced the files needed to be edited in accordance to the new soundtrack.

    Then again, keeping in mind that the past tracks are the same in both versions, I guess they weren't thinking of that possibility at the time...
     
  9. Qjimbo

    Qjimbo

    Your friendly neighbourhood lemming. Oldbie
  10. Cinossu

    Cinossu

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    Seconded. This is an absolutely brilliant workaround for something that has always seemed to be a problem with using CD music that is meant to loop.
     
  11. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    I've updated the RAR with some more MP3s (same link). Some of these sound really nice, like Palmtree Panic's Bad Future or Collision Chaos Present (in which, I'll admit, I increased the volume of the SNCBNK tune so it flowed a bit better), while others... not so much (like either Metallic Madness I've included). Don't know why exactly.

    BTW, the "imperfect" I've tacked onto some of the filenames just means the loop doesn't sound that great. Most of it stems from the SNCBNK ending a split second earlier than it should screwing the flow up and so on. That's mostly overcome by adding a splitsecond of silence, but it's kind of hard to determine just how long that silence should be, so the current results might sound a smidgen off. I don't know if there IS anything for that missing splitsecond in the file, or if what you hear is all we've got. Oh well?
     
  12. Vangar

    Vangar

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    I think I know the reason why. If the CD is constantly reading the music from the disc, how can it possibly load up the bridge fast enough for it to be seamless? Sonic CD would have to cache the bridge in order to make it seamless, taking valuable memory from the Megadrive. In theory it would have worked - But the CD drives don't work like that, especially Mega CD drives.
     
  13. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    If I remember correctly, according to their internal numbering system (look at the headers in a hex editor) there were also SNCBNK files for the invincibility and super sneakers, which would make no sense if this was what they intended to do.

    Also, I doubt they would ever rely on the hardware speed to try to make these play seamlessly. In my oppinion, it's not that they (NOT Sonic Team) were geniouses ahead of their time, it's just that you're looking too much into it.

    EDIT:
    If you're speaking of the MP3s that came from my site, that's all there was inside those files unless Gens didn't play them correctly.
     
  14. Tweaker

    Tweaker

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    I'm sure they used the same numbering system so the tracks were easier to access. Case and point - let's say CDDA track 5 plays, then ends. The game switches to PCM output mode and plays the same track according to the same music ID definition, then once the transition finishes, it plays the CD audio again.

    Since the super sneakers and invincibility don't loop, I'm led to think that since these definitions were unused, they were simply skipped over (Level R2, anyone?). However, the possibility also exists that they were full PCM tunes in themselves at one point, and didn't even use CD audio. It's not too easy to say at the moment; I think if we had an earlier beta than 512, a lot of our questions may be answered in this regard.

    You said there were numbers for speed shoes/invincibility... but were the files actually in the ISO, and played anything like the others did? I think that would help determine what their original use was.
     
  15. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    Those are not in there... But either way, the idea of playing those files while the CD drive returns to the beginning of the music track is as farfetched as you can get.
     
  16. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    I'll admit the "play the PCM at the end of the CDDA track" does have some flaws to it (namely, those you've already mentioned: memory, synchronization issues, et cetera), which, assuming this WAS their plan, was probably would be why they ditched it. The concept that the SNCBNK files are meant to be tacked onto the end of the songs, however, simply can't be far-fetched, though; I think the evidence mostly speaks for itself. The beta CD track end simply flows right into the related SNCBNK. Case in point, Collision Chaos GF; it ends with some of the chords that the song has in its first measures, but doesn't reach the second half of that pattern. Incidentally, the SNCBNK files DO have that second half of the ending, and despite a quality difference being rather noticeable, tunewise it flows right on through.

    Given that there are (well, were) SNCBNK files for the Invincibility or Speed Shoes, though, maybe it's possible that, at one point, there weren't any CDDA tracks, as all the music was perfectly looping PCM (a la the Past tracks). Then, for whatever reason (space issues?), they decided to shift the main bulk of the music to CDDA, but didn't remove the unnecessary SNCBNK leftovers (kinda like Hot Coffee, only with 100% less sex and Jack Thompson), because, let's face it: it's still in the beta stages, would anyone really care at this point?

    Of course, I'll be the first to point out a few flaws to this theory; I never said my ideas were completely unfalsifiable, after all. Take the Past music, for starters. Mainly, if all the tunes were PCM but then shifted to CDDA, why didn't they shift the Past music along with it (ignoring the PC version, which DOES have CDDA Past music, for the obvious reason that it wasn't in consideration yet)? They might have kept the SNCBNK files as a "Why not?", but then, if they really are meaningless at this point, then deletion doesn't take very long; why didn't they bother? To which all I can say is: dunno. All I can say for a fact is that the CDDA and PCM files more or less complete each other - everything else is just conjecture.
     
  17. Vangar

    Vangar

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    For the obvious reason that PC's don't have the chips to synth the music.
     
  18. Qjimbo

    Qjimbo

    Your friendly neighbourhood lemming. Oldbie
    The PC version has CDDA past music? I find that hard to believe. For one, the Present, Good Future and Bad Future music take up most of the disc already, and two, I've never seen MP3s of it anywhere =P
     
  19. Puto

    Puto

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    Err, I think you mean Stardust Speedway GF.
     
  20. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

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    They definitely are (I have the PC version back at home, so I can say that for a fact); they loop twice over before fading out and starting again. I wouldn't exactly know where to help you find MP3s, though, but I'm sure they're out there.

    No, I meant what I meant, although Stardust Speedway GF is a good example as well.
     
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