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PostPosted: 2021-02-09, 23:31:13 
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This is my (first) submission including all songs and sounds from the original arcade version of The Tower of Druaga. The songs are extracted using my own reverse-engineered music driver/interpreter and validated against the register dumps from Mame. The original soundtrack was written for Namco's 15XX WSG which is not supported by VGM and therefore I have written a wsg2c352 converter based on the ideas from the ctr's QuattroPlay.

Since this is my first submission I would have a couple of remarks/questions:
  1. ctr lists that "Sound driver implementations and/or converters" are not allowed so I am not sure if this submission is valid.
  2. The conversion sounds very truthful to the original but the volume ramping in C352 introduces smooth transitions between volume levels and affects the "sharpness" of some of the sounds. ctr's C352 emulation from QuattroPlay allows for setting the C352_FLG_FILTER flag disabling that effect (which is included in the tracks btw.) but that is not implemented in any of the official VGM players.
  3. The list includes many short sound effects which are not particularly exciting to listen to so, in my opinion, the pack could be cut down to musical tracks only. Or there could be two separate packs: full, ost only.
  4. I have other packs in the pipeline which were written for Namco games using WSG (DigDug2, Motos, Mappy, etc.) but thought to try first the full submission procedure with a single title only.

Any comments or questions welcome.


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The_Tower_of_Druaga_(Namco_Super_Pacman).zip [55.72 KiB]
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PostPosted: 2021-02-11, 0:20:14 

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Quote:
ctr lists that "Sound driver implementations and/or converters" are not allowed so I am not sure if this submission is valid.

Yeah, we have rejected submissions using converters in the past (for example, Great Sluggers). While I don't mind that the VGMs are made in the first place, they should be treated as "unofficial submissions" and posted in the Homebrew forum.

For official submissions, we want to log the music from the original code as much as possible. Converting between chips can be done as long as it done during logging (for example a modified MAME build that logs DAC as YM2612). Converting directly from sound data should be avoided. Ideally, support for the C15 (and other WSG) chips should be added to the VGM spec, but we've been in a feature-freeze due to the libvgm rewrite. That is pretty much done now, so I suppose it could happen if the interest is there.

Quote:
The conversion sounds very truthful to the original but the volume ramping in C352 introduces smooth transitions between volume levels and affects the "sharpness" of some of the sounds. ctr's C352 emulation from QuattroPlay allows for setting the C352_FLG_FILTER flag disabling that effect (which is included in the tracks btw.) but that is not implemented in any of the official VGM players.

This behavior has not at all been verified on a real chip, so relying on it (in a converter) might also be problematic.

Quote:
The list includes many short sound effects which are not particularly exciting to listen to so, in my opinion, the pack could be cut down to musical tracks only. Or there could be two separate packs: full, ost only.

For official submissions, we usually only include music and jingles. But for an unofficial pack, anything goes.

Quote:
The songs are extracted using my own reverse-engineered music driver/interpreter and validated against the register dumps from Mame. .... I have written a wsg2c352 converter based on the ideas from the ctr's QuattroPlay.

I'd be interested in looking at the converter. I would definitely be open to adding support for earlier games in QuattroPlay but it hasn't been done mostly due to lack of time to do the necessary research / reverse engineering.


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PostPosted: 2021-02-11, 20:03:23 
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Quote:
Yeah, we have rejected submissions using converters in the past (for example, Great Sluggers). While I don't mind that the VGMs are made in the first place, they should be treated as "unofficial submissions" and posted in the Homebrew forum.
For official submissions, we want to log the music from the original code as much as possible. Converting between chips can be done as long as it done during logging (for example a modified MAME build that logs DAC as YM2612). Converting directly from sound data should be avoided. Ideally, support for the C15 (and other WSG) chips should be added to the VGM spec, but we've been in a feature-freeze due to the libvgm rewrite. That is pretty much done now, so I suppose it could happen if the interest is there.


Thanks, that clarifies the philosophy of VGMs better for me and I can see why there is a reluctance to accept derived solutions for unsupported chips. It is just a bit sad that unsupported systems are doomed for the VGMrip purgatory though (Homebrews)! The WSG original compositions are such an important part of Namco's musical heritage and they sound superior to their ported versions (e.g. those for X68K).

I'd like to clarify that my solution works directly on WSG register values (which can either come from the reverse-engineered driver or register dumps from Mame) and conversion includes "only": using wavetable samples as infinite sample loops, volume scaling and frequency value conversion to keep the right pitch. Since C352/C140 is somewhat a successor of the WSG technology, I thought this was the closest solution to "emulate" the WSG chip within the currently supported devices. Anyway, I will create a post in the Homebrew section for the WSG soundtracks and post my other packs: some of the stuff like Toypop or Motos is just terrific!

I would be interested in contributing to the WSG support in VGM: my naive thinking is that the Mame WSG emulator is rather good so the support for players should be straightforward so it is mainly a matter of adding additional chip specification to the format. I am sure there is more to it though.

Quote:
This behavior has not at all been verified on a real chip, so relying on it (in a converter) might also be problematic.


Understood.

Quote:
I'd be interested in looking at the converter. I would definitely be open to adding support for earlier games in QuattroPlay but it hasn't been done mostly due to lack of time to do the necessary research / reverse engineering.


If this could fit into QuattroPlay that would be fantastic! I would be very happy to support coding or supply any information required (e.g. annotated disassemblies). It is all done in Python and a bit messy but will prepare a clean minimal set for your reference so you can check if that is going to fly at all. I will need a couple of days for that and will follow up directly.


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PostPosted: 2021-02-14, 0:23:41 

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I moved the topic to "Homebrew", as it fits better here, I think.


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PostPosted: 2021-02-16, 1:29:37 
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I have created a separete topic collating all WSG soundtracks which are verified by now. This thread can be removed to keep things tidy.


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