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What synth used to create: Pac man, galaga, dig dug, 80s arcade sounds?
Old 4th March 2014
  #31
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I remember reading somewhere that the CEM3394 was used in a bunch of old arcade machines, this is the same voice chip that is found in a lot of the cheaper SCI synths, MAX, Six Trak etc. I
Old 4th March 2014
  #32
Lives for gear
 
CatManDeux's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
The CEM3394 "synth on a chip". Supposedly it was a collaboration by SCI and Curtis to go in Bally/SENTE video arcade games. But I get the sense that this particular device didn't see much use in the arcades, but did appeal to synth manufacturers for their budget synths.
Old 4th March 2014
  #33
Lives for gear
 
Xero's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
lot of early games sounds were super basic - plain square/saw/sine waves and the like. of course there's the famous SID chip and most of the later stuff was FM. Also - another interesting fact - Adlib is basically FM! All those old Adlib DOS games and the like - they're practically FM synthesis! adlib, and the original sound blasters all had FM chips on them (soundblaster in particular, to be "adlib" compatible) though the sound blasters had PCM playback too. And, same with sega genesis - all FM, though it did have a primitive sampling ability.
Old 4th March 2014
  #34
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Here's what I could find:
Williams: Williams Sound Board: Pinball, Joust, Defender, Sinistar, Robotron, Bubbles, Stargate
Bally/Midway: Super Sound I/O (SSIO): Spy Hunter, TRON, Solar Fox, Satan's Hollow, Two Tigers, Kick
Nintendo: Nintendo Sanyo 20EZ Audio Board: Donkey Kong, Punch Out!
Atari: Custom Chips: Battlezone, Asteroids, Tempest, Star Wars
Sega: List of Sega arcade system boards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Computer Chips:
Sound chip - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Probably some good information in here:
http://www.gamessound.com/texts/vgaudio.pdf
Old 4th March 2014
  #35
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Here's a game developer tool called sfxr. It has buttons for randomly generating explosion, laser, power up, and other game sounds. There's a mac port called cfxr on the same page. I'm not sure which hardware chip it might be similar to, but it's fun.
DrPetter's homepage - sfxr
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Scoopicman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFromKyoto ➑️
Nicely done, which Virus did you use?
Thanks. I have the TI keyboard.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #37
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kpatz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero ➑️
Also - another interesting fact - Adlib is basically FM! All those old Adlib DOS games and the like - they're practically FM synthesis! adlib, and the original sound blasters all had FM chips on them (soundblaster in particular, to be "adlib" compatible) though the sound blasters had PCM playback too. And, same with sega genesis - all FM, though it did have a primitive sampling ability.
Not just "basically" FM synthesis, it *is* FM synthesis. Only 2 operators in the Adlib and early Soundblasters, and rather low quality at that, but that was enough to get me hooked on synthesis. They used a Yamaha YM3812 FM chip, and then later on the YMF262 which added a 4-operator mode.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #38
Lives for gear
 
xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpatz ➑️
The music and tone-type sounds are single-wave looped samples while the fancier sounds (like the Pacman "wucka wucka" chomp sound) was probably a custom sample in the PROM.
Nope, the fancier sounds use the same basic waves, the wacka wacka would be a basic waveform modulated with code. The code would say "Play this waveform, which sounds like a tone with a little shift register noise, low to high really quick in a stepped fashion (in a midi piano scroll it would look like a rapidly rising stair case shape) then play the waveform in a descending fashion, then repeat." That'd get you a couple of wackas.

For the death sound, it'd be basic wave running down in pitch with a kind of programmed portamento effect, could have just been hand coded millisecond for millisecond, or they could have written a simple slew function to achieve the portamento.

They were basically doing complex pitch LFO/Envelope stuff IN THE CODE. All the arcade and home computers would do it. When mario dies in super mario bros, there's a little tom tom percussion there, this is done by using a basic waveform (nes had, triangle, pulse and noise, and although samples could be played on the DAC channel, they didn't figure out how to do this until later in the NES's life) and the basic waveform is put through a programmed, in software, pitch envelope. Likewise, the fireflower sound is a rapid, rising arpeggio, using basic waveforms.

This is why, if you use a utility to convert a NES NSF file to MIDI, you get all of the same effects, as the conversion changes those programmed LFOs and Envelopes to simple pitch bend data, then uses GM instruments ( there are basic waves in the GM bank) to play it back. It won't convert duty cycles, programmed stepped PWM waveforms, but it will convert and preserve the rest, this way you can analyse the MIDI and see what the hell they did.

Those arcade sound designers were geniuses, writing insanely fast passages of notes that sound like a sound effect, because they're so fast, using complex code to turn the very basic sounds into something interesting and iconic.

Those developments lead, amongst other things, to the very first use of software LFO's and ENV's within cheaper 80's poly synths, and helped to establish the first hybrid analogue/digital.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
kpatz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz ➑️
For the death sound, it'd be basic wave running down in pitch with a kind of programmed portamento effect, could have just been hand coded millisecond for millisecond, or they could have written a simple slew function to achieve the portamento.
The Pac Man death sound is a nice example of a pitch envelope and LFO, and done in software. Pretty cool.

When I was a teenager I had a Radio Shack Color Computer (remember those)? It did sound in software via a DAC. The sound capability in the BASIC language was limited to simple square wave tones, but I used to create more complex sounds like flying saucer sounds by programming scales/arpeggios at high speeds, or a "sample & hold to pitch" computer beep boop effect by playing random pitches in a loop. An issue of Hot CoCo (a Color Computer magazine) had code for a Frogger game that had the ability to play 4 notes of polyphony using software generated sine waves. I remember taking that code (I didn't enter the code for the entire game in, just the sound module) and creating songs in it.

I knew very little about synthesis back then, and if I'd known about PWM, I could have coded that on the CoCo as well.

Later on I had a Tandy 1000, which had a 3-voice+noise sound chip, so I could play 3 part harmony on it. It was still basically square waves, but I remember in one game I wrote I created a bell-like sound by breaking the note down into short pieces played at decreasing volume. So I basically re-invented a software amplitude envelope.

When I got a Sound Blaster Pro years later I was like I had died and gone to heaven.

I'm impressed with those who create classic game emulators, such as MAME. Not only does it have to run the game's software in an emulation of the Z80 or whatever CPU was used, it has to emulate all the hardware including whatever sound generation scheme the game used. Pretty impressive.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #40
Lives for gear
 
krushing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by krakapow ➑️
Btw what does these sids go for , i know about one in a second hand store round my way. Not my cup o tea, but maybe i could flip it for a likkle bundle
"These sids"? The actual SID chip is just that - a single microprocessor found inside the Commodore 64. They're not that expensive by their own, but of course it's useless without the hardware to control it.
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpatz ➑️
The Pac Man death sound is a nice example of a pitch envelope and LFO, and done in software. Pretty cool.

When I was a teenager I had a Radio Shack Color Computer (remember those)? It did sound in software via a DAC. The sound capability in the BASIC language was limited to simple square wave tones, but I used to create more complex sounds like flying saucer sounds by programming scales/arpeggios at high speeds, or a "sample & hold to pitch" computer beep boop effect by playing random pitches in a loop. An issue of Hot CoCo (a Color Computer magazine) had code for a Frogger game that had the ability to play 4 notes of polyphony using software generated sine waves. I remember taking that code (I didn't enter the code for the entire game in, just the sound module) and creating songs in it.

I knew very little about synthesis back then, and if I'd known about PWM, I could have coded that on the CoCo as well.

Later on I had a Tandy 1000, which had a 3-voice+noise sound chip, so I could play 3 part harmony on it. It was still basically square waves, but I remember in one game I wrote I created a bell-like sound by breaking the note down into short pieces played at decreasing volume. So I basically re-invented a software amplitude envelope.

When I got a Sound Blaster Pro years later I was like I had died and gone to heaven.

I'm impressed with those who create classic game emulators, such as MAME. Not only does it have to run the game's software in an emulation of the Z80 or whatever CPU was used, it has to emulate all the hardware including whatever sound generation scheme the game used. Pretty impressive.
All I had initially was a zx spectrum 48k, but that taught me how to Arpeggiate things really fast to create effect of polyphony: something I used later on on the amiga.

My fave was the zx 128k, AY chip
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #42
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Many Atari cabinets used the same pokey chips that are in the atari 8 bit computers.
Old 4th March 2014
  #43
Lives for gear
 
xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I ordered an Atari Junk (not punk) console, it has two oscillators cross modulating wildly and a shift register noise mode also

Oh and CV control!
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