PCE audio research..

Doing a little researching into PCE audio engines of games today (again). Found some interesting things.

First, Devil’s Crush. Looks like some of the instruments on a channel are receiving small channel buffer updates. Very small, but enough to slightly change the timbre of the sound. Channel 6 of track 2 of the HES, you can hear it if you listen long enough. The timbre scales with the note in some parts, instead of a flat timbre to note scale. Another odd thing with Devil’s Crush, is the whole note system is detuned from the standard table. The WHOLE thing. Appears to be detuned by about -27 cents. Although this doesn’t scale too well (it’s about -20 cents just 2.25 octaves higher). I think there was another instance where a few high notes use a slightly different waveform. Gives it a nice but subtle effect (a nice peak to a build up).

Second, Afterburner. Uses sharper or duller versions of the same instrument to scale the timbre up and down selectively. At the beginning of one track, the intro part is very quick changing waveforms (as fast as every 3-4 frames).

I’ve already RE’d Bonk’s sound engine (the first game in the series). Pretty simple engine, yet it sounds soo great IMO. Love those trumpets, even though they are nothing special technical wise. I have enough info to reproduce a player and rip some songs.  Anyway, it’s a simple vblank tick engine. No TIMER resolution. Only a few effects.  Channel 1 is used for sample playback, but the sample rate is only 3.5khz. Strange they’d use such a low frequency. Oh well, they sound pretty good for what they are.

Edit: Heh, while just recently browsing wiki for something else, I came across a little bit of  info I didn’t know about. Apparently “heavy metal” bands would down tune from concert pitch. I don’t think this is a coincidence on Devil’s Crush side as the music is interpreted as just that…. but PCE-fied.

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3 Responses to “PCE audio research..”

  1. The most common down tuning for the style of metal that Devil’s Crush emulates is just a half step down, if at all.

    Some other styles of metal however, often drop down much farther, and do things like drop-c tuning, etc. Though, that is not the style of metal that Devil’s Crush is going for. 😀

    • Yeah, this isn’t even half a step down. Only about 27 cents down (you’d need 100cents down for a half step IIRC).

      Whatever the reason for down tuning the whole note table in Devil’s Crush, I doubt it was something of an accident. I mean, given all the other technical things the sound engine is doing. I guess it’s just slightly tweaking of the table to get whatever kind of edge to the sound they were looking for.

  2. Yea man, it’s just slight detuning that really reminds me of using a pitch shift pedal with a guitar and not actually setting it to detune full steps.

    If you just leave the settings at 0, and still activate the pitch shifter, all you get is a slightly off-tune sound that stands out a bit, but will still be perfectly safe and in tune with say your bass guitar, which isn’t using any pedals.

    Its basically one of the standard mid-late 80s power metal styles. 😀

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