A friend and I have been working on converting lots of game soundtracks from .nsf over to .nsfe. There is an archive for this sort of thing HERE, although we don't run it, we merely contribute. We have lots of NSFEs not yet up on slickproductions, if you wanted to keep an eye on those as we make 'em, check this thread on theshizz.

You can also more directly take a look at the uploads on our ftps-
NSFE by me
NSFE by MegaMatt

If you're uninitiated with the format, NSFE is identical to NSF (the source NSF file is actually inside the NSFE), only that you have additional tagging information. It allows you to give proper track names, lengths + fades, and reorder and remove tracks (like sfx). It basically turns an NSF into a more listen-able, album-like format. It brings NSFs up to speed with things like tagged SPC and VGM soundtracks.

The one catch with NSFE is a lack of widespread support - not every NSF player supports it. Thankfully for windows and OSX you have two reliable options, notsofatso (for winamp), or game music box. Then there are some other players that also support NSFE, but only with limited functionality. For example rock box will play NSFE files, but it won't display track names. Audio Overload will open and play NSFE files, but it only displays the track titles, and doesn't handle the timing / fading / and reording information.

Thankfully, p1xl is including NSFE support for his flash nsf player that is in development. I think that'll renew some interest in the format, and I have a project in mind because of it...

I'm of course not expecting this to 'take over' the nsf format, however when it comes to archiving and documenting classic video game soundtracks, the un-tagged nature of NSF would be completely unacceptable in other communities with more rigid (and rightfully so) standards on presenting this sort of thing. big_smile Which doesn't mean I'm not in love with the current NSF archives... I just consider this an important 'phase 2'. Thankfully, tagging NSFEs requires zero knowledge of programming or ripping NSFs, so that enables folk like me to get more involved.

Any questions, concerns, soundtrack requests... feel free to post them! I'll be posting a tutorial below.

Last edited by bucky (July 30, 2010 10:10 pm)

I know there's a forum for tutorials, but I think it'll make sense to have all the information and discussion in one place... smile

NSFE TUTORIAL - HOW TO CREATE AND TAG NSFEs

Step #1 - Download and run notsofatso for winamp.

-If you can now listen to NSFs in winamp with notsofatso, you're all set.
-I know there have been some "unofficial" patches and updates to this plugin, NSFE support should still work with those if you've implemented them, but you don't need them.

Step #2 - Pick an NSF.

-Open an NSF file with winamp + the notsofatso plugin.
-Open the winamp playlist, right click the nsf there and hit "View file info". This is the same way you view and edit MP3 tags with winamp, only an NSF-related thing pops up instead of an MP3 tag editor:

Step #3 - Turn the NSF into an NSFE.

-Hit the 'Convert to NSFE' button. It'll look to export it into whatever folder you last opened a file from in winamp, but you can change that.
-Now, you've exported the NSFE, but it's not open yet. So close the tag editor, remove the NSF from the playlist.

Step #4 - Open the NSFE file..

-Open the NSFE like any other file with winamp and repeat step 2.
-Now you have a more advanced editor, with two extra tabs for naming tracks + setting times, and ordering tracks, in the top right:

---The rest from here on should be pretty self explanatory if you want to play around with it, but if you'll be tagging some game soundtracks, I'll continue on with more details and suggestions on how to do things. None of this obviously applies to original NSFs from chip musicians---

Step #5 - Naming tracks and setting lengths and fades.

Here you can do three things:

NAME A TRACK.

-Never make up a fancy / artistic name like "The Journey Home" for a track. If it has an official name from an OST or sound test, use that. If it doesn't, give it the most obvious name possible so the listener knows what it is. Something like "Level Select", "Stage 1", "Game Over", "Ending Credits". In other words, try to avoid making up names for game songs. Your goal is to ID them for yourself and others.
-If a game IDs stuff in-game, like calling a level "1-1: The Forest", then that's what you should call it. Sometimes game manuals and sites like gamefaqs will help give you more official names if they're not in-game.
-If a game does have official track names but you're worried they're not descriptive enough, use an identifier in brackets or parenthesis after it. Example - for the Gimmick track titled "Happy Birthday", I called it "Happy Birthday [Stage 1]".

SET TRACK LENGTH.

-This tells how long or how many times the song plays. You can do this without manually typing a number in. Just listen to the song as it plays, and click on the "now" button when you find the spot you want it to end.
-If it's a looping track, it should play through twice. End the song immediately at the moment the song loops / ends.

SET THE FADE LENGTH.

-This tells the song how long it should take to fade, starting immediately after the end of the designated track length point. This means a fade can be extremely short or extremely long if you really wanted it to be.
-Most people have a fade that's 5 seconds long. This is where I get needlessly anal retentive, so feel free to ignore this, but I like my fade outs in time, musically. Whatever feels smoothest and most natural (not too short, too long, or in the middle of a weird set of notes) like 8 beats, 16 beats, whatever. Thats how long I make my fades, anyways. I feel like this helps aesthetically in making an NSFE feel like a proper album. A fade out on an album wouldn't only be like an awkward 3 second fade right? yikes
-If it's a track that doesn't loop, set a brief fade after the track length anyways. Why on earth would you want to quickly fade out during silence after a track has ended? Just trust me on this. I usually put a 1 second fade after tracks that end by themselves. This is one of the biggest missed things from other people who tag NSFEs.

Step #6 - Reordering Tracks, removing SFX, etc.

-The field on the left is the original NSF's track order. It will never change since that is a fixed thing, outside of seeing the new names you put up for a track. Outside of some very simple games with short soundtracks, you rarely have NSFs that are 'in order'. So you select tracks on the left side by clicking on them, and clicking the arrows pointing to the right to get them there. The window on the right is the actual order the tracks will appear in as you listen to the NSFE. You click on track(s) and press up or down to change the order.
-You don't have to move everything over. This is how you can selectively delete tracks like SFX if you want to. However, remember that the NSFE is non-destructive in the way it edits NSFs. Just because a track doesn't make it into the NSFE playlist, doesn't mean you can't go back and add it back in whenever you want. The original NSF is still always in there somewhere, no matter what you do.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE TRACK ORDER?

-Think of whatever feels most logical or appropriate if you were playing the game from start to finish. Sometimes there's no set way of doing this, because order can be debated. A couple examples - A password entry screen from a title menu (should that go before main level themes or towards the end?). A reoccurring boss theme (does that go after the first time you'd hear it, like after level 1, or do you want to throw it up after all the levels...?). Do it on a soundtrack-by-soundtrack basis, whatever makes most sense to you.

That's pretty much it. It's a very, very simple process, but I decided to be thorough since I had some people ask about it.

Final things to look out for.

-You need to save your changes before they take place. You also need to stop playing the NSFE if you're listening to it. Just hit stop in winamp, then hit play again and it should refresh.

-"Unused" tracks. There have been problems with people naming tracks as unused when it turns out they were totally in the game. Unless you know with certainty that a track is unused, you should name it something like "Unknown [NSF Track X]". This is important because it acknowledges that you simply couldn't find the song in-game. Otherwise, naming it "unused" when that is wrong is giving misinformation. And definitely don't leave any songs with the original "Track X" name, that's even worse, that makes it look unfinished and doesn't even let us know if you thought it was unused or not.

-Change this one important default setting in notsofatso, because it might screw you up. Not from the tagging window, but the normal NSF playback window- Go into the 'Config 3' tab and look at the detection options at the bottom. By default, notsofatso gives you a really short length "Stop after X MS of Silence". This tells tracks that naturally end in untagged nsfs when to move onto the next track. It listens for silence, then skips to the next track if there's that much silence. The problem with this is that some games actually have music with pauses bigger than this. You will sometimes miss out on complete tracks of music or entire sections of songs because of this default setting. Mine is set to 9200 MS of silence, so I don't have this problem (afaik, hopefully there's nothing longer than that!).

This is a great thread. Should be stickied / honored for all time. Did you post this on 2a03, too?

He probably didn't due to it being GONE :'( info

But yes, epic thread

May I add that it seems many archive collections don't offer batch downloading or a single download of the complete collection, and that this is a bad thing? For example that slick productions site you linked to.

Last edited by Battle Lava (May 24, 2010 1:13 pm)

Battle Lava wrote:

He probably didn't due to it being GONE :'( info

info wrote:

FORUMS ARE BACK [10-03-23]!

I put up an old backup of the forums. If your account is missing please re-register.
Keep in mind some things may be broken and if you find a bug please let me know ASAP!

Go to the forums

-Snowrobot

Thanks guys! smile

Battle Lava wrote:

May I add that it seems many archive collections don't offer batch downloading or a single download of the complete collection, and that this is a bad thing? For example that slick productions site you linked to.

I agree! Later tonight I can send you a zip of all the NSFE files. I don't have this posted publicly, only because I haven't spoken with Lenophis about if it's okay to grab everything from his site like that. I may hit him up and see if we can figure something out.

I think I would like to have 3 different main folders for NSFEs-
-Game
-Demo / Rom Hacks
-Artist (for modern chip compositions)

I would also like to see a site that has all of these embedded in flash! I'll be talking to some friends who know a bit more about making websites than myself and see what we can do...

NO CARRIER wrote:

This is a great thread. Should be stickied / honored for all time. Did you post this on 2a03, too?

Heosphoros wrote:
NO CARRIER wrote:

Did you post this on 2a03, too?

Done!

I tried playing one of your NSFEs in Audio Overload like... I dunno... a few days ago? It didn't work and I was confused.

I really like the idea of better tagging though. I'd really REALLY like to see something like this for KSS. I hate having to pick through sound effects to find the music.

I'm not sure if audio overload supports NSFE (***EDIT, read below). It would really be great if it did, however, since Mac users don't really have many (any) NSFE options that I'm aware of other than game music box. I'll send Mr. Bannister a message. smile

Oh yeah, and KSS files can be annoying when you have to dig through them. Sometimes they come with accompanying M3U (playlist) files, I've gotten those to work in winamp. Oddly enough gameboy and NES M3U files have never worked for me.

I think there was some sort of schism between people wanting NSFE and M3U for NSF files, but I think it'd be much nicer to simply widen support for the NSFE format instead of including a playlist file that likely won't work with lots of programs anyways.

Last edited by bucky (July 30, 2010 10:18 pm)

bucky wrote:

Audio Overload doesn't support NSFE

Scratch that! It's odd, I seem to recall looking over the formats for audio overload and not seeing NSFE in there, but now I looked again and it's there! He responded saying he's on vacation and doesn't have the code on-hand to be %100 certain, but that NSFE should be supported.

Arlen, double check that you have the most recent version of AO perhaps?
http://www.bannister.org/software/ao.htm

Last edited by bucky (May 25, 2010 2:01 am)

Yeah I have Audio Overload 1.8. NSFE is definitely not supported by that haha.

Thanks Bucky! Now I can listen to NES music 2010 style!

THE FUTURE!!!!!!!!

I just tried out Audio Overload v2.0 for Windows 32, and it does play NSFE files. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to support the track times + fades, nor the track reordering. Tracks still loop indefinitely like normal NSFs, or stay on silence for tracks that end. However, it does display track titles. Testing out The Jungle Book NSFE:

You can see that what was supposed to become Track 1 is still Track 11 like in the original NSF. It also cuts off track titles it deems 'too long'. "BGM I (Title Screen, Levels 1 & 6)" displays as "BGM I (Title Screen, Levels 1" instead. I understand that there has to be a limit on track title lengths, but AO's is much shorter than notsofatso's, which I see as an issue since notsofatso is the tool for creating them...

Please be sure to let me know if you have different results. smile

Last edited by bucky (May 25, 2010 7:26 pm)

ant1 wrote:

FORUMS ARE BACK [10-03-23]!
I put up an old backup of the forums...
-Snowrobot

oh yeah...oops!

bucky wrote:

...I would also like to see a site that has all of these embedded in flash!...

Yes, p1xl's flash player could be a good multi-platform solution to playing back nsfe's

Last edited by Battle Lava (May 25, 2010 11:27 am)

Nsfes works fine with foobar! I'll stop downloading nsfs in behalf of nsfes, thanks bucky! big_smile

edit: btw, there is something similar to .gbs?

Last edited by Subway Sonicbeat (May 25, 2010 2:30 pm)

great article :DDDD it solve the problems with the multitrack files and their tag!!!.... thx for share it with us :X