I remember reading that some of the most common samples used in SNES games appear so frequently due to their inclusion in a pack of samples released by Nintendo to developers for the system. I'm quite keen to find these samples or at least a list of games/composers that used them, but I've had no luck after trawling obscure dev forums and chipmusic sites.. Any help would be appreciated.

That is a very very interesting little task. Kind of like the ST-01 of the SNES? I wonder if it is all D50, CZ101 and DX21 samples?

I don't know how you'd be able to tell which were the development samples but there are some tools out there that let you extract samples from snes roms. Extract a bunch of from the early games and see how many are similar?

I don't remember such a thing existing...

Actually, as far as I can remember we had no tools at all for SNES audio dev. I wrote all the drivers and conversion tools (sample converters and MIDI utils) for the games I worked on.

The Gamecube (I think) and definitely the N64 had tools supplied by Nintendo (actually, the N64 ones were by Software Creations and, uncharacteristically, they weren't actually very good)

neilbaldwin wrote:

Actually, as far as I can remember we had no tools at all for SNES audio dev. I wrote all the drivers and conversion tools (sample converters and MIDI utils) for the games I worked on.

... can you release this software please

http://www.zophar.net/utilities/rippers.html -> SNESSOR95

Just remembered that my initial suspicion was based on Alex Mauer's post in this thread, which is only conjecture.

It does seem to the casual observer that samples are re-used. For example, I always thought it odd that so many SNES games use orchestra hit samples at very low pitches to generate tension - though this is a great effect (and to be fair one that I've heard in Gamecube soundtracks), Super Metroid, Super R-Type, several games in the Mario franchise (off the top of my head) and many more feature this technique.

That said Neil has experience in the field that I don't think anyone else on this forum even has, and SNES sound development programs were notoriously bad/non-existent...I know that one particular famous game composer had to work with a ten (!) step sequencer programmed for him by coders apparently unfamiliar with the formalities of conventional music. Perhaps such a pack doesn't exist at all? I suppose it won't stop me ripping the sounds I like from .spc files and using them in my tracks, which I have done for a while.

Just going to throw this out there - what exactly would the use be for the MIDI port on the SNES Emulator SE (original device used to test/develop SNES games)?

Although I'm by no means an expert on the subject, I've ripped samples from quite a few SNES games. The only times I remember seeing recurring samples are throughout games made by a single company (but maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention). For example you'll find the same trumpet throughout a lot of RARE games, and HAL used the same strings sample for a lot of their games if I'm remembering correctly. So maybe this is just a case of in-house composers sharing samples, or the same composer working on multiple games, rather than a standard pack? I'd be interested to know if there ever was such a thing though.

Wow, don't think I've ever seen that SNES emulator before. Our SNES development hardware was reverse engineered by our tech guy at the time and as I said in the previous post, we pretty much wrote all of our own tools.

Re: releasing the tools - extremely unlikely. I'd love to but I wouldn't even know where to start looking!

And yes, we definitely reused samples. Making good ones was an art-form and often took a lot of trial and error (optimising sample sizes and loop points etc.) so when you had ones that worked you got as much use out of them as you could big_smile

I miss the SNES, it was a great system to use and uniquely it had it's own audio CPU so no CPU sharing with the game code - absolute luxury big_smile

The official SNES programming manual has a mention of 'Sony NEWS, which has been the standart tool used by Nintendo to date', but as far as I understand this one only allow to make BRR samples, not music data, and does not have a sample library.

SNES is a great console but also great headache for a developer, especially in the audio part. It is kind of love and hate all in one. Making good looped BRR samples is definitely one of difficult and tedious things.

Actually, SNES homebrew scene suffers from underdeveloped audio tools - there are about three (including mine), all of them aren't too polished or easy to use. So it would be great to see some new developments in this area. After messing with MOD converters and stuff I actually has started to think that a custom SNES crosstracker is not so weird idea (because it would allow to hear exactly what you get).

Last edited by Shiru (Mar 18, 2012 11:52 am)

heart the snes. re; a standard sample pack, i seriously doubt it (there -might- have been example sound packs really early on but the chances of digging those up are really nil now and even so it's doubtful they would have got used terribly much by peeps), however you have to remember the popularity of certain keyboards round that time like the M1, especially in Japan - some sounds are just going to pop up quite a lot *grin*

the midi port could have been used to output midi data whilst music was running for debugging, or to input midi data into specially coded tools to hear tunes or sfx back on a real machine; for example to test out various SPC related effects like echo or filters when tweaking or simply to check if the tune worked in relation to the SPC chip's limits (or evil loop points) etc - would have been quicker to bung over a little midi file than blow a whole new rom y'see... if you take a look at factor 5's dev system; http://www.gamesniped.com/wp-content/up … Kit-11.jpg you can see lots of action around the SPC chip... smile


PS - here's a nice BRR converter Uxorious made ages ago for cooledit; http://emureview.ztnet.com/developersco … es_brr.zip if you want to have a go at popping samples onto the snes smile

neilbaldwin wrote:

And yes, we definitely reused samples. Making good ones was an art-form and often took a lot of trial and error (optimising sample sizes and loop points etc.) so when you had ones that worked you got as much use out of them as you could big_smile

This is not bad nor abnormal, lots of peopple tdid this in many platforms.

For example, you can to listen to Allistair Brimble's tunes on the Amiga, most of them done for Team 17. Samples are shared among them and many times even some jingles and tunes are revisited.

Looks like the 'some sounds are commonplace on the SNES' theory has more to do with reuse rather than anything else (which makes total sense - compare the drum tracks from Hirokazu Tanaka's Mother 2/Earthbound soundtrack with those from Snoopy Concert, which he would have worked on at around the same time, as well as many other examples specific to different composers/development houses). Even then many of the source sounds originated from machines like the M1 as ne7 mentioned (this great interview with Dave Wise features not only one of my favourite answers in any interview ever - the one where he talks about using the SPC as a kind of primitive wavetable synthesizer - but a description of his use of both the Roland MT-32 and Juno-2) .

There's some really interesting info here about the SNES that somehow hasn't popped up in any of the previous chipmusic/8bc threads on the topic! I've already downloaded that cooledit BRR converter. The only method I know for 'true' SNES music is the laborious process outlined by Alex Mauer in the aforementioned post - though programming a more accessible tool for the job would no doubt be quite an achievement, there's always been some 'market' for it. I'm sure many of the same Nintendo and/or chipmusic fans who propelled programs like LSDJ and MIDINES (ha) to fame would be interested in a SNES/SFC tool too.

I understand there doesn't seem to be much of a point to coding a .SPC tracker given XM and MOD trackers; regardless, I would still use it! big_smile

There seems to be some activity (from Japan afaik) of writing original .SPC's using XMSNES and some MIDI utilities.  Playback is possible using Powerpak, or the new pimpin' sd2snes, or even hardware SPC players that detach the APU from the console.

SNES has such a unique tone!

Sign me the fuck up. This is inspiring.

People discount the SNES as a chiptune tool because it "is just samples", but it does have a unique tone, and one that I'm very fond of. NES synced to SNES would be a dream rig.