Megaman Inspired Venture Kid Features Norrin Radd’s Last ModPlug NES Soundtrack

Matt Creamer aka Norrin Radd has is without a doubt one of the masters of NES composition. With amazing NES albums like Melodia de Infinita and Anomaly and his unique style and mastery of the 2A03, he is the perfect choice for a iOS game soundtrack that tries to pay homage to the classic Megaman series.

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Venture Kid feels like an NES game from the opening cinematic scenes. Every tone and sound is authentic and the game itself mostly sticks to the limitations of the NES, with the exception of some multi-paralax scrolling backgrounds and modern “achievement” style awards.

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Matt says this is his last NES album using ModPlug, which he uses for its ability to slightly detune the pulses, a trick that adds some cool shine to the standard NES tones. Like much of his work, there is a bit of a middle-eastern scale vibe and its mostly apparent in the pyramid level. Perhaps the games only shortcoming is you don’t get to select a stage. It feels like Megaman in every other way but that. The stages are filled with secrets and places to use weapons, but you have to go at them in order. All things considered though, its as close to an NES experience you can get on your iPhone and I highly recommend it.

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Little Paw – Space Corgi LP From Ex-Revengineer Nick Maynard

maxresdefault-1Nick Maynard is the guy behind the awesome post rock of Revengineers, one of the best post-rock/chiptune groups in my humble opinion. He also has some solo stuff, an LSDJ manual that is quite popular and has helped out with the also-amazing Noisewaves.

Little Paw is his new release which visits some familiar emotional territory of the Reengineers, earnest guitar and soaring leads evoke all kinds of feelings. However, the palette is expanded and more danceable this time.

While the guitar playing in Revengineers is mostly rhythmic and textural, this project puts it a bit more center stage with some great solos and awesome riffs. One of the most interesting pieces is Flying Slowly, which is a slower song, reminiscent of M38, with an epic bluesy 80s guitar solo at the end.

You will also get some awesome extras, including an unreleased Revengineers track and some wonderful other projects that Nick has in the works. Grab this awesome album today!

 

 

Kickstarter Alert: A Gameboy That Plays Any System You’d Ever Want To Emulate

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I have probably tried almost every possible platform imaginable for Emulation. From PCs in the 90s, to the iPaq, PS2 hacks, things like the GameKing and multi-format consoles. One thing I have always wanted was a one-stop, high-performance handheld that I can take with me.
  
RobotLovesKitty might just deliver it by creating the Game Kid. Powered by the Raspberry Pi’s RetroPie emulation project wwith a 3D printed Gameboy like case that is capable of running NES, SNES, Sega, Playstation 1, Nintendo 64, , x86 PC, Amiga, Sega Genesis, Turbo Grafix 16 and about 20 other formats. Theres a few weeks to go and only the higher tiers are left, so you’ll have to drop a few more bucks for a glow in the dark one, but you don’t want to miss out on this thing! Pledge for yours today, they’re going fast!

 

 

For those not aware, the Raspberry Pi is a full powered computer thats about the size of a credit card. The potential for this thing is amazing, but this is the implementation of it that has most caught my eye.
  
I, for one, am super hyped that it runs the SCUMM emulator. The possibility of playing some classic SCUMM games while I’m on the road just sounds like the greatest thing ever.

 

 

Here’s a full list of what RetroPie can run, so probably the GameKid will be able to play most if not all of these:

 

  • Amiga (UAE4ALL)
  • Apple II (LinApple)
  • Atari 800 (Atari800)
  • Atari 2600 (RetroArch/Stella)
  • Atari ST/STE/TT/Falcon (Hatari)
  • Apple Macintosh (Basilisk II)
  • C64 (VICE)
  • Amstrad CPC (#CPC4Rpi)
  • Final Burn Alpha (RetroArch/PiFBA, RetroArch/FBA)
  • Game Boy (RetroArch/Gambatte)
  • Game Boy Advance (GpSP)
  • Game Boy Color (RetroArch/Gambatte)
  • Sega Game Gear (Osmose)
  • Intellivision (jzIntv)
  • MAME (RetroArch/mame4all-pi, RetroArch/mame4all)
  • MSX (openMSX)
  • PC – x86 (rpix86)
  • NeoGeo (PiFBA, GnGeo)
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch/FCEUmm)
  • Nintendo 64 (Mupen64Plus-RPi)
  • TurboGrafx 16 – PC Engine (RetroArch/Mednafen/pce_fast)
  • Ports
    – CaveStory (RetroArch/NXEngine)
    – Doom (RetroArch/PrBoom)
    – Duke Nukem 3D (eDuke)
  • ScummVM
  • Sega Master System / Mark III (RetroArch/Picodrive, Osmose, DGen)
  • Sega Mega Drive / Genesis (RetroArch/Picodrive, DGen)
  • Sega Mega-CD / CD (RetroArch/Picodrive, DGen)
  • Sega 32X (RetroArch/Picodrive, DGen)
  • Playstation 1 (RetroArch/PCSX ReARMed)
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch/Pocket SNES, snes9x-rpi)
  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum (Fuse, FBZX)

 

Plogue Chipsounds Gameboy DMG Wave Channel Tutorial

gbA while ago I had some requests for how to use the DMG wave table in Plogue Chipsounds. I just finally got around to putting it together. Although its hard to get the exact same sounds you can get in LsDj when it comes to using the wave channel, you can get a pretty good approximation.

Many of the cool sounds you get out of LsDj come from the start and end point and speed settings for filtering. These help you get those “blarg” (that’s what I call them) sounds and some of the really noisy, buzzy Gameboy sounds that have come to define its sound.

Chipsounds doesn’t have the start/end/speed setup like LsDj but you can get the same effect using the wave sequencer. Here’s a few settings to get you started. If you haven’t learned the wave table in Chipsounds, read this first.

Select the DMG-CPU preset and the Wave channel of course. Pick a Wave Channel preset to start with. We will customize it later.

Set PMode to one fo the following options:

  • PWM – A more subtle pulse modulation effect.
  • PWM+Copy – This causes the distorted “blarg” sound and is the most in-your-face modulation.
  • Modulo – More subtle, almost gives you an Atari SID sound.
  • Seek – Turns the modulation into an arpeggio-like effect.
  • Trunc – Another subtle effect.

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The next step is to build a Wave sequencer table that turns the PWM ratio up or down. This is CC2, as you can see in the photo, you can increase it in small steps with a very fast speed to get some smooth sounds.

Youc an also use CC29 to change the Pmode mid-table as well as VPOS (CC28) to further change the effect.

The wave channel setup greatly effects the sound. The more you squish down your wave, the more you will hear the effects. Here are some examples:

 

 

The “Blarg” Mouth Sound

A very flat wave shape. Wave table increases the PWM Ration by 5 in 1/96th increments.

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Jagged Lead – Often hear in Chipocrite and Bit Shifter’s stuff.

Wave Shape is rather jagged and odd. PWM Ratio moves up and down mostly in 1/48th increments. You can turn on looping for a real fun sound with this one.

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Trashy Bass – this is a very distorted and fun one.

CC28 VPos starts at 1 and PWM Ratio climbs, VPOS jumps to 127 after a few increments increasing the distorted sound and giving it a slower attack feeling.

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Squirt – A real subtle one I like.

Same as Trashy but using modulo instead of PWM+Copy for the PMode. A bouncy fun Atari-like sound.

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Hope that helps. Just experiment from here and you can get some really epic sounds out of this module.

Studio Dustmop Releases NES Cartridge Star Versus

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 1.44.29 PMA while back we did an article about the first video games of all time. Studio Dustmop just released a authentic NES cartridge that mimics one of these early games “SpaceWar!”. While the price is a bit steep, the gameplay video shows a promising and exciting 1 and 2-player game modes, complete with modifications and various arenas with different features. One arena even seems to have some slick faux multiparalax scrolling! The in-game tunes don’t disappoint either. Its definitely a nostalgic rush just seeing the demo so far.  I’ll definitely be getting my hands on a copy as soon as possible. You can purchase your own copy here.

8-bit Mac Terminal Email Client

Just another little retro-fitting experiment here. By using some terminal settings plus Alpine, I am now checking my email in style.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.15.36 AMLike most linux/unix things, there’s about 10 ways to do anything. Here’s a the simple way:

1. Install Mac Ports

2. Follow these instructions to install alpine and connect it to your account (example shows gmail). Thanks to Kenneth Anguish.

3. Modify the terminal settings to use the font of you choice, colors and transparency. I used Ocean settings with some transparency added and the emulogic font that looks like the NES letters.

StarTales Interactive Releases MegaBird with Beatscribe 8-bit NES Soundtrack

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.58.37 AMThe Flappy Bird styled app has been providing tons of simplistic fun for a while now. It’s cool to see some new games that expand on the original formula. Megabird is one such game. It includes bosses and other features you don’t always see in these kind of games. For the soundtrack, we went straight to inspiration from one of the classics, Megaman II. It’s clear that the creator was heavily inspired by the classic genre on this game too. Check it out today!

CliffPro debuts YouTube Gaming Channel with Beatscribe Theme Song


 

I posted the full-length theme a while back, but now CliffPro is up and running with his excellent channel. Be sure to subscribe today.

 

Russ Lyman Debut’s New Beatscribe Theme Song for his Retro Gaming Youtube Channel

If you haven’t checked out Russ Lyman’s retro gaming channel, you should. Not just because he now has a megaman inspired theme song by me. I mean look at the car this guy drives. He may be a bigger fan of retro gaming than me!

Plogue Chipsounds Wave Table Explained

Plogue Chipsounds works great with its presets. But that wave table can really throw you off if you’re new to the tool. This should will help you learn how to use it to create classic sounds and also show you some great examples along the way.

Wave Sequencer Settings

fade-inSync – This determines if the steps that happen in your wave table are in time with your MIDI tempo or the tempo specified in the BPM.

BPM – Set’s the internal BPM of the controller. It can be overridden by clicking Sync.

Vel – Check this if you want the notes playing to respond to the velocity (how hard you hit it) of your keyboard or midi notes. If you uncheck this, notes play at full volume. Usually you want to uncheck this for realistic NES sounds.

Loop start – Once the entire wave table plays through, this tells it where to start looping (if at all).

Rel Start – If you don’t want to start at the first command the first time through, put the step value in here that you wish to start on.

We will cover Sequence settings in a future tutorial.

The Table

Let’s start by looking at what each feature is for and the options under each one.

T – The T column is for tempo. This controls the length of each sequence of commands and notes that you play. For example, if you make two wave table items with T = ¼, when you play the note, the commands will execute starting from when the midi event (or keyboard hit) is detected and then the second command will kick of ¼ of a note later. Check the Sync checkbox to have it get it’s tempo from the MIDI environment (aka your song’s tempo). You can also put T=0 which means you want to change something about the upcoming note but not actually have it count time for this command. We’ll see how this works in the examples later on.

Type – The type column explains what each step will actually do. They are defined of the following:

Null – Nothing happens, use this to leave a gap or a delay of a certain time before the next command executes.
CC – Control Channel – You use this to change things like the vibrato, expression (volume level), filter cutoff ect.
NoteOn / NoteOff – These do what you’d think, they tell the note to play or not to play. You can use this to make gaps, echoes and arpeggios.
Pitch – This will take the note up or down the amount you specify in the Evt1 column. It is used for making arpeggios.
KS – Keyswitch controls which of the channels of the default chip you are using, you use this to change from pulse1 to pulse2 to triangle, to noise. This can create some interesting effects that would be hard to do in a real tracker but not impossible for the chip to play.
Evt1 Column – The settings here depend on the type you’ve selected. For CC it’s the selection of the note property you wish to change. It will give you a drop-down of valid choices based on your type. For pitch, it is the amount of up or down steps you wish to go.

Evt2 Column – This column is usually the value of the change For example, if you select Type CC and Evt1 = 1 (which is Pitch LFO Depth aka Vibrato) Evt2 tells the system how much vibrato you want to be added to the note at this point.

Some examples will explain it best. We will explain what happens at each step in the process.

Echo

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0 – The note plays for 1/64 of a whole note.
1 – The note is turned off for 1/48th of a whole note.
2 – The note is turned back on but at a lower volume (evt2=61)
3 – The note it turned off again.
4 – The note is turned on again at a much lower volume (evt2=20)

The 64th and 48th notes give it the offbeat echo effect that we commonly hear in music.

Looping Staccato Arpeggio

arp-loop0 – The note is turned on and plays for 1/64th.
1 – The note is muted for 1/64th.
2 – The pitch is stepped up 5 half-steps. Since T=0, this is done before the next note plays.
3 – The next 5 half-step higher note plays for 1/64th.
4 – The note is turned off for 1/64th.
5 – The pitch is changed to +12, since T=0 it’s done before the next note plays (no time passes)
6 – The note is played an octave above the original for 1/64th.
7 – the note is muted again.

Loop start = 2 – the sequence goes back to step 2 until the user lets go of the keyboard or the MIDI note ends.

Increasing Vibrato

vibrato-fade0 – The volume (CC=11) is set to 127 (evt2=127)
1 – The vibrato (CC=1) is set to 0. No time has passed, nor has a note played.
2 – The note begins to play for ¼, each time a key is pressed, steps 0 and 1 execute with no time pass before this step.
3,4,5 – After 1/8 the vibrato (CC=11) is increased slightly.
6 – The volume (CC=11) is decreased slightly.
7 – The vibrato reaches its maximum of 8 here.

Make sense? It’s really about setting up a series of steps that happen in a finite space of time. Do it right and you can really get some sweet sounds of out this unit.