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The C modest god

Old games sounds and SFX

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How can you create old game sounds? Like mario in NES? or classic zelda or other SEGA or NES sounds? Are these sounds recordings that have been manipulated or are they syntesized sounds, created from scratch? Thanks in advance.

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The old game sounds were completely synthesized, usually just a combination of tones played in quick succession (or sometimes simultaneously) to get the sound they wanted. I don't know of any software that lets you do this, though I'm sure there are plenty out there (I'm too lazy to search Google). If all else fails, synthesizing them in your own software is easy, just create the PCM data yourself :)

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I know the commodore 64 used the SID-chip. It basically had a few hardware oscillators and a noise generator. Search on the SID chip, download a SID player and some songs.

The oscillators at this time were not sine-oscillators but pulse/square and sawtooth. This makes for more complex sounds. Then the program change the oscillator settings all the time to add more complexity to the sound. Sweep the oscillator pitch from max to min for a laser shot etc.

I belive this is how most game sounds (and music) was created in the 80:ies.

Basically dumbed-down analog synthesizers (Depeche Mode, Human League) etc. Try searching for "analog synthesis" for more references.

There are lots of software synthesizers you can use to create WAVE files with sound effects.


HTH


/Marcus

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A lot of the old NES music used 3 to 4 voices in a mod tracking format. It usually consisted of a few square waves and a percussion track, with a sound effect channel serving as the 4th track. At some point, the Nintendo engineers were able to include instrumentation on the 4th track (SFX) to make the compositions a bit more complex. If you want to create nintendo sounds, it depends entirely upon the format/ sequencer that you are using. There are presets and soundfonts available for a wide variety of music and sound platforms. I am assuming that the NES sound presets are generally very easy to create and therefore fairly easy to come by. Do you have any music/sound creation programs?

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As well as pulse 25, 50, and 75. (Modification of Square Wave) I would suggest getting a free program called Modtracker in supplement to what Tony supplied.

Sean Beeson

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Quote:
Original post by The C modest god
How can you create old game sounds? Like mario in NES? or classic zelda or other SEGA or NES sounds?
Are these sounds recordings that have been manipulated or are they syntesized sounds, created from scratch?


As mentioned above, the early sounds were FM synth waves (triangles, squares, sines, etc). You can find similar synths in todays mobile phones.

If you're looking to recreate those old sounds, just about any 8-bit synth should be able to create something similar. You just need to know a bit about synthesis. If you're not up for that, there has been a recent flush of audio plugins and sample libraries that can recreate these sonuds. For example, Discovery Sound has their 8Bit Family sample libraries which are a real trip.

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I dont know how to use these dll plugins in windows?
Is there a list of all the manipulation that can be done to the waves? Like fading, attack and etc? and how they are implemented?
I downloaded audiacity, and there is only saw, square and sine waves there. No triangle. So how can I create all the synthesized sound with that program?

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What defines 80's gaming music for the most part, is the heavy use of arpeggio to mimic polyphonic sound. By quickly changing the notes played, you could have chords and use only one sound channel. This results in a somewhat 'vibrating' sound that is typical to the era. I also used this myself in the early DOS days when only the internal PC speaker was available.

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