Author Topic: Chrono Cross Music and Sound Investigation  (Read 1733 times)

dan_death

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Chrono Cross Music and Sound Investigation
« on: June 28, 2008, 04:11:23 am »
I'm in desperate need of doing something...Anybody need some voice acting or something like that done? I'm bored...as hell...and still some more long days of summer left.

And since I'm have writer's block, it is tough to continue making my album which I've been at it for a year...well I guess that's because it's all me and I don't let my band add or take away from my songs. It's a solo project.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 05:30:01 pm by dan_death »

FaustWolf

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 01:03:29 pm »
You wouldn't be interested in researching the technical aspects of music composition for Squaresoft Playstation games by any chance, would you?

dan_death

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2008, 02:22:10 pm »
Hmm...If I knew what to look up. Already tried "music composition Squaresoft"...

FaustWolf

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2008, 02:35:41 pm »
Lolz, I'm not quite sure what to look up either quite yet. For some insight as to how music data in a Playstation videogame is (probably) arranged, I guess I'd point you to some documentation on the Portable Sound Format (PSF) developed by Neil Cortlett.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Sound_Format

There's a link to his site at the bottom of that wiki. Game music data isn't contained in PSF format originally, but I suspec that the storage of sounds and instruments on the game CD may be analogous to how the PSF format does it. In other words, instruments are stored as individual sound samples and then called up by a "sequence" file that tells the game engine what order to play the instruments in.

I haven't looked in-depth at Playstation music at all, and won't get there for some time. It may be even harder to work with than the model data Luminaire, MDenham, and I have been sifting through with the help of the qhimm professors for all I know. If you manage to find some documentation on Playstation music formats and decide it's not your cup of tea, don't worry about it. However, I know that you're a composer who has interest in videogames, and these matters may pique your curiosity.

dan_death

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2008, 03:52:12 pm »
Any programs you suggest to look in depth of an ISO? Because it may be even harder to look it up on the internet. Even though I'm not really knowledgeable at this, I'd still like to try.

So...let me get this straight, are you looking for the format of what the music is in? Or how they are stored/played? Because the music/sound format is .xa

I think you're right about them being in individual sound samples, I used PSound on Valkyrie Profile and that seems to be the case, for now. Now I'm trying Chrono Cross. But I really don't know what I'm doing  :lol:
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 04:28:18 pm by dan_death »

FaustWolf

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2008, 04:32:06 pm »
One of my long-term goals is to assess the possibility of porting music from other PSX games into Chrono Cross, and also the possibility of entirely new fan compositions for the Darkness Beyond Time project. First thing to do is actually identify whereabouts instrument data for music is stored on a Chrono Cross disc.

If you'd be interested in actually rummaging through the music/instrument/sound data and getting a feel for it, I'd recommend making a dump of your first Chrono Cross CD if you have it on hand, according to the instructions in this wiki. You'll want a 2048 byte/sector format ISO. I recommend the free version of ISOBuster. Oh, do you have 600+ megs of free space on your hard drive?

I'd then download PSound and run your freshly-extracted ISO through it and play through some of the sounds, just to get a feeling for how the separate instruments and sounds are stored separately. Unfortunately PSound can't export sounds in their native format (it can only export to WAV if I remember correctly). However, it will still be extremely useful for identifying where sound data is located in the folders produced by the Yazoo dump utility modified by Ramsus back in 2007.

So an additional thing to do is to download this dumping utility and use it on your Chrono Cross CD1 ISO. Then you can scan the MISC folder for music data, because I highly suspect the music instruments and sequencing data are stored there. When we find which dumped files the music instruments are stored in, it will be easier to find the sequencing data I hope.

EDIT: Oh, shoot, dumping with the dump.exe I link to above will require another 600MB of free space on your hard drive. If that's doable, consider yourself on the forefront of Chrono Cross sound exploration! I'm glad to see that you're already experienced with PSound -- you probably know more about the program than I do at this point.

EDIT: Also, you may wish to research any Playstation music/sound findings jotted down on the Qhimm forums. Some good search terms would be simply "music" and also "AKAO," which is an ASCII tag placed on sound and instrument data in Final Fantasy games as well as Chrono Cross.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 04:39:55 pm by FaustWolf »

dan_death

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 04:45:52 pm »
I don't have an authentic copy of Chrono Cross, but I'm aiming to buy one...I mean its only around $12. So, there might be some problems.

And if I don't have enough space on my hard drives, I'll delete some crap to make some. But what's weird is, last night, something, somehow ate up 2 gigs on my second hard drive, and I wasn't downloading anything.

I'll get on it though.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 04:51:06 pm by dan_death »

FaustWolf

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2008, 04:59:04 pm »
Oooh, I forgot -- the dumping utility I linked to above works only on a .BIN format game image, so whenever you acquire Chrono Cross, you'd want to rip to a 2352 byte/sector format and then follow the instructions in the readme that I include with the Yazoo dumper zip.

dan_death

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 05:01:55 pm »
Yeah, just read that.

dan_death

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2008, 07:30:20 pm »
This should be moved to the 'Labs and renamed...anyways, I think I may have found some problems.

I have used PSound, converted a huge chunk, then I placed them all into the correct sequence. Now, I don't really know how PS games really work with them. Since they are originally stereo I'd have a hard time finding the other track/tracks, so if I were to make it sound correctly, I would have to mix about 5000 wav files in their correct place....
Here's what I got:
http://www.sendspace.com/file/me8vg8

It's most Time's Scar. And the speed isn't right either, that's the way it was in PSound, so I sped it up as closest as I can get it to the original.

Sounds sort of bad, don't know how to fix the "lagging" sound yet.

FaustWolf

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2008, 07:51:14 pm »
Wowza, nice job putting that together! Did you have to glue together a bunch of instrument samples to get that running, or was it all in one piece already? I was under the impression that Time's Scar was streaming audio because it didn't seem to be on the Chrono Cross PSF collection.

dan_death

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2008, 07:54:58 pm »
They were all separate, I had to put them together. And they were all about like 1 second files, and I'm glad I found a joining program . But I didn't have to put a bunch of instrument samples together, because most of the instruments were mixed into each file.

Different instruments, one file. That's how it is, so far.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 07:56:53 pm by dan_death »

FaustWolf

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Re: Anyone?
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2008, 08:07:52 pm »
In that case, it would appear that Time's Scar is stored as bits of sound data interleaved into the .STR opening movie at 1-second intervals. Fascinating! I wonder if even the .STR music has some kind of sequencing data associated with it to give the bits of music tempo and so forth.

The rest of the music in CC should be stored as separate instruments, and the instrument samples are linked together by sequencing data of some sort. If we can identify the exact dumped files (known as .OUTs) that contain the instruments, the discovery may lead to the sequencing data files as well. If SNES sound engine knowledge is particularly applicable (which I think it is), it would be a real coup to catch JCE3000GT's or Vehek's attention in this thread.

V_Translanka or Radical_Dreamer, if either of you come across this thread feel free to move it to Kajar, as I lack the permissions to do so at this point. dan_death, you should be able to re-title this thread "Chrono Cross Music and Sound Investigation" or something similar by editing your original post.

dan_death

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Re: Chrono Cross Music and Sound Investigation (needs to be moved)
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2008, 08:17:55 pm »
Well, almost done converting ALL the sound PSound could find, and going to find out what they sound like, I could have just played them in PSound, but it doesn't play them smoothly, so I'll have to join all of them together.

FaustWolf

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Re: Chrono Cross Music and Sound Investigation (needs to be moved)
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2008, 08:24:56 pm »
I expect that there will be a ton of duplicates that you could do away with if there's a suitable duplicate-file-eraser-thingy available for free somewhere. If the sound effects played on the field (in dungeons & towns and so forth) are stored like the model data, there will be sound effects stored in each of the game's "rooms," and lots will be duplicates. The game image was built in this way to save the game engine time in finding files on the CD.