Shining in the Darkness released!

I’ll have to admit that this is a bit of a bittersweet release for us: Richard Mixin, the author of this release, has told us that this will be the last release he’ll do for 16bap as he’s going to move on to other projects.

Richard Mixin was among the first contributors we’ve had, joining us in early 2020, and has released a whopping 14 releases counting some of the biggest we’ve ever had

On behalf of the entire 16bap team, I really want to say a big thank you to Richard for sticking with us through all of those years and letting us enjoy so many games with the amazing quality you’d expect from 16bap releases.

I hope one day you’ll get back here: our doors will always be open!

Until then, thanks again and we all wish you the best in the world for your future.

This said, for all you following us, please enjoy another massive 28 track release and I hope I’ll get back here at some point with relevant news about the project.

As a reminder, we’re still stuck with no hardware VGM Player and we’re hoping Deadfish will find the time and dedication needed to make this miracle happen.
We all know that if there’s one person on this world who’d be capable of making a perfect VGM Player on the Mega Drive, that would be him.

As always, thanks to all of you for following us and always giving us precious feedback to improve what we do, and I hope you’ll hear again from us soon!

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Beyond Oasis (The Story of Thor) released!

BirdyBro is back with a new, massive release: Beyond Oasis!
The game is known also as The Story of Thor and with its 34 tracks I believe that it is among the biggest releases we’ve ever done.
If this wasn’t enough to grab your attention, then know that the composer is none other than the master of the Mega Drive soundtracks himself: Yuzo Koshiro!

Massive thanks to BirdyBro for this huge contribution and, as a reminder, we’re still accepting contributions so feel free to check our guidelines and submit any rip you want!
While we know that the tools at our disposal are not perfectly accurate, they are so close that it doesn’t really matter unless our material is being used for critical work where a nearly perfect accuracy is needed, but that’s not what Community Releases are for.

Thanks again to our contributors who’ve helped us in our mission up to today and hopefully we’ll be back soon with more news about Mega Drive rips (something amazing is in the works!) and maybe some more arcade goodness!

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Sonic 3D Saturn release updated!

Thanks to two kind followers on Twitter I discovered that our digital rip of the Sonic 3D Saturn release was lacking 3 tracks: those were tracks not included in the CD-Audio part of the disc, but were part of the 3 FMVs the game has.

In addition to this, there were a couple of errors in the release which have now been fixed.

A quick changelog of what has been updated:

  • Corrected the name of the artist in both file names and tags
  • Corrected the names of the Rusty Ruin Zones (they were swapped)
  • Added 3 new tracks which were part of FMVs (those have SFX in them, nothing we can do about them)

The links have already been updated so you can go and download the fixed release.

Please keep reporting us errors and mistakes so we can fix them ASAP!

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Recording games from Neo Geo

MV1FS Audio output

MV1FS Audio output

After one more poll on Twitter, it seems like there’s enough interest to go ahead and write a proper article about how we’re recording music from the Neo Geo instead of just a quick document in the FAQ (which is going to be a shorter version of this and it will still be made).

I think it’s fair to start with a premise which I know is going to be a major let down for lots of people: there are several games on the Neo (especially the newer ones) which are basically made of just mono-aural ADPCM samples.
It’s PCM, there’s nothing else to this. Games which have their soundtracks with only ADPCM are Metal Slug 5 (maybe even 4?), Matrimelee, the newer King of Fighters (I believe from ’99 onwards), Blazing Star (and I have to check Pulstar) and many others.

Those games won’t be recorded because it’s absolutely pointless.
Just listen to them in an emulator or in M1 or what have you, you’re going to get exactly the same sound as from real hardware (minus noise and hiss).
I could make digital rips of them, but that’s not the point of our project, so they’re going to be left out.

This said, let’s get down a bit to the technicalities.

First off, the Neo Geo was a very particular platform having the (almost) exact same hardware for both the arcade boards (known as MVS) and home console (known as AES). Both were released at the same time so SNK definitely had this plan in mind from the get go, although it’s indisputable that their main target were arcades and home consoles were just a way to get extra income. After all, most of their games (with a couple of exceptions) were all coin-ops which needed credits to play and the AES versions had minor modifications to have basic menus but were otherwise identical to the MVS ones with Free Play enabled so that no credits were required.

This has led us to choose an arcade board as a platform to record the game from (and because AES systems costs almost like a new car) and this opened another whole range of issues: several MVS boards have been made and they were all different, some having 2, 4 or even 6 slots and others having no line level stereo output (remember that the JAMMA standard has only amplified mono output which goes straight to the speakers – the MVS used a slightly different JAMMA layout which added the possibility of stereo amped audio and a fourth control button for each player side).

Much like the Mega Drive we were once again confronted with a choice: which hardware version of the MVS should we choose?

Unfortunately I couldn’t find much information on which boards were produced first (remember that the first hardware produced will always be our target), but this page from neogeodev seems to hint that “A” boards were produced first, followed by B, C and then, maybe F (made by Fujitsu). There are also boards which do not have a letter at all and those might be the absolute first to be produced and our preferred choice.

Obviously what we are concerned most with is the audio circuitry and luckily, unlike the Mega Drive, all the MVS hardware used the Yamaha YM2610 and YM3016 so it’s all a matter of studying what was used in the audio output circuit.
Looking at board scans kindly provided by mvs-scans, we can see what a MV1 (possibly the first board revision produced) was like and, comparing it to the MV1FS for which we have an actual schematic, thanks again to neogeodev, we can see that they share the same audio output using a pre-amp section with 3x 4558 opamps and a JRC 2066D headphone amp (much like the Mega Drive, although it uses a Sony CX1034P headphone amp – the MVS head amp is much more powerful!).

I already had a couple of MV1FZ motherboards so I decided to pick one and gut its entire audio output stage and replace it with the same one found in the MV1 (4558 and 2066D are still available today) so that we had basically the same board audio-wise and that was pretty much it.

Now I’d like to take a moment to give a big shoutout to Razoola and his Unibios because without him the rips we’re putting out wouldn’t have been possible: with the Unibios you can reproduce all the music in any game thanks to its Jukebox function and the best part is that since the game is not actually running the noise generated by all other components is really really low (almost lower than our Mega Drive!). This proved to be a very, very convenient solution and made recording games from the Neo a far easier job than the Mega Drive.

Finally, the last part was trying to find the unitary gain to get all our release recorded at the correct volume and this proved to be a guessing game: I just picked the loudest game/track I know of which is the intro of King of Fighters ’99 (which is so loud that even by playing it back normally you can hear it sound distorted/clipped) and lower the volume on the headphone amp until it didn’t clip on the recording side.
And even then… when I was recording Metal Slug I found out that there was a very loud part in “Final Attack” which clipped pretty badly and I had to reduce the volume further.

Now, what about the games?
While a NeoSD would be the ideal solution, unfortunately I don’t have one and the cost is just too high for me, so I stuck to my trusty, modded/fixed 138-in-1 cart and, before recording, I used another tool from the Unibios which checks the ROMs for their integrity to make sure that they weren’t tampered with and, so far, all the games I recorded on the Neo checked out fine!
Remember that this means that there are several games (like Fatal Fury) which are not in the cart, so I won’t be able to record those.

And with that I think that I covered all the bases for what we’re doing to record Neo Geo music.

If I missed anything please make sure to let me know through our Forums or social media!

Thanks for reading!

P.S.: a final note, just to reiterate something I already said in a previous post: we’re not giving up the Mega Drive releases, we’re just waiting for the new tools to be coded and tested. This whole Neo Geo thing is just a way to fill the void and give something to all of you who’ve been so kind to follow us so far.
This also means that we are not accepting requests for Neo Geo or other arcade hardware and not all games for the Neo will be released.

Metal Slug 2 released!

Click on the image to go to the download page

 

Well, I guess people have spoken and it looks like that, after all, you wanted more Neo Geo releases.
Not sure why the previous one (yeah, we released the first Metal Slug a week ago) didn’t get traction at all, maybe you don’t like the first ‘slug soundtrack? It’s one of my all time favorites! :'(

Anyway, there are going to be more Neo Geo releases in the future along with other arcade games (I have some PCBs).

Meanwhile, I think I’ll do a new poll on Twitter tomorrow (Facebook removed the option, thanks Mark) to see if you’d be interested in an in-depth article about how we’re ripping music from the Neo, so stay tuned!

Hope you’ll enjoy this release as much as I did recording it. This one is my all time favorite arcade games and it holds a special place in my heart.

And for those “in the know”, I’ll make a statement here, feel free to flame me for this…

2 > X

 

See you! ;D

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Metal Slug released!

Click on the image to go to the download page

 

I won’t spend much time talking about this because first I’m interested in two thing:

  1. Do you like it?
  2. Do you want more?

Please make us hear your voice, either through our social media channels (Facebook/Twitter) or our Forums, whatever works best with you.

Before you ask: yes, we’ll keep on doing Mega Drive releases once we have all the tools we need to do it properly.
Meanwhile, this could be a cool thing to fill the big, empty spaces we’ve left in the last years.

Once again: please, let us hear your voice and thank you so much for sticking with us through all of these years.

If there’s enough interest, I’ll follow this up with a nice, lengthy article about all the technical things behind the scene and how we’re ripping Neo Geo games.

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