Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby Kacheekfreak09 » 2019-1-30 @ 00:43

Random thought, but is there a proper music tracker on DOS for the C/MS (aka Gameblaster)? And yes, MONOTONE does CLAIM to have support, but it actually hasn't been implemented yet (as far as I can tell)
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby digger » 2019-1-31 @ 00:27

Good question. It makes me wonder what tools game composers generally used to compose or convert game music for CMS/Gameblaster cards in the first place.

Were there midi sequencers and such generally available with support for these cards, or did game studios develop those in house? It's not like you could hook a CMS/Gameblaster up to a MIDI port or anything.

Most game sound tracks were usually composed on different hardware, usually on a Roland MT-32 or an Adlib card, and then ported to "lesser" music devices that also needed to be supported by the games. Perhaps they just used conversion software that automatically mapped the instruments as best they could.
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby Kacheekfreak09 » 2019-1-31 @ 01:49

Thanks for your reply. The reason I ask is mainly because I've wanted to make a music tracker that uses the Sound Blaster's C/MS, OPL2, and DAC all at once, but I lack the programming talent to do more than just move sprites around in QuickBasic and make crappy C/MS music in Turbo Pascal. I hope somebody finds this interesting and at least makes a tracker for the C/MS, preferably with ProTracker or FT2 effects, and envelope/noise generator support.
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby digger » 2019-1-31 @ 13:09

That would be an amazing project indeed. I too would like to program things like that, but in daily life I work with more high level programming languages. I'd like to do some more "down to the bare metal stuff" as hobby projects, though, especially with regards to retro hardware.

Perhaps it would be more effective (as well as more motivating) to work on such projects jointly or in a group of equally enthusiastic retro tinkerers. :)
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby root42 » 2019-1-31 @ 13:30

Just start a project on github... and see who joins in. Outline the specs and requirements in the README.md. I for one would suggest trying to target something quite low spec'ed, e.g. 286 at most for the tracker, PC/XT for playback.That way you would get a lot of enthusiasts. For example Adlib Tracker 2 is quite the resource hog. I can barely run it on my 386. It is a nice piece of software, but you can't run it on ancient machines. Reality Tracker on the other hand runs well on a 286 already. Of course adding C/MS and DAC support would complicate matters. Maybe one could make the latter optional, since mixing multiple channels at a decent quality requires mostly a 386 or better. The 286 might struggle. Furthermore the samples would probably require EMS or protected mode, since DOS base memory might quickly be exhausted.
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby Kacheekfreak09 » 2019-1-31 @ 21:35

Alright, I've created a github project for anyone that is interested, as well as the specs needed.

https://github.com/Kacheekfreak09/GBFM-Tracker
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby root42 » 2019-1-31 @ 21:44

Good! Watched and starred. :)

Maybe I will even find a teensy bit of time to help. At the very least I can test on the MUS1099.
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby digger » 2019-2-05 @ 00:25

Kacheekfreak09 wrote:Alright, I've created a github project for anyone that is interested, as well as the specs needed.

https://github.com/Kacheekfreak09/GBFM-Tracker


Cool! Putting you rmoney where your mouth is. A good first step. Interestingly, you mention "DAC samples". I didn't know C/MS and Game Blaster were capable of that. Were they? Or was that some kind of hack?
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby xjas » 2019-2-05 @ 00:42

How close is the CMS chip to the SN76489 (Tandy / SMS / TI99)?
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby root42 » 2019-2-05 @ 14:37

xjas wrote:How close is the CMS chip to the SN76489 (Tandy / SMS / TI99)?


Not that similar, I guess. It only supports square wave, but more channels, and stereo as well. See the datasheet here:

http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datashe ... 200_DS.pdf
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Re: Is there a tracker for the C/MS?

Postby Kacheekfreak09 » 2019-2-05 @ 21:26

digger wrote:
Kacheekfreak09 wrote:Alright, I've created a github project for anyone that is interested, as well as the specs needed.

https://github.com/Kacheekfreak09/GBFM-Tracker


Cool! Putting you rmoney where your mouth is. A good first step. Interestingly, you mention "DAC samples". I didn't know C/MS and Game Blaster were capable of that. Were they? Or was that some kind of hack?


The DAC samples are reffering to the Sound Blaster's DAC, as I plan to also support Adlib/Sound Blaster sound.

root42 wrote:
xjas wrote:How close is the CMS chip to the SN76489 (Tandy / SMS / TI99)?


Not that similar, I guess. It only supports square wave, but more channels, and stereo as well. See the datasheet here:

http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datashe ... 200_DS.pdf


Actually, the CMS also supports noise channels, much like the SN76489 (2 noise channels per chip, making it a total of 4.), as well as 6 noise types (only 3 of them were ever used in games, if at all).
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