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Space Quest III on CT-460

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First post, by Jo22

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Hello everyone,

As the title says, this thread is about SpaceQuest music on the Casio Casiotone CT-460.

What is a CT-460 ?, you may ask now.
Well, let me explain. The CT-460/MT-540 belonged to a series of semi- professional synthesizers,
which were kind of popluar in the mid-late 1980s. They also had a little brother, the CSM-1.
Think of it as the MT-32 of the Casio line. Just a bit more rare (like LAPC-I)..
Even though the keyboards weren't intended as playback devices in the first place, some game devlopers used them
as keyboards for composing. So it apparently made sense for the guys at Sierra to also add them to the sound card's list.
Remember, this was before General MIDI was born.. So I should probably note, that these synths contained
a rather unique feature for a MIDI device of that time: a rich sound bank of special effects for various themes
(forest, ocean, street, starwars, rainy day, evening, concert hall, wild western)..

"Back in the 80's, having an electronic keyboard was a huge deal.
You could entertain your guests at a party or simply fool around with the demo songs
."
Source: PiscoMantis YouTube Randomness

UMH9qzRl.jpg

Backround
About then years ago I wanted to finish a little recording project with my MT540,
but I had to sell it (to support my family) shortly before I was able to record anything with it.
After a while I tried to get another MT-540, but without success. I've never seen one again.
And so the years passed by.. Until just recently.

Now, about ten years later I was finally able to do finish my project with a CT-460, the MT's bigger brother.
In some way or another, this one is even better (complete sound bank) but it somehow sounds a bit different to me.
Don't know how to describe it, I guesss this how real musicans feel when they have to play with a replacement instrument
(awgod I'm probably talking nonsense again). 😊

Recording
Albeit the recording equipment on my side is still lackin' (poor stereo separation),
I decided to attach them here for historical preservation and for you, fellow vogoners and vogonians. 😀
Hope that's okay, 'cause I don't want to wait another ten years. So it's now or never..

If you're interested and would like to hear what these keyboards are truely capable of, please hear the demo song.
It was based on the wonderful song "Nightbirds" by Shakatak.
(In comparision, the Sierra MIDI driver doesn't do justice. It just plays them like an Adlib.)

And please keep in mind: It sounds much better on the real thing!

Okay, that was enough talking of mine! Here are a few more Nightbirds for you! 😀

Nightbirds by Shakatak: Yamaha Electone FX-20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i945fsY59Pg

Casio MT-540 Demo Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUAHru53P0w

Shakatak - Nightbirds (piano solo) by Bill Sharpe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRxMRvtzVso

Shakatak - Nightbirds [ExRemix]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5RKTuTbcRw

Nightbirds by Shakatak (Sniper's version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsM75DmpMnA

I hope you enjoy listening to SpaceQuest in a way you haven't before. 😉

Have fun!

Note: The recordings below where done with an MT-540 patch map. I'll leave them here for comparison.
For the (hopefully) correct sounding recordings please scroll down or <<click here>>

Attachments

  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Intro_long.ogg
    File size
    4.64 MiB
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    156 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) Intro Song (long)
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Start.ogg
    File size
    3.99 MiB
    Downloads
    64 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) Starting location.
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_World-o-Wonders.ogg
    File size
    4.44 MiB
    Downloads
    75 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) World 'o' Wonders, where you can buy special underwear.
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Pestulon.ogg
    File size
    2.74 MiB
    Downloads
    75 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) Planet Pestulon, right in front of ScumSoft headquarter. :-)
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Monolith-Burger.ogg
    File size
    4.49 MiB
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    72 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) At the Monolith Burger, home of Astro Chicken, where food and chairs taste the same..
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by Jo22 on 2016-09-20, 11:22. Edited 3 times in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 1 of 29, by SquallStrife

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Jo22 wrote:

I hope you enjoy listening to SpaceQuest in a way you haven't before. 😉

Have fun!

I'm really sorry to say that it sounds kinda... not good. The instrument mapping and volume seems to be all over the place (Monolith Burger rendered by MT-32 for comparison). The title music doesn't have any percussion at all! 🙁

That said, based on the keyboard's demo tune, it's definitely a fun and interesting sounding synth (the piano instrument is particularly nice sounding), so I wonder if the MIDI data could be extracted and tweaked to improve it a bit?

VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread

Reply 2 of 29, by Jo22

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I know what you mean. I even thought I made a mistake, but I followed the instructions from the setup program.
And I did set the keyboard to ch4 (starwars) before starting the game. Perhaps the game is using wrong channels, like it did for the CM64 ?
I don't know. I used a recent DOSBox release (SVN-07-05-2011, ykwhong's build), by the way.
Back then I also did use DOSBox for a briefly moment, but an older one. It was 0.63 or earlier, I think.
Oh, and the title song is quite similar to how I remember. But I had a MT-540 back then, which is said to be more limited..
So it is difficult to make a comparison. The MIDI data (raw MIDI commands) can be captured by DOSBox, I think.

Edit: Just checked. I don't know for sure, but I can hear a faint "percussion" in the background if using head phones.
It is about 1:00 in the recording for the title song. Perhaps the Yamaha FB-01 is also good for comparison.
The MT32 is far more flexible than both of them, after all. Btw, do you know of any FB01 recording for Monolith Burger ?
Anyway, I don't know how Sierra intended the Casios to sound. For example, World of Wonders sounds absolutely crazy.
So is this accident or intention ? I mean, that place was such a horrible tourist trap and the noise of cars, splashing water
and howling alarm systems (caused by real cars or toy robots on the shelf ?) would make sense in this context
(keep in mind that the synth was still set to "sci-fi" theme, perhaps that was the best non-sci-fi stuff that could be played at the moment).

Attachments

  • install.png
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    install.png
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    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) Instructions
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 3 of 29, by SquallStrife

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So I just listened to World o Wonders, and yeah, that genuinely made me laugh! Pure craziness!!! 😁

No, sorry, I don't know of any FB01 SQ3 recordings, other than the one you linked.

Your recording of the title music actually sounds a lot like the Tandy 1000 rendition, with that monotone "buh buh buh buh" in the back of the first part of the song sounding rather conspicuous and jarring.

VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread

Reply 4 of 29, by Jo22

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Thanks for your feedback! 😁

I'm glad it made you happy! 😄

And I agree, the Tandy quite resembles the Casio in these terms.

Oh and by the way, I've found another recording of the Space Quest 3 title music (CSM-1 version) in this thread.
Vogons user Cloudschatze mentiones it in this post.

It sounds similar, so my recordings aren't that wrong (whew!). 😅

Edit: Cloudschatze said "Be aware that the only difference between the MT-540 and CT-460/CSM-1 of any gaming relevance is
simply the program change map, which Sierra accounted for by providing the separate driver and patch-map files.
They're sonically the same otherwise
"

My version of SQ3 includes a driver named mt540.drv (size 2450 bytes). Perhaps that's the reason why it sounds a bit different.
Many years ago I used a MT-540, you know, which matched that driver perfectly (sounded pretty much like the CSM-1 recording).
So I think we should not use my recordings as a reference yet, but only as a loose example how the Casios do sound.

Attachments

  • mt540_drv.png
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    mt540_drv.png
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    3.38 KiB
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    2344 views
    File comment
    SQ3 mt540.drv
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 5 of 29, by Jo22

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Quick update, I've found more information.

According to the ScummVM wiki, the Casio MT540 and CT460 both use the mt540.drv driver and patch #004.
The CSM-1 however, uses patch #007 and an unknown driver. Can this be right ?

Source:
http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/SCI/Specifi … Resource_Format

On sciprogramming.com however, they say that both CT460/CSM-1 do use patch #007 (and only MT-540 uses patch #004)

Source:
http://sciprogramming.com/community/index.php … showposts;u=983

So which one is true ? I guess all this confusion comes partly from the SCI0 interpreter,
which was an in-between of AGI and SCI.. To bad that this QuestStudio link nolonger works. 🙁

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 6 of 29, by Jo22

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Just found another source of information. On vgmpf.com, they have another chart. It puts CT-460 and MT-540 in the same
patch category (patch.004) and CSM-1 on a different one (patch.007).

Source:
http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?title=PATCH

I'm not sure what to make of it.

I mean, the Space Quest installation program explicitly gives the very same instructions for both MT-540 and CT-460 users.

Unaswered Questions:
They don't mention the CSM-1 at all. So perhaps the CSM-1 requiered a special entry ?
Besides, how should Sierra users have known which Casio driver/patchmap was in use ?
Did they have to order a special CT460 or MT540 version of the game from Sierra ?
Or did Sierra send them patches for their keyboard ?
If so, why didn't they mention this in the instructions screen ?

This doesn't make sense to me! 😢

But still, Cloudschatze's recording is closer to my memories than my recordings above.
So I tend to believe that his recording is the right one.

Edit: I analyzed the mt540.drv a bit, and it mentions the CT-460. So the MIDI driver is fine, at least.
But what about the patchmap ? How can I find out if it is the correct one ? There's a resource.004 and a resource.map..

Attachments

  • mt540drv_inside.png
    Filename
    mt540drv_inside.png
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    15.49 KiB
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    2322 views
    File comment
    SQ3 mt540.drv - a peek inside
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 7 of 29, by Jo22

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Another day, another try..

I have found out about the patch.004 file.
Apparently, it is moved together with other files in the resource.* files.

But what to do now ? I haven't found a tutorial about these things so far.

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  • sci0_patch.png
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    sci0_patch.png
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    File comment
    SCI0 Resource Manager
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 8 of 29, by collector

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In later SCI games PATCH.004/4.PAT patch is used for GM. For SCI0 it is for the MT-540. PATCH.007 is for the MT-460. All of the tracks for the different devices are self contained and are dependent on which driver is specified in the RESOURCE.CFG. While the resources are packed in the RESOURCE.* files, the way that SCI works is that any resources in the base of the game will override what is packed into the RESOURCE.* files.

The Sierra Help Pages -- New Sierra Game Installers -- Sierra Game Patches -- New Non-Sierra Game Installers

Reply 9 of 29, by Jo22

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collector wrote:

In later SCI games PATCH.004/4.PAT patch is used for GM. For SCI0 it is for the MT-540. PATCH.007 is for the MT-460.

I understand, I've read a bit about it a the FreeSCI page (but I still get contradictory information about patch .007/.004). 😀

collector wrote:

All of the tracks for the different devices are self contained and are dependent on which driver is specified in the RESOURCE.CFG.

Uh, does self-contained means independend in this regard ?
My resource.cfg looks like this:

videoDrv=EGA320.DRV
soundDrv=MT540.DRV
kbdDrv=IBMKBD.DRV
mouseDrv= YES

collector wrote:

While the resources are packed in the RESOURCE.* files, the way that SCI works is that any resources in the
base of the game will override what is packed into the RESOURCE.* files.

Thank you, I don't know if I fully understand, though.
If they get overriden anyway, then why were they packed into resource.* in the first place ?
Sorry for the stupid question, but my knowledge about SCI0 is quite limited (and my English, too).
A few years ago I tinkered with AGI games a bit, but that's all. 😅

All I want to know is how to convince the SCI0 interpreter to use the right key/patch map for the CT-460.
Do I have to extract patch.007 from other games or was it once available from Sierra along with a patching program ?
If so, where can they be found and/or how can they be applied ?

I'm seriously confused, because I've found another information on the ScummVM Forums.
They mention an old read.me file, which is said to be from Sierra, which says:

Old System Patches shipped on Disk:

Patch.001 MT-32 (LAPC-I, CM32-L, CM64)
Patch.002 IMF/FB01
Patch.003 Adlib/SoundBlaster
Patch.004 Casio MT540/CT460
Patch.007 Casio CSM-1
Patch.101 CMS

[..]

Perhaps Sierra accidently spread wrong information back then, which still confuses people of today. I don't know.

Sorry for all those qoutes, I hope you don't mind. I had no idea how else to ask.. 😅
I'm seriously thankful for any help!

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 29, by Cloudschatze

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The Casio CT-460 and CSM-1 both use the CSM1 driver. The PATCH.007 map used by this driver is likely already in a resource bundle for your version of Space Quest III, so simply grab a copy of CSM1.DRV from another SCI0 game, or download this one, throw it in your SQ3 game directory, and reinstall with the "Casio CT-460 or CSM-1 Sound Module" option selected.

install_000.png

As mentioned in the earlier thread you'd linked to, the CT-460/CSM-1 and MT-540 differ in their Program Change mappings, hence the need for the separate drivers and patch-map files:

CASIO.PNG

Reply 11 of 29, by Jo22

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Thank you very much! 😁

I'm glad to finally see the differences in an instruments list, 'cause my MT-540/CT-460 manual didn't say a thing about them.

I think I'll do some new recordings in the next days.. ^^

Again, thank you all for your replies!

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 12 of 29, by Jo22

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Sorry for the delay, everyone. It takes a bit longer than expected, because my ol' copy of SQ3 is neither aware of CSM1 nor patch.007.
Originally, I didn't want to upload some more pictures of negative things, but then I've thought of other users who may get caught in
a similar situation some time. So I've attached these pictures for those other users here. I hope you don't mind.

Speaking of errors, I suspect that Sierra On-Line initally wasn't aware of the differences between MT-540 and CT-460/CSM-1
(just like me) and that's why they didn't include a separate entry in their installation program in early releases.
But that's just speculation of mine. Perhaps I'm completely wrong again (it's okay, I get used to it). 😅

Anyway, I bought another copy of SQ3 and hope that it comes with a later version which may also has
that coloured setup program.. Anyway, it should arrive in a few days.

So let's hope the best and keep our fingers crossed! 😁

Attachments

  • sciv.png
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    sciv.png
    File size
    1.76 KiB
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    2060 views
    File comment
    Patch 7 missing ?
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • install.png
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    install.png
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    2.26 KiB
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    2060 views
    File comment
    Installer can't find help file
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 13 of 29, by collector

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That last error is because of the added driver. There is no entry for CSM1.DRV in the INSTALL.HLP. You will need to remove it or manually edit the RESOURCE.CFG.

The Sierra Help Pages -- New Sierra Game Installers -- Sierra Game Patches -- New Non-Sierra Game Installers

Reply 14 of 29, by Jo22

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Thank you, that's a good tip. I wil try again as soon as my new copy of SQ3 arrives. 😄

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 15 of 29, by Jo22

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Good news!

My Space Quest Compilation has arrived!

I'll check it out soon. Keep tuned.

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  • sq_compile.JPG
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    Space Quest Compilation with manual
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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 16 of 29, by Jo22

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Success!

Good news! Cloudschatze's CSM1 driver works perfectly fine with my new copy of SQ3.

I'm really happy now, even though there's a little annoyance left..:
My save games don't work anymore (and I had to install the CSM1.DRV manually, as collector suggested - thx!).

Guess I've stumbled over any possible issue now, haha. 😅
For the protocol, my old interpreter's version was 1.0U 04/13/89, while the new version is 1.018 (no date).

But knowing Sierra, this probably doesn't matter at all. They likely shipped everything in a dozen different combinations. ^^
I wonder if there ever was a "full version" with all sound/video drivers included on disk..

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  • install_colour.png
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    install_colour.png
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    New and colourful installation program, music card selection
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    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • sciv_version.png
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    68.87 KiB
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    Interpreter v1.018
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  • sciv_savegame.png
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    54.97 KiB
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    File comment
    My save games were created with a different interpreter..
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  • Filename
    casiodrv.zip
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    36 downloads
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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 17 of 29, by Jo22

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New recordings

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  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Pestulon_(new).ogg
    File size
    3.07 MiB
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    82 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) Planet Pestulon, right in front of ScumSoft headquarter. :-)
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  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_World-o-Wonders_(new).ogg
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    2.67 MiB
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    72 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) World 'o' Wonders, where you can buy special underwear.
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    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Monolith-Burger_(new).ogg
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    2.18 MiB
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    68 downloads
    File comment
    SQ3 (CT460) At the Monolith Burger, home of Astro Chicken, where food and chairs taste the same..
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  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Start_(new).ogg
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    2.42 MiB
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    86 downloads
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    SQ3 (CT460) Starting location.
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  • Filename
    SQ3_CT460_Intro_long_(new).ogg
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    4.5 MiB
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    126 downloads
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    SQ3 (CT460) Intro Song (long)
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Last edited by Jo22 on 2016-09-29, 12:53. Edited 3 times in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 18 of 29, by SquallStrife

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Jo22 wrote:

New recordings

Hey, now that's more like it!! Nice!

The volume envelope on some of the notes still seems a bit short, but overall it's a cool sound, very digital but in a good way!

VogonsDrivers.com | Link | News Thread

Reply 19 of 29, by Great Hierophant

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Jo22 wrote:

New recordings

Always grateful for recordings, but whoever thought that converting to the Casio was a good idea should have been disciplined. The instruments sound rather tinny for the most part and the compositions scream of cheap kiddy synthesizer demo tunes.

http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/ - Nerdly Pleasures - My Retro Gaming, Computing & Tech Blog