Cheap, Last Minute, Gas Station X-Mas Gift

Friday, December 25, 2020

I was thinking about what time of year it is. Usually I like to have something to post as a Christmas gift on the day. But this year, I had nothing. I haven't been working on a ton this year that would suit such a release. IDK. Maybe I could have delayed the doomed CaVE update if I had thought about it. I might have even been able to work in the proper SP title importable format I would have wanted. But I didn't think about it, and well. we know how that project went anyway...

Speaking of that. I may have just ignored posting a update this year. I often do if I don't have anything worth while. But... I felt bad due to the timing of the cancellation of those projects. It was almost like I was giving a "cancellation" for xmas, even if it was done several days earlier.

So, feeling bad about that, I started thinking "What could I whip up for a xmas day release this year, to help wipe the stink of that away even a little?".

I wasn't coming up with much. Most of my work isn't suited for just "whipping up" last minute. At the most, maybe if I had a update idea for SFROM Tool or something. But all I have for that right now isn't worth a new version.

I tried thinking... IDK, maybe I could pull off a miracle and reverse engineer my way into verifying a new Game Code (Preset ID). Whats big enough for that? Looking over the list, the best candidates are Dragon Quest 1&2, and Dragon Quest 3. But to figure out the IDs for those, and a lot of whats left really, it would take quite a bit of effort and luck. I came up with a plan of attack, but... fell shorter then you might think. Maybe later. But for now, I still need something.

I was thinking, "I'm working on a PCM audio tool. Why not something with that?". The tool itself isn't ready at all. I could maybe compile it so that half of it works, but I'd rather release the full thing. And besides, I'd still need to clean up a lot of it to be release ready.

In comes my big idea! lol

Still thinking... "Why not a PCM patch itself? For what though?".

My big answer... For Star Ocean, of course!

Yea. This whole thing is dumb. PCM audio has no real benefit. At least, not on the only platform that supports both PCM audio and Star Ocean itself. The SNES Classic. I can make a PCM patch for it with my beta tools, but there's no reason to use it.

But hey! At least its a throwback to how I originally announced the Star Oceans patch as being in development on xmas! So its kind of like a follow up to that.

I had to clean up some code, and quickly sift through the ROM to document the audio locations and format. Then write code to automatically sift through the ROM to write all locations to a text file, that could then be used during the patch creation process.

Audio data is not stored in a consistent way among games, so you have to kind of figure it out uniquely for each game. In the end, I'm still not happy with this. I don't think there's any music data in there. Just a ton of voice data and sound effects. And I didn't have time to verify that nothing was missed or incorrectly included among that. But at a glance, my methods seem higher quality than that of NERDs own when generating official PCM data, even in this state. So that's something.

IDK. Maybe this will improve some instances of slow down a little? If anything, I'd think it might during battles where slow down happens, and voice clips are used. I doubt any boosts will be that significant though. With it, I noticed a slightly longer boot time. Not surprising, considering the SDA+PCM patched sfrom weighs in at 17.1MB uncompressed!

There's also a oddity of there being no real .var data. I know how to generate it. And I don't recall ever seeing any official PCM patch not have var data. In fact, SFROM Tool itself is coded to expect VAR data as required with PCM. So I had to supply dummy var data with this. But anyway, I couldn't find any of the signs needed to generate it. At least not under time constraints. I think var data is mainly used with music, and the lack of music in this patch is probably why. Either way, this shouldn't even be considered a final or official release of my own. It is simply something I could do in a short amount of time.

It truly is the equivalent of a cheap, last minute, gas station gift. It's all about the gesture! I hope you enjoy it? =)

Star Ocean - PCM Patch

Merry Christmas!


Unknown said...

Right on! That's really cool that you cared enough to produce anything for us after all you've already done, and continue to do! Thank you for the thought and consideration. And Merry Christmas to you, too! Thanks for all of your hard work.

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