Emulation that enhances the originals

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Por erikd

Master (255)

Imagen del erikd

11-01-2015, 19:52

I've dabbled a bit with this in the past; my own MSX emulator has some features that try to enhance the original games. Like making some games scroll smoothly, and enhancing the sound to make the original games output a nice stereo sound. That sort of thing.
Currently I'm experimenting with triggering drum samples in Konami SCC games, based on what the CPU sends to the sound chips (which sounds quite promising in SD Snatcher so far).

Now what I'm wondering is, what is your opinion on this sort of thing? Because (aside from upscaling renderers and such) I haven't seen that much being done in this area.

I mean I get that this might be seen as sort of blasphemy if you use emulators to get a pure nostalgia trip, and that emulators should behave as closely as possible to the real thing.
But personally, I think there are many MSX games that still hold up great in gameplay and MSX has some of the best game music around, so I think it could be really interesting to see those games being enhanced by an emulator.
To free them from the shackles of old technology, so to speak. Not remaking them, but running the same code with the emulator trying to help out the original hardware and hopefully bringing the game closer to what the authors intended.

Opinions?

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Por iamweasel2

Paladin (685)

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11-01-2015, 21:41

I remember your emulator Erik, it was written in Java, right? I think what you do is great, emulators brings an excellent oportunity to improve the gameplay experience. Smile

One thing I remember it was done in the past with Mame was a version that would play mp3 music rearrangments instead of the original game music. It was called Metal Mame, and it was really great. I myself did some experiments in the past in that area (playing mp3 music rearrangments instead of the original song)...

Are you planning to do something like that too? There are many MSX games that would feel really fresh while being the same classic game with new songs. Smile

Por syn

Prophet (2069)

Imagen del syn

11-01-2015, 22:18

As long as its optional I am fine with it. Although I don't use such functions much (I also dont like to use filters on video and whatsnot, even though they give some nice effects sometimes) but I notice a lot of ppl want to improve on old stuff.

That being said, I used to wonder if it was possible to replace the FM-pac drums, which IMHO always sounded a bit plastic to me.

Por Vampier

Prophet (2386)

Imagen del Vampier

11-01-2015, 23:15

Erik: old overlay script for maze of galious (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkP4ePFebZE)

Por Vampier

Prophet (2386)

Imagen del Vampier

11-01-2015, 23:16

PSG >> SCC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlC-cVfiyuU skip to 53 seconds

Por Manuel

Ascended (18240)

Imagen del Manuel

11-01-2015, 23:24

PSG tuning: http://openmsx.sourceforge.net/manual/commands.html#psg_profile

And lots of things could be possible with some scripting in openMSX indeed.

I don't mind such things at all, as long as defaults are the most realistic.

Por Roland007

Expert (85)

Imagen del Roland007

12-01-2015, 13:33

I personally feel that enhancing beyond the original is the only way forward. Look at other retro systems, like the C64 and the Amiga. They are alive because people build new things and in the case of amiga, companies build new computers.

People that want the real thing (and only that) might oppose improvement and they are partially right, whats the use of an emulator if you can not do what the original system could?

With OpenMSX you can code a MSX "5" (for example resolutions of 1280x1024x32, MP3 playback etc) if you want (limit is the capability of the platform openMSX runs on) but its all a matter of people making it happen.

Just some thoughts.

Por Manuel

Ascended (18240)

Imagen del Manuel

12-01-2015, 14:06

If you think that's the only way forward, just stop emulating an old system and use/create modern hardware ...

Enhancing old existing software is fun, but it's IMHO completely pointless to develop software for non-existing hardware.

Por erikd

Master (255)

Imagen del erikd

12-01-2015, 20:11

Here's a link to an mp3 that was recorded from SD-Snatcher in my emulator:
http://www.gaga-play.com/test/sd-snatcher.mp3

So what is different from the original:
- It emulates 2 SCC chips, one for left, one for right
- The volumes of the SCC channels are set so that they are panned in different positions in the stereo field.
- The SCC channels are slightly delayed, based on the stereo positioning (this to enhance the stereo effect; basically the lower the volume, the longer the delay. It's quite subtle but it works)
- There are 3 samples triggered based on what's sent to the PSG; a kick, snare and hi-hat.

The triggered samples could probably be better mixed, but there you go (the drums are too loud, just to demo the effect).

Por erikd

Master (255)

Imagen del erikd

12-01-2015, 20:22

Manuel, I get what you're saying, but my intention is not to develop software for non-existing hardware (or provide the means to do it), but to enhance existing software written for old hardware.
Just adding hacks to the emulation to make the games look&sound (and possibly even play) better.
There are classic games out there that probably shouldn't be remade (if it loses some of the magic in the process, which usually happens), but just enhanced to overcome some of the hardware limitations.

Nostalgia of old games often comes with rose-tinted glasses, and imho these sort of emulation hacks can help keeping those glasses on Smile

Por Manuel

Ascended (18240)

Imagen del Manuel

12-01-2015, 22:46

Erikd, yes, I completely agree that's fun Smile But Roland was suggesting the other thing, which is pointless IMHO.

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