Author Topic: [FF6] [OPEN BETA] Dancing Mad - FF6 Audio Replacement using MSU-1  (Read 59815 times)

Wemes

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Hello, and thank you for the work you've put in for this very wonderfully made audio replacement. I just recently bought a SNES and a SD2SNES and I've been looking at the MSU-1 games to play on it and of course this is one of the first ones I want to play. I'm being very meticulous about it though (maybe overly so) but I want to have this as finely tuned to what I like as possible. I've even gone so far as to take my favorite arrangement of the end boss battle and convert it and set loop points for this mod. I can't take credit for the music itself, this was arranged by someone named Sangnoksu. Link to the song can be found here: https://evergreen2.bandcamp.com/track/final-fantasy-vi-dancing-mad-symphonic-arrange. But I have done the work to be able to use it with the game and I am willing to share if people are interested. That said, I also have to report an issue that the songs for the final boss do not seem to transition properly. Forgive me if this has been noted or reported before and I missed it, but I've tried to look at the history of this project and previously reported issues and I see nothing referencing this. The individual songs for each part of the final battle will loop on themselves properly, however going from one part to the next will start suddenly without the previous part completing its final loop. I've tried to test this on my SD2SNES and also using the SNES9x emulator. If there's anything more I can do to help with this let me know.

insidious611

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Wemes:

Thanks for your report, I am aware that the transitions between parts of the final battle music are sudden and do not smoothly go from one part to another the way the original game does. Even with volume fading, this is not currently possible.

The problem is that there is no way for the code running on the SNES to tell when the song started actually playing and how far along it is. The MSU-1 just does not have that kind of status information exposed. Assuming based on framerate and e.g. the game time counter is flawed due to the fact not all platforms will be able to queue up and play the track as fast as the game requests it.

Without that status information, it is therefore impossible to tell the last time the song looped, and therefore when the next transition point should be.


tl;dr version: this is not a bug and will not, can not be fixed, not unless a new version of the MSU-1 add-on is made that has the ability to return the current sample position.

Never saying never, because I didn't expect resume support either, so.
« Last Edit: 2019-03-31 04:08:17 by insidious611 »

Wemes

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Hi, and thanks for responding to this. I do get the sense from looking at your work that you're fitting a mechanism with a relatively simplistic interface over something that's ultimately much more complicated. With originally so many different types of events the SPC gets to handle with things like operas and phantom trains and dancing mads, it's quite an accomplishment that the switch to using the MSU-1 works so well.

That said, I've been giving some thought to at least the transitions in Dancing Mad case and I'm wondering if maybe there could be a way to get it to work a little smoother. My thought is do we really need this status information for this to work properly?

As originally implemented, Dancing mad 1-3 seems to act like one song with 3 separate start and stop loop points of course; and what we have are three tracks with one loop point each and a distinct end of the track. The way things are now the song can move backward properly, but we can think of the trigger that goes off when a part's boss is defeated as a gate being lifted to allow us to move forward and the repeat control might be able to effectively work as this gate.

What I'm wondering is looking at the MSU-1 spec, what if when this trigger goes off we clear the repeat flag in the audio state control while still leaving the current track playing. My hope is in order for this to work when the track is finished, the audio playing bit in the status port will go to zero. Then the instant that happens we have the MSU-1 start the next track. The concern is of course will there be an audible gap or pop in the music between when the track reaches its end, realizing with whatever polling or other method that the track has stopped, and then starting the next track?

It's just an idea I had and I understand after so many years working on this if your response is, "that won't work" or "I already tried that" or even "I'm not going to bother with that". Maybe someday I could be able to attempt to implement this myself, but at least now I would certainly be willing to help test this or any other changes or added features to the project.

insidious611

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Quote
Always thought myself a purist when it comes to FF music, but Roses and Wine mod for FF8 converted me. If the remaster/remix/cover or whatever is done at a similar tempo&style to the original, it's surprisingly refreshing to hear the old melodies brought to life with whole new vigor. Anyways that's why I'm here, and I was wondering if there's a comprehensive listing of included music and different versions anywhere? There's alot of faithful-to-the-original arrangements online that I would love to see whether any of them have found their way onto this mod.

Just saw this. Hi! A listing is available in the first post and on the GitHub page, but I can provide a quick but comprehensive summary here.

First off is the OST. This is taken from the official CDs, and sounds pretty much identical to what you would get without the mod. This is really only useful because it lets you avoid the sound effects turning off SPC channels.

Secondly, what's referred to as "FFT" is "FinalFanTim"'s remaster. You can find that on the forums here. It's actually what made me want to do this project in the first place.

Thirdly, what's referred to as "OCR" is the OCRemix Balance & Ruin album, available here.

Then, what's referred to as "SSC" is Sean Schafianksi's Final Fantasy 6 Remastered Discs One and Two. Disc One is available commercially on bandcamp here. Sean has graciously provided us permission to use his work as long as that link is readily available.

"FFAR" is Eiko Nichols' "Final Fantasy Acoustic Rendition", available commercially on bandcamp here

"CRC" is ChrystalChameleon's remasters, available on their YouTube channel here.

That's the major sources of audio, which leaves the "OTH" or "Other" options that have been edited and submitted mostly by fans of the project. These include the default Opera selection which is from Game Music Concert 4 by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the other opera selections by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra as well as The Black Mages,  and a couple of other songs from the Black Mages for iirc Dancing Mad and one other that escapes me atm.

Ishi25

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I've even gone so far as to take my favorite arrangement of the end boss battle and convert it and set loop points for this mod. I can't take credit for the music itself, this was arranged by someone named Sangnoksu. Link to the song can be found here: https://evergreen2.bandcamp.com/track/final-fantasy-vi-dancing-mad-symphonic-arrange. But I have done the work to be able to use it with the game and I am willing to share if people are interested.

Hey, can you share the converted pcms for this version of Dancing Mad? Loved this version more than the others.

Vercalos

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I suppose it might be a long shot, but is it possible to get alternate sources to obtain the PCMs from?  Like Google Drive or Mega.nz?

The installer keeps stalling on the downloads, to the point where I left the computer alone for 2 hours and it was at the same point when I came back.

<EDIT>

Well, I was able to get it to download, but backups of the archives might be a good idea all the same.
« Last Edit: 2019-10-09 10:01:10 by Vercalos »

insidious611

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Regarding the idea of putting the PCMs on Google Drive or Mega, to put it shortly: Hell No.


To put it in long form:

1. I already have backups.
The installer already sources from a list of three different mirrors, two of them hosted by myself with four-9s uptime for the past two years, and one of them an Amazon S3 bucket which is served through a CloudFront CDN. If the installer is having issues downloading PCMs, I guarantee you it is due to a bug in the installer or an issue with your internet connection, not an issue with availability of the download servers. If you continue to have this issue, as I advise people to do with an issues to do with the installer, it would be useful to me for you to open up an issue on GitHub and include the "dancing-mad-installer.log" file, which you should find in your user directory. (C:\Users\yourusername on windows)

Notably, it should be impossible, if the installer is functioning properly, for the download to stall out for two hours like you mention happening. The download system has multiple baked in hard timeouts intended to make failing over from one mirror to another painless. I'm not saying this isn't happening to you, what I'm saying is that if it is, it's not a download issue but an issue with my installer which needs to be properly debugged.

In addition to the three mirrors of the PCMs the installer uses, I maintain my own backups of all data related to the project both locally on multiple hard drives and bluray discs, as well as privately on cloud storage providers, like but not including the ones mentioned.

Backups are indeed a good idea. I already have them.

2. With few exceptions, I do NOT want people downloading the PCMs outside of the installer.

This is for multiple reasons. Most importantly, it's because anyone asking for these is generally vastly underestimating how much data they're asking for and how much time it's going to take them to sort it themselves. This is not like your garden variety MSU-1 pack where there is a single set of PCMs to handle. You are talking about more data than either of your suggested providers allow any one person to upload for free, and I don't see anyone offering to pay for the hosting. And the PCMs are not labeled in a friendly way or sorted by track numbers on the OST or any other way that makes them easy for someone to handle themselves. They are sorted by source name and internal track number, the latter of which you're only going to know if you read my data files or are familiar with hacking FF6 yourself.

Why do I mention this? Because uploading to mega.nz or google drive, in addition to aforementioned "you're literally asking me to pay more money than I'm already paying to host this", means asking people to download the PCMs themselves. Automating downloads from services like mega or gdrive that are *designed* to *foil* attempts to automate downloading from them is chasing a moving target.

Curious as to what my exceptions are? If you plan to help out the project and want to look over or edit the PCMs yourself, or are planning on setting up your own mirror (something I don't have a problem with as long as it's on a service that allows unrestricted HTTP GETs following the same folder structure. Just use wget -m or something), those are perfectly good reasons to download the PCMs yourself without the installer. But please, don't do it if you just want to play the mod.



A final note. As a quick fix, if the installer is failing to properly switch over from one mirror to another in the case of a failed download, or the default mirror is simply too slow, I suggest the following process:

1. Extract the installer to a folder
The installer is packaged in a 7-zip self extracting executable format. You can extract the installer with 7-zip by opening the EXE file as an archive.

2. Open "mirrors.dat" with notepad or your preferred text editor of choice
Mirrors.dat is a simple text file with each mirror listed in order it will be chosen by the installer.

3. Move https://[lettersandnumbers].cloudfront.net/ to the top of the mirror list
This will choose the Amazon mirror, basically guaranteed to be up and working, to the top.

4. Save the "mirrors.dat" file and run the installer from the Installer.exe file within the folder


Please do not do this unless you have issue with the installer. I am charged for bandwidth usage on Amazon.
« Last Edit: 2019-10-18 10:16:05 by insidious611 »

insidious611

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One final note, thinking more about the issue presented above.

I don't generally want to provide a "full download" installer of Dancing Mad because of the sheer size of it. But, I could do so, and have the installer pick from local data. It would be similar in download size to downloading a modern AAA game from Steam or something like that, and most of the data would end up useless to you unless you're testing multiple different soundtracks.

However, as long as I put this copy of the mod *only* on the dedicated servers/VPSes I pay for every month (the first two mirrors.dat entries), my bandwidth cap with these services is so high that I could sustain thousands of downloads of this "complete" pack without being charged extra. So it would be no skin off my back, and there would be no reason to discontinue the "online" version of the installer.

This would also mean that there would be a copy of the installer that could be mirrored elsewhere by others in case my servers ever go down or the project ends up completely abandoned.

That said, I don't want to do this unless there's interest, because among other things I'm going to have to assemble this copy locally and upload it, and uploading such a large archive on my residential cable connection is going to take a long time and saturate bandwidth in a house with 6 other people.




So, I'm putting this question to my users. Would you be interested in an offline installer?