At first I was reluctant whether or not to add this section here. It doesn't fit on a PC Sonic CD hacking page, after all. But then I realized...if the entire game has been ported to the PC directly (and it, without doubt, has, othervise they wouldn't port the missing R2 directory as well, but rather re-implent the level listing), the game must still have these wicked routines somewhere.
"Jan, what the HELL are you talking 'bout? This ain't no Area 51!"
What I am talking about is, by all means, the original Sonic CD music the way it had been created. You see, first the music composers created the music on a mixer machine and saved it as *.s28 motorola hexadecimal files. They later used these files to record the game's soundtrack (basically, what they did was play it and record them as CDA files, then burning it on separate tracks) and used Mega CD (and, in this case, the PC)'s CD soundtrack playing capabilities to play the music within the game.
They got rid of the files later - or did they? The Past music on Mega CD's Sonic CD is still being played from *.s28 files! O_o Why is that, I don't know. What I know is, the feature has been canned for the PC version as you will find all of the game's music on the CD in the soundtrack format.
The obvious advantade S28 files have over the soundtrack is the files' size...it ranges from 200 to 500 kb! O_o Compared to 20+ MB of CDA files, retaining the same quality, plus the addition of the song being looped forever like in the cartridge Sonic games (and in SA 1 & 2, hence their ADX music format), it's quite a deal. Now you're beginning to realize why this section was created - to either convert the S28 files into something more standarized (like S3M or MOD formats which can then be played in a program like Winamp), or to somehow 'force' the game to play the instead of the CDA audio tracks (as explained earlier, this particular feature must still be in there).
Encryption And Structure Information
I've spent many months searching for the format's encryption...the files can be opened as RAW sound samples, but the quality
is terrible, and all you get is sampled material the particular song uses. If you want to do some research yourself, you'll need
at least one of the following files from the ORINGINAL, Mega/Sega CD version of Sonic CD:
- SNCBNK1B.BIN - SNCBNK3B.BIN - SNCBNK4B.BIN - SNCBNK5B.BIN - SNCBNK6B.BIN - SNCBNK7B.BIN - SNCBNK8B.BIN These are the Past music files (notice that SNCBNK2B.BIN is missing...). I'll post more info on when I get ahold of it, but if you find any clues about how to play them, mail me. For now, I am just waiting for the release of a Mega CD emu that will play music...
And now, for the generic Bad Jan Graphic Explanation:
The header info, regardless of the external file name, which could be whatever frickin' possible, in Sonic CD's case it's a file with BIN extension, always shows the real file name, which has the mysterious S28 extension. Followed right after the header, which is usually 90% empty space, is the 'Patterns' section. If you don't know what patterns are, I suggest you look into a MOD music type FAQ (basically, a pattern is a list of commands that tell the MOD players WHEN or HOW to play the specifed sample; lists are sorted by numbers called by the program, and each list can be called as many times as desired - this is why the songs can loop virtually forever) for an in-depth explanation. Anyhow, after the 'Patterns' section comes the 'Samples & SFX' section...I have split it into two parts because samples are being called by the MOD player, while SFX can be summoned by the game regardless of the music.
Addresses on where the sections start vary from file to file, and I have decided not to list the here, because I have onyl taken a deep look into the Past and Beta Final Boss modules *cough*. I hope it does any good to anyone that has a copy of Sonic CD with the rest of them *cough*, to do something useful with these rare files. ^_^.
That's all, and if you found this section to be entirely pointless, you're absolutley correct. But you can be sure I'm working on it.