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Old 15 September 2003, 19:27   #1
Antiriad
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Using MP3's to load 8bit Games!

Whilst I have read before about using your PC's soundcard to output tape files to your C64, Spectrum or Amstrad I had never considered using a Discman till I saw a guy using one with a +2 Speccy at Back In Time Live 4 on Saturday.

Was quite impressive, you could squeeze about 25 Games on one cd, and he was using one of those Cassette tape Line In adaptors you can buy in Maplins for your Car Stereos! :hoo But surely by the same logic you could also use a MP3 player?

Once I found the utils, I chucked a WAV file onto my Creative Jukebox, and I loaded Antiriad on my Sinclair 128+ without problems.

But... the WAV file was 12MB (!). Now I had read that MP3's dont work, however I decided to experiment. Turned the WAV into a 128Kbps MP3 (down to 4MB) and...it worked fine (I might try a 64kbps file tonight)

I think this is great! Yes loading by time is LONG but sometimes it ADDS to the nostalgia when youre playing on the REAL thing.

Maybe the GoodXXX or Tosec should consider this as a new format? What do you guys think?
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Old 15 September 2003, 19:36   #2
Steve
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Impressive.

I might try this with my C64 and Creative Jukebox. What tool do you use to convert your tapes to .wav files? Have you tried it with a C64 or just a Spectrum?
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Old 15 September 2003, 19:47   #3
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I have been following this on the Sinclair newsgroup. They did a test there and not all Spectrum games where able to be loaded as MP3's since they use highly sophisticated copy protection schemes.
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Old 15 September 2003, 20:00   #4
Dizzy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve
Impressive.

I might try this with my C64 and Creative Jukebox. What tool do you use to convert your tapes to .wav files? Have you tried it with a C64 or just a Spectrum?
Good tips Anti

http://www.fairlight.to/ look under the tool section...

By the way you should be able to use the Cassette tape Line In adaptors directly in you pc, if you don't own a mp3-player..
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Old 15 September 2003, 20:53   #5
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As long as you record at a high enough quality, compressing tape games shouldn't be a problem, especially for slow loaders. As far as I'm aware, the C64's standard loading scheme saves the status of each byte three times. When it loads in, it loads the same byte three times, and presumes that if two out of three are the same, that is the value it should use.

Of course, it's usually correct all of the time, so the easiest way to make a fast-loader is not to save the data three times. And then you can compress the data before saving.

So for slow loaders, MP3s should be able to use a relatively low bit-rate. For fast loaders, there is more of a chance of an error. As long as you keep the sample rate up quite high, it should be okay most of the time. MP3s are designed to remove audible frequencies, but data is not designed to be audible - just a stream of ones and zeroes.

The biggest problem I see is that you don't know if it's okay until you've tried to load it in, which could waste a lot of time.

A better method would be to read the data sampled from the tape and normalise the values so that they can be compressed using non-lossy compression (The .TAP format stores the time between each state change (one to zero or zero to one), then write a separate player for these files. Of course, then you can't play it back from your jukebox MP3 player to a real C64.

For MP3s, the most useful thing would be a verify program that can leap through the MP3 and compare it to the original data to see if it is all intact. That way you can check it before loading it in. Even better would be a specific MP3 compressor that uses VBR and verifies each block as it encodes. Then it can change the bit-rate for each block until it verifies correctly before moving onto the next one. That would give you the highest possible compression rate.

Went off on one there....sorry for that stream of consciousness.
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Old 15 September 2003, 22:06   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve
Have you tried it with a C64 or just a Spectrum?
It works fine with EVERY Computer with Casette Drive I have tried I used this method on : MSX, CPC, C64, Plus/4 and Atari 600XL !
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Old 15 September 2003, 22:18   #7
Antiriad
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Steve: Ive only used the Sinclair so far. Ill need one of those Line In adaptors from Maplins to try it out on the C64/128 as with the speccys (barring the 2+?)they always had line in. Will try it though as soon as I get it in the post. The ZX Spectrum program I used was the emulator RealSpectrum to create the WAV. Is quite slow as you have to play the entire tape to record it. Would be nice if there was an alternative, all I found were shareware progs however

For the Commodore theres two progs called WavPrg and AudioTap which Ive yet to try. These are freeware

FromWithin:
Quote:
For MP3s, the most useful thing would be a verify program that can leap through the MP3 and compare it to the original data to see if it is all intact. That way you can check it before loading it in. Even better would be a specific MP3 compressor that uses VBR and verifies each block as it encodes. Then it can change the bit-rate for each block until it verifies correctly before moving onto the next one. That would give you the highest possible compression rate.
That indeed would be a v useful program...

Thanks for the info cv643d, and for the links Dizzy
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Old 15 September 2003, 23:14   #8
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Yes this works a treat, I tried it many times!

For the record, I use a black minidisc walkman to load into my black Spectrum +3
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Old 17 September 2003, 18:32   #9
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Well Ive found that AudioTap/WavPrg works a treat for immediately converting T64 files into WAVs

But what do the guys on the Sinclair Newsgroup use? Would be a fag to have to play all the Speccy TAP files in full to convert them into a WAV...

On the Amstrad front I see Kevin Thacker has written a Sample to CDT program, hopefully he might have an idea on a reverse engineering program
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Old 17 September 2003, 18:45   #10
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The TAP format is the same so they use the same programs you would use for C64 files. As far as I know. The best program forthis is TAPPER, go fetch
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Old 17 September 2003, 20:50   #11
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Tried the speccy Taps in AudioTap/WavPrg and it didnt recognise it.

Well tried Tap2Wav which works well enough for Speccy even if it is a Dos (yeurgh) program.

Apparently the Amstrads CDTs are the same as Speccy TZX files so I can get a TZX/Voc or TZX/TAP converter before using Tap2Wav again...(its always more complicated for all things CPC )

This TAPPER program Akira, it isnt the same as the Speccys Taper program then?
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Old 17 September 2003, 21:02   #12
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Yep, but it DOES work for other computers. The formats are the same or similar, i dunnae
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Old 18 September 2003, 06:30   #13
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OMG, another speccy fan.

I still have my old Speccy 48k, as well as amiga's (3xA500, 1xA1200)
I am a bit scared of firing up the speccy, after all its 20 years old and still works.

I am avidly awaiting the release of Realspec for windows as XP command prompt doesnt react too well to the current Realspec.
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Old 18 September 2003, 06:33   #14
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I think there is a .wav kinda deal thing with MSX games?? Tapes, that is??
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Old 18 September 2003, 07:11   #15
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As far as I kno, Tapper will play files for Spectrum, Amstrad, C64 and MSX.

But I could be well wrong. It's all noise so I wouldn't be surprised
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Old 18 September 2003, 09:33   #16
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Yo Akira how can I dl hard to find non TOSEC PC 98 games from this site. Seems tere's an error or denial. Can you figure it out sugah?


http://www.emulzone.com/gamelist.php...er&type2=PC-98
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Old 18 September 2003, 10:35   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by cv643d
I have been following this on the Sinclair newsgroup. They did a test there and not all Spectrum games where able to be loaded as MP3's since they use highly sophisticated copy protection schemes.
Cool! I'd like to read about that. Can you let me know the name of the group and thread?
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Old 18 September 2003, 21:01   #18
Akira
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Originally posted by Frederic
Yo Akira how can I dl hard to find non TOSEC PC 98 games from this site. Seems tere's an error or denial. Can you figure it out sugah?
That site is in korean, I cannot make head nort tails about korean

But it seems you need to register to downlolad the games...
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Old 18 September 2003, 21:27   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Frederic
Yo Akira how can I dl hard to find non TOSEC PC 98 games from this site. Seems tere's an error or denial. Can you figure it out sugah?


http://www.emulzone.com/gamelist.php...er&type2=PC-98
Try use http://babelfish.altavista.com/ this can translate the korean text to english
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Old 21 September 2003, 22:54   #20
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how can you load c64 games via this method, the c64 has a special tape adapter. obviously i know that two of these pins are line in and line out but what abous cassette sense and stuff.. has someone just made an adapter to allow standard audio jack based hardware?
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