Have Fun Exploring the Sega CD Claw Marks (June 7, 2010)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
CrazySpence noticed the instructions to the Sega CD version of Wing Commander 1 were missing from the Game Manuals section, so he went out and found one by way of SegaFans.com. The Sega CD port was especially notable for its addition of full speech throughout the game. The basic controls have been posted for a while, but the back page of today's copy includes different layouts for three-button and six-button controllers. This should be especially cool for people who don't own the Sega variant, so they can see all the unique stuff compared to stock Claw Marks. Download it here (33 meg PDF).


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Original update published on June 7, 2010
 
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CrazySpence

Rear Admiral
Hey that guy is named like my name!

That was 2 weeks ago I mentioned that in chat, you comb through your logs like a hawk ;)

I only ever played this once back in the day...I thought the SNES controls were a pain try and cram it all into a 3 button controller..... hehe
 

Death Angel

Rear Admiral
So the Sega CD version has full speech like Super Wing Commander.

Is the Sega CD speech better than the SWC version (which seems to be very bad)? And if so, is there a way to extract the speechfiles?
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
There's no speech from the early '90s that everyone likes. It gets the same type of reviews as SWC. There's been almost no type of investigation into the ports, except for WC3. In theory you can easily 'extract' any sound by plugging the line out from the Genesis into the line in on your computer.
 

Death Angel

Rear Admiral
Yes, that would work. But then I still have the background music in my recording too - that's what I wanted to avoid by extracting the speechfiles only.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Well, an emulator like neogenesis makes a perfect emulation of a genesis including SegaCD/MegaCD, so i presume those developers have some better knowledge of the format used.

But let me guess, you want to "trigger" the soundfiles belonging to the conversation in PC wing commander 1 like in Wing2, strike commander, and Privateer etc?
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
So even if you can extract the files you will still need a utility to convert them back into a normal format.

We won't know exactly what format WC1 segaCD uses until someone extracts the speech though. If we have the files then we can at least start on figuring out how to convert the audio...

This is exactly what HCl and I ended up doing with WC3 PSX... I had all the movies and audio extracted long before he came up with a utility... first to convert the audio, and finally to be able to play the videos.

I'm sure you can all figure out for yourselves how to make CD images from your game... From there you can look for something to unpackage it.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
AD, in the DOS days there were lots of "extractors" to rip common Audio file
formats from packaged files, are those tools still around in a modern form?

Anyway the good news that all Sega-CD games used that specific format(or so it is rumored), and I do know of one game where I know exactly which files are soundfiles(The SegaCD upgrade of Golden Axe 1, in the 5-in-1 package), and then maybe when can compare file headers(but likely all the Speech is in one huge file).

As for the Speech itself, the voice's are not that great and do not really match up with the actors(Halcyon sounds way too young for example), and Iceman and is absolutely ridiculous)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
AD, in the DOS days there were lots of "extractors" to rip common Audio file
formats from packaged files, are those tools still around in a modern form?

Anyway the good news that all Sega-CD games used that specific format(or so it is rumored), and I do know of one game where I know exactly which files are soundfiles(The SegaCD upgrade of Golden Axe 1, in the 5-in-1 package), and then maybe when can compare file headers(but likely all the Speech is in one huge file).

As for the Speech itself, the voice's are not that great and do not really match up with the actors(Halcyon sounds way too young for example), and Iceman and is absolutely ridiculous)

Things like GAP (game audio player) are still around, though I have no idea if it's capable of reading segaCD disks or ISOs... Worth a shot though. All I need is a WC1 Sega CD.

A lot of various file extraction programs exist though a lot of them only do some of the easier tasks. There seems to be more playstation utilities around than anything else though specialize audio and video formats (like WC3 and 4) aren't really supported (though I did have some mild success with the audio for the PSX discs with GAP).

Looking around I did find a handful of segaCD tools that might be able to read PCM audio from the *.bin file.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Alright, I did a bit of research and here's what I can tell you about the Sega CD audio. The actual dialogue (Other than the handful of redbook tracks) seems to be segmented according to where the scenes take place. They are named DEB.DAT BRI.DAT LAND.DAT and so on whcih I would guess from their file size. There are secondary files that seem to determine which prechosen segments of those files to play for a given scene. They look something like this :

;<FIRE!>
#43
17 0 1

So theoretically there must be some kind of file markers within the dat files and hence a way to split them into individual bits of speech.

On the other hand, the 3DO version of Super WIng COmmander has all the audio in AIFF files and are playable as is on PCs but they play too fast so someone has to go through and manually readjust the sample rate of each audio file. (Someone want to suggest a batch converter that will do this? Or how to determine the correct sample rate?)
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
AD, you are absolutely correct on that one, but there is more.

You can guess that BRI.DAT stands for briefing, DEB.DAT stands for debriefing.. but land would stand for landing if I was to guess, but this somehow relates to the Bar sequences, since that is the other place where most of the dialogues happen.

Your guess regarding one big file and accessing it in a certain place for playback is thesame as mine, the problem here is, how do we convert it, since it uses a unique sample format, we are in luck however that the Sega-CD always uses this custom format, and if there are tools available to convert it, they should work with WC segaCD.
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
i played around with this some time back when i played through segacd wc, basically, i think the files were pcm but i couldn't read them properly as such (a lot of static which i took to be the mouth and hand movement info the game uses). so in the end i simply recorded the cutscenes :D (only winning streak though, still need to do the rest!)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
i played around with this some time back when i played through segacd wc, basically, i think the files were pcm but i couldn't read them properly as such (a lot of static which i took to be the mouth and hand movement info the game uses). so in the end i simply recorded the cutscenes :D (only winning streak though, still need to do the rest!)

I'm fairly certain the mouth movements are defined by that bit of script I quoted, and those are stored in a separate file.
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
you're almost definitely right and i'm almost definitely wrong! :D
as i say though, i had an issue with the static - but i'm no ace programmer and wasnt really sure what to look for in the file. I'd love to get this stuff out though if only so we could do a "Urquan masters" style remaster of wc1 (with the option of either swc or wc-segacd speech!)

edit: I wonder if the files are similar to those in wc academy? both are 11khz 8 bit mono?
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
so the best i've come up with is that the files are 8khz stereo - not sure if signed or not, but theres definitely a large header (couple of seconds of white noise before audio comes through, but still static covered)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
so the best i've come up with is that the files are 8khz stereo - not sure if signed or not, but theres definitely a large header (couple of seconds of white noise before audio comes through, but still static covered)

The actual hardware specs for audio on the sega CD are according to the internet:

* PCM Sound Source
- Stereo, 8 channels
* 32 KHz Maximum sampling wavelength
* 16 Bit D/A converter
* 8X internal over-sampling digital filter

The machine also has 512Kilobits of "PCM waveform memmory"

Various games obviously don't all use the max specs and store the sound data differently. The noise you are getting are possibly somehow related to however they decided to indicate separation of the various lines of dialogue. Or it could be something to do with the hardware decoding of the segaCD.

On another note, THe midi music seems to be stored in *.BIN files. Not sure if there's an easy way to read those, but I presume they're similar to the PC music?

Also, what program do you use to try and play the raw data?
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
i hadn't looked into the bin files as they seem to be the same as the pc version - the only extras in that front at stored as redbook audio (cd tracks). I've been using a super-old version of goldwave to look at the files.
 
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