Gordian Tomb: awesomeness in a few kilobytes

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Jubatian
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Gordian Tomb: awesomeness in a few kilobytes

Post by Jubatian » Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:54 pm

Gordian Tomb is a Commodore 64 game, which is notable for me for its soundtrack. If you like the old breadbin, you should know about the HVSC, where you can get just about all the SIDs ever composed, be them demos, game soundtracks, whatever. This particular piece comes from Thomas Detert, and is exactly 11246 bytes. It is a very nice piece of music, good to listen... and listen... And keep listening it a little while longer since it is still coming. The in-game music has a whopping 31 minutes playtime before it repeats! From Uzebox perspective this is a very nice example of how quality and length can be packed into a meager amount of space: with the intro, that 33 minutes could back even a quite complex game staying interesting.

For the lazy ones, here is the Youtube link for the first part:



But it would be of less bandwidth if you just grabbed some SID player and the entire HVSC collection :)

(Notes about this piece if you get it from HVSC: The first tune is an intro-tune, some 2,5 minutes long. The remaining three tunes are in the reality one, the third and fourth just start with about a ten and twenty minutes offset into the second tune)

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: Gordian Tomb: awesomeness in a few kilobytes

Post by D3thAdd3r » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:25 am

Pretty epic stuff, especially how they got the bass guitar to sound. 11k for 33 minutes is very efficient, did you ever check out the MOD player engine Alec wrote a while back? It probably depends on the song and how many loops etc, but it's a viable option if someone wants to get crazy and try porting thinks like that. It was way smaller than similar MIDI songs which for me take on average ~1k every 10 seconds!

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Jubatian
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Re: Gordian Tomb: awesomeness in a few kilobytes

Post by Jubatian » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:37 pm

The C64 scene itself is quite epic, some time ago I could even listen something almost sounding like a MOD (actually a tune which I have in MOD format), all digital glory, crammed within that 64 kilobytes! Thomas Detert of course did this long before, but even then they pushed the machine quite wild. For a comparison, the C64 may be clocked at 1MHz, but its fastest instructions take 2 cycles, and most things useful 3 - 4 cycles. The AVR in the Uzebox is something like 70 times faster (even if you take away the time spent with graphics, it is still some 10 times faster, but looking in "current" demos, tons of effects with sideborders open, they keep doing about the same like Uzebox, pushing around the VIC in a cycle perfect manner during display lines to enhance its output). Anyway, back to the tune. I am pretty sure that on every channel every repeat you experience is actually coded as a repeat (so unlike normal pattern based formats, it may well repeat on per channel basis as necessary), and it likely has many nested repeats as well (it might be that it is not even some format played by a player, rather has some parts directly coded in).

I will look into it, the MOD player later, but I am no musician, just like this stuff, and this particular C64 piece is something occasionally popping up on my playlist. It is simply, plainly good, a coincidence that it also has this "ridiculous" mystery. I don't think there is any other SID with such a long playtime like this.

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