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Did you know this about the Rival Ball soundtrack ?

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Level 9 Human
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on November 22, 2014 at 3:50 am

If you ever had a peek into the Mods subdirectory of Rival Ball, you would discover about seven MOD files. If you're not familiar with these kind of files, they are actually music files that trace back to the Commodore Amiga computers, created in program called ProTracker. Technically, the files contain audio samples and patterned sequence data, similar to the MIDI format, meaning the music they play back is composed directly inside the files. If you wish to listen to the songs, you can play the files in most media players that feature support for tracker module formats, e.g. Winamp and XMplay. Now, in this particular case, there is one little thing to note, which is that three of the files are actually incorrectly labelled. Taking their file names from the title screen songs in DX-Ball 2, they are namely BeatWave.mod, Raiders.mod and Seasons.mod – although the actual title for each song would be Dark City, What Life and Once & Again, respectively. But hang on – there is already another file in the Mods subdirectory named once_again.mod ? Well. That one is actually titled Insatia (not really sure what's up with that one).

Now that we have sorted out the proper names for each track, the titles should be as follows: Dark City, Insatia, Once & Again, Techno Bee, VX-1, What Life and Tribe of Man. If you have listened to any of these songs, you may have noticed that the audio quality is not exactly outstanding. This has mostly to do with how the ProTracker format only supports 8-bit audio and 4 voices, in accordance with the hardware limitations of most Amiga computers. But here's the interesting part: six of songs actually have a streaming audio counterpart, as original audio recordings that were produced directly on a 16-bit synthesizer. What makes these six tracks stand out is that they were basically sliced up and compressed into 8-bit sequences, which were then imported into ProTracker and patched together into a seamless mix again. The only exception is Tribe of Man, which was composed as a tracker module from scratch, thus relying mostly on the use of one-shot samples. If you're not exactly sure of what I'm talking about, that's just fine: because I would like to present an opportunity to experience the difference for yourself by simply listening. :)

When you follow the link above, you will be taken to a page with an audio player, that will play through a set of clips from the Rival Ball soundtrack. At the end of each segment you will hear 4 beeps before the audio changes. The music that plays before the beeps is the module version of the song, while the sound that plays immediately afterwards is the original audio recording. This way, you can clearly notice the difference in the quality between each version of the songs. Just remember to listen with some good headphones !

Level 14 Human wizard
Alignment: Good
Posted on December 1, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Agreed that Sidewinder's soundtrack for Rival Ball is whacky, with songs being misnamed. I find What Life to be the most notable of them.

What Life sounds differently across different media players and libraries. For example, the full notes are played in Rival Ball and VLC media player, but some notes do not get played when using Impulse Tracker or Super DX-Ball.

Level 9 Human
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on December 4, 2014 at 2:56 am

Yeah, I've noticed some issues with What Life on different players. Seems to be a problem with the offset effect that is used in the module pattern. Could be a compatibility issue with the ProTracker format. Also, I forgot to mention: the 16-bit counterpart to What Life is actually entitled Wonderfull. :)