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x68k (format)
 

slotBuild(lyceum,ObjectInfo) missing $obj::|CONTENTS

  1. Specifications
  2. Tools
  3. File Formats & Playback
  4. Miscellaneous
THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION + FORMAT IS NOT OFFICIAL YET
// marks to be deleted, # marks to be changed

Icon image: https://imgur.com/a/VOJsHph


The X68k format is for music that is composed targeting the Sharp X68000 personal home computer, which was distributed only in Japan.

This article covers a small technical specification on the sound generation hardware, available tools to compose for the format, ways of reliably playing back files, as well as mentioning some related tools and other useful links.


Disclaimer:
Since this format allows for anything that compiles and runs on real Sharp X68000 hardware, there is no restriction on which drivers/file formats to use.
However, if your driver/file format is not discussed in this article, you'll need to provide (a guide on) how to play back the driver/file format you've submitted music for.



Specifications



Sound Capabilities
Since the Sharp X68000 was targeted as a personal home computer to offer near-arcade perfect ports of games, it uses the often in-arcade-games-used Yamaha YM2151 (OPM) 8-channel 4-operator FM synthesizer bundled with a 1-channel OKI MSM6258 ADPCM unit to provide sample playback.

The Yamaha YM2151 (a.k.a. OPM) is a FM synthesizer that provides 8 independently programmed 4-operator channels. The unit can provide stereo sound, has a highly configurable LFO and also provides a noise generator on the last channel.

The OKI MSM6258 ADPCM unit generally only provides a single channel of sample playback @3.9, 5.2, 7.8, 10.4 or 15.6 kHz. However, there are some software drivers that provide multiplexing so that the channels are expanded to a total of 8. The most used drivers for this are PCM8 (+ optimized for games variant 'PCM8A') and Rydeen. They provide free controlled repitching of the samples, as opposed to only being able to use the hardware playback frequencies to repitch samples. (?)

Sharp introduced an 8-channel hardware accelerated ADPCM expansion card, called the "Mercury Unit", later in the life-cycle of the computer. It supports playback of audio up to 16-bit 44.1 kHz. There were other expansion cards like the Mercury Unit available, but were third-party add-ons which weren't as common.

Another expansion card was available to provide MIDI output for MIDI modules, keyboards, etc., but this is not allowed for the BotB X68k format and will therefor not be discussed any further.



Tools



Drivers + Compilers
# Will get a total rewrite
MXDRV v1/v2 (MDX)
MXDRV is default and most often used sounddriver used on the Sharp X68000. The driver is very feature-packed and offers full FM support, ADPCM (+PCM8) support and also supports the Mercury Unit.

Available MML compilers for this driver are:
— NOTE.X (Download)

— MXC.X (MDX_Tool) (Download)


See also:
— BotBr Sinc-X's workspace with bare-bones documentation: (Download)

— BotBr DeltaRazero's NOTE-X HTML Manual: (coming soon)

Z-MUSIC v2/v3
Another popular sounddriver used on the on the Sharp X68000.
#more to write

PMD (Professional Music Driver)
A music driver originally written for the PC-x801 series of personal home computers, which got ported to IBM PC, Fujitsu FM Towns and Sharp X68000 series of personal home computers.
PMD does not have as much features to offer as MXDRV and Z-Music, but does have its significance in the scene.

Compilation can be done with the latest version of MC.EXE. If you intend to use it on modern Windows, please use it with a dos-emulator, like the one linked below:
— MC.EXE + other PMD tools/docs (Download)

— #dosthing (Download)



Emulators
Since almost all MML compilers, players and other tools available only run Sharp X68000 computers, you will be needing either real hardware or an emulator. This section covers which emulators to use and how to set them up correctly.

Run68
This is the recommended and most easy way of using available MML compilers.

Run68 is an instruction emulator that is able to interpret compiled code for Human68k (the main operating system of the Sharp X68000) and acts as middleware that will translate user input from a modern operating system, such as Windows, to the emulator that will turn the X68k code into runnable code within a modern operating system. A big advantage of this method is that the output files are generated directly to a user’s disk drive, instead of a virtual one as used in full Sharp X68000 emulators.

Since most, if not all, of the tools are command-line based, a user on Windows f.e., can just run a command prompt and run a tool like this: run68.exe [toolname.X] {-options}

You can download Run68 on this SourceForge page
.

XM6 TypeG
# [To be written. . .]
# http://www.geocities.jp/kugimoto0715/xm6g/index.html



File Formats & Playback



.MDX (MXDRV)
A binary compiled MXDRV MML song. Often bundled with .PDX files, which are ADPCM sample data containers.

Please note that the following players do not have support for Mercury Unit playback:

Hoot
#. . .

MXDRVg
The user by the name of Mr. Gorry has made a player to play back MXDRV songs on Windows, called "MXDRVg". It requires "X68Sound.dll" for its sound generation. Both of these are provided as download on Mr. Gorry's website
.

FMP7
#. . .

# However, it's also possible to just play it back by using a Sharp X68000 (either real hardware or emulation of the computer). You must first run MXDRV on the computer and then run a suitable MXDRV player for it, such as MDXP.X
.

You can download the latest version of MXDRV on RetroPC.net
.


.ZMS (Z-MUSIC)
# [To be written. . .]


.M (PMD)
A binary compiled PMD MML song (beware that this is the same file extension for YM2203 songs). Often bundled with .P files, which are ADPCM sample data containers.
# Method found to play in Hoot

# Found no way of playback on real hardware yet though. A possibility may be that replacing a game's song file with your own works (when a soundtest is present).
# [To be written. . .]


MMSP (Player)




Miscellaneous



NOTE-X HTML Manual
# Coming soon. . .


Disk Utility Tools
# ...
... Features:
— ...



MDX / Z-MUSIC Repository
# [To be written. . .]







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