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Special FX


  1. Specifications
  2. A Crash Course On How To Abuse Special FX
  3. Tools Of The Trade
  4. Possible Inspirations For You
  5. See Also
Note: To see the same thing in the five-minute tutorial form, see I Am New To ZXBeep.

Once starting as the now late Jonathan Smith's (more known as Joffa) experiment with ZX Spectrum's speaker, the Special FX beeper engine later went on to be used in about 30% of the most popular games on this humble computer. Then it became a feature in Proxima Software's games (who was a Czech ZX game developer in the nineties), and now, with the introduction of Beepola, it's pretty much the most used 1-bit sound engine, like, EVER.

It's also the name of a game developer company that used the said engine, but would you really care about that. <_<

The said developer, however, originally called this engine Fuzz Click (which is all a pretty apt title). That's just for historical accuracy.

If you wanna know what you're actually dealing with, see zxbeep (format) for a more general description. ^_^


Special FX is two channels big (not counting the drums) - with both having a sustain feature as the only way of volume control. Basically, the smaller the sustain you set, the shorter your note will be as it will fade into silence. Another "volume feature" lies in that ch2 is louder than ch1.

The optimizer used in Special FX saves every channel inside a pattern instead of just patterns, which just begs to be used in a game or two.

A Crash Course On How To Abuse Special FX

Go ahead and download Beepola, it can't be any more simple than that. In fact, it's basically the definition of both "simple" and "cool"! AMIRITE NO?

Oh, you want some advise? See some below.

Tools Of The Trade

- Since ch1 is quieter than ch2, you might either reserve the first one for the background or for the echoes.
- Just in case if you're really new to the engine, don't overdo the sustains. In fact, you should never ever abuse them by putting pretty big values in 'ere all the time! ...considering "9" is pretty much your desired maximum.
- Don't abuse octave 4 much either - it's slightly detuned.

Possible Inspirations For You


If you're looking for some classics made on this engine, then you might chew on Firefly title theme
performed by Special Erase. Oh and given that there is still some CPU power left for the moving objects in the main menu...

See Also

zxbeep (format)

Sound Chips
2a03 · adlib · amy · AY YM · GameBoy Advance · Huby · MDX · MIDI · Octode · Phaser1 · Savage · SID · spc · Special FX · Tritone · YMZ280B · Z80 · zxbeep