Reading the Music Engine Control tables

Reference (main hub and link to subpages)

Information may vary in order of presentation, but at a minimum, The game title, trigger, vgm pack status, and resources are listed. Sometimes the developer(s) is listed as well. It is generally omitted on developer centric pages, as it would be redundant.

Game title: Lists all known titles and links to the game page, making it easier to obtain information about the game in question. It is always a good idea to visit the game page before starting work to see what codes/features/information is available, and what you will need to discover yourself. Cheats for sound tests are sometimes listed, and should be used to save work/time. However, beware that not all music is necessarily available through the sound test.

Company: Listed in the global categories pages (i.e all SMS/GG/SG). It can be helpful to see which games are made by the same developer. This will often (not always) inform you about the features of the sound engine and how to use it. Games made by the same developer will often have alot of similarities. It can help you explore more intelligently. You can lose alot of time trying to hack a game, only to discover it works exactly the same as another game with a posted solution. A little investigation can be very helpful.

Music Trigger: This will generally be the most important column once you have decided to work on a particular game. It will generally provide sufficient details to control the music engine. Some work to derive valid id's may be required. There are several types of control mechanisms listed in this column. A single bar separates types in some cases where there is more than one option. Triggers are usually listed alone, while block counters are usually listed along with a footnote on the left side of the bar and hacks on the right. Block counters are usually not ideal in and of themselves, but can help to inform values for the hack, since ids in such cases tend to be rather far apart. If neither a song or song pattern trigger is listed, then a hack is listed. Only one is listed for the sake of space, but with a little knowledge conversion between the different types is usually straightforward.

VGM Pack Status: All games with packs listed prior to the creation of this table have a link directly to the music page corresponding to it. In some cases, it may be out of date. Status will usually be "accepted" or "pending". An accepted pack has passed muster and has been uploaded to the main VGM page. New packs may take a while to be uploaded in general. Updates are not frequent. In that case, Searching the Music Forum or visiting the Game page by clicking on the title will help. In some cases, there may be a corresponding pack for the same game on a different system. Sometimes there will be speed differences, and in rare cases a few different tracks, either in addition or replacing others. A footnote indicating this will usually be in the first column after the title, so it is important to read them. The same information can be found at the bottom of a game page under the heading "Same Game, Different Console" at the bottom. It is usually a good idea to work on both versions side by side, for comparison. The sames sometimes applies for a game released in different regions. A little bit of investigation can save you from redoing work that has already been done. Using the different resources on this site is a good idea.

Resources: This tab is meant to hold links of additional interest and relevance to the game. This may include posts from the forums, the development section, or anything that would help inform someone on features of the game. It need not necessarily be music related, but rather information that is relevant to how the game works. Reviews and other information covered by other sections of the site would probably not be appropriate here. This section is meant to hold multiple links, and as such, text anchors describing the destination should be avoided. This column is generally a dumping ground for relevant and edifying tidbits of information.


  1. ^ The typical SMPS-Like engine has music id's starting at $81 (hex) with increasing values. In these instances, the high bit (7) is set (10000000) in bits to start the engine. Technically $80 is the first track, and outputs silence, although it will not interrupt a song once it is playing. It is the default value for the trigger in SMPS-like games. Values below $80 and above $DF reset the sound engine. However other games use different systems, where silence can be 00 or a higher id. It depends on the engine in such cases.
  2. ^ such as those with a trigger default value of $00 and a song id of $00
  3. ^ Syrox Developments, Teeny Weeny Games as well as some Codemasters games also use similar implementation.
  4. ^ This feature may be the product of Matt Furniss, who composed much of the music used by Probe or of his partner Shaun Hollingworth who created the sound drivers. Not all games with this feature credit Krisalis, but most companies that do featured at least one game in common crediting Krisalis software. (except Codemasters which actually uses a different engine)
  5. ^ proficiency in Z80 assembly and some ability to read unfamiliar code



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