Format Request: MML and MSXplus
BotB Academy Bug Reports and Feature Requests
Level 25 Chipist
post #177853 :: 2023.10.14 6:38pm :: edit 2023.10.15 10:30am
  Lincent, SRB2er, agargara, nitrofurano, Bravoman, null1024, BubblegumOctopus, Max Chaplin, cabbage drop, DuccBoi, SnugglyBun, liveheaven and damifortune liēkd this
I'm here to formally make my case for 2 formats I've wished for since 2017 when I was more active on the site. But also feel free to take this request with a grain of salt or ignore entirely because of my abscence lol.

Format: MML
Token: mml
Point Type: Chipist (writist? codist?)
Accepted formats: .mml, .txt, .zip
Description: Music written Music Macro Language (MML). Submission must contain the source MML and all additional files needed to compile.

MML was introduced to the general public as the internal music driver in Microsoft BASIC for japanese personal computers in the early 80's. It has since been adopted by and evolved through many sound drivers over the decades since, and still has its own scene even after trackers popping up, though it's mostly japanese.

I think it would be cool to have this as a format because not only it's a significant part of chiptune history but is also its own avenue for creativity, with its own set of limitations that can result in creative choices coming from using this medium to compose.

I've also written a general MML guide
, and plan to adapt it to the lyceum format in case the format is implemented.

I think there are 2 potential problems that the format could have, and it has to do with the fact that it covers a wide range of tools and soundchips:

- Submitter would have to mention the driver and/or compilation instructions if applicable, either on the upload description or on the file itself.
- There could be an inequal ground between people depending on the tool they chose. But as I said, I think the emphasis on this format is more on using MML as the creative medium itself than what's the output.

I think having this format would be really fun! BotB has had a couple MML-only OHBs in the past like this one, this one and this one. And also the multiple entries made in tools like PMD, AddMusicK and ppMCK. Would be cool to have a format shining light on that :D


Format: MSXplus
Token: msxplus
Point Type: Chipist
Accepted formats: .kss, .mgs, .vgm, .dsk, many
Description: Music made for the AY-3-8910/YM2419 chip and one or more expansion chips that were featured in the MSX and its game/expansion carts. Allowed expansion chips: Y8950 OPLL SCC SCC+ and Turbo-R PCM

This one strikes to me as a surprise that hasn't been added yet.
I'd guess it's partly because in one side, the MSX base chip is under the AYM format umbrella, and on the other the MSX was so versatile with its I/O that one could infinitely stack soundchips, making it no different from the VGM format.

I think this is easily solved by making the ruleset for the format the same as the nsfplus format: make use of one or more of the expansions mandatory and limit what soundchips are allowed.

The ones I've listed are the ones that make the most sense for me.
- Y8950 was a chip available only in the MSX-AUDIO (the MSX's first sound expansion) and a couple early arcade machines.
- OPLL became the standard FM soundchip expansion for the system with MSX-MUSIC, and later was packaged with MSX2+ and Turbo-R models
- SCC and SCC+ were chips only used on the MSX, included various Konami cartridges and used by other software when these cartridges were plugged on the console
- Turbo-R PCM is the 8-bit 16khz PCM synthesizer on the Turbo-R models, suported by various sound drivers.

OPLL and SCC particularly are the ones that see the most common use in MSX music because of being widely available and many drivers supporting it.

There were a lot more cartridges released even during the MSX's lifespan, like the Yamaha SFG-01/05 (OPM) and Moonsound (OPL4), and later like the Sega VDP (SMS) and OPNA cartridges. But these didn't see as wide of use and overlap with already existing formats on BotB.

Particularly I feel like this format would already be worth just for the attention to the OPLL alone, since the SMS format doesn't allow it and its a very cool chip on its own. Add the other chips that definitely need to see more love, plus now having a modern tracker that supports them in Furnace (being able to do 3 of them natively) and MSX having one of the best VGM players
for old hardware out there, I think it should be a no brainer to add it to BotB!!

Anyways I'll leave this playlist here
as I listened to it while writing this, which shows how cool MSX multichip can be ´v`.
Level 31 Chipist
post #177854 :: 2023.10.14 6:56pm
  pedipanol liēkd this
i think both of these are great ideas, and the fact that you've written up this much helpful information adds to the case, since it'd help them get smoothly started here. i'm in!

are there other tools for msxplus besides furnace? i assume there must be based on the several filetypes proposed
Level 26 Chipist
Yung Gotenks
post #177857 :: 2023.10.14 7:02pm
  pedipanol liēkd this
I've been thinking about MML a lot recently, the format would def be cool to have!
Level 25 Chipist
post #177859 :: 2023.10.14 7:19pm :: edit 2023.10.15 9:52am
  radian, DuccBoi and damifortune liēkd this
@damifortune Yes!

On modern PCs some options include:
- mgsdrv
, which is a MML driver that can be editted and played back on your browser
, and is the main tool used in the japanese scene. It supports OPLL and SCC/+.
which the name says it all lol, it supports a wide variety of soundchips including OPLL, Y8950 and SCC/+
- As far as tracker goes, the only other programs are the ones that support OPLL, aka 0cc-LLtracker
and Deflemask.

On the MSX/Emulator:
- TriloTracker
, supports SCC and OPLL but not multichip
- Realfun 3 Tracker
, supports SCC, and apparently PCM
on it too, that's so cool
- FAC Soundtracker
, old tool that's not very close to modern trackers, but supports OPLL and Y8950 (no PCM) but not multichip
and XEDT
, a sound driver and MML editor for OPLL, Y8950, SCC+ and Turbo-R PCM
- The MSX Basic's internal MML syntax, that can be expanded for OPLL and Y8950

I'm pretty sure there's more because I've seen many over the years, but things are worse archived than I hoped they were, i.e. the SCMD driver
which supports all expansions including the Turbo-R PCM, don't have any archived downloads at all.

I'd have to dig deeper to find them, and definitely will if the format gets accepted
Level 29 Chipist
post #177862 :: 2023.10.14 9:35pm
  pedipanol liēkd this
MML sounds like a fine add! I think Chipist makes the most sense for that format since its targets are mainly chips. Also you can add xpmck
to the mix. For battles/XHBs I think it would probably make sense to have a specific tool or platform for the bitpack/rules, but could also see it being a free-for-all like the vgm format.

Some MSX-adjacent format also seems like it would be neat. As a disclaimer, I feel like my knowledge of the MSX ecosystem is limited, so take the following opinion with a grain of salt, but maybe it makes more sense to pick one of the expansions and make that "the MSX format", which to my knowledge would be SCC/SCC+, but again, maybe I'm just unaware. SCC also happens to be the most unique to the MSX out of the options you listed.
Level 25 Chipist
post #177864 :: 2023.10.14 11:52pm :: edit 2023.10.15 12:11am
@funute Hmmm I picked the chips I mentioned because they're all deeply related to the platform and the music scene already in it.

A lot of what makes them become "the MSX sound" ends up not being much the chip in isolation, but specifically the combination of them with the AYM and themselves.

For example, the OPLL was used on a variety of arcades, toy keyboards and on the SMS. But in most cases the chip was used in isolation, even in the SMS that had the SN7, using both together was a recent development and no games did that in the 80's.

Also I definitely recommend checking out the MGSDRV scene and also the multichip track playlist I linked at the end if you wanna familiarize yourself more with the format
Level 23 Chipist
post #177868 :: 2023.10.15 4:17am
  pedipanol liēkd this
I like MSX, definitely getting that badge if we have it as a format

MML I'm a bit torn about, just because in an XHB or something, you'd need to potentially set a lot of tools up just to vote on these - most other formats are limited to like, submit a NSF or NES file, or submit a SPC or SMC/SFC file, etc. obviously exceptions like Adlib and what you suggest for MSX exist, but these still largely cover "it's x format formats"

Also - if anything MML goes, someone could rock up and submit something made for a tool we have never heard of, not elaborate on what to play it back with, and we'd have to vote it low despite being a perfectly valid and non-illegal entry otherwise - no other format would have this issue (iirc) - maybe except S3XMODIT, where people often specify interpolation needs for their entry, but this doesn't make them unplayable, just different sounding.

I think for a format like this to work there would probably need to be a Furnace equivalent to MML, where you have a lot of export format options for the same dialect - thus people would only need to worry about that one dialect and can use the same tools to vote on them.

Maybe I'm wrong and perhaps issues to all of these are either already figured out or can be further figured out - I'm not against MML as a format at all, I just think it might need a lot of thought before implementing it.
Level 27 Chipist
post #177874 :: 2023.10.15 8:23am
  pedipanol liēkd this
MML reminds me of MIDI with playback inconsistency, except the internal format can also vary.
Level 25 Chipist
post #177877 :: 2023.10.15 9:14am :: edit 2023.10.15 9:49am
  damifortune and MelonadeM liēkd this
@MelonadeM there are more formats on BotB that can potentially have to deal with having very specific instructions/programs to work properly, like bytebeat.

The potential for someone to submit something ultra specific in a format no one has heard before and not telling anything about it exists but I feel it would be too much of an edge case scenario.

@KungFuFurby it's a fair comparison, but the key difference to MIDI is MIDI being able to play on any synth, therefore needing the standardisation to MSGS, while MML only targets the specific chip/driver it's written for and can't be really played anywhere else

I think these are things that can be ironed out by defining a good ruleset and having a well written lyceum.

Some rules I can thing of are requiring the submission to be a .ZIP that contains the MML and the compiled file or a mp3 render if it's not a standard chiptune format. Or requiring that the MML format can be compiled natively on windows, so one doesn't have to mess with emulators and such, this would limit the formats accepted a bit but not the most popular ones.

Hosting XHBs for it would certainly require more attention, but they already do for every format that isn't easily played back. Bitpacks specifying things more deeply, the hoster synclistening or compiling/rendering the entries, I don't think it's undoable as it has been done before.

A Furnace equivalent on MML exist in the aforementioned MML2VGM, but it's not documented in english. And even if it was, the discussion of "why does this format offer that VGM doesn't" would come back. Also it would put into question how does the vast majority of MML entries in this website are for AddMusicK and somehow that format isn't accepted for the MML format.
Level 23 Chipist
post #177948 :: 2023.10.17 11:50am
  pedipanol liēkd this
i forgot about bytebeat lol
yeah i don't think mml is gonna be so popular that someone will just rock up and submit a random file thats not been parsed properly, and if that happens i think thats probably grounds for downvoting or resubmission anyway
Level 31 Chipist
post #178419 :: 2023.10.29 11:30am
  MelonadeM, cabbage drop and pedipanol liēkd this
bumping because good, exciting ideas imho
Level 26 Chipist
Yung Gotenks
post #178429 :: 2023.10.29 1:35pm
  MelonadeM, cabbage drop, damifortune and pedipanol liēkd this
i would love to see a damifortune MML composition
Level 25 Chipist
post #180147 :: 2023.12.04 12:31pm
  OminPigeonMaster, Yung Gotenks and damifortune liēkd this
Gonna bump this as last week there was a compo on button masher's discord focusing on MSX+SCC and there were some really cool entries (will update this post as more get shared publicly) and it really made me want to push for the MSXplus format here more!!
Level 26 Chipist
Yung Gotenks
post #180164 :: 2023.12.04 6:30pm
  pedipanol liēkd this
Level 31 Chipist
post #185705 :: 2024.02.26 1:30pm
  SRB2er and Yung Gotenks liēkd this
bump bump bump. MML would be dope as hell for people to try getting into, myself included, and MSXplus is confirmed really fun and fairly unique combo
Level 26 Chipist
Yung Gotenks
post #185706 :: 2024.02.26 1:33pm
i strongly agree with this
Level 22 Chipist
post #185707 :: 2024.02.26 1:44pm
  SRB2er liēkd this
I've never tried MML but it looks really cool to try, so I also agree with this!
Level 28 Chipist
post #185708 :: 2024.02.26 1:58pm
Level 17 Chipist
post #185989 :: 2024.02.29 12:37pm
honestly I've been wanting to try MML so having it as a format would be really nice

MSX+ seems cool aswell, the AY-3-8910 is a really cool chip, and adding even more chips possibilities would be super fun!
Level 28 Chipist
post #186143 :: 2024.03.02 1:25pm
  SRB2er liēkd this
I've been doing a lot of MML lately, I've tried almost all the MML compilers I could get to work. I've tried PPMCK, HuSIC, NSD.Lib and MGSDRV, those are the good ones. the worst is VGMCK, that one has been abandoned in an unfinished state. XPMCK is almost there, but some features are broken or just don't work at all with most of the systems I've tested so far. GBMC, oh man how can I explain this? I'm too used to the PPMCK syntax.
Level 25 Chipist
post #187155 :: 2024.03.21 4:17am :: edit 2024.03.21 4:21am
  djmaximum liēkd this
@djmaximum: GBMC is pretty cool and powerful tho! It's the next format I want to cover on my MML guide when I can get back to it!
Level 27 Chipist
post #187173 :: 2024.03.21 9:59pm
  pedipanol liēkd this
I'll put in my two cents on MML variants... at least within the context of the main platform I work with. For me, modern SNES music has two MML compilers: the Addmusic series (based off of Super Mario World's sound driver) and Terrific Audio Driver by undisbeliever. The latter is based off of PMD MML, and is much newer.
Level 25 Chipist
post #187202 :: 2024.03.23 3:45pm
"based off of PMD MML" KungFuFurby you might just have gotten me into SPC music again, I hadn't heard at all about Terrific Audio Driver!!

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