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Forums > CSDb Entries > Event id #3157 : Unofficial Tiny SID Compo 2022
2022-02-05 00:20

Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 65
Event id #3157 : Unofficial Tiny SID Compo 2022

Welcome to the Unofficial Tiny SID Compo 2022.

Now, as you may be aware, recently in the scene there has been an uptick in people using so-called "tiny" SIDs, mostly thanks to Didi & Richard's series of Intro Creation Compos, where the intros are only allowed to use a certain block of RAM. The problem with this is that there is a severe lack of decent tiny SIDs out there- all it takes is a little bit of browsing through the comments of ICC2021 entries to see some discontentment over the same old GRG tunes being reused over and over again. Now unfortunately this compo comes a little too late to rectify that particular situation, but I believe that even outside of the ICC2021 context, coders will appreciate having a wider library of tiny SIDs to choose from for their killer RAM-eating effects.

This compo idea does have precedent- Stefano Tognon (Ice00) has previously hosted some Tiny SID Compos 15 or so years ago, which got a decent amount of entries. My rules are fairly different from his, though.

The goal of this compo is to produce a self-contained tune, where, with the exception of the zeropage and stack, the entire RAM area used by the tune is contained in one 512b/1kb/2kb (depending on the category) block.

The exact technical rules by which your tunes will be judged are as follows:
- All code, data, and non-zeropage variables that are required for your tune to play should fit in one continuous block of the size specified by the category. Your music code is not allowed to access any non-zeropage RAM outside of this range.
- Your music code should not rely on the initial state of any zeropage location.
- Stack area ($01xx) must only be accessed conventionally, as a stack. That is, only use JSR, RTS, PHA, PLA, PHP, and PLP. Most stack tricks hurt the self-contained-ness of your code.
- Your music code cannot access any I/O registers outside of $D400-$D41B.
- Your music code cannot access any of the ROMs (kernal, basic, chargen).
- Your music code cannot access $00-$01. A coder certainly won't like it if his SID interferes with the bank configuration.
- To give tunes some zeropage "breathing room", your music code cannot access $02-$07.
- Your music code cannot access $0200-$033B, $D000-$DFFF (the RAM under I/O), or $FFFA-$FFFF. Again, a coder won't like it if you mess with these.
- Your music code cannot change the I bit in the CPU status register. So, no SEI, no CLI, and any PLP should be accompanied by a corresponding PHP.
- If you find a use for the decimal mode, you must make sure you turn it off before your music code exits. You can safely assume decimal mode is off at the entry points of your music code.
- Your music routines should be accessible like a PSID file, with an init entry point that exits with an RTS, and a play entry point that executes once per frame, and exits with an RTS.

Be aware that none of the above rules apply to any code that presents your music. As per CSDb rules, you must provide an executable. A good way to think about it is: if we in HVSC had to rip your tune as a SID, which code and data would we have to include?

To make up for the extreme technical restrictions, I am giving you very little creative restrictions:
- Covers and tiny adaptations of other SID tunes ARE allowed.
- It IS allowed to use a player made by someone else, but your tune must be wholly new and not just a cheap edit of the original.
- One composer can enter a maximum of 2 tunes per category.
- Your tune must last for at least 10 seconds before it loops.
- Your tune's presentation must be fairly minimal. Some text, a logo, and an equalizer is okay, but you can't submit a whole demopart and call it a "music entry".

When adding your entries to CSDb, please use the "512b/1K/2K Game" compos. This looks odd but at the end of the day gives the best at-a-glance look at the categories.

The entry period lasts from right now until May 7th, 11:59 PM CSDb time (CET). Depending on the amount of entries, I will either use an external votesheet or you will vote right on CSDb. We'll see.

If you are a musician who is not a coder, you probably know someone who is and would be willing to help you. If you really don't, you can at least enter the 2k category with a tune in a slim player such as GoatTracker or NinjaTracker.
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2022-05-07 14:40

Registered: May 2020
Posts: 21
Quote: What I was referring to is the way of instrument design and handling notes.
The SID is basically a substractive synthesizer. On a VST or hardware synth you have the knobs and faders to define the sound. In most of the cases there's also visual indication of parameters and waveforms, so you always know what you modify.
On a C64 with numeric editors it's completely different. Yes, it's a substractive synthesizer but without obvious feedback.

If I'm new to the C64, how would I know that waveform 1x is triangle, 2x is sawtooth, and their combination is 3x? Gate on/off 0/1? Same with the filter, 9/A/B/C/D/E, cutoff is XX or sometimes XXX. Not to mention that the "LFO" to modulate parameters is basically a triangle LFO that works with adding or substracting values to the initial value over time. What is a hardrestart, why should I use it and how the hell do I define it if the player like defMON or Virtuoso give you complete freedom to do it?

So yeah, we grew up with the numeric editors, they make perfect sense on the C64 but probably we got so used to it that we forget about usability and user experience.
Would composers create better songs with better UI's? Does it worth the effort to make a completely new music editor interface just because of a couple of composers would be happier? Would more people try to make music on the C64 with visually more satisfying editors? Would it be good for the scene or it would be flooded with crap tunes?

As a younger chiptuner/scener, I cannot count how many times I have seen very talented composers be turned off from trying out SID music by the interfaces of SID trackers. The current options for more accessible tools aren't great at the moment.

There's Deflemask, which is a bug-filled mess that exports pure register dumps.

SidTracker 64 is for a limited platform (iPad), costs money, and is lacking some important features. (It also seems to be in development limbo).

There are some promising developments, though. GTUltra is a step in the right direction, and there's a new multiplatform tracker called Furnace which is supposed to be getting SID export in the future.
2022-05-07 15:44

Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 65
Quoting Jammer
@Karmic: Any chance to expand compo about a week or so? My new routine is almost done and I'm kinda desperate to finish it :D Or maybe at least till tomorrow/Sunday?

I'll give another week. Entries are now due at the end of May 14, CET.
2022-05-07 16:02

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 1175
Quoting Karmic
I'll give another week. Entries are now due at the end of May 14, CET.

That's absolutely generous of You! Thanks! <3
2022-05-11 11:32

Registered: Nov 2011
Posts: 440
A lot of great very small tunes waiting to be used in the upcoming 4k or lower compos. ;-)
2022-05-11 11:36

Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 1175
Quoting Didi
A lot of great very small tunes waiting to be used in the upcoming 4k or lower compos. ;-)

You bet ;)
2022-05-14 21:39

Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 65
Votesheet is now ready, and entries will close in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
2022-05-15 00:02

Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 65
Entries are now CLOSED. Votesheet is here: https://forms.gle/yxrragogztTxY2Q1A

Voting ends at the end of May 28, in CEST (CSDb time).

I have to say, I was very surprised and pleased at the amount of entries. Thanks for participating, guys!
2022-05-24 17:57

Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 65
I have 5 votesheets so far. Voting ends in 4 days, so remember to vote if you haven't!
2022-05-24 18:23

Registered: Dec 2001
Posts: 10370
I'd rather not vote if that means i have to signup with google >_>
2022-05-25 06:26

Registered: Apr 2015
Posts: 65
Quoting Groepaz
I'd rather not vote if that means i have to signup with google >_>

You don't have to, it only allows you to save your progress.
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