Namco (NES Driver)

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Namco NES Driver
Programmers Nobuyuki Ohnogi, Fukashi Ohmorita, Junko Ozawa
Language 6502 Assembly

Namco (NES Driver) is an unofficial name of the NES sound driver used at Namco. The driver is named after the company because several people worked on it.

The driver was originally programmed by Nobuyuki Ohnogi. It was later compressed (to save space) by Fukashi Ohmorita. In the final Famicom/NES years, Junko Ozawa also edited the sound driver to have better instrument design.

According to Fukashi, to create audio on the NES, they had to write in 6502 assembly macros.

Release History

Most of the games that use Namco's sound driver were exclusive to Japan, as Namco had not established an American branch at that time. However, they would sometimes have their NES games released in the USA by Tengen.

Galaxian, which appears to be Namco's first NES game, appears to have a different sound engine. Fukashi said the driver was likely programmed by the game's programmer, Haruhisa Udagawa.

The first game to use the modified sound driver was Dig Dug. This driver would be used in most of the Namco games.

The last game to use the sound driver was Famista '94, which was released exclusively in Japan.

Output

The driver outputs to the RP2A03 in North America and Japan, and the RP2A07 in Europe. Unlike most NES drivers, it was modified to play back like the RP2A03 in Europe.


Games

Released Title Sample
1984-11-02 Pac-Man (NES) (パックマン)
1984-11-08 Xevious (NES)
1984-11-14 Mappy (FC)
1985-06-04 Dig Dug (FC) (ディグダグ)
1985-07-12 Warpman (FC) (ワープマン)
1985-08-06 Druaga no Tou (FC) (ドルアーガの塔)
1985-09-09 Battle City (FC) (バトルシティー)
1985-11-21 Pac-Land (FC) (パックランド)
1985-12-06 Star Luster (FC) (スターラスター)
1985-12-10 Choujikuu Yousai: Macross (FC) (超時空要塞マクロス)
1986-04-18 Dig Dug II: Trouble in Paradise (NES) (ディグダグⅡ)
1986-07-18 Babel no Tou (FC) (バベルの塔)
1986-08-01 Valkyrie no Bouken: Toki no Kagi Densetsu (FC) (ワルキューレの冒険 時の鍵伝説)
1986-08-22 Sky Kid (NES) (スカイキッド)
1986-12-10 R.B.I. Baseball (NES) (プロ野球 ファミリースタジアム)
1987-04-02 Sanma no Meitantei (FC) (さんまの名探偵)
1987-12-04 Star Wars (FC) (スターウォーズ)
1987-12-11 Family Tennis (FC) (ファミリーテニス)
1987-12-22 R.B.I. Baseball 2 (NES) (プロ野球 ファミリースタジアム ’87)
1988-10-21 Genpei Toumaden (FC) (源平討魔伝)
1988-12-20 R.B.I. Baseball 3 (NES) (プロ野球 ファミリースタジアム’88年度版)
1989-06-23 LaSalle Ishii no Child's Quest (FC) (ラサール石井の チャイルズクエスト)
1989-07-28 Famista '89: Kaimaku Han!! (FC) (ファミスタ’89開幕版!!)
1989-12-19 Famista '90 (FC) (ファミスタ’90)
1990-12-21 Famista '91 (FC) (ファミスタ’91)
1991-03-08 Namcot Mahjong III: Mahjong Tengoku (FC) (ナムコット麻雀Ⅲ マージャン天国)
1991-10-04 Chibi Maruko-chan: Uki Uki Shopping (FC) (ちびまる子ちゃん うきうきショッピング)
1991-12-06 Heisei Tensai Bakabon (FC) (平成 天才バカボン)
1991-12-20 Famista '92 (FC) (ファミスタ’92)
1992-10-22 Top Striker (FC) (トップストライカー)
1992-12-08 Wagyan Land 3 (FC) (ワギャンランド3)
1992-12-22 Famista '93 (FC) (ファミスタ’93)
1993-12-01 Famista '94 (FC) (ファミスタ’94)

Technical

Frequency Registers

Version 1

This version of the driver goes from a low A to an octave-higher G# before using an algorithm to divide the notes by two to attain higher frequencies.

G#2 = 21B
G-2 = 23B
F#2 = 25D
F-2 = 281
E-2 = 2A7
D#2 = 2CF
D-2 = 2FA
C#2 = 327
C-2 = 357
B-1 = 38A
A#1 = 3C0
A-1 = 3F9

Address Locations

Pac-Man: $30B7-$30CE
Xevious: $3B65-$3B7C

Version 2

This version of the driver is just like the last. However, the low A is now an octave lower. This was probably done to make the sound engine more piano-like.

G#1 = 436
G-1 = 476
F#1 = 4BA
F-1 = 502
E-1 = 54E
D#1 = 59E
D-1 = 5EC
C#1 = 643
C-1 = 6AE
B-0 = 714
A#0 = 780
A-0 = 7F2

Address Locations

Battle City: $2CF6-$2D0D (1)
Chibi Maruko-Chan Uki Uki Shopping: $09FA-$0A11 (2)
Chou Jikuu Yousai Macross: $2ACB-$2AE2 (1)
Dig Dug: $3392-$33A9 (1)
Dig Dug II: $79F6-$7A0D (1)
Family Jockey: $739E-$73B5 (1)
Family Stadium '88: $142A5-$142BC (1)
Family Tennis: $02D3-$02EA (1)
Famista '90/'91/'92: $C9FA-$CA11 (2)
Famista '93/'94: $C8FA-$C911 (2)
Galaga: $2DF7-$2E0E (1)
Genpei Toumaden: $10234-$1024A (1)
Heisei Tensai Bakabon: $09FA-$0A11 (2)
La Salle Ishii no Child's Quest: $074A-$0761 (2)
Namcot Mahjong 3: $4744-$475A (2)
Pac-Land: $53B6-$53CD (1)
R.B.I. Baseball/'87: $439B-$43B2 (1)
R.B.I. Baseball 2: $4410-$4427 (1)
R.B.I. Baseball 3: $4415-$442C (1)
Sanma no Mei Tantei: $8B8F-$8BA6 (1)
Sky Kid: $7DF8-$7E0F (1)
Star Luster: $6531-$6531 (1)
Star Wars: $16B59-$16C00 (1)
Top Striker: $87D3-$87EA (2)
Tower of Babel: $76C2-$76D9 (1)
Tower of Druaga: $23FB-$2412 (1)
Valkyrie no Bouken: $23F3-$240A (1)
Warpman: $339A-$33B1 (1)

Links