Geeks of a certain age will have fond memories of games that are too simple by today’s standards, but they are the same. Their low-fidelity graphics are often praised by the same low-fidelity music, which is forced to think through the speakers installed on most computers. Despite the technological limitations of that era, these games do not just provide gameplay. They tell stories, they are there in a way that some people think will not resonate with the younger generation.
That didn’t stop [Thanassis Tsiodras] Since childhood, I shared the classic “Secrets of Monkey Island” with my niece and nephew. Happy to meet his family after one year of separation due to COVID-19, [Thanassis] Want to give them a handmade gift: Customize the music of “The Secret of Monkey Island” on the player. What uncle!
[Thanassis] It would have been possible to record music and play it with any number of chips made for this purpose, but as a senior software engineer, he decided to follow a scenic route to reach the destination. First, DOSBox was hacked and dumped the speaker output to a file. Use Python, C, and 30 years of experience to compress everything into ATtiny85’s 8 KB storage. This is no easy task, because it requires him to create a custom implementation of Huffman compression to make the data small enough to fit the chip. When it fits but doesn’t work, more optimization is needed.
However, the end result is worthwhile. The music in “The Secret of Monkey Island” is played in its original form from a speaker powered by such a modest but useful 2n2222. [Thanassis]’The website is full of complex details that cannot be published here, but it is very tidy and not to be missed. Watch the video below the break for a demonstration.
Of course, ATtiny85 is a small but convenient animal. You might like to see it put into use as a game console or even a spectrum analyzer. Do you have your own ATtiny85 hack and want to share it? Please let us know through the reminder hotline!