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VGX Live

A live performance interface for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis

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  • Unsure of how to perform your Sega Mega Drive / Genesis chipmusic live?
  • Tired of dragging your laptop to live shows to play chipmusic?
  • Always wanted to make your chipmusic performance more dynamic?
  • Do you want a way to showcase your live Sega Mega Drive / Genesis music to the world without just pressing ‘Play’?

Then VGX Live is for you! We’re developing a brand new tool enabling you to play your Sega Mega Drive / Genesis live. Simply create your music in Deflemask tracker as usual, then add in loop point commands to divide into blocks. Export your music as a VGM file and using our super simple tool, create a ROM with one or many VGM files ready to perform a live set. VGX Live can be used standalone with either one or two joypad controllers and without any need for a laptop. Features include seamless skipping between non-consecutive loops, muting/unmuting instrument channels on the fly and a track display and selection interface. In addition, if you want to have greater control and versatility and experience the true awesomeness of VGX Live, you can use a first generation Novation Launchpad to control your music playback via a live performance-tested hardware interface based on the ubiquitous Teensy LC microcontroller. So what are you waiting for? Give it a go! 

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Details
• Currently compatible with the original Novation Launchpad
• No laptop required!
• Open source software (Mega Drive / Genesis ROM builder + Teensy LC firmware)
• DIY-friendly hardware (Teensy LC + MiniUSB Host shield) - program your own Launchpad layouts on Teensy - program your own alternative controller input sources on Teensy
• Single cable into control port 2 (verified compatible with Sega Nomad)
• Channel grid, block selection and track selection visualized on the Sega side
• Synced button presses and button lights on the Launchpad side

Current Features
• User-friendly ROM builder with VGM file input
• Independent muting/unmuting control of every channel (FM + PSG)
• Queued mute/unmute synced to block start position
• Instant mute/unmute via Function button or Execute button
• Mute/unmute all; separate mute/unmute FM or PSG
• Supports user-defined loop points for blocks of patterns
• Loop blocks assigned to separate pads for easy queuing
• Next/Previous loop block selector
• Track name selector (track names extracted from GD3 tags)
• Next/Previous track selector
• PCM sample support (compatible with Deflemask, 32kHz sample rate)
• Low latency sample pad triggering (at 32kHz)

Planned features
• Note trigger pads (selectable scale)
• MIDI IN to allow the use of other controllers

  • 1 × Teensy LC
  • 1 × USB Host Mini USB host based on MAX3421
  • 1 × HCPL-0700 Opto and Fiber Optic Semiconductors and ICs / Optocouplers and Optoisolators
  • 1 × 74AC125DG125
  • 1 × 74AHC1G00DBV

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  • Feb 2016 - Arduino Version

    freezedream11/21/2018 at 23:15 0 comments

    After the initial development of VGX player software to run on the Mega Drive with the custom button grid, a hardware interface was devised which consisted of an Arduino Uno, a USB Host Shield based on a MAX3421E and a Sega joyport cable. The idea was to be able to replace the custom button grid with a commercially available MIDI controller and the Novation Launchpad seemed like a good option as it includes 64 light up buttons, a USB interface with bus power and is inexpensive and readily available to buy second hand.

    Arduino Version of VGX Live Interface
    Arduino Version of VGX Live Interface

    Showcase Video of the Arduino Version of VGX Live

  • Jan 2016 - Alpha Version

    freezedream11/20/2018 at 22:35 0 comments

    The alpha version used a custom built button grid that was equivalent to all the buttons from two regular joypads.

    Custom Button Grid Based on Two Joypad Controllers
    Custom Button Grid Based on Two Joypad Controllers



    The original Mega Drive visuals matched the 5 x 4 button layout of that grid as shown below.



    Alpha Version of VGX Live Software on a Mega Drive Model 2
    Alpha Version of VGX Live Software on a Mega Drive Model 2

    Though still in development, I risked playing live with the alpha version using the dual joypad button grid - it was a lot of fun, though the software was still a little buggy and unstable. Here's a video clip courtesy of xspheric from the first ever live performance using the software. Everything except the main melody being played on the keyboard is from VGX Live. You might not notice that VGX Live actually crashes at the end!

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