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The Audio of Toaplan

December 13, 2023

The Audio of Toaplan

The Audio of Toaplan

The Audio of ToaplanThe Audio of ToaplanThe Audio of ToaplanThe Audio of ToaplanThe Audio of Toaplan

The Audio of Toaplan


The Toaplan games are known for their thrilling music that matches the intense shoot ‘em up gameplay. Taking off in Truxton and you immediately feel a level excitement as the music starts to play, it’s the start of an action-packed journey to furthest reaches of space. Or the dramatic straight into action upbeat tune of Hellfire. Add the sound effects of blazing shots and exploding bombs. It’s a soundscape that represents the best of the golden arcade era of pixelated shoot ‘em up games.

At Bitwave we have worked to constantly improving the audio representation. Coder Carl Henrik Skårstedt has listened (no pun intended) to feedback and received input from Tatsujin, the owner of the Toaplan games and run by original Toaplan staff including Masahiro Yuge and Tatsuya Uemura that composed several of the songs in the game.

To ensure proper emulation we listened to recorded arcade music and sound effects. It’s a challenge as the audio experience with an arcade cabinet can vary between cabinets with different speakers and resonance. The sound from earlier sound chips such as the PSG depends on the circuitry connecting it to the sound output signal making each game a little bit more unique and more challenging to get just right.

Throughout several different patches we have worked on the audio:

- Improved the sound to play at a consistent tempo.

- Included support for a wider range of audio drivers.

- Added audio filter: optional echo, reverb, low-pass and high-pass filters to allow players to customize to their best experience in emulating an arcade like sound.

- Fixed technical bugs that meant minor improvements in the generated audio.

In the latest update we’ve further adjusted the frequency based on feedback of the sound effects and the high pitch in games such as Slap Fight based on feedback. This is something that’ll also benefit future releases such as Tiger Heli, the first shoot 'em up created by Toaplan. We hope that this is satisfaction to your ears in the goal to deliver the arcade feeling home on your PC.

We’re humble as it’s not an easy task to emulate and faithfully recreate the amazing Toaplan audio with the weight of heritage it carries. We appreciate specific feedback on how and where we can improve. Our goal remains to deliver an arcade experience with minimal input lag for the controller to get that split-second action decisions as you dodge bullets, while you enjoy the beautiful pixel art with or without a CRT filter and feel the beat of the stunning digitized music.

We want to finish off by letting you know that the latest update also includes a fix for the capture video function. Previously we fixed the desync and in the new version we have turned off rewind when recording and replaying. At first the fix will be applied to Twin Cobra, Flying Shark, and Slap Fight. The fix will be rolled out to the other games in the future.

Other fixes in addition to the already mentioned:

● Music tempo correction (Twin Cobra, and Flying Shark)

● Wide screen mode: Pick-ups centered instead of to the left side (Twin Cobra)

● Centered the cursor in the high score entry (Slap Fight)


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