From Sega Retro

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CyberSound is a line of products created by InVision Interactive in May 1995, acting together as a comprehensive set of tools to enable sound on varying types of computer hardware.

CyberSound was designed to produce "high quality" audio with minimal processing costs, which was achieved by creating a software-based MIDI-esque waveform (or "instrument") table. The idea was that complex pieces of music could be constructed by saving sequences of individual notes, and then applying a specific instrument to each note to generate sound, as opposed to streaming an already constructed piece of audio from a CD-ROM.

This method leads to greater efficiency and lower memory and storage requirements. The concept was nothing new per se, however CyberSound worked entirely within software (i.e. no special chipsets were required) and was supported by an extensive library of waveforms supplied by InVision Interactive themselves. It also went further than the General MIDI standard, allowing for more than 128 instruments if required.

CyberSound technology was licensed by numerous hardware manufacturers and was regularly used in video games until at least the early 2000s. InVision Interactive went bankrupt around this period and support for the software ceased, however the advent of higher density disc formats such as GD-ROM (for the Sega Dreamcast) and DVD for the PlayStation 2 gave audio programmers more flexibilty when it came to in-game music.

Sega co-operation

As part of the official Sega Saturn development tools, Sega licensed technology from InVision Interactive and made a Saturn-compatible system available to third-party developers from 1994. It is believed this license mainly concerned the instrument/waveform library ("CyberSound GM" as it was later known officially), forming what was initially termed the Sega Sound Library (at least, prior to the CyberSound name coming into use). This in turn would be fed to the Saturn Custom Sound Processor (SCSP) and played.

CyberSound technology was used in a large percentage of Saturn games, including Sega first-party games such as NiGHTS into Dreams, Dragon Force and Sakura Taisen. Developers more interested in audio fidelity would often opt for Red Book audio (i.e. music streamed off a disc, much like a regular music CD-ROM). Some publishers opted for other, home-grown systems, while later games such as Burning Rangers used ADX technology - a form of audio compression that did not necessarily hamper other system processes.

It was also possible to access the SCSP directly, which often made more sense for arcade ports or games which required "simpler" sound. There was no requirement to take sides, however - games could swap between multiple audio technologies if they desired.

Several Sega Dreamcast games also make use of CyberSound technology, though were less likely to advertise the then-aging system as Saturn titles were.

Games utilising the "Sega Sound Library"

Games utilising CyberSound