Hi all, first time poster here. I am looking to learn about sound effect file replacement on Gamecube ISOs, specifically Donkey Konga 2. One of the new features DKonga 2 added compared to the original was the "Freestyle Zone", a game mode that just lets you jam on your bongos indefinitely, with no scorekeeping or note track, to whatever backing track you want within the game's song list. If you turn the game music volume all the way down in the options, you can use this mode to perform with just the drum sounds and play along to an external track.
This mode is fun and I've loved screwing around with it in the past simply because of the novelty of DK bongos and the silly sounds, but there are a few things that hold it back from being a viable platform for drum performance, and I plan to fix these by replacing some sound files in the ISO. It will be a solid meme and I would really appreciate some help bringing it to fruition!
The first problem is that the game tracks your hits in Freestyle mode, and on every 50th hit, it will play a random jungle sound effect as a "reward." This may seem charming at first, but hearing a weird monkey screech in the middle of your groove gets old pretty quick.
I was able to fix this by extracting the ISO in Gc-Rebuilder, finding the folders that contain the 50-hit sound effects ("envoice.cbd" and "envoice.chd"), and blanking them out in NotePad and replacing them before rebuilding the new ISO. Now the game tries to play a sound on the 50 hits, but the only thing in the file is silence, so you don't even notice. This makes other parts of the game weirdly lacking in sound effects, but given that this ISO hack is focused solely on Freestyle mode, it's not a concern for me. I can provide some footage as proof of the fix if anyone's curious.
The second problem is that although the bongos are hilarious and fun, it's still weird for me as a drummer to play the bass and hi hat sounds with my hands. On a real drum kit, you have the kick drum and hi hat pedals, leaving your hands open to do more complex rhythms. I fixed this by busting out my old MadCatz Gamecube racing wheel. Donkey Konga recognizes it as a standard Gamecube controller, and I was able to configure it so I can play drum sounds on the gas and brake pedals attached to the steering wheel. They're a far cry from real drum pedals in terms of feel, but I was able to get used to it and my bongo grooves are way smoother now (I can get some footage of the full kit in action if you guys would like).
The third problem, and the one that will be hardest to address, is that the drum sounds in the game are not grouped within bongo sets in a way that is conducive to drum performance. For those who are not aware, in Donkey Konga, you collect coins from clearing songs which you can use to buy custom sound sets for your bongos. Each bongo set has three sounds (left drum, right drum, and clap), and there's a pretty large variety to choose from. A lot of the sounds are just cheesy sound effects that you use to annoy your friends when they actually want to hear the songs you're drumming along to in the main game modes (cats, dogs, barnyard animals, etc.), but there are some usable drum sounds hidden away in the vast library of memes.
However, these usable drum sounds are all scattered across several different bongo sets, and in many cases they're the only sound out of the three that isn't terrible. You only get four controller ports to work with, and although each controller can be set to a different sound set, you still end up basically wasting two sounds just to get a decent snare or hi-hat to work with. As an example, the "Fight" bongo sound set has a slapping/striking noise on the left drum that could pass for a decent dry snare, but the other sounds are a cheesy impact and sword clang sound that are basically worthless.
In the context of my racing wheel set-up, it would be ideal to have a closed hat sound on the left pedal and a bass drum sound on the right. However, the only closed-hat-like sound in the game is on the left drum of Latin Percussion set (you unlock it by having a Donkey Konga 1 save on your memcard with that set purchased), and the other drums of that set are not bass drum sounds. That would mean I would have to buy a whole other racing wheel and take up another controller port just to be able to play the hat and bass drum sounds with my feet, which is not an ideal solution. I intend to fix this by moving the DSP files around within the ISO to create more convenient bongo sets for solo performance.
This project is not without some precedent. A couple years ago, a user named RadioShadow documented a similar project on these forums about importing songs and drum sets over from Donkey Konga 3
, which was only released in Japan. I tried getting touch with him over YouTube and his account on here, but he hasn't responded yet. This tidbit was particularly helpful in solving the 50-hit sound problem:
Going back to this project, I don't think I mentioned that the "drum sets" are different (some were kept) to the ones in the US / EU version. In fact, they even had more. I remember last year that the drum sets were kept in the "se" folder. The ".cbd" file basically contains the sound effects, while the ".chd" contained the necessary data on loading them. I actually tried replacing some of the Japan drum sets into the US version of "Donkey Konga 2", but they didn't work.
Luckily, I figured out that the byte at location 07 in the ".chd" file needs to match with the file you are replacing. It was as simply as that. What I plan to do is replace the drum sets (the ones you buy in the shop) with better drum sets, like the "Star Fox, "Pikmin", Pac-Man" etc. I'm hoping to figure out how to get the other sound effects unlocked, without having unlocked them unlocked on a "Donkey Konga 1" save.
This confirms what I know from looking at the ISO in GC-Rebuilder. There are 36 "inst" sets in the "se" folder, and each one has a .cbd and .chd file. 18 drum sets in the base game and 18 that can be unlocked with a DKonga 1 save makes 36, so that makes sense, but that means each "inst" set contains the sound files and instructions for all three of the drum sounds; they are not packaged individually, which will make the extraction and replacement of the individual sounds quite tricky. When I open these .cbd and .chd files in NotePad, it's all gibberish, so no help there.
As of right now I still don't know which "inst" sets in the directory correspond to the list of bongos in the game. I could find out the hard way, by blanking out the .cbd and .chd files in notepad one by one and testing the game to see which drum sets end up empty afterward, but that would take a long time and wouldn't solve my problem of figuring out how to extract individual drum sounds from the inst sets.
Anyone have experience with these .cbd and .chd files who could offer some advice or help? The extent of my ISO hacking experience is Super Smash Bros Melee texture mods, and the sound file format for Melee is .ssm, which is apparently way different. I would also like to re-label the drum sets within the game text for clarity, so if anyone knows where to start with text editing, please let me know. Thanks in advance!