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Kingdom Hearts DS Games - SSEQ File Format

All information was referenced from this document

SSEQ stands for “Sound Sequence”. It is a converted MIDI sequence. Linked to a BANK for instruments.

Position Type Name Description
0x0 char[4] type ‘SSEQ’
0x4 uint32 magic 0x0100feff
0x8 uint32 nFileSize Size of this SSEQ file
0xC uint16 nSize Size of this structure = 16
0xE uint16 nBlock Number of Blocks = 1
0x10 char[4] type ‘DATA’
0x14 uint32 nSize Size of this structure = nFileSize - 16
0x18 uint32 nDataOffset Offset of the sequence data = 0x1c
0x1C uint8[1] data Arrays of sequence data

NB. For the details of the SSEQ file, please refer to loveemu’s sseq2mid


The design of SSEQ is more programming-oriented while MIDI is hardware-oriented. In MIDI, to produce a sound, a Note-On event is sent to the midi-instrument and then after a certain time, a Note-Off is sent to stop the sound (though it is also acceptable to send a Note-On message with 0 velocity). In SSEQ, a sound is produced by one event only which carries with data such as note, velocity and duration. So the SSEQ-sequencer knows exactly what and how to play and when to stop.

A SSEQ can have at maximum 16 tracks, notes in the range of 0..127 (middle C is 60). Each quartet note has a fixed tick length of 48. Tempo in the range of 1..240 BPM (Default is 120). The SSEQ will not be played correctly if tempo higher than 240.

The SEQ player uses Arm7’s Timer1 for timing. The Arm7’s 4 Timers runs at 33MHz (approximately 2^25). The SEQ player sets Timer1 reload value to 2728, prescaler to F/64. So on about every 0.0052 sec (64 * 2728 / 33MHz) the SEQ Player will be notified ( 1 cycle ). As a quartet note has fixed tick value of 48, the highest tempo that SEQ Player can handle is 240 BPM ( 60 / (0.0052 * 48) ).

During each cycle, the SEQ player adds the tempo value to a variable. Then it checks if the value exceeds 240. If it does, the SEQ player subtracts 240 from the variable, and process the SSEQ file. Using this method, the playback is not very precise but the difference is too small to be noticed.

Take an example with tempo = 160 BPM, the SSEQ file is processed twice in 3 notifications.

Cycle Variable Action
1 0 Add 160
2 160 Add 160
3 320 Subtract 240, process once, add 160
4 240 Subtract 240, process once, add 160
5 160 Add 160
6 320 Subtract 240, process once, add 160
7 240 Subtract 240, process once, add 160
8 160 Add 160


Status Byte Parameter Description
0xFE 2 bytes. It indicates which tracks are used. Bit 0 for track 0, … Bit 15 for track 15. If the bit is set, the corresponding track is used. Indication begin of multitrack. Must be in the beginning of the first track to work. A series of event 0x93 follows.
0x93 4 bytes. 1st byte is track number [0..15]. The other 3 bytes are the relative adress of track data. Add nDataOffset (usually 0x1C) to find out the absolute address. SSEQ is similar to MIDI in that track data are stored one after one track. Unlike mod music.
0x00 .. 0x7f Velocity: 1 byte [0..127]. Duration: Variable Length NOTE-ON. Duration is expressed in tick. 48 for quartet note. Usually it is NOT a multiple of 3.
0x80 Duration: Variable Length REST. It tells the SSEQ-sequencer to wait for a certain tick. Usually it is a multiple of 3.
0x81 Bank & Program Number: Variable Length bits[0..7] is the program number, bits[8..14] is the bank number. Bank change is seldomly found, so usually bank 0 is used.
0x94 Destination Address: 3 bytes (Add nDataOffset (usually 0x1C) to find out the absolute address.) JUMP. A jump must be backward. So that the song will loop forever.
0x95 Call Address: 3 bytes (Add nDataOffset (usually 0x1C) to find out the absolute address.) CALL. It’s like a function call. The SSEQ-sequncer jumps to the address and starts playing at there, until it sees a RETURN event.
0xFD NONE RETURN. The SSEQ will return to the caller’s address + 4 (a Call event is 4 bytes in size).
0xA0 .. 0xBf See loveemu’s sseq2mid for more details. Some arithmetic operations / comparions. Affect how SSEQ is to be played.
0xC0 Pan Value: 1 byte [0..127], middle is 64 PAN
0xC1 Volume Value: 1 byte [0..127] VOLUME
0xC2 Master Volume Value: 1 byte [0..127] MASTER VOLUME
0xC3 Value: 1 byte [0..64] (Add 64 to make it a MIDI value) TRANSPOSE (Channel Coarse Tuning)
0xC4 Value: 1 byte PITCH BEND
0xC5 Value: 1 byte PITCH BEND RANGE
0xC6 Value: 1 byte TRACK PRIORITY
0xC7 Value: 1 byte [0: Poly, 1: Mono] MONO/POLY
0xC8 Value: 1 byte [0: Off, 1: On] TIE (unknown)
0xCA Value: 1 byte [0: Off, 1: On] MODULATION DEPTH
0xCC Value: 1 byte [0: Pitch, 1: Volume, 2: Pan] MODULATION TYPE
0xCE Value: 1 byte PORTAMENTO ON/OFF
0xD0 Value: 1 byte ATTACK RATE
0xD1 Value: 1 byte DECAY RATE
0xD2 Value: 1 byte SUSTAIN RATE
0xD3 Value: 1 byte RELEASE RATE
0xD4 Count: 1 byte (how many times to be looped) LOOP START MARKER
0xD5 Value: 1 byte EXPRESSION
0xD6 Value: 1 byte PRINT VARIABLE (unknown)
0xE0 Value: 2 byte MODULATION DELAY
0xE1 BPM: 2 byte TEMPO
0xE3 Value: 2 byte SWEEP PITCH
0xFF NONE EOT: End Of Track