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Does VDMSound work under WinXP+SP3?

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First post, by RayeR

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Hi,
I had installed latest VDMSound 2.1.0 in my WinXP SP1 some years ago and it worked fine. Then I upgraded to SP2 and sill working. Last year I upgraded so SP3 and when I now try to run some DOS game (e.g. blood) it doesnt't work. DOSDRV seems to be loaded sucessfully no error is reported but the sound if any is jittered like with standatd NTVDM elulation (in doom/doom2) and no sfx in blood just midi. I don't know what bad happened. I didn't changed hardware configuration any way even I didn't upgraded any driver or directx. So the suspection lies on SP3 as it is thing that touches OS heavily.
The same happened also on my notebook where I had installed SP3 too. Unfortunatelly this is about 3/4 year ago and I have no longer backups of my SP2 installation.

Please can somebody confirm if VDMSound works well under XP-SP3? I'll try to downgrade for experiement if it helps.

Reply 2 of 25, by RayeR

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Damn... I tried to install SP2 but it refused to install because newer SP3 has installed. I didn't let SP3 setup create backup files so I cannot uninstall SP# any way. S I'll try to make new SP2 install and then try to figure out if it depends on some DLL, driver or registry setting. If we will have a luck it would depend on few files that could be downgraded on SP3 install.
I don't know if VDMS is still under devel. or abandoned maybe authors could modify the sources to make it SP3 compatible.

Reply 4 of 25, by DosFreak

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You could download Acronis True Image, image your system and then install XP clean. Then test out VDMSound and see if you have the same issue.

or try VDMSound in a VM but the problem there is most VM's have horrible sound quality.

If you have an extra machine such as a laptop it makes testing things much easier.

Don't feel bad ig you don't get too many replies in this thread. VDMSound development stopped loooooooong ago since it's pretty much a dead-end. DOSBox took over where VDMSound could not go.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
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Running DRM games offline

Reply 5 of 25, by RayeR

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I have a multiboot setup so don't need to loose time with making comlpette patition image 😀 So I installed XP-SP2 but problem with VDM sound persist, sound is chopped. I also tried older ver 2.04 but the same.
But I remember that I slipstreamed many hotfixes after SP2 to my install image so the system is closer to SP3 than SP2. I'll have to look for original SP2 install and try again.

btw I don't know why such propagation of dosbox in threads that have nothing yo do with it. Dosbox is nice but it's very slow and even on nowdays top machines (I use E8400@3,5GHz) run some games slowly and it doesn't utilize multithreading to gain speed on multicore machines... So there's still a place for things like VDM sound and native executing...

Reply 6 of 25, by ripa

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I have XP SP3 and VDMSound works in Carmageddon (sfx and cd audio), Tomb Raider (sfx and cd audio), and shareware Blood (both sfx and midi) without stuttering.

My CPU is Athlon XP 2400+, my video card is GeForce 6200, and my sound card is an SB Live 5.1.

Reply 7 of 25, by RayeR

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Thanks, good to know! I have intel C2D, P31 chipset, SB live 1024 and 7900GT. Did you installed any further updates after SP3? Do you use english or localized version? When I come back at home I'll try pure SP2 without hotfixes. I can't remember what else I installed that could such affect the system. Esp. on my notebook which I use ocassionally and I'm sure that VDM sound worked there before... I'm testing on Doom 1 and Blood.

Reply 8 of 25, by ripa

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I have the english version and I've installed every update except:

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 and .NET Framework 3.5 Family Update (KB951847) x86

Security Update for Windows XP (KB958687)

Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool - January 2009 (KB890830)

I'm installing them now and I'll post if they disable VDMsound. Maybe the new CPUs have dropped some backwards compatibility or VDMsound doesn't like multicore.

edit: everything still works.

Last edited by ripa on 2009-01-29, 20:59. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 25, by DosFreak

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It's usually either drivers or monitoring programs that can interfere with VDMSOUND.

It's very rare that a Microsoft Update would cause an issue.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 10 of 25, by dvwjr

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RayeR wrote:

Thanks, good to know! I have intel C2D, P31 chipset, SB live 1024 and 7900GT. Did you installed any further updates after SP3? Do you use english or localized version? When I come back at home I'll try pure SP2 without hotfixes. I can't remember what else I installed that could such affect the system. Esp. on my notebook which I use ocassionally and I'm sure that VDM sound worked there before... I'm testing on Doom 1 and Blood.

I have been working on some DOS game titles under the WinXP NTVDM with VDMsound v2.1.0 and have always been curious as to the in-game audio "stutter" problem that seemed to occur frequently with some games with users posts on this forum. Vlad was chasing the problem for a while, which actually had nothing to do with VDMsound itself... Most of the problem is not with VDMsound (there is one Win32 API that might be helpful), however, the problem is not with VDMsound or WinXP (SP2 or SP3), the problem has always been the DOS DPMI applications themselves. Lack of attention to detail in the DOS4GW programming era causes problems in the NTVDM environment while being masked and therefore non-existent on a pure DOS system.

My 'hobby' 🤣 of looking back on end-of-life products has led me to modifying the Bullfrog game SYNDICATE WARS to make it run as well or better in the WinXP NTVDM/VDMsound environment as it ever did on DOS, from the Introduction cutscenes, gameplay and in-game sound/CD music/MIDI to the Exit cutscenes. So far it is very smooth and has confirmed my ideas as to what was actually happening when running under WinXP (SP2 and SP3). Most every late DOS/DPMI era game could be made just as functional as SYNDICATE WARS in the WinXP (SP2+) NTVDM environment. Now with DOSbox available that effort may be moot, however the one advantage of the WinXP (SP2+) NTVDM environment is that ability to support up to eight players via IPX (or NetBIOS) where DOSbox seems to be performance limited to two or three users.

When I have it finished in the future it will be posted in some fashion. But don't kill yourself for now, the games such as SYNDICATE WARS or BLOOD are the cause of the NTVDM problems, not WinXP (SP2+). The proof will be in the pudding - using my runtime patch for said games by a fair number of people should be proof of concept, or not... 😁

More later when I finish,

dvwjr

Reply 11 of 25, by RayeR

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Yesterday I installed XP SP2 again from the original CD but still have the same problem. I did not installed ANY driver, just use XP built-in SB live driver and universal SVGA driver. So it seems that OS doesn't cause the problem.

Just for sure - how shoul be set BLASTER=... line in %SYSTEMROOT%/AUTOEXEC.NT ? In default it is enabled and use A220/I5/D1+5 setting but VDMSound default is A220/I7/D1+5. When testing I just start cmd.exe in fullscreen, type "DOSDRV" to load VDMSound and then run game or game setup. Do I need to set BLASTER= before? Currently it is not listed in environment variables.

>dvwjr

I don't think it is caused by game itself because when I ran it last time, some year ago, blood, duke3d, doom... everything ran smoothly on the same hardware with VDMSound 2.1.0. And BTW what modification you exactly did to the game?

Reply 12 of 25, by dvwjr

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RayeR wrote:

I don't think it is caused by game itself because when I ran it last time, some year ago, blood, duke3d, doom... everything ran smoothly on the same hardware with VDMSound 2.1.0. And BTW what modification you exactly did to the game?

It's the DOS/DPMI games, trust me. 😏

When I complete my 'hobby' project you can be one of the beta testors. That's why it's my hobby, I get to work on it at my own speed, since I'm not a programmer. I have a little experience with debugging, however...

A few years ago I got the first diskette image of SYSTEM SHOCK v1.5S (floppy) my forum member 5u3. I put that project on the back shelf when I noted many minor problems (other than Mok's read unallocated memory fix) that were common to all late era DOS/DPMI games which caused problems under WinXP NTVDM. Especially those which used the MILES sound system linkable code, which is quite a few games.

After my proof-of-concept release for SYNDICATE WARS there is one person in the DOS system programming community who could extend the 'fix' for all games under the NTVDM environment.

Just a friendly warning not to waste your time looking at the WinXP (SP2+) operating system as your problem - that is a dead end. I'll give you the details when I am finished. 😁

dvwjr

Reply 13 of 25, by RayeR

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And you trust me, I WAS playing Blood with vdmsound and with smooth playback, it is possible. Bot somethig has changed. Acording to my experiments it doesn't depend on OS, I was back on SP2 and it behaved the same.
Now I just tried also SoundFX 2000 2.03 but result is the same (also on notebook) and even worse with Blood because it crashes (under vdmsoud it doesn't):

DOS/4GW error (2002): transfer stack overflow on interrupt E9h at 267:000004F8
TSF32: prev_tsf32 33F8
SS 27F DS 0 ES 1DF FS 0 GS 17F
EAX 5290 EBX 16F ECX 0 EDX 331
ESI 52900000 EDI FF4 EBP FBA ESP 5278
CS:IP 267:000004F8 ID E9 COD 0 FLG 13087
CS= 267, USE16, byte granular, limit B94F, base 33A5B70, acc FB
SS= 27F, USE16, byte granular, limit 7CFF, base 33B14C0, acc F3
DS= 0, USE16, byte granular, limit 0, base 33B14C0, acc 0
ES= 1DF, USE16, byte granular, limit FFFF, base D2430, acc F3
FS= 0, USE16, byte granular, limit 0, base D2430, acc 0
GS= 17F, USE16, byte granular, limit FFFF, base 7610, acc F3
CR0: unavailable

Reply 14 of 25, by dvwjr

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RayeR wrote:

And you trust me, I WAS playing Blood with vdmsound and with smooth playback, it is possible. Bot somethig has changed. Acording to my experiments it doesn't depend on OS, I was back on SP2 and it behaved the same.

I do agree, you did see smooth performance with the WinXP NTVDM and VDMsound v2.1.0, this observation has been made on the BLOOD forums at the DeathMask.net website. Many there swear by WinXP (SP1) as being the last WinXP release that will run a badly CLI/NOP hacked Blood.exe with somewhat acceptable sound, choppy cutscenes and functional gameplay. Each progressive release of WinXP service packs only futher exposed the underlying application problems.

Since as we both know there is no native VESA support in the WinXP NTVDM as VESA is defaulted in 'full-screen' mode to the video BIOS of the installed graphics card, all of those people who complain about "screwed up" WinXP VESA support by nVidia, ATI, Intel, etc are simply barking up the wrong tree. My disassembly of the nVidia vBIOS for a 7950GT shows that it is one of the most compatible IBM VGA/VESA 3.0 vBIOS around, minus the code for the variable VESA video mode refresh rate functionality which was removed by nVidia. Still even members of even this august forum continue to blame nVidia for lousy NTVDM VESA 'support'. Therefore, people blame the operating system for problems for which it is not responsible. They incorrectly correlate the symptoms with the cause... The DOS/DPMI application problems are similarly not the fault of the operating system.

The problems of SYNDICATE WARS or BLOOD under the WinXP NTVDM changing the in-game characteristics in WinXP (SP2+) is somewhat analogous to the NTVDM VESA support. The operating system is doing what it is instructed to do - and the fact that the DOS/DPMI application was programmed in a sloppy fashion is only being exposed by the WinXP NTVDM environment. The programming problems are masked under real DOS (also DOSbox) but are exposed under the WinXP (SP2+) NTVDM environment.

I'll just repeat my warning - do not waste your time on trying to fix the problem by attacking the operating side of the equation. You will just be wasting your valuable programming/debugging time. 😉

More details later when I finish,

dvwjr

Reply 15 of 25, by RayeR

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OK,
I restored my current OS backup and no more tweaking 😀 But today I played with MS VirtualPC 2007 SP 1 and it seems to be not bad. It emulates SB16 well but no MIDI so I must accepted FM synth sound but better than nothing. Video support is good, it provides VESA modes up to 1600x1200 windowed and fullscreen (latest patched blood 1.20 can set it directly in menu as you can see 😀. A short E1M1 scene played in VPC:
http://rapidshare.com/files/192280366/blood_u … pc2007.avi.html

EDIT: After some more testing seems VPC is little bit crappy coz sometime guest app freeze and sometimes when I start VPC I have no sound at all and I need to close it and run again.

ps. did you succeed with your mobo flash? Could you send me your 7950 vbios for test?

Reply 18 of 25, by dvwjr

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RayeR wrote:

ps. did you succeed with your mobo flash? Could you send me your 7950 vbios for test?

Finally back up on development machine. Please check you PM for the nVidia 7950GT ROM vBIOS file.

Now I have found some-one else's work-around for the Intel ring-3 PVI problem, one of the last technical problems with SYNDICATE WARS seems fix-able under the NTVDM.

dvwjr

Reply 19 of 25, by RayeR

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When I visit here I remember this old thread.
I don't know what caused it but I have smooth sound playback now 😜
From that times I installed some system updates and changed SB live to Audigy 2. It's now imposiible to track what happened, I don't care just a deja-vu 😀