VOGONS


First post, by miracle.flame

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I am actually succesfully emulating Roland-Mt32 with help of Munt in Dosbox. It works just fine in other games.

Albion (Blue Byte)... no music. Or oddly enough there are some occasional drums played where full music is supposed to be - and music volume adjusting has no effect on the volume of drums.
I've searched internets and one dude asked about this problem with Albion Roland MT-32 over at reddit... and got no answer.

Did actually anyone manage to get it work? What's the culprit?

On a side note, I found a mention on DosBox compatibility boards that emulated GUS works for Albion. However I got no luck as the device could not be initialized in setsound. Not sure what setup is required there, I have
gus=true
gusrate=44100
gusbase=240
gusirq=5
gusdma=3
ultradir=C:\ULTRASND

Reply 2 of 10, by miracle.flame

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Thank you.

As I've stumbled upon this https://github.com/M-HT/SR/releases/tag/albion_v1.6.1 which allows to play Albion natively in Windows and also offers various MIDI playback options:
"The game's MIDI music can be played using one of following libraries:
NativeWindows, WildMIDI, BASSMIDI, ADLMIDI, SDL_mixer

NativeWindows - it plays MIDI music using native Windows functions
ADLMIDI is the default library, others can be selected in the configuration file.
ADLMIDI and NativeWindows don't require additional files for MIDI playback,
WildMIDI requires GUS patches for MIDI playback,
BASSMIDI requires a soundfont for MIDI playback,
ADLMIDI uses OPL3 emulator for MIDI playback."

...and NativeWindows actually sounds markably better than OPL3 does so I was wondering how to utilize MIDI output which I love most - Roland MT-32 - in DosBox which is much more preferrable option for me due to numerous reasons. Selecting General Midi for music doesn't deliver any music either.

Is there any other easily emulated way within DosBox to have better than OPL3 MIDI output in Albion?

Reply 3 of 10, by ripsaw8080

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How are you changing the settings in DOSBox to switch from MT-32 to the GM synth built into Windows? In official source it's a matter of changing the midiconfig= setting to the right ID as shown by the MIXER /LISTMIDI command; but unofficial builds may differ.

Reply 4 of 10, by miracle.flame

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I don't.

Dumb me. I did not realize also General MIDI plays through Munt if DosBox is set to that midiconfig id. Well this is the first time I actually need to have non-default dosbox.conf for a game.

Thank you for speedy and valuable answers.

Reply 5 of 10, by Rencer

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miracle.flame wrote on 2020-09-11, 19:54:
... On a side note, I found a mention on DosBox compatibility boards that emulated GUS works for Albion. However I got no luck a […]
Show full quote

...
On a side note, I found a mention on DosBox compatibility boards that emulated GUS works for Albion. However I got no luck as the device could not be initialized in setsound. Not sure what setup is required there, I have
gus=true
gusrate=44100
gusbase=240
gusirq=5
gusdma=3
ultradir=C:\ULTRASND

Hey, miracle.flame!
Did you TURNED OFF the SB emulation in the config file? (sbtype=none)
I had the same problem that GUS not recognised but after I turned off the SB emulation, it worked.

A few days ago I decided to play Albion again. I played it several times back than, under DOS with a SoundBlaster.

I really loved the music of this game, so now that we have emulation buillt into DOSBox for all those fancy cards, I decided to play it with -what I thought will be- the ultimate music experince, with Roland MT32 emulation.
I quickly figured out that it is not working.
I changed in the setup to General MIDI and tried with many different soundfonts (I using Qsynth) but all of them are sound like garbage in this game. Compared to the OPL music, when you play with GeneralMIDI, it's like some instruments are completely missing, or just sounds very off.
The link, that ripsaw8080 posted, totally explains why.

I think the game not just lie about the GeneralMIDI-compatibility, but I think the game's music doesn't even made the way, that it can be played back fine with anything GM.

I was really upset, that I won't hear one of my favourite game with better music, but than I thought I give it a try with GUS.
And the result was amazing! There are no missing instruments or awful sounds, everything sounds great. GUS is the way!
I think the game meant to played with a GUS card.

Don't mess with GeneralMIDI, use GUS in this game.

Reply 6 of 10, by miracle.flame

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Rencer wrote on 2021-05-23, 14:16:
Hey, miracle.flame! Did you TURNED OFF the SB emulation in the config file? (sbtype=none) I had the same problem that GUS not re […]
Show full quote
miracle.flame wrote on 2020-09-11, 19:54:
... On a side note, I found a mention on DosBox compatibility boards that emulated GUS works for Albion. However I got no luck a […]
Show full quote

...
On a side note, I found a mention on DosBox compatibility boards that emulated GUS works for Albion. However I got no luck as the device could not be initialized in setsound. Not sure what setup is required there, I have
gus=true
gusrate=44100
gusbase=240
gusirq=5
gusdma=3
ultradir=C:\ULTRASND

Hey, miracle.flame!
Did you TURNED OFF the SB emulation in the config file? (sbtype=none)
I had the same problem that GUS not recognised but after I turned off the SB emulation, it worked.

A few days ago I decided to play Albion again. I played it several times back than, under DOS with a SoundBlaster.

I really loved the music of this game, so now that we have emulation buillt into DOSBox for all those fancy cards, I decided to play it with -what I thought will be- the ultimate music experince, with Roland MT32 emulation.
I quickly figured out that it is not working.
I changed in the setup to General MIDI and tried with many different soundfonts (I using Qsynth) but all of them are sound like garbage in this game. Compared to the OPL music, when you play with GeneralMIDI, it's like some instruments are completely missing, or just sounds very off.
The link, that ripsaw8080 posted, totally explains why.

I think the game not just lie about the GeneralMIDI-compatibility, but I think the game's music doesn't even made the way, that it can be played back fine with anything GM.

I was really upset, that I won't hear one of my favourite game with better music, but than I thought I give it a try with GUS.
And the result was amazing! There are no missing instruments or awful sounds, everything sounds great. GUS is the way!
I think the game meant to played with a GUS card.

Don't mess with GeneralMIDI, use GUS in this game.

Hey Rencer,

thank you for following up on this. Unfortunately I still can't get past "Could not initialize instrument manager. Check driver type and configuration." error in sound setup when I select Gravis Ultrasound MIDI thus this option cannot be set. I have sbtype=none and gus=true. Tried this on various versions of DosBox including the latest from official page. Could you send me your whole cfg in code please? I'd definitely like to check how other games sound with GUS.

Also I managed to play Albion with General MIDI set using Roland Sound Canvas VA and it sounds definitelly better than OPL, you might want to check such option. I believe that's what Albion OST on youtube sounds like.

Reply 7 of 10, by Rencer

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miracle.flame wrote on 2021-05-25, 17:23:

....
Could you send me your whole cfg in code please? I'd definitely like to check how other games sound with GUS...

First I followed the full, manual GUS installation tutorial that you can find here in Vogon:
Install Gravis Ultrasound Properly, All files, No Errors (With Pictures!)

I installed it with the pro patchs, but without installing MegaEM. (Who needs GUS SB emulation anyway?)
Than I just copied that ULTRASND folder to the folder that is mounted as C: in DOSBox (in my case it is /DOS in my home folder)
Also I made an ISO image from my original Albion CD, installed the game and copied the files from that.
I Also tried out other Albion ISO files, downloaded from different abandonware sites, and they worked perfectly.

Here is my dosbox config file:
(Of course you need to run Albion's sound setup in DOSBOX, and set Gravis (port, irq, dma) as in the DOSBox config file if it not autodetect it.)
The only problem with GUS that there is no audio in the intro video. In-game the sound and music is working fine.

[sdl]

fullscreen=false
fulldouble=true
fullresolution=desktop
windowresolution=original
output=openglnb
autolock=true
sensitivity=100
waitonerror=true
priority=higher,normal
mapperfile=mapper-0.74-3.map
usescancodes=true

[dosbox]

language=
machine=svga_s3
captures=capture
memsize=16

[render]

frameskip=0
aspect=true
scaler=none

[cpu]

core=auto
cputype=auto
cycles=auto
cycleup=1000
cycledown=1000

[mixer]

nosound=false
rate=49716
blocksize=1024
prebuffer=25

[midi]

mpu401=intelligent
mididevice=alsa
midiconfig=14:0

[sblaster]

sbtype=none
sbbase=220
irq=7
dma=3
hdma=5
sbmixer=true
oplmode=opl3
oplemu=compat
oplrate=49716

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[gus]

gus=true
gusrate=44100
gusbase=240
gusirq=5
gusdma=1
ultradir=C:\ULTRASND

[speaker]

pcspeaker=true
pcrate=49716
tandy=auto
tandyrate=49716
disney=true

[joystick]

joysticktype=auto
timed=true
autofire=false
swap34=false
buttonwrap=false

[serial]

serial1=dummy
serial2=dummy
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled

[dos]

xms=true
ems=true
umb=true
keyboardlayout=auto

[ipx]

ipx=false

[autoexec]

mount c "~/DOS"

mount d "~/DOS/ALBION/ALBIONCD" -t cdrom
c:
cd \ALBION
albion

Reply 8 of 10, by miracle.flame

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No way, I've just sent you a PM suggesting that you might not have notifications turned on for this thread and literally seconds later here's your post. Now we're talking about TIMING.

Looks like I've completely missed consideration that GUS has to be installed in the first place and isn't bundled within DosBox. This just might work - I'll report back once tested.

UPDATE:
Thank you. I was able to play GUS with sbtype=sb16 enabled using these pre-installed files as every other link to GUS files was dead. I'll have to make some more comparisons but so far I like Sound Canvas VA better.

Reply 9 of 10, by Dagar

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Thanks for this thread. I had no idea I was missing the music selecting Roland MT-32 for the MIDI Music !

I set it up and configured the game to use Gravis Ultrasound for both MIDI Music and Digital Audio ... and what a difference.

NOTES:
When first setting up make sure in your DOSBox config that SB emulation is turned off sbtype=none so the games audio setup correctly recognizes Gravis Ultrasound.

After initial set-up, turn back on SB emulation (sbtype=sb16) otherwise you will have no audio during the game intro. Example below:

[sblaster]
sbtype=sb16
sbbase=220
irq=7
dma=1
hdma=5
sbmixer=true
oplmode=opl3
oplrate=49716
oplemu=compat

[gus]
gus=true
gusrate=44100
gusbase=240
gusirq=5
gusdma=3
ultradir=C:\ULTRASND

Reply 10 of 10, by Rencer

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miracle.flame wrote on 2021-05-25, 17:23:

...
Also I managed to play Albion with General MIDI set using Roland Sound Canvas VA and it sounds definitelly better than OPL, you might want to check such option. I believe that's what Albion OST on youtube sounds like.

I did not tried out with Roland Sound Canvas VA, because it is a Windows program and like I mentioned, I have Linux and I prefer to use native Linux softwares.
I know that, you can use Roland SCVA under 64bit Linux with DOSBox, but it need to use Wine.
(I made an installation tutorial on that some times ago, you can find it here on the forum under "DOSBox Guides")

The video that you mentioned, is that video is this one?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRHHCvy4J_E

If that is how it is sound with Roland SCVA, than I prefer not even bother with Wine and the installation of that software.
The reason is because it is (IMO) sounds really awful.
Like I said earlier, compared to the OPL or GUS music, when you play with GeneralMIDI it's like some instruments are missing, or just sounds very off.
That is exactly the problem with this video too. Lot of instruments are just sounds off.
In this video the whole thing is sounds like the instruments are a wierd combination of instruments from a somewhat qood quality soundfont and quirky OPL FM "beeping" instruments.

Meanwile I played a bit again, with some more soundfonts, and I figured out something interesting; why playing the game with GeneralMIDI and soundfonts makes the music sounds off.
It turned out the problem is NOT that tha game's music is not meant to be played on a GM software/hardware synth, no.
The problem was the SOUNDFONTS itself!

In every DOS game that can use GeneralMIDI/Roland MT-32, I using software synthesizer; Qsynth which is just a GUI for FluidSynth, with the 'Timbres of Heaven' soundfont. It always gives the best result.
Or, in some cases, when I had that mood, I use my Audigy 4 (Emu10k1) with the 'CT8MGM.SF2' soundfont from Creative, it is from the Audigy driver CD.
You can use this same soundfont with any software synth, I tested it out and it sounds exactly the same on both real hardware or software synth.
Strange thing it is, but in Albion even the best Timbres soundfont sound off!
(That's why first I thouth, that the game's music is not meant to be played on GeneralMIDI.)

But I tried out the game on my Audigy card with the CT8MGM soudnfont and it was really good! I think even this little 8MB Crative soundfont beats Roland in this game.So it seems the game's music is perfectly fine with GeneralMIDI wiht the right choice of a soundfont; it's only sounds off, weird, bad WITH anything that is Roland...

I made few recordings, so you guys can compare it and decide what you prefer.

I recorded 2 music from the game, that I think really shows the differences and the "bugs" too.

-With DOSBox's OPL3 emulation (SB16) for comparison. (The file name is 'albDOSBoxOPL')
-With the Audigy's CT8MGM soundfont. Qsynth, because no audio is recorded when I use the Audigy hardware, but it's the same. (The file name is 'albAUD4soft')
-With GUS. (The file name is 'albGUS')
-Also grabbed the music of the Roland SC8820 from that YouTube video. (The file name is 'albSC8820')
-And with something that I come up with; a combination of 2 different soundfonts. (The file name is 'albGMsoftsynthmix')

I used SimpleScreenRecorder with uncompressed audio for recording.
After that, I normalized the volume in Audacity and exported to best quality OGG.

If you copare the Roland SC8820 music from the YouTube video to anything, I think you guys can agree that it's simply HORRIBLE!
Everything other than that Roland, regardless of that you listen to; simple OPL or any sondfont, all the instruments are sounds the same. Roland is just off, it feels that some instruments doesn't fit into the whole music. Doesn't fit with the other instruments. But the worst thing that the whole music is plays FASTER.
Not good at all...

The Audigy4/Emu10k1 is fairly good in every music.

I still prefer that 'über-acoustic' GUS music, but turned out to be, that not all the music from the game sounds great with it!
In the TerranWalk2 music the GUS fails, something relly gone wild in that. Other are fine.

And there is that "combo" I find, is just...well, just listen to it; it's almost like you listen to not a synth-music but a music played on real instruments.
I think that is how the music should sounds in this game.
The only "problem" is that you need a lot of RAM and a modern fast CPU to use this combo; you can't play with this on a real, old retro computer.
This one is a combined sound of the FuidR3_GM soundfont (142 MB) and the FatBoy soundfont (315MB).
To be honest, I really doesn't like FluidR3 or FatBoy and I never use them. In every other game that I played or when simply just listen MIDI music, they never give a good result that I like. But in Albion they gives the best result.

Albion is a unique game...

I had to upload the files to an external place, because all of them are bigger than 5 megs so I made 2 ZIP files for the 2 music.
(It will be only hosted for 30 days, so if someone knows better way to keep them up for a long time, plese tell me and I will reupload them.)

The TerranWalk2 musics:
https://ufile.io/lw34ghs4

The Benevoleno City musics:
https://ufile.io/9rr5zid5