Reply 40 of 53, by DOSUserDude
Depends on what "you" consider an "authentic" or "optimized" or "meant to be played" experience.
Trying to minimize subjectivity. Sometimes this is easy. It's well known that Sierra's pre-GM titles were composed for MT-32, so MT-32 is how they're "meant to be played," regardless of if I think they're better with later GM patches, or if I'm nostalgic for Adlib mode. DOTT is more complicated, but most people seem to say that MT-32 is how the music is "meant to be played." I've sort of accepted that, but I wonder why MT-32 support had to be patched in later if that's true.
If the game was composed on an early Roland SC-55 (remember..3 composers..did all three use Roland SC 55s? early/late?) but with the CM32L/LAPC-I in mind for maximum reproducability of intended music+soundFX (demonstrated by the fact that there are extra FX etc with a CM32L/LAPC-I etc) then clearly it was "meant to be played" (using composing platform+maximum reproducability criteria) on a CM32L/LAPC-I - not an MT-32.
Because GM had been standardized and increased its market share presence over the years the game developed and by the time it was released, GM support was also provided at release time.
Like Great Hierophant indicated, it wasnt "patched in later" - They clearly developed it for both CDROM/floppy release (floppy originally at the start, then as the development extended, added voice for CDROM). They then shipped simultaneously.
However, when they shipped the floppy version, at least originally, they shipped it without the actual Roland/GM drivers (though the configuration setup support listed them as options - selecting them resulted in errors at runtime).
So arguably, if you have the original floppy version, but without the extra floppy with the actual drivers and FX data, then arguably it was "meant to be played" with an SB/Adlib, since that is the only device supported without the extra disk (drivers+FX).
If you have the floppy version but with the extra disk (Roland/GM drivers+FX) then arguably, it is "meant to be played" on a CM32L/LAPC-I with/without a SB, depending on if you have one.
So for my purposes, what are the reasons one might prefer CM-32L sound effects over the Sound Blaster ones? I can think of a few objective reasons to prefer the SB ones - they came first, which is a point in favor of authenticity, they're more numerous, they're made specifically for DOTT, and you need SB mode to hear voices in the CD-ROM version. Why prefer the CM-32L sounds? If they're just things like "because I want to hear them" or "I want to use my CM-32L," and not things like "some sounds are CM-32L exclusive," then it's still my understanding that MT-32+SB is the optimal experience.
They SB FX didnt come first certainly not the voice. Arguably, they came second, relative to the development cycle (started floppy only, CDROM support added later, assuming SB FX=voice+FX).
Again as stated above, CM32L/LAPCI-I (with or without SB) is the "optimal" experience, since an MT-32 (or any GM device in GM mode) cannot play any of the exta soundFX that are only available on a CM32L/LAPC-I/CM64 etc.
If it was composed on a Roland SC 55 (3 different composers mind you), it would seem that GM would be preferred, especially for the floppy version or without a SB. But if configured for Roland with a CM32L/LAPC-I..you get those extra FX that you dont get with GM or MT-32.
But you do get those extra FX with MIDI+SB, right? Just different versions of the FX.
But you don't get them. At all. MT-32 can't play them. GM Can't play them. Only CM32L/LACPC-I/CM64 can.
Did i mention the "it doesnt sound right because that isnt how I remember it" bias preference?
No need. It's irrelevant to what I mean by "meant to be played."
Your choice. Simply pointing out one of the common "meant to be played" criteria often mentioned.
Corrected drivers that allow combinations of audio devices that werent allowed or were limited then? is that "meant to be played"?
I take that on a case by case. For instance, I like how it's now possible to play Monkey Island 2 with MT-32 with Adlib sounds. Technically not "meant to be played," but you're getting the best of both worlds, each world an authentic one on its own, and they don't clash or offend when combined. An example of an enhanced game I don't care for would be Wasteland. The added music is too somber for the rather goofy tone, and it's just an unending loop of tracks that have nothing to do with the area you're in. The game just wasn't meant to have music, and the attempt to shoehorn it in doesn't fit.
I also like that its now possible to combine hardware support in ways that weren't intended/supported at the time. But again, as you yourself admit, it violates "meant to be played" by your own criteria.
NewRisingSun/tikalat and others have created all sorts of modified/fixed drivers for all sorts of games that I use - DOSBox of course supports them - Does SCUMMVM?
Same could be said of using a modern MIDI/MPU-401 device that didn't exist at the time a game with MIDI/MPU-401 support was released.
I wouldn't put it in a separate category at all. The game makes use of and outputs extra soundFX on a LAPC-I/CM32L (especially meaningful on the floppy version which has little to no SB FX). That can't be denied.
That's good information, which I didn't know, and does make a case for CM-32L's relevancy. But what about the CD-ROM version? Does it have extra FX compared to that? And why play the floppy version of DOTT when the CD-ROM version is available? Not a rhetorical question - I recently asked that question (to myself) about Loom, and found some very good, factual reasons.
Since they were released simultaneously, perhaps playing it both ways is called for? I myself have that very same consideration: "for game XX, when both floppy and CDROM versions are available, which version should I obtain/play?" And yes, Loom is a good example of why the floppy version might/would be preferred to the CDROM version. But again, maybe play it both ways?
SCUMMVM has plenty of limitations and drawbacks (in addition to some useful functionality) as noted here and elsewhere. To my mind the limitations outweigh the benefits, but I use it for testing purposes etc. Their focus is on adding more and more games and "improved and corrected gameplay" -providing maximized original experience accuracy seems very low on their priority list. The audio infrastructrure and development is exceedingly poor, especially in terms of replicating the original audio options and configurability which then directly affects the output.
Ok, but what are these limitations? Everyone poops on ScummVM, but I haven't seen any good reasons that would affect a significant number of games from the perspective of optimization. How is DOTT affected? You bring up MUNT integration issues, but acknowledge this is a tiny issue, and it's easily overcome by using MUNT separately which you'd have to do anyway with DOSBox. You bring up Lure of the Temptress lacking MT-32 support, but the compatibility notes say this, and this doesn't affect DOTT, or any game that isn't Lure of the Tempress.
The compatibilty notes for SCUMMVM say many things:
By the their own admission, most games are "good" in terms of compatbility, maybe 1/3 are "excellent", and minority are "untested", and one bugged. How many games? And how many games does DOSBox support? For me, I much prefer the greater platform (and of course game) accuracy and flexibility, not to mention app quantity, that DOSBox provides.
And again, this isn't a rhetorical question. If I'm playing my games wrong by using ScummVM, I'd like to know. But I need to know HOW this is wrong - it's not enough just to tell me it has limitations and drawbacks.
Play your games how you want based upon your criteria. Considering they have "re-engineered" all the game engines and fix "script errors" etc, and have limited original hardware support, I prefer the "more authentic" and far wider game/hardware support of DOSBox.
See Above. Depends on what you mean by "fine" - totally subjective.
"Fine" means "MT-32 + SB in DOTT sound the same whether you're playing on DOSBox or ScummVM." Correct or not?
Yes, MT32+SB (not that SCUMMVM has that as a directly configurable SB/digital playback option as you noted) should sound mostly the same (there are sample resolution options etc). However, again, CM32L/LAPC-I would be the preferred option, especially with the floppy version, and with/without the SB voice support disabled (in either version) due to the "extra" soundFX.
I would not suggest that the LAPC-I/CM32L/etc (or even the MT32 in special reprogammability mode) are "sound blaster substitutes" but rather have additional capabilities which may be exploited by some games,
I'm just talking about DOTT and CM-32L sound effects. I know there are games that use CM-32L sounds for things that SB can't do, and even more games (including DOTT) that use MT-32 programming to do things that SB can't do. But those aren't what I'm talking about.
Playing it with a CM32L/LAPC-I (emulated or real) is preferred on any platform assuming the platform supports outputting the extra soundFX.
This is true of all other games that have specialized LAPC-I/CM32L soundFX and SCUMMVM as well
Not all of them. LSL5's CM-32L effects definitely work in ScummVM, at least as of version 1.8.
That's good to "hear". I did some additional testing of 1.8.0 (I hadn't tested SCUMMVM's MT32/MIDI support in a while) and recorded the MIDI output of DOTT in SCUMMVM+MUNT in addition to watching the MUNT console messages, and indeed, it (SCUMMVM) is sending all the necessary MIDI/SYSEX data to play the extra soundFX on a CM32L/LAPCI-I/etc. I also used only CM32L ROMs with the built-in MT-32 support in SCUMMVM 1.8.0 and filtered out the digital playback and heard the same.
So SCUMMVM as of 1.8.0 does have some support (both internal and external) for the playback of CM32L/LAPC-I sounds for some games - again, good to "hear", and a good advancement for SCUMMVM.
Ultimately, you should play the games how you want with your own preferences and criteria - I know I do, and why, as I stated before.