Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

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Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby hifidelitygaming » 2012-2-26 @ 19:03

This is just totally out of the blue...

My general understanding (correct if wrong) is that there is low interest in making DOSBOX perfectly emulate the Adlib Gold (or was when I last looked into it), because there's only really two games that used it exceptionally (Dune and KGB)...

But what I was wondering is might it be easier/doable to somehow connect to say, an FM specific emulator (like FM7 from Native Instruments, which is a software synthesizer entirely dedicated to accurate FM sound/instrument emulation) which maybe could be more easily programmed to get the right sound than a ground up OPL3 emulation?
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby wd » 2012-2-26 @ 19:34

DOSBox already provides opl3 emulation.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby hifidelitygaming » 2012-2-26 @ 21:20

To the quality of the AdLib Gold with the Surround Module? :P I'm aware it provides it, but i'd followed links of others showing comparison recordings that seem to indicate the quality is not nearly as high... they were older comparisons/perhaps it's been implemented to increased quality since then?

I'm trying to find the absolute highest quality experiences for certain games. It lets me know what hardware I should still seek out (because it's either unemulated, or not emulated as well as hardware quality provides) and what I can rely on software for. :)
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby wd » 2012-2-26 @ 22:30

To the quality of the AdLib Gold with the Surround Module?

I suppose yes since the gold used the same ymf262 chip as sb16.

Btw. check out threads like that:
http://queststudios.com/smf/index.php?topic=2121.0
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby hifidelitygaming » 2012-2-27 @ 00:09

Yah, those files are the ones i'm talking about, although the mp3's there are gone they are up on youtubes and similar.

As to my asking the question, comments from here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lbJ9aXwWqc "Dune's music was actually written for the AdLib Gold, so neither of these is actually how the game was supposed to sound. Unfortunately, DOSBox does not emulate the AdLib Gold (it emulates the OPL3 chip that the AdLib Gold uses, but Dune will not work unless it's a real AdLib Gold)." though that particular video doesn't have AdLib soundtracks to demo.

This is what the AdLib Gold should sound like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPEDAR7q ... 88BB135F33 and apparently it does not (I don't have Dune handy on this PC to try offhand but I don't remember it sounding anywhere NEAR this nice when I tried it before)

Another conversation inspiring my question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hPVwjZ6bNM specifically for the OPL3, not even the AdLib specific versioning... apparently even a technically accurate emulation of the hardware doesn't always yield ideal sound.

None of this is a complaint, gripe or anything, i'm just a fan of maximum quality possible and so curious whether there are ways to achieve a higher quality experience for older games. :) I'm still curious whether running the emulation on some external FM synth that may be more tunable in some way could enhance things or how feasible it is.. i've no clue what differences should be there for the adlib gold specifically vs just the opl3 chip straight up.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby wd » 2012-2-27 @ 07:07

i've no clue what differences should be there for the adlib gold specifically vs just the opl3 chip straight up.

Yeah so good luck!

Also be sure to read NewRisingSun's replies.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby hifidelitygaming » 2012-2-27 @ 11:25

I reread his replies, and also the replies to his on the next page which left me less sure - "NRS, thanks for the hacked driver. It doesn't sound nearly as good on the SB16 as it does on the Gold (Cloudschatze's new recordings are superb btw), but I'm not sure whether it's because of the lack of reverb or because of the DOSBox OPL3 emulation. Some parts play very well while others sound rather botched up. Very interesting nevertheless." It sounds like the differences are in how the data is sent, and that apparently the AdLibGold interpretation of data is incompatible but just "better" even if it's still driving an OPL3, perhaps because it expects the reverb effect so it was composed a little differently..?

I'm just a stickler for max quality so i'm trying to hunt down the only two games I know of offhand that apparently are less than perfect in DOSBOX giving a lower quality experience than hardware. :P Maybe an alternate workaround would be to get his patch, and have DOSBOX somehow autoinstall or apply the patch when the game is played to force it to pretend to be an AdLibGold? And maybe the reverb effect could simply be added to the OPL3 since it sounds like it otherwise is fairly accurate? (it sounds like the confusion comes from how the card is accessed - sending the data to the surround module in a different format - instead of inherent flaws in the OPL3 chip or emulation thereof) Or maybe the patch would provide clues to what different data is sent to the card when treated as AdLib instead of OPL3... perhaps that would either make it perfect or bring it close enough to the mark that nobody comments on the sonic difference anymore. >_>

Is his patch still available anywhere? The only link in his post seems dead (looking at page source shows a blank link). I can at least try that patch before I gripe or wonder more. >_>
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2012-2-27 @ 12:05

The modified driver for Dune (floppy version) mentioned in the Quest Studios thread seems to be absent, so I looked at making one. After dumping the decompressed driver from memory into a file using the DOSBox debugger, it wasn't difficult to locate and bypass the effects-related stuff that messes up standard OPL3.

I've attached the driver with my modifications to this post for others that might be interested in hearing Dune's OPL3 music. It sounds quite nice in DOSBox, and in theory should do the same on real hardware, but I guess it's not as impressive without the AdLib Gold's post-processing effects. Remember to press "F" to force the configuration in Dune's sound setup when it complains about not finding the hardware.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2012-2-27 @ 14:09

It sounds fine. BTW. Did you know the original composers released a Redbook audio CD with the REAL music score (it resembled MT-32 music but better) and my sister bought it. She must have it somewhere...
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby keropi » 2012-2-27 @ 14:23

that "l33t" under ripsaw8080's name is not just for good looks... I am always impressed by your skills :blush:
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby Cloudschatze » 2012-3-02 @ 00:43

hifidelitygaming wrote:Adlib Gold ... there's only really two games that used it exceptionally (Dune and KGB)...


KGB isn't nearly as hardware-exclusive as Dune, so whether you're using an actual Ad Lib Gold, an AudioTrix Pro (which is compatible with the Ad Lib Gold synth part), or an OPL3-based Sound Blaster driver, the basic output is the same.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby leileilol » 2012-3-02 @ 01:02

I wonder, does Megarace take advantage of Adlib Gold too? Being a Cryo game and all...
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby Sune Salminen » 2012-3-02 @ 16:01

hifidelitygaming wrote: And maybe the reverb effect could simply be added to the OPL3 since it sounds like it otherwise is fairly accurate?


The reverb effect doesn't come from the OPL3.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YMF262

I doubt you'll ever see something like "SB16 with Adlib Gold effects" as a selectable sound card in DOSBox.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2012-3-03 @ 01:26

ripsaw8080 wrote:I've attached the driver with my modifications to this post for others that might be interested in hearing Dune's OPL3 music. It sounds quite nice in DOSBox, and in theory should do the same on real hardware, but I guess it's not as impressive without the AdLib Gold's post-processing effects. Remember to press "F" to force the configuration in Dune's sound setup when it complains about not finding the hardware.


Tried it on my time-machine PC with an AWE64GOLD with Reverb and Chorus applied.

It sounds as if the music isn't quite in sync or instruments missing. For example in the Adlib and Sound Blaster version the water drop is heard twice in sync with the animation. But not with this driver. Also no Sound Blaster sound effects it seems...

I've done a recording:

http://youtu.be/sFl7qRqtFpc

The plain Sound Blaster version is here (also with Reverb and Chorus applied through an AWE64GOLD):

http://youtu.be/8ohpXAJ8d7E
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2012-3-03 @ 03:32

I think you're better off not trying to simulate the effects (like chorus and reverb), or go easy with them, because they're adjusted on the fly with the AdLib Gold, not just cranked up over everything; and the "surround sound" daughterboard was optional.

The modified driver only addresses an issue with supporting standard OPL3, it does nothing about PCM. The AdLib Gold has PCM capability, but I don't see any indication that Dune's driver is trying to use it, and it wouldn't work with a SoundBlaster in any case.

WORMINTR.AGD is the AdLib Gold intro music data file, WORMINTR.HSQ is the AdLib and SoundBlaster intro music data file, and there could be differences between them that aren't just a matter of interpretation. I don't notice many discrepancies like the first pool drip, and I don't hear the music going out of sync; however, you'd have to compare the modified driver against an AdLib Gold to be sure of anything because there's too much room for variation in the music data.

BTW, Dune has an option in its in-game settings to play all songs sequentially rather than based on your location in the game. Also, it's possible to improvise a "jukebox" function by copying any of the .AGD song files to WORMSUIT.AGD and restarting the game, because that song is played during the part of the intro that waits for a keypress while displaying the story text,
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2012-3-03 @ 03:47

Reverb and Chorus on the AWE64GOLD is a personal preference of mine :) I have it now turned on as default. This card having no OPL chip, might as well use the extra features the card has to offer.

The different music files explains the differences. With the Adlib Gold modified driver the ending is different (just after the credits).

ripsaw8080 wrote:Also, it's possible to improvise a "jukebox" function by copying any of the .AGD song files to WORMSUIT.AGD and restarting the game, because that song is played during the part of the intro that waits for a keypress while displaying the story text,


That's very handy!
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby Great Hierophant » 2012-3-03 @ 05:47

The CD-ROM version of Dune supported a Sound Blaster Pro option, so you should get stereo OPL music.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2012-3-03 @ 12:24

Great Hierophant wrote:The CD-ROM version of Dune supported a Sound Blaster Pro option, so you should get stereo OPL music.

The SBPro music driver in the CD version of Dune (DNADP.HSQ) apparently only supports OPL2. It writes to ports 0x388/9 but never to 0x38A/B, and I believe it would have to write to the second indexed register pair for OPL3. More subjectively, by just listening to it, I can hear a distinct difference compared to the modified AdLib Gold driver's OPL3: there is no stereo separation, and the instruments have a less rich sound. However, I'm using DOSBox to do the listening, so it might be different with a real SBPro.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby bjt » 2015-6-03 @ 10:26

Thread resurrect time... sorry

ripsaw, I tried diffing your DUNEADG.HSQ against the original Dune floppy version. Yours is nearly twice as big as the original, is the original packed in some way?

Looking at making similar changes to allow DNADG.HSQ in the CD version to work with vanilla OPL3. All the CD version files are packed into a large file called DUNE.DAT.
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Re: Idea for Adlib Gold emulation?

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2015-6-03 @ 11:24

The floppy version's driver file is compressed, and I believe it is compressed inside the CD version's big DAT file as well. If the CD version won't read a driver file outside of the DAT file then your quest may be a difficult one. I used the DOSBox debugger to dump the decompressed driver out of memory; however, there is some info about the compression here.
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