DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby derSammler » 2018-4-15 @ 18:37

lolo799 wrote:It would be interesting to see -hear- how it compares to the Speech Thing or the modern day CVX models.

It also uses two rows of 9 resistors each, so it's pretty much the same as the Covox, just under a different name.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-16 @ 01:54

Just had a quick look at Metal Mutant and All Dogs Go to Heaven..

The English version of Metal Mutant seems to use Sound Blaster/PC-Speaker.
Makes me wonder if there was some sort of Intersound driver required or if it was only in the French release..

All Dogs Go to Heaven seems to support not only Speech Thing, but also Innovation Sound !? :surprised:
I know the film of the same name (albeit dubbed and not in English), but never played the game before.

If I choose Innovations and enable SSI-2001 emulation ín my copy of DOSBox (old Daum version), I can hear sound.
It's garbled and distorted, as if the SID was used as a DAC. Strange, isn't it ? The game is not on the list.

Ediit: Never mind, Metal Mutant was advertised as a supporting Generic LPT-DAC.
So it can't require any Covox Speech Thing or Intersound MDO drivers, can it ?

Edit: Sample recordings of "Innovations" music added.
Attachments
setup_adgh.png
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adgh_inno_intro.ogg
(492.89 KiB) Downloaded 21 times
adgh_inno_ratrace.ogg
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Last edited by Jo22 on 2018-4-18 @ 01:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby digger » 2018-4-17 @ 21:52

Maybe you can publish a YouTube video of All Dogs Go To Heaven with the Covox Speech Thing as well, @Jo22. :) I found an exiting recording of the game there, but the audio of the recording sounded terribly distorted. I believe it was an internal speaker (emulation?) recording. It will be nice to compare the difference in quality.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-18 @ 01:28

digger wrote:Maybe you can publish a YouTube video of All Dogs Go To Heaven with the Covox Speech Thing as well, @Jo22. :)

Gladly! A short recording is available at https://youtu.be/Osjt-RRzdFs
Unfortunately, I had to use DOSBox, since my Covox clone isn't exactly the cleanest (audio vise). ;)
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-19 @ 20:41

Okay, I found another alias for the Speech Thing:
Sound Devices Supported : DA Converter

Two of the more obscure games are Uncover It and Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts.
Unfortunately, both violate the rule "no Soundblaster".
So I do mention them just a little here:

The first one is a puzzle game with erm. rewarding pictures..
It supports "Stereo-on-1", as well as DAC on LPT1 (and Speaker, Sound Source).
The second one can pretty much be described as "Commander Keen with fists".
It also supports an audio device named "Sound Producer" and ET3k/ET4k/Trident VGAs in 50/60/70Hz.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby digger » 2018-4-22 @ 08:53

Jo22 wrote:The first one is a puzzle game with erm. rewarding pictures..
It supports "Stereo-on-1", as well as DAC on LPT1 (and Speaker, Sound Source).

An actual game with full Stereo-on-1 support? Interesting! :happy: Until now, I always thought that the stereo output feature of this LPT DAC design variant was supported only in some MOD trackers and players, but never in any games. I keep learning new things about old tech every day, here on Vogons. :happy: Does anybody know of any other games that supported the Stereo-on-1 LPT DAC in actual stereo mode?
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-26 @ 23:13

digger wrote:An actual game with full Stereo-on-1 support? Interesting! :happy: Until now, I always thought that the stereo output feature of this LPT DAC design variant was supported only in some MOD trackers and players, but never in any games.

Me, too. I think the same. I made a recording for you, in case you're curious how the game sounds.
As far as I can tell, it uses sample based music (Amiga style). It also plays the sound effects via the DAC (not via speaker as I expected first).

I really wished there were more games like this. But who knows, maybe there are ? :)
Seems like there's aquite some stuff out there we have never heard of..

For example, the Mobygames entry of Last Half of Darkness still misses to list the Covox devices.
(Sorry to name it again, but it is such a good example for a unpopular game supporting an odd sound device)


Here's the video for Uncover It: https://youtu.be/iLPDWiR1n1s
I've also attached a screen shot of the setup program..
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uc_setup.png
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-26 @ 23:38

derSammler wrote:It also uses two rows of 9 resistors each, so it's pretty much the same as the Covox, just under a different name.

Thanks for this piece of information. :) I still wonder if it has a little filtering cap, low-pass circuit etc..
From what I heard, the original Covox device wasn't very spectacular, but I *believe* there was a cap in the little speaker.

I guess this is old news, but there was a blog entry in Great Hieropant's blog covering the Covox devices:
http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.de/2014/09/the-mysterious-covox-pc-sound-devices.html

There's also a video and a Vogons thread showing the Covox speaker.
https://youtu.be/M0kxcc67l0w and viewtopic.php?p=455603#p455603

Edit: Correction. The speaker contained an amplifier..
Attachments
cvx_speaker.jpg
Covox Speech Thing, speaker and box.
Last edited by Jo22 on 2018-4-27 @ 07:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby awgamer » 2018-4-27 @ 05:30

lolo799 wrote:The Covox was released earlier than 1989, right?


1986.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Artigkar » 2018-4-28 @ 16:37

Ok, so this does not really count as a covox exclusive game. But I discovered that the 2.0 release of the game Ports of Call supports a printer dac for digital sound. I also noticed this is not mentioned on the mobygames page.

Here is a screenshot attached from dosbox showing the sound options:
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Portsofcall.png
Its listed as PRINTER DA
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Artigkar » 2018-4-28 @ 16:39

I have also tested the game on my old 486 laptop and a CVX4 attached, seems to be working.
Its only sound effects though, there is no exciting music in this game. No music at all as far as I can tell either with soundblaster or covox.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-28 @ 19:09

Thanks you lot for this information! :D
- I didn't know this game before.

Just looked up that game on Mobygames. The Cover art for this game is interesting..
A funny tipo aside (Deutches Software), it also seemd to include a Covox-style
sound device refered to as the "LifeSize Sound Enhancer".

I didn't find much information on it,
but there's a Windows 3.1 wave form driver and a thread over there at vcfed.org:

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.p ... ovox-clone

It's also mentioned in a few othere forums, too, including Vogons.

Apparently, games such as Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2, Return to Zork and The Manhole included or supported it, as well.

Last but not least, there's also a post of some individual who had opened it in the past.

Edit: I've also found to what seems a picture of the device.
http://mocagh.org/loadpage.php?getgame=lgop2
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Artigkar » 2018-4-29 @ 15:07

I wonder if there is anything special with that LifeSize Sound Enhancer.
I tested Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 and it supports both digital sound and music with that card plus some other cards like Disney Sound Source and a sound blaster.

Unfortunately in dosbox choosing LifeSize Sound Enhancer gives distorted sound while with Disney Sound Source option it sounds fine. For a disney sound source that is, the sound blaster sounds a bit better sound quality wise. Mobygames page claims the game supports Covox Speech Thing, but its actually the Covox Sound Master that shows up as "Covox Speech Master". If you select it in dosbox it will say "Digital Audio Device Covox PC Sound Master selected" when launching the game, but dosbox just freezes up.

Here is some images from the sound setup:
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lgop2 digital setup.png
This is what pops up when you choose "digital music device"
Lgop2 sound setup.png
This shows the music options
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-4-30 @ 03:14

Thanks you again, Artigkar! It's a bug in DOSBox, I suppose.

Disabling the PC-Speaker often helps in that case. Not sure why it happens.
Perhaps one of the timer's channels is in use and audible by accident.

Anyway, LGOP2 seems to meet derSammler's requirements at least in one case.
The game supports "digital music" only for speaker and Covox. ;)

This along with the fact that it included a "speech" thing
(like the other game did you mentioned before) should make it fitting this thread nicely (IMHO).
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Artigkar » 2018-5-01 @ 00:10

Jo22 wrote:Thanks you again, Artigkar! It's a bug in DOSBox, I suppose.

Disabling the PC-Speaker often helps in that case. Not sure why it happens.
Perhaps one of the timer's channels is in use and audible by accident.


I could not get it to work in dosbox even with pc speaker disabled, but it does not matter since I have tested on real hardware with the CVX4 and it is working there.

Here you can hear how it sounds like distorted in dosbox:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjfrZBw6WjI

Here is how it sounds like with CVX4 for comparision:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVZmc21JfWE

Unfortunately I had to record with my crappy phone camera, despite this downside you will be able to hear that it is not distorted like with dosbox.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2018-5-02 @ 07:18

Hi Artigkar,
Just watched your video and did a quick test in DOSBox (ykhwong's build, 07-05-2011).
The bubble sound is there, too. It goes away if I click the menues Sound->PC-Speaker->Emulation->disabled.
I'm not sure if that "workaround" is also working with the official build (pcspeaker=false), but I hope so.

I wonder, maybe it is also related to a horrible, continous beep I hear in MODPlay Pro 2.19b.
- I always get it when I use Covox emulation. For some reason it goes away if I disable the speaker.

Edit: The beeping sound seems to have been fixed since r3960 (SVN).
Furthermore, the player's playback routine was used in several games.

Artigkar wrote:Unfortunately I had to record with my crappy phone camera, despite this downside you will be able to
hear that it is not distorted like with dosbox.

Thanks! :) The recording isn't bad actually. Just a little quiet. Sound quality is fine, though.
Can't understand why critics of the day complained about LGOP2's speech quality beeing bad.
Did the real LifeSize Sound Enhancer sound so different/worse ? :?:
Last edited by Jo22 on 2018-5-16 @ 13:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Myloch » 2018-5-14 @ 13:10

Intersound mdo emulation doesn't work in Asterix operation getafix for some odd reason...
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Jo22 » 2019-5-19 @ 23:41

Hi, I've found another game with Speech Thing & "Stereo-on-1" support: Tetris Pro.
Unfortunately, it's not exactly "exclusive" to the Covox-like sound devices, either.. :(

tetrispro_setup.png
tetrispro_setup.png (5.43 KiB) Viewed 160 times
It also seems to be monaural. On the bright side, it has real VGA resolution, at least (->640x480).
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tetrispro.png
tetrispro_menu.png
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby matze79 » 2019-5-20 @ 07:21

started testing various Games for compatibility.

https://dosreloaded.de/forum/index.php/ ... A4tsliste/

Every Piece of Software on the List is hand tested on real Hardware.
https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de
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Re: DSS / Covox Speech Thing exclusive games

Postby Uka » 2019-8-02 @ 18:30

I have just got my AZTech SGNX Pro sound card working - and got interested in the same question :)
Actually, several Coktel Vision games made in 1989 or 1990 do not support anything but PC Speaker and MDO (Covox).

loader_000.png
loader_000.png (2.59 KiB) Viewed 47 times


Those are 'Skidoo', 'Oliver & Company', 'Cougar Force', 'Primeros Pasos en Ingles' and probably a couple of more not yet found games.
Later games, like 'Geisha' or 'E.S.S.', support AdLib or Sound Blaster in addition to MDO.

And there are two games, 'No Exit' and the already mentioned 'Astérix: Operation Getafix' ('Astérix: Le Coup du Menhir'), which are somewhat special. The second one supports MDO ONLY in CGA mode - it is silent in VGA... And I can't get sound working in 'No Exit' even in CGA. Maybe some tweaking is possible?
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