VOGONS


First post, by cliffclaven

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I was just looking through my games, and it seems as though Blood, released in 1997, is my newest game with support for GM and SC.
Amulets and Armor from 1996 is another example, and it also supports CD Audio.

Is it a fair assessment that around this time, game music was moving to CD audio and waveforms?

Reply 1 of 17, by Joseph_Joestar

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I don't think there's a hard cutoff point.

IIRC, 7th Guest had redbook audio back in 1993, and Epic Pinball from the same year used sample-based music. But then you have the Windows port of Final Fantasy VIII which came out in 2000 and still used MIDI music.

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Reply 2 of 17, by Oetker

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cliffclaven wrote on 2020-02-14, 18:02:

I was just looking through my games, and it seems as though Blood, released in 1997, is my newest game with support for GM and SC.
Amulets and Armor from 1996 is another example, and it also supports CD Audio.

Is it a fair assessment that around this time, game music was moving to CD audio and waveforms?

That's around the switchover point. Quake was CD audio only, yet Hexen 2 (also 1997 and no DOS version) for some reason has CD audio and Midi available even though it comes on CD. Blood also does both. Quake 2 was CD audio only, Quake 3 used wav file for music and Unreal engine games always used mod files.

Reply 3 of 17, by cliffclaven

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Nowadays, I try to source hardware for the period. Back in the 90s, I always got rid of my old components with the upgrade cycle.
I never had the means (too poor), but I if bought a General Midi card or specifically a Sound Canvas around 1997 for the upcoming games, I would have been too late. Yes, it would have given my old games a new life, but back then I was always looking forward.

I just never realized that the GM and SC generation was that short, but I suppose it would compare to a console generation life span at ~5 years.

Reply 5 of 17, by detalite

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I suppose a nail in the coffin to GM were faster and faster processors. Compressed audio did the trick. I don't know which game was first, but Heroes of Might and Magic 3 in 1999 had music in mp3, and minimum system requirements was Pentium 133MHz, a CPU from 1995.

Reply 6 of 17, by derSammler

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No, the nail in the coffin was storage space of CD-ROMs. The whole point of using MIDI was to allow orchestral soundtracks even for games that came on floppy. With CDDA or otherwise streamed pcm/wave music from a CD, MIDI no longer had advantages - especially considering that not everyone had MIDI hardware anyway.

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Reply 7 of 17, by the Goat

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derSammler wrote on 2020-02-15, 08:41:

No, the nail in the coffin was storage space of CD-ROMs. The whole point of using MIDI was to allow orchestral soundtracks even for games that came on floppy. With CDDA or otherwise streamed pcm/wave music from a CD, MIDI no longer had advantages - especially considering that not everyone had MIDI hardware anyway.

Exactly. Once releasing games on CD-ROM was the standard, pre-recorded audio took over from MIDI.

Reply 8 of 17, by chinny22

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Age of Empires 2 had both CD and midi soundtracks which is 2000 if you count the expansion.
I think Empire Earth may of as well which will stretch you out to 2002 with it's expansion

Reply 9 of 17, by Jo22

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I believe this thread is about US/western big commercial releases, isn't it ? Well, if so, I don't know what to say, sorry. I have little experience with commercially stuff, I'd say.
However, generally speaking, some Japanese games supported MIDI well into 2000/2010s. That includes both Freeware games and some of the commercial ones.

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Reply 11 of 17, by Dominus

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d3lmund0 wrote on 2020-02-19, 08:45:

Is it possible to replace wav files by midi files with some games ?

No, it's a completely different way of playback.

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Reply 12 of 17, by clueless1

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jmarsh wrote on 2020-02-14, 20:35:

Command and Conquer used a (non-CD) digital audio soundtrack as early as 1995.

Same year for Crusader: No Remorse. Being a huge Origin fan, I remember being highly disappointed at no GM option because prior to then, Origin made amazing GM soundtracks for their games.

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Reply 13 of 17, by imi

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doesn't crusader use tracker music?
I mean technically it's still digital, but not the same as a prerecorded track like C&C

I remember I had to turn off music playback in C&C because it would slow down the game too much on my 386 ^^

Reply 14 of 17, by digistorm

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I can understand it from a musicians perspective. GM is very restrictive, in what instruments you can use and how much control you have. As a musician, I never used GM a lot. I used MIDI instruments, but not the 128 of GM. So to create the atmosphere of Crusader, I can understand they went a different route.

Reply 15 of 17, by gdjacobs

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-02-19, 11:45:
jmarsh wrote on 2020-02-14, 20:35:

Command and Conquer used a (non-CD) digital audio soundtrack as early as 1995.

Same year for Crusader: No Remorse. Being a huge Origin fan, I remember being highly disappointed at no GM option because prior to then, Origin made amazing GM soundtracks for their games.

On the plus side, No Remorse has a great tracker soundtrack.

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Reply 16 of 17, by clueless1

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-02-19, 16:48:
clueless1 wrote on 2020-02-19, 11:45:
jmarsh wrote on 2020-02-14, 20:35:

Command and Conquer used a (non-CD) digital audio soundtrack as early as 1995.

Same year for Crusader: No Remorse. Being a huge Origin fan, I remember being highly disappointed at no GM option because prior to then, Origin made amazing GM soundtracks for their games.

On the plus side, No Remorse has a great tracker soundtrack.

I agree, but I was disappointed in the bitrate. Compared to the fidelity of FM or GM, there was no clarity. It sounds likes the treble is turned all the way down. I replayed and beat both Crusaders in 2018 so really got to appreciate the compositions, but still, that muffled sound quality was a bit of a downer.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 17 of 17, by gdjacobs

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-02-19, 23:06:

I agree, but I was disappointed in the bitrate. Compared to the fidelity of FM or GM, there was no clarity. It sounds likes the treble is turned all the way down. I replayed and beat both Crusaders in 2018 so really got to appreciate the compositions, but still, that muffled sound quality was a bit of a downer.

Both games mix at 44.1k/16b. No Remorse uses lower fidelity samples, but No Regret has CD quality samples. Even if the orchestration isn't your cup of tea, it shouldn't be down to the bit rate.

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