VOGONS


Xeen and Roland synths

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Reply 60 of 74, by clueless1

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Does MM3 work with the MT-32 Old? I haven't done any troubleshooting, but the last time I fired this game up and set it to MT-32 I wasn't getting any sound (the LCD display indicated sounds were playing, but nothing was heard). I have it set to 330 while my GM daughtercard uses 300. Every other game I've tried works normally on the MT-32.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 61 of 74, by citrixscu

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This thread is amazing. MM3-5 are my all time, nostalgic top games. I played each in the 90s with FM synth and then a SCB-55 daughterboard on an SB16 back then. I still play each game every year or so, even 30 years later, though this time through DOSBox with Roland SC-VA for music. I've always been fascinated by the musical score, so it's so cool that people are contributing to this, especially @lordskylark for the work and research performed. Much appreciated.

Reply 62 of 74, by lordskylark

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clueless1 wrote:

Does MM3 work with the MT-32 Old? I haven't done any troubleshooting, but the last time I fired this game up and set it to MT-32 I wasn't getting any sound (the LCD display indicated sounds were playing, but nothing was heard). I have it set to 330 while my GM daughtercard uses 300. Every other game I've tried works normally on the MT-32.

Does MM3 have buffer overflow errors with MT-32 old? I can test it later to see if my MT-32 new actually plays the music while the game is playing though.

There are no unique sounds for the music for MM3~5 or anything that specifically required anything but MT-32 (except for the chime effect in the temple music that is only in the final game version - CM-32L). Therefore, I purchased an MT-32 new for recording the tracks on my youtube channel. (I didn't want the possible clipping of the CM-32L, and I didn't want the noise from the MT-32 old).

But I did not record anything while the actual game was playing. The MT-32 tracks I recorded for my youtube channel were recorded from the ORIGINAL midi files BEFORE they were made into the .M file format. (For MM3 and PE all of the velocities were altered to 127 in the final game / MM4~5 retain the original velocities). The only exceptions were 50% of the PE music (cannot locate the original composer -- might be Rob Wallace (he did NOT save anything so no way to check) -- or the original midi files) & the final Sci-Fi Tracks from MM5 (not by Tim Tully or Greg Alper -- I even contacted the programmers and no can recall who did it). For the tracks I did not have the midi files for, I captured the midi data with DOSBox (which I did long before I had an actual MT-32) and then later played back those captured midi files. And I recorded each channel completely independently and then mixed them together to prevent all polysynth loss.

Reply 63 of 74, by clueless1

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lordskylark wrote:
clueless1 wrote:

Does MM3 work with the MT-32 Old? I haven't done any troubleshooting, but the last time I fired this game up and set it to MT-32 I wasn't getting any sound (the LCD display indicated sounds were playing, but nothing was heard). I have it set to 330 while my GM daughtercard uses 300. Every other game I've tried works normally on the MT-32.

Does MM3 have buffer overflow errors with MT-32 old? I can test it later to see if my MT-32 new actually plays the music while the game is playing though.

I did some more testing and determined that MT-32 old works fine as long as I don't select "Roland & Blaster". If I just select "Roland LAPC-1", music works and sound effects are played through the MT-32. If I select "Sound Blaster" than I get FM music and sound effects.

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
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DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 64 of 74, by lordskylark

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So I received a "soundblaster 16" CT2230.

There is no specific option in Clouds/Darkside Xeen to use "soundblaster 16" (though WORLD of Xeen allows an option for Soundblaster 16 to be used only as the speech device). The Clouds of Xeen demo makes a specific mention about the demo not yet being compatible for OPL3. The best option seems to be using the regular "Sound Blaster" setting when using soundblaster 16 (choosing the "Adlib" setting sounds identical to the "Soundblaster" option to me).

So, I wonder then if the FM version of the music was mixed configured specifically for either regular "Sound Blaster" and/or "Sound Blaster Pro".

If it was for "Sound Blaster Pro", I would think it would be for 1.0 (Dual OPL2) rather than the 2.0 (Single OPL3) version.
Is there anyone who could do a comparison on how the music sounds with an authentic Sound Blaster Pro 1.0 vs. 2.0?

P.S.
Here is my recent recording of "Clouds of Xeen" done with the CT2230:
single video - https://youtu.be/XOuoVyV33vo
playlist - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLavKab … eGWmyEnYbYxrwrR

Reply 65 of 74, by lordskylark

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Some updates:

--Tim Tully (with his friends) is the primary composer for MM3~5 and Planet's Edge. (see below for what equipment he used)
--George Sanger did ONLY the introduction theme for MM3 and Planet's Edge.
--Rob Wallace maybe did one track for MM3 and 50% of the tracks for Planet's Edge (music which should have been for the Genesis version of King's Bounty). There are no records yet of his commissions.
--Takeshi Abo did a few tracks in MM5, which were apparently for MT-32.

The original Might and Magic III comission from New World Computing to Tim Tully states:
"Each work of music shall consist of a maximum of eight, monophonic tracks, each usable by one of the instrumental timbres found in the Roland MT-32 synthesizer."

The original Might and Magic IV comission states:
"Standard MIDI Files, voiced for the Roland MT-32 synthesizer. The MIDI files will consist of no more than eight tracks apiece. Each track will be monophonic, such that no more than one note plays at any one time."

In Tim's letter to Jon van Caneghem (1992-03-06) regarding Might and Magic IV, Tim states:
"I've begun on a theme for Xeen, having gotten a blow-by-blow of the opening from Mark [Caldwell]. I hope to have something solid this week. I'll do this piece for a full-bore (shudder) MT32 as we discussed. "

Might and Magic V commission (November 1992)
"Standard MIDI Files, voiced for the Roland MT-32 synthesizer... . The MIDI files will consist of no more than eight tracks apiece. Each track will be monophonic, such that no more than one note plays at any one time. ... (Also) will produce any number of these pieces more fully, specifically to take full advantage of the capabilities of the Roland SCC-1 Sound Card."

NOTE: Only the introduction theme for MM4 & MM5 have unique Canvas versions composed directly by Tim. All of the other Canvas versions were made by the sound programmer(s) from Tim's original versions by simply patching in alternate instruments.

However, after Might and Magic III & Planet's Edge were finished (but before working on MM4&5), Tim Tully sent a demo tape to other companies to get work. In an accompanying letter Tim writes:
"Bear in mind that these were specifically produced to accommodate eight monophonic tracks, per the client’s understanding of the hardware in his installed base. All the tunes on the tape are played on a CM-32L."

There is also a note in 1992-07-06 of Tim shipping "Sound Canvas to NWC". There is no model mentioned.

So Tim composed the music either on an MT-32 of a CM-32L. But maybe the instrument is actually an CM-32L. But because the patches were the same, it probably was not important.

In the final version of Might and Magic 3, the "temple" theme does have the "chime" instrument that is only in the CM-32L. However, in the original version of "temple" sent by Tim to NWC, the "chime" instrument is not present. This leads me to believe that someone else on the design team added it. So this doesn't narrow it down.

In one of the original midi files for one of the Might and Magic 5 tracks, there is channel for "horses" -- which must be the CM-32L horse sound effect. However, this channel is entirely blank. However, this leads me to wonder if Tim had CM-32L, but deleted the horse channel (perhaps because that sound is not on an MT-32).

When George Sanger was commissioned for MM3 & PE, it states:
"We need a one (1) minute theme that will be orchestrated for use with the ADLIB and LAPC-1 boards."

I know for certain that George had an MT-32. I don't know about anything else. The midi file itself is configured for MT-32/CM-32L patches. Since both are basically the same sound (except for some extra instruments) it's difficult to know. No instruments are included that are unique to the CM-32L.

Reply 66 of 74, by Xeen

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Hello,
Recently I decided to revisit Might & Magic 4,5 and found this thread, according to the discussion CM-32L is the right device for them. However, when I try it I found CM-32L sounds strange.

For example, I need to turn off the music in game in order to hear the door and footstep sound, and the intro when bug falling on the writing it sounds "muffled". Then I tried CM-500 (in CM-500 mode) and immediately I hear the difference. Music, door, and footstep all play nicely and simultaneously and bug falling sound is silvery "ding".

Another tricky thing is configuration, everything sounds weird when I select MT-32, but GS option produces great music and sound effects (along with CT1600)

Any idea why this is happening?

Reply 67 of 74, by citrixscu

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In my experience playing these games many times since the 90s, CM-32L is great for MM3 and GM/GS for MM4/5. There is a capital tone fallback bug that affects the bow sound, but that can be fixed using FalcoSoft Midi player.

Reply 68 of 74, by Xeen

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citrixscu wrote on 2020-05-23, 15:12:

In my experience playing these games many times since the 90s, CM-32L is great for MM3 and GM/GS for MM4/5. There is a capital tone fallback bug that affects the bow sound, but that can be fixed using FalcoSoft Midi player.

Thanks for sharing, if GS is for MM4/5 then CM-32L is not the good (right) device to use. But this seems contradicting the discussion above (°_°)

As for the bow sound, I'm always wondering what's the "correct" sound and could you elaborate more about how to fix it? (I play MM5 on real hardware)

Reply 69 of 74, by citrixscu

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Xeen wrote on 2020-05-24, 04:19:

Thanks for sharing, if GS is for MM4/5 then CM-32L is not the good (right) device to use. But this seems contradicting the discussion above (°_°)

As for the bow sound, I'm always wondering what's the "correct" sound and could you elaborate more about how to fix it? (I play MM5 on real hardware)

Edit: lordskylark knows his stuff. I had a SCB-55 as a kid playing these, so maybe my ears just like the sound better.

Check out this post here. Re: Xeen and Roland synths

Last edited by citrixscu on 2020-06-04, 03:46. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 70 of 74, by lordskylark

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The music for Xeen, at least, was originally composed with a Roland MT-32 or CM-32L -- there is contradictory information here from the composers themselves (in fact, SC-55 in MT-32 mode works very good too, and could have been used). Even if originally composed for MT-32, the sound effects seem to have been optimized for CM-32L. The SC-55 version of the game was an afterthought for MM4, and then suggested for MM5. The music compositions do not sound correct in the GS version, because the SC-55 version uses the exact same data as the MT-32/CM-32L version. The difference in volume between note velocities is greater between notes in the SC-55 than the MT-32. Therefore in the SC-55 version, there are entire channels that can become nearly silent or very low. (I know the composers personally.)

Note: MM3 was composed with Roland MT-32 or CM-32L, and then was optimized by the programmers (not composers) for CM-32L.

Different composers were subcontracted out for the music -- most not credited -- so, it's hard to know which device each individual composer had on hand. But the commission from New World Computing was for them to compose music for the MT-32.

Tim Tully's (uncredited) commission for MM3:

"Each work of music shall consist of a maximum of eight, monophonic tracks, each usable by one of the instrumental timbres found in the Roland MT-32 synthesizer."

Tim Tully's commission for MM4:

"Contractor will deliver music in the form of Standard MIDI Files, voiced for the Roland MT-32 synthesizer. The MIDI files will consist of no more than eight tracks apiece. Each track will be monophonic, such that no more than one note plays at any one time. At Client's request, Contractor will produce from two to three of these pieces more fully, in a way that takes advantage of the MT-32's polyphonic capability. Contractor will deliver these files by modem or on floppy disc."

Tim Tully's commission for MM5:
"Contractor will deliver music in the form of Standard MIDI Files, voiced for the Roland MT-32 synthesizer, according to Client's specifications. The MIDI files will consist of no more than eight tracks apiece. Each track will be monophonic, such that no more than one note plays at any one time. At Client's request, Contractor will produce any number of these pieces more fully, specifically to take full advantage of the capabilities of the Roland SCC-1 Sound Card. These productions will be billed at two-thirds the rate of the MT-32 files..."

The only track composed uniquely for SCC-1 by Tim Tully, who worked with Greg Alper (uncredited), on the soundtrack was the SC-55 version of "Dark Lord Theme" which is the opening theme (though most of the instrument patches were changed by the time of the final game). All of the other SC-55 verisons were created by Mike Heileman, who was the sound programmer on MM5 (Mike is credited in MM5, but absent from the World of Xeen credits, in which Todd Hendrix gets credit for both MM4&MM5, even though Todd only did MM4). As I said above, Mike simply re-patched the MT-32 version with SC-55 instruments -- and he made a few overlooks and mistakes in the process.

Reply 72 of 74, by lordskylark

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I can confirm now, that Tim Tully used a Roland CM-32L and not a Roland MT-32 for the soundtracks for Might and Magic III~V and Planet's Edge.The ONLY SC-55 versions he had were the SC-55 versions of the Main Themes for Might and Magic IV and Might and Magic V and the King's Bounty II trailer. (Though the MT-32 versions of those themes were also done directly by him. In the case of the MM4 theme, it was first CM-32L and then the SC-55, but for the MM5 theme it was first the SC-55 version then the MT-32.)

However, New World Computing did commission him for Roland MT-32 music to be made (and the two SC-55 versions of the main themes), but Tim didn't use any of the extended CM-32L instruments.

(Note: "Temple" in Might and Magic III does use one of the CM-32L extended instruments (chimes), but this was added by New World Computing and is not part of the original composition submitted to New World Computing by Tim. And except for the SC-55 versions of the main themes for MM4 & MM5, all the SC-55 versions were created by the sound programmer from the original CM-32L versions submitted by him to New World Computing and were not done by Tim's team. And none of the FM soundblaster versions were done by him.)

I hope that helps someone somewhere.

Last edited by lordskylark on 2020-11-03, 07:21. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 73 of 74, by newtmonkey

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lordskylark wrote on 2020-10-29, 17:21:

I can confirm now, that Tim Tully used a Roland CM-32L and not a Roland MT-32. In addition, he used an SC-55 for the Main Themes for Might and Magic IV and Might and Magic V.
However, New World Computing did commission for Roland MT-32 music to be made, and Tim didn't use any of the extended instruments.
(Note: "Temple" in Might and Magic III does use one of the CM-32L extended instruments (chimes), but this was added by New World Computing and is not part of the original composition submitted to New World Computing by Tim. And except for the main themes for MM4 & MM5, all the SC-55 versions were created by the sound programmer from the originals submitted by him to New World Computing.)

I hope that helps someone somewhere.

Thanks for all investigative work! I love the M&M series and definitely would prefer to use the composer's intended sound module when playing. This is especially useful because most people would just assume based on the release date of the game that the SC-55 was used for the composition. Great work!

Reply 74 of 74, by lordskylark

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newtmonkey wrote on 2020-10-30, 05:09:

Thanks for all investigative work! I love the M&M series and definitely would prefer to use the composer's intended sound module when playing. This is especially useful because most people would just assume based on the release date of the game that the SC-55 was used for the composition. Great work!

Keep in mind, though, that the job of the sound programmer was to take the originals and make sure that the music and sound effects sounded good on every other available soundcard.
In the case of the SC-55 music for MM4 & MM5, since there is a greater volume difference between velocities with the SC-55 vs. MT-32, the entire MT-32 composition would have had to been rewritten for SC-55 to sound correctly -- which was not done (except in the case of Tim's team having made unique SC-55 versions only of the opening themes). So while the SFX seem to have been optimized and the patches for the music changed (and many times given better-sounding instruments themselves), it still uses the MT-32 velocities and sounds very off from what the composer would have intended.