Problems with MOM, Fantasy Empires, and Stronghold

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Problems with MOM, Fantasy Empires, and Stronghold

Postby Juason » 2003-1-26 @ 05:53

Greetings!

I am currently running the 2.0.4 version of VDM Sound, w/ Update 1 installed. My systems are an Athlon XP 2100+ w/ 1GB ram running WinXP Pro w/ SP 1 w/ a SB Live!, and a P3-500mhz HP Omnibook XE2 laptop, with 192mb of ram, win XP pro w/ SP1, and onboard Maestro-3 sound.

My problem is the previously mentioned pausing effect whenever a digitized sound is going to be played. It occurs in both systems regardless of settings inside VDM or outside. It is repeatable 100% of the time, and occurs primarily in the MOM battle scenes, and in Fantasy Empires' many window changes and battles (ie. a battering ram TOTALLY HOSES THE GAME for about a minute.) Now, my system is running the battle at Mach 4, and the guys are blurs on the screen when suddenly it just pauses when the battering ram is supposed to be making noise. This leads me to believe its an interrupt problem of some sort. Stronghold also exhibited these same problems, but I somehow tweaked it and got past it. (Don't ask me how I'm still trying to break it again and see...).

I know I can use speedstep to slow down the Fantasy Empires battles so thats not a problem, but I'd really like to be able to play these other games with sound. Any ideas anyone? I know this was already discussed, but it sounded like a problem not with VMD. Is there any chance of a fix on the horizon?

Finally, and this is a side note. My laptop has an internal fan that engages whenever the processor is under a lot of load and it heats up. When in class taking notes and playing my old dos games, this irritates the hell out of my neighbors (so I don't do it). I noticed the lowering of CPU accessing setting, but it doesn't seem to do much. Any ideas on this one? Might I change the CPU access even lower manually somewhere? I love the ability to ...so far anyways...play stronghold and other games w/ no problems and sound! Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide me with.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-26 @ 07:09

Honestly? Try DosBox and hope it works for these titles.

The "Master of Magic Sound Delays" are well known, but there's been no definitive fix for them outside of emulation or disabling of digital sound.

Do a quick search for MOM or Master of Magic and you'll find multiple posts from the past on this. There have been some that have claimed proper operation within XP, but they are the exception, not the rule.

DosBox won't run anything that needs protected mode so hopefully these won't use it. I know MOM has been run in DosBox before. It doesn't help when they're speed-sensitive. That's all I have at the moment.
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Re: Problems with MOM, Fantasy Empires, and Stronghold

Postby Unregistered » 2003-1-26 @ 15:52

Juason wrote:Greetings!
This leads me to believe its an interrupt problem of some sort.


From the logfile:


@W - 05:12:07.590 - SBController
Attempted to read from write-only port (IN 0x246)
@W - 05:12:07.594 - SBController
Attempted to read from write-only port (IN 0x246)
@W - 05:12:07.598 - SBController
Attempted to read from write-only port (IN 0x246)
@I - 05:12:07.665 - MPU401Controller
MPU-401 reset
@I - 05:12:07.888 - SBController
DSP reset - reinitializing DSP
@W - 05:12:07.904 - SBController
Attempted to read from write-only port (IN 0x246)
@W - 05:12:07.907 - SBController
Attempted to read from write-only port (IN 0x246)


In other words, you might just be right.
Bah!
I tried quite a lot of different things in the settings (different soundblaster variants, different IRQs) all lead to the same slowdown, leaving MoM as good as unplayable.

What's this "DosBox"? I'll run a search then.

-Boksha (Say! You can edit messages even when you aren't registerd! Hmm... so this thing does an IP-check then?)
Last edited by Unregistered on 2003-1-26 @ 18:28, edited 1 time in total.
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hmm

Postby Juason » 2003-1-26 @ 16:55

Yeah, its quite a bummer because this sound skipping seems to apply to all these D&D games I have in this pack - Dungeon Hack, Unlimited Adventures, and others... On another note I've been trying to get Tegel's Mercenaries and Strike Squad to run, but don't have enough conventional memory free it seems.
I'm decent with freeing up memory on actual dos systems - I have made bootdisks capable of loading devices high, enabling cloaking etc to give me additional memory,,,,,but I can't seem to get anything to work right inside WinXP. EMM386 can't run because of some protected mode stuff, and QEMM locks up. So, anyone got some tips for getting over 590k free w/ VDMSound? Both of these games work fine w/o sound, now I just need the sound and I'll be happy :) Again, thanks in advance everyone.
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Postby Unregistered » 2003-1-26 @ 18:25

I came across that problem when running MoM as well. Use VDMsound and disable DPMI support in the GUI's option-menu. Voila, 634608 bytes lower mem available. (on my PC anyway. DOSX takes up about 34kB, so that's what you'll gain by disabling DPMI)
I just hope your game doesn't actually néed that DPMI support. ;)
(edit)... or was that supposed to be w/O VDMsound? (/edit)

-Boksha
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Postby Boksha » 2003-1-26 @ 19:33

Hmm... I'm still having this slowdown problem in MoM as well. I'm going to try some more stuff, like with Speedset.
I probably meant what I just said. Then again, maybe not.
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Re: Re: Problems with MOM, Fantasy Empires, and Stronghold

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-26 @ 20:26

Originally posted by Unregistered [B]From the logfile:
[i]@W - 05:12:07.590 - SBController
Attempted to read from write-only port (IN 0x246)
From Vlad:
@W's (warnings) can safely be ignored. In this case games read from that port in order to delay for a couple of microseconds independently of the computer's speed (they rely on the bus' speed for n I/O operations to take that many microseconds)

IOW, it's not a real problem.
[B]
What's this "DosBox"? I'll run a search then.
http://dosbox.zophar.net/
Surprised to hear that there are still people who haven't heard about it. For unprotected 386 games and earlier only, no 486 or Pentium games please.
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Re: hmm

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-26 @ 21:22

Originally posted by Juason Yeah, its quite a bummer because this sound skipping seems to apply to all these D&D games I have in this pack - Dungeon Hack, Unlimited Adventures, and others...
Haven't heard of audio problems with these titles... Might need fine-tuning...
[B]
On another note I've been trying to get Tegel's Mercenaries and Strike Squad to run, but don't have enough conventional memory free it seems.
Should be pretty easy to get plenty of conventional memory. The only reason it should be missing would be loading up multiple programs that use conventional memory in the same NTVDM or that the game is reporting a false error (for example, Sierra's Thexder will not run properly on modern machines. It says that a data file is corrupt, when the problem is actually that you have too much free memory).
[B]
,,,,,but I can't seem to get anything to work right inside WinXP. EMM386 can't run because of some protected mode stuff, and QEMM locks up.
DO NOT RUN ANY DOS MEMORY TOOLS IN XP. The best you can hope for is that nothing bad happens. Remember, [b]there is no DOS in XP
(or any other NT O.S.), you simply have a command prompt that has support for some DOS functionality.

The command prompt has pretty much everything you need to run old DOS programs (configurable XMS & EMS, etc..), it's just that there's no guarantee of compatibility. The biggest bugaboo for DOS programs in an NT OS is the lack of direct hardware access (bypassing the O.S.). Vlad's VDMSound is a good workaround for the audio problem but there are plenty of other issues out there.
So, anyone got some tips for getting over 590k free w/ VDMSound?
Actually, if you create a file named [B]GO.BAT
and edit it to contain the single command MEM, the run it with VDMSound (right-click and choose Run with VDMS), it should report something like the following:

Loading 'VDDLoader.dll'...
Successfully loaded & initialized (hVDD = 0x01).

655360 bytes total conventional memory
655360 bytes available to MS-DOS
625120 largest executable program size

4194304 bytes total EMS memory
4194304 bytes free EMS memory

8388608 bytes total contiguous extended memory
0 bytes available contiguous extended memory
4045824 bytes available XMS memory
MS-DOS resident in High Memory Area


It's not VDMSound eating up the memory, trust me.
[B]
Both of these games work fine w/o sound, now I just need the sound and I'll be happy
That brings up two points:

#1) There's no guarantees here, there are some games that simply will not work properly within an NT O.S., for those, emulation will be necessary.

#2) While it's Ok to refer to other game titles in a single thread, trying to troubleshoot all of them in the same thread is going to cause massive confusion.

From this point forward the thread needs to focus on "Master of Magic". If you're trying to troubleshoot another title, we need a new thread started for each title.

Having said that, I have "Master of Magic" running within DosBox 0.57 pretty smoothly. I needed to increase the cycle speed to about 10,000.

It still has a few issues:
Gets constant "EMS:Get handle name not supported" errors, no apparent affect on the game.
Occasional "EMS:Call 59 not supported" errors, slight delay, no apparent effect on the game.
Locks up DosBox on quit.
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Re: Re: Re: Problems with MOM, Fantasy Empires, and Stronghold

Postby Boksha » 2003-1-26 @ 22:07

Nicht Sehr Gut wrote:From Vlad:
@W's (warnings) can safely be ignored. In this case games read from that port in order to delay for a couple of microseconds independently of the computer's speed (they rely on the bus' speed for n I/O operations to take that many microseconds)

IOW, it's not a real problem.
[B] http://dosbox.zophar.net/
Surprised to hear that there are still people who haven't heard about it. For unprotected 386 games and earlier only, no 486 or Pentium games please.


Hmm... still, it must be a timing problem, either having something to do with sound or with the character animations. The latter being more logical since the problem doesn't exist outside of the battle scenes, the first being more logical because the problem isn't around without SFX. I also noticed that the midi sounds a bit off. A bit slow, and the mouse moves real jerky. I'll see how that looks with XP's own emulator.

Anyway, I'll try running MoM with DosBox. Surprised I never found this earlier too. Then again, I never used WinXP until a month or so ago.

OK, I have it running with DOSbox now. It's still slow and ugly in some places, but quite playable.
Last edited by Boksha on 2003-1-26 @ 22:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Problems with MOM, Fantasy Empires, and Stronghold

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-27 @ 07:04

Originally posted by Boksha [B]Hmm... still, it must be a timing problem, either having something to do with sound or with the character animations.
I think it has something to do with the way the SimTex people used sound. Very similar problems come up with "Master of Orion".
[B]
Anyway, I'll try running MoM with DosBox. Surprised I never found this earlier too. Then again, I never used WinXP until a month or so ago.
Hopefully, you've got a dual-boot setup. XP will set up a dual boot option for you if leave a DOS or Win9x OS and have an available partition for XP. There are still plenty of titles that "Hate NT".
[B]
OK, I have it running with DOSbox now. It's still slow and ugly in some places, but quite playable.
Even at 10,000 cycles? Seemed pretty smooth to me (BTW, adjust the speed before you start the game. Acts flaky otherwise...)
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Postby Boksha » 2003-1-27 @ 16:43

Yes, it's smooth, but the same slowdown as happens in VDMsound occurs here as well, only a lot shorter and not only in the battle scenes (so pressing buttons, "thuck", is rather slow as well). For some reason, the uglyness I experienced yesterday (weirdly coloured menus) is now fixed.
Now, all I would like to see is is DOSbox with VDMsound's MPU401 support. :)

Also, is there any way to easilt adjust the clockcycles from within Dosbox? Exiting and editing the config-file all the time is kind of annoying...
I probably meant what I just said. Then again, maybe not.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-27 @ 17:59

Originally posted by Boksha [B]only a lot shorter and not only in the battle scenes...
Seemed smooth to me, of course I was testing as opposed to playing.
[B]
For some reason, the uglyness I experienced yesterday (weirdly coloured menus) is now fixed.
Seems to appear if there's any switching between a window and full screen mode. If you plan to play in a mode (full-screen or window), be in that mode before you start the game.
[B]
Now, all I would like to see is is DOSbox with VDMsound's MPU401 support.
So do we all...
[B]
Also, is there any way to easily adjust the clockcycles from within Dosbox? Exiting and editing the config-file all the time is kind of annoying...
*Heh* From the README:
CTRL-F7 Decrease frameskip
CTRL-F8 Increase frameskip
CTRL-F9 Go full screen and back.
CTRL-F10 Capture/Release the mouse.
CTRL-F11 Slowdown emulation.
CTRL-F12 Speedup emulation.

By the way, edit your CONF file and change:
keepsmall=true

The windowed mode for v0.57 is somewhat lagged and this helps by using the original game's resolution.
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Postby psz » 2003-1-28 @ 01:55

N'er personally had a problem with Dungeon Hack or Stronghold (Both of which I play regularly).

The sound "stopping" in Master Of Magic is one of those things in life that doesn't seem to be fixable ATM. As for the memory issues, I've posted Autoexec.nt and config.nt files in the past that free up a TONNE of DOS memory from shortcuts (This is for pretty much any game that has low dos memory available).

As was said before, though, do NOT try to use DOS level memory managers. They can cause very bad things to happen.
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Postby Juason » 2003-1-28 @ 02:23

Well I got Dungeon Hack to work again, some sound settings had to be changed, but the SFX are still a little weak - probably more adjusting needed. Stronghold used to experience the SAME exact problem as Fantasy Empires, and MOM...but using VDM sound w/o the music note, AND selecting original soundblaster instead of the newer ones,,,stopped the skipping during the playing of sound effects.
BTW, the skipping happened even with WinXP's emulation and every setting with it.
MOM still is skipping,,,and Dosbox is giving me a heck of a time. I can't figure out what sound settings to use.... If I select SB for them ,its super super slow and prone to crashing. If I disable midi, it plays slow but ok,,,with moderate pausing in combat. This is with cycles around 10k. Anyone that posted earlier saying they have it working decent with sound mind telling me the settings they used? Again, I appreciate the help as always.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-28 @ 16:42

Originally posted by Juason [B]Stronghold used to experience the SAME exact problem...
Have you tried it under DosBox? You need to crank up speed a bit, but it worked in some basic tests I ran.
[B]
BTW, the skipping happened even with WinXP's emulation and every setting with it.
This is not a surprise. XP's built-in emulation is inferior in almost every way. It only emulates up to a SoundBlaster 2.0 (VDMSound goes up to a SoundBlaster 16 for 16-Bit sound), and frequently not recognized by many sound install/configuration programs.
[B]
MOM still is skipping,,,and Dosbox is giving me a heck of a time. I can't figure out what sound settings to use.... If I select SB for them ,its super super slow and prone to crashing. If I disable midi, it plays slow but ok,,,with moderate pausing in combat. This is with cycles around 10k.
When you say MIDI, you mean FM (AdLib) right?
[B]
Anyone that posted earlier saying they have it working decent with sound mind telling me the settings they used?
Seemed Ok to me. Wasn't using any special settings.
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Postby Juason » 2003-1-28 @ 21:19

Yeah I tried it with DosBox, but its running super slow - with no sound selected. I can increase the cycles to 100's of thousands,,,but also to no effect. Is there some DosBox setting I need to modify for the cycles options to catch? Right now when I do use Soundblaster original all I get is horrible echoed sound, and a game running super slow.

*Edit - I just tried speedset with VDMsound...and guess what...it doesn't change the speed much either. Its really odd. I don't run tyrian2k with sound, but even with no sound its still slow. So, if I go to a command prompt, run speedset 20, and then launch tyrian...the speed is the same. If I go -20, the speed is the same. Only at extreme ranged +/-99 does the game start really crawling. I can't use speedset on MOM because when run using VDMsound w/ sound off, the speed is perfect - just like the original. Really strange*
Last edited by Juason on 2003-1-28 @ 21:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Snover » 2003-1-28 @ 22:15

Juason, you are using the old version of SPEEDSET, or at the least, using old numbers. The new one is much less granular (I believe +65535 to -65535) so +-20 is not much.
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Postby Juason » 2003-1-29 @ 00:37

oohhh...perhaps that is it...let me check it out and get back with ya!
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Postby Juason » 2003-1-29 @ 05:14

I'm using version 1.02 of speedset...from right within the dos prompt, if I only type speedet and hit enter, it says values range from 100 fastest to -100 slowest... Anyways,,I DID get it to work with Tegel's Mercenaries somewhat ok, but thats the only program so far.
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Postby Boksha » 2003-1-29 @ 15:00

Hmm... I had MoM running alright in DosBox the day before yesterday, but now I get all kinds of weird problems.
Here's one...
Exit to error: Call to interrupt 0xCD this is BAD

Also, when I choose normal Soundblaster 1.0 sound I get all sorts of static, even at 10000 cycles, and when I choose adlib sound, the SFX screwy (all sounds are way too short and get followed by what sounds like constant sine waves)
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