Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

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Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Maxor127 » 2004-4-02 @ 12:09

I tried playing Matrix Cubed on a new Windows computer and of course it played way too fast so I used moslo to slow it down, it still went too fast at some parts, but the thing that really bothered me was that there seems to be an uneven level of sound quality. At the start of the game it asks you what sound card you want to use, and I tried both Adlib and Soundblaster with the same results. Basically, the music sounds how you'd expect with decent synthesized scores. But the sound effects are really crappy PC Speaker sounds.

This is my first time playing this game, but I wanted it when it first came out because I really liked the Commodore 64 version of Countdown to Doomsday, its predecessorl. And what really bothers me is that the C64 version of the first game had better sound effects than this sequel. Anyways, I discovered DosBox while trying to find a solution and it seems like an excellent project so I thought I'd try it out. So far I'm very impressed with its capabilities. Matrix Cubed played at a good speed but it still had the PC Speaker sound effects. And I know for a fact it's using some PC Speaker driver because if I uncheck PC Speaker in the sound options for D-Fend, then no sound plays at all.

Once again, I never played this game before so this could very well be how it's supposed to sound. I just want to make sure that there's nothing wrong with my copy of the game because I'd expect Soundblaster quality effects from a 1992 game with VGA sound and Soundblaster music instead of annoying PC Speaker sounds. So I'm still wondering if this is just how it's supposed to be or if there's some configuration error in some sound effects file for the game that's making it play PC Speaker quality effects instead of Soundblaster quality. I don't know where else to find the answer to my question and I'm sure most of the people here are knowledgeable about this sort of thing. Thanks for your time.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Hazekel » 2004-4-02 @ 14:13

You will only get good sound through true DOS or a DOS emulator like DOSBOX. Windows does not do a good job with DOS sound compatibility.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Maxor127 » 2004-4-02 @ 14:44

Hazekel wrote:You will only get good sound through true DOS or a DOS emulator like DOSBOX. Windows does not do a good job with DOS sound compatibility.


That's why I downloaded DOSBOX to see if it had the same sound problems. So I'm guessing it's a game problem instead of a system problem.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Magamo » 2004-4-02 @ 15:12

With Matrix Cubed, and indeed most of the old Gold Box games, if you just simply delete their config file, when you next run the program you will be able to re-choose its sound configuration. You might enjoy the Tandy 3-Voice sound in Cubed better, but I don't know.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Maxor127 » 2004-4-02 @ 21:35

I tried all of the sound options. Soundblaster and Adlib sound the best, but even with those options set, the game still uses PC Speaker sound effects.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Magamo » 2004-4-02 @ 22:06

Well, Matrix Cubed only uses the Sound Blaster or Adlib for the music, yes, beyond that, it uses PC Bleeper. It's how the game was coded. I suggested the Tandy sound, 'cause I know it was vastly different in Countdown, from the PC Bleeper sounds.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Maxor127 » 2004-4-02 @ 22:52

The Tandy sound effects did sound a lot better but the music sounded really bad. Is there any way to use Soundblaster music with Tandy sound effects?
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Magamo » 2004-4-04 @ 16:13

I wish I knew. That setup was default in Countdown, if you selected Tandy Sound. Unfortunately it would seem that SSI made a poor design decision when creating Cubed, probably thinking that no one would put together a box with a seperate MIDI module. Possibly playing around with the config file could help.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Tilean » 2013-4-14 @ 19:30

Okay. I will apologize for resurrecting, but I think this is definitely worth it, for everyone interested in playing Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed with the best possible sound experience, anyway.

The problem with Matrix Cubed is that, unless one chooses Tandy sound the game always uses PC Speaker sounds for combat movement and attacks, even if you might use a Soundblaster or a Roland for music. But the Tandy sounds the game uses for combat are much easier on the ear than the PC Speaker sounds, however the Tandy music sound is of course nerve-wrecking when one could also be listening to high quality midi music.

However, I have just found a solution:
what you have to do:

1. delete MATRIX.CFG

2. overwrite TANDY.ADV with MT32MPU.ADV from the game directory (if you have a working MT32 emulation) or use the GF1MIDI.ADV from GUSAIL97 (if you have a working Gravis Ultrasound emulation)

3. overwrite BUCKC.XMI with BUCKA.XMI or BUCKB.XMI (personal preference)

4. run START.EXE and choose TANDY 1000 sound (not Tandy graphics!)

5. Done!
(You need to have Tandy Sound in DosBox enabled of course)


Here is an explanation why and how this works. Apparently, the use of PC Speaker sounds is hardcoded into the game's exe (or some place else) and only if the exe detects that Tandy is used in the MATRIX.CFG configuration file, this behavior is changed. Regardless of whether one uses any of the 5 other sound options! So its either PC Speaker for combat and movement + X for music OR Tandy for combat and movement + Tandy for music. So that is why one chooses Tandy in the sound configuration.
But in all likelihood you do not want to have Tandy for music. By just replacing the drivers for Tandy the music will be played on the new device, while the game will still use the Tandy sounds for combat because that is hardcoded into the exe.
However, now a new problem arises. Because Tandy music is much more limited, the designers created a different score purely for Tandy and the game will now use this simple score on a pretty complex midi device, which again is not what you probably want (unless one is into minimalist music maybe, which might suit the game's science fiction setting just fine, actually :-) ).
So now the scores need to be replaced. Thankfully, the scores were not hardcoded into the exe and are just the three BUCK*.XMI files, where BUCKC.XMI is the Tandy score and BUCKA.XMI and BUCKB.XMI are two similar variations for Roland, Adlib or Soundblaster use. By replacing the Tandy score with a more complex one, the game will now play complex music on a midi device while still using Tandy sounds for combat.

That is basically it :-)

Hope this might still help someone.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby guncrazy » 2018-6-10 @ 21:45

I apologize for the thread resurrection, I don't quite understand the above instructions. When you say "overwrite" tandy.adv with MT32MPU.adv what exactly does that mean? Also do I have to enable Machine=tandy in the config file or just set the speak to tandy=on?

Again sorry for the revival but this issue has plagued me for nearly 2 decades Ive always hated the PC speaker sound effects.
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Dominus » 2018-6-10 @ 22:21

Rename tandy.adv to tandy.old and mt32mpu.adv to tandy.adv
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby guncrazy » 2018-6-10 @ 23:02

Ah great thank you!!
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Re: Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed sound problem/question

Postby Kirben » 2018-6-18 @ 11:03

Instead of needing to rename files, you can just use an updated executable file from my previous thread:
Gold Box sound hacks
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