general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Getting old DOS games working. (DOSBox topics belong in DOSBox areas below, not here).

general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby gpyra » 2018-8-28 @ 19:10

Are there any patches for Flight of the Amazon Queen and Beneath a Steel Sky that add general midi support to them?
I've tried these games, and only available music options are: adlib, soundblaster and roland :blah: That's strange because these games are 1994-1995, while a lof ot earlier games do support general midi, e.g. sam&max hit the road (1993), day of the tentacle (1993), space quest 5 (1993), legend of kyrandia - hand of fate (1993)
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby digger » 2018-8-28 @ 20:31

If these two games use the "standard" pre-programmed instrument set of the Roland MT-32, then you might be able to load a MIDI mapping or a set of SountFonts that will play the music in fairly high quality. However, if the game makes full use of the L/A synthesizer of the Roland MT-32 to generate custom instruments and such, it will never sound proper on any General MIDI device.

Also, some games were actually composed on an Adlib (OPL2) sythesizer and "ported" to the Roland MT-32. You can usually recognize such games by their use of very "generic" instruments. Those games actually tend to sound better on Adlib and Sound Blaster compatible cards. You could just try it out using DOSBox and Munt to compare the music in OPL2 mode to the music in Roland MT-32 mode.

I know MT-32 synthesizers are quite rare to come by, but if you're in the mood for a fun project, you can find guides elsewhere in this forum on how to use something like the Raspberry PI running Linux and Munt (a Roland MT-32 emulator) and hooking it up to the game/MIDI port on your retro gaming PC using a USB/MIDI-adapter. :)

One more thing, I believe I tried both games in ScummVM once and when I did, I heard emulated OPL2 music. I believe later versions of ScummVM could be made to work with Munt as well, but you'll have to do some Googling. Good luck!
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby Marek » 2018-8-29 @ 09:41

ScummVM can convert those to GM on the fly.
DOS-PC: DFI k6bv3+, Pentium 200mmx, 64 MB RAM, Terratec Maestro 32 sound card, Roland MT-32 + SC-155, Winner 2000 AVI 2MB, Voodoo 1, Win98SE
Windows PC: GigaByte GA-MA790GPT, Phenom II X4 905e, 12 GB RAM, M-Audio Delta 44, NVidia 1060 6 GB, Win7 pro x64
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby digger » 2018-8-30 @ 22:11

Marek wrote:ScummVM can convert those to GM on the fly.


Does ScummVM use a single MT-32->GM mapping for such a conversion, or different mappings for specific games? In case of the former, it probably still won't sound correct in games that use anything other than the MT-32's standard preset instrument set.

I remember using Mega-Em to emulate an MT-32 synthesizer on my Gravis Ultrasound back in the day, and many games just wouldn't sound right. For instance, the piano instrument would often be used as a standard fall-back instrument, which just didn't sound right.

If you are using DOSBox and/or ScummVM to play games with musical score that was originally composed on a Roland MT-32, your best bet, other than hooking up an actual MT-32 synthesizer, would be Munt.
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby Marek » 2018-8-31 @ 21:28

digger wrote:Does ScummVM use a single MT-32->GM mapping for such a conversion, or different mappings for specific games?
It does recognize the custom instruments of SCUMM games and uses appropriate GM replacements. I guess, it does the same for the other engines as well.
DOS-PC: DFI k6bv3+, Pentium 200mmx, 64 MB RAM, Terratec Maestro 32 sound card, Roland MT-32 + SC-155, Winner 2000 AVI 2MB, Voodoo 1, Win98SE
Windows PC: GigaByte GA-MA790GPT, Phenom II X4 905e, 12 GB RAM, M-Audio Delta 44, NVidia 1060 6 GB, Win7 pro x64
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby digger » 2018-9-01 @ 12:03

Marek wrote:
digger wrote:Does ScummVM use a single MT-32->GM mapping for such a conversion, or different mappings for specific games?
It does recognize the custom instruments of SCUMM games and uses appropriate GM replacements. I guess, it does the same for the other engines as well.

Interesting. I guess that if the iMuse system in many SCUMM games defines instrument types with clear names such as "piano", "choir", etc, a dynamic or game-specific mapping of instruments could indeed be implemented, even for earlier games from the MT-32 "generation". I should try that out some time. :)

Still, this would only solve it for (most) games based on the SCUMM engine. But perhaps many other engines used similar proprietary instrument abstractions internally as well. Since many games of the era would have to support different music devices in DOS and also have ports for other platforms such as the Amiga, Macintosh, Atari, etc, each with their vastly different sound and music output devices, such common abstractions and flexible instrument mappings would indeed seem quite useful or even necessary.
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby Marek » 2018-9-02 @ 08:11

digger wrote:But perhaps many other engines used similar proprietary instrument abstractions internally as well. Since many games of the era would have to support different music devices in DOS and also have ports for other platforms such as the Amiga
Interestingly, Amiga's SCUMM V5 midi is playable on a real MT-32. It is not supported natively, but you can hack the DOS interpreter to play them as ROL. Of course, you'll get a graphical mess then. Seems they composed those on the same development environment as the PC version and just stripped several tracks, because the Amiga only has 4 voices. Ironically, some of the instrument samples sound much like Yamaha wavetables of the time.
DOS-PC: DFI k6bv3+, Pentium 200mmx, 64 MB RAM, Terratec Maestro 32 sound card, Roland MT-32 + SC-155, Winner 2000 AVI 2MB, Voodoo 1, Win98SE
Windows PC: GigaByte GA-MA790GPT, Phenom II X4 905e, 12 GB RAM, M-Audio Delta 44, NVidia 1060 6 GB, Win7 pro x64
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Re: general midi for fotaq and bass games?

Postby digger » 2018-9-15 @ 17:30

Marek wrote:Seems they composed those on the same development environment as the PC version and just stripped several tracks, because the Amiga only has 4 voices. Ironically, some of the instrument samples sound much like Yamaha wavetables of the time.


That makes sense, since the sound chip on the Amiga was a 4-channel sample-based synthesizer that didn't come with any instrument samples in ROM or anything. So since they had to provide the instrument samples in the game themselves anyway, they had to look for instrument samples that they could license and Roland apparently didn't play ball with them. Or maybe Yamaha charged less for the licensing of their instruments and they sounded good enough. :)

I remember about the user Canadacow getting in legal trouble with Roland when he developed Munt, a software synthesizer that emulates the Roland MT-32, which is an L/A synthesizer that relies partially on samples. Funny enough, Roland dropped the the suit, since they apparently couldn't find any proof that they owned the copyright on the instrument samples in the MT-32. Or at least that's how I remember it, but I'm sure someone else here can correct me on this if I'm wrong. So in hindsight, maybe LucasArts could have gotten away with just bundling samples of the original MT-32 instruments in their SCUMM games after all. :)

On a different note: Yay, my 100th post! I'm not a Newbie anymore. :) (No offense by the way, Marek. I see you're not far behind either. ;))
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