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Wing Commander 3 MIDI slows down with more CPU Cycles

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First post, by clueless1

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I use a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz PCI with General MIDI DLS Synth. I notice on most DOSBox games that support General MIDI (WC3 is just one example) that there is a "sweet spot" for CPU cycles that if I go past, the MIDI music will start slowing down progressively more. For example, on WC3, with CPU Cycles set to 50000, the MIDI music sounds perfect, but the framerate of the game while inside the carrier (your ship you launch out of at the beginning of each mission) is around 8 fps. If I bump the CPU cycles to get the framerate to 24 fps (WC3's max fps), the music slows down so much it is basically one long note. Is this normal? At 50000 cycles the game is playable otherwise (the framerate stays close to 24 in-flight and during battles), so it's not a huge deal. It's just curious.

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Reply 1 of 7, by Xelasarg

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Yes, that's nornal behaviour. If you set cycles too high, Soundblaster/Adlib sound will start to skip, while Midi will produce sort of a rubberband effect.
Why don't you just set cycles=max?

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Reply 2 of 7, by clueless1

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Xelasarg wrote:

Yes, that's nornal behaviour. If you set cycles too high, Soundblaster/Adlib sound will start to skip, while Midi will produce sort of a rubberband effect.
Why don't you just set cycles=max?

I thought max would just make the problem worse? Going from 5000->100000 slows MIDI music to a crawl, so it seems that going to max would just, er, maximize the slowdown effect on the music?

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 3 of 7, by PhilsComputerLab

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That machine is this on?

Wing Commander III runs in 640 x 480 and is quite a bit more demanding than Doom for example.

I can tell you that on a fast i7 for example, you don't get this issue. You can have 24 fps AND smooth music in all areas.

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Reply 4 of 7, by clueless1

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The machine uses a Xeon 3010 (Core 2 Duo 2.67Ghz) with 2GB, Geforce 8800GTX and Santa Cruz PCI.

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 5 of 7, by PhilsComputerLab

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clueless1 wrote:

The machine uses a Xeon 3010 (Core 2 Duo 2.67Ghz) with 2GB, Geforce 8800GTX and Santa Cruz PCI.

Yea that won't cut it I'm afraid 😐

You can try dynamic core setting, worth a shot.

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Reply 6 of 7, by clueless1

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Dynamic helped a lot. Music did not slow at all. It took a cycles setting of 175000 to get a solid 24 fps in the hanger, but I still noticed occasional stuttering. I then set cycles=max and that smoothed it out fully. So in the end, core=dynamic and cycles=max gave me the best results. Thanks to both of you. 😀

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