VOGONS


First post, by Zoomer

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Sorry for creating this thread in a wrong place, but please hear me out!

This is a call for help for the owners of Aureal Vortex 1 or 2 and/or Creative Soundblaster Live cards.

There's this convoluted 3d audio API: IAS, or Interactive Arround-Surround. It was used in a number of games. I believe, as a middleware for all things sound and music. My understanding is that it allows the use of surround sound in the games using this implementation, however you shall go through a somewhat bizarre installation procedure in the sense that you must download an installation file that corresponds to the hardware you have. Then the installer must detect the said hardware (god knows the procedures it uses for the detection) and then it drops several files into System32 folder as well as adds a control panel applet which you must use to properly configure everything.

I'd really like to experiment with this thing on modern systems and research whether it is possible to configure it in such a way that the game would use modern DirectSound3d to OpenAL wrappers (or A3D->Ds3D->OAL).

However, I can't proceed since the installers won't put the required DLL as they don't see the real hardware. On a system without 3d audio accelerating hardware the IAS installer would put only the earpds.dll into system32. A3D files are ignored so there must be some sort of low level detection routines.

It's my understanding that when the proper corresponding (or the "ultimate") installer is run and the hardware is also properly detected then the necessary earias.dll file is also dropped into the System32 folder. I can't for the life of me find this dll file.

So what I'm asking is this: could someone kindly run the installer on the system where the said audio hardware is present, then get that file and upload it here? It shouldn't mess up your system in any way, and it's only for games that use it. All the IAS installers were preserved and uploaded to Vogons Driver Library by betamax80: http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?file … 148&menustate=0

There's a readme file inside the archive detailing the archive contents and which files are for what. I believe, that there are several versions of the earias.dll file for different hardware. If that is so, I think it would be wise to collect them all.

After that, we'll only need to figure out where the configuration file is stored (or maybe it's in the registry) and then simply put that dll to the game's directory. I'm sure that would be all that's needed, since it's also possible to use the earpds.dll (non 3d version) without iaspkg installers and without running the control panel applet.

I myself unfortunately currently don't have access to either Creative SB Live or A3D sound card. 🙁

MB: Asus P3B-F 1.03 (2x ISA)
CPU: PIII-S 1.4GHz/VIA C3 800MHz
RAM: 256MB PC133
Video: GeForce 4600Ti/Voodoo 5 5500/Voodoo 3 3500 for DOS Glide
Audio: SB16 OPL3 + Audigy Platinum Ex
OS: Windows 98

Reply 1 of 3, by tyrells

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Here are the files from iaspkg0.exe. I extracted them using Resource Hacker.

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  • Filename
    iaspkg0.zip
    File size
    708.22 KiB
    Downloads
    41 downloads
    File comment
    IAS (Interactive Around-Surround) DLLs
    File license
    Public domain
Last edited by tyrells on 2024-02-20, 11:54. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 3, by Zoomer

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Well that totally works too. Thanks so much for your work!
Unfortunately, I wasn't yet able to get the surround sound in my test game to work properly (it's Boss Rally). However, I think I'm moving somewhere.

First, I tried working through the IAS control panel applet. If there's no earias.dll, only earpds.dll - it will report the following:

earpds.dll -- 
found in C:\Windows\system32\earpds.dll
target = 1096
Microsoft DirectSound, DirectX 5, DirectX 6
version 1.58
target expected: dsound.dll 5.00.1871.1
target found: version 10.0.22621.1
WARNING -- earpds.dll targets an older version of DirectSound; check www.earsound.com for upgrade of earpds.dll

functioning properly

earias.dll --
no multi-speaker IAS component installed;
program detects drivers on your system supporting

Aureal A3D

Visit www.earsound.com and download
the IAS component for this sound card.

The part about A3D is because of Creative's Soundblaster Titanium HD drivers (and many other versions to my knowledge) which drop a rudimentary a3d.dll wrapper.

Next with the Aureal A3D earias.dll version in SysWOW64 folder:

earias.dll -- 
found in C:\Windows\system32\earias.dll
target = 1048
Aureal A3D Vortex
version 1.58

WARNING -- your card is using an uncertified A3D.dll; this component only works with Aureal-Certified hardware.

component fails.

(I truncated the part about earpds)

So it doesn't know this A3D.dll and bails out. The speaker settings (where the surround panning is being tested and the earpds.dll can be disabled) part of the applet tells that earias.dll failed during initialization.

Next, the SB Live! earias.dll. That would be the preferable one as it allows the use of EAX sound effects:

earias.dll -- 
found in C:\Windows\system32\earias.dll
target = 1072
Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live!
version 1.58
target expected: sblfx.dll 4.06.615

Even though it doesn't report "the component fails", I think it's not loaded. The speaker setup says the same as with A3D. I'm not sure what is sblfx.dll it's looking for. I believe it's some old school way to read the speaker configuration. Likewise, I tried putting some random sblfx.dll into SysWOW64. The component fails too, however now I'm getting Ear Error:7: GetConfiguration failed in the sound card software. Need to try different sblfx.dll versions.

Next, the Diamond MonsterSound earias.dll:

earias.dll -- 
found in C:\Windows\system32\earias.dll
target = 1024
Diamond MonsterSound Original
version 1.58
target expected: f3api32.dll 4.10.00.1582

I don't know what API it is looking for. A quick googling tells me that f3api32.dll was distributed with MX300. The MX300 is an A3D card. So I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, but the component fails nonetheless.

Next, the SB PCI-64/128 version of earias.dll:

earias.dll -- 
found in C:\Windows\system32\earias.dll
target = 1060
Creative Labs SoundBlaster PCI-64, PCI-128
version 1.58
target expected: eapci.vxd 4.05.1207

eapci.vxd not found. Definitely some stuff for system configuration reading. Yet, it seems that the dll gets loaded properly and surprisingly the speaker config is working. You can test the audio output and the rear/center speakers do work. Which I'm not sure why because I don't have system-wide dsound redirect. Somehow it manages to output surround audio here.

So that's a start. However, Boss Rally still outputs in stereo only. What's interesting is that you can remove all the dlls from the SysWOW64 folder, rename earias.dll to earpds.dll and run the game. It will initialize fine (with all the other earias.dll it won't load and complain about either audio hardware not initialized or that the system is set to output stereo only, so use earpds.dll). No surround sound, though. It might be that this game has no surround sound at all.

I'll try to find other games which explicitly support surround sound and have some settings for that - and report back.

Edit: I think now this thread is totally unrelated to Marvin, so may I please ask moving it to The Guide\Windows?

MB: Asus P3B-F 1.03 (2x ISA)
CPU: PIII-S 1.4GHz/VIA C3 800MHz
RAM: 256MB PC133
Video: GeForce 4600Ti/Voodoo 5 5500/Voodoo 3 3500 for DOS Glide
Audio: SB16 OPL3 + Audigy Platinum Ex
OS: Windows 98

Reply 3 of 3, by Zoomer

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Yay. It works! I found another game that uses IAS middleware - it's Heavy Gear 2. And it does work in full surround!

So with earias.dll of Creative Labs SB PCI-64/128 variety you get surround sound without any additional settings in-game. However, you must make sure that the "I always want to use "Phantom IAS" solution" on the Speaker Setup tab is unchecked (see the screenshot).

Also, what's still a mystery to me is that how the hell does this work. It outputs with proper 3d panning without any dsound.dll redirects on my Windows 11 system. No OpenAL redirects, no nothing. Such a weird thing.

Attachments

MB: Asus P3B-F 1.03 (2x ISA)
CPU: PIII-S 1.4GHz/VIA C3 800MHz
RAM: 256MB PC133
Video: GeForce 4600Ti/Voodoo 5 5500/Voodoo 3 3500 for DOS Glide
Audio: SB16 OPL3 + Audigy Platinum Ex
OS: Windows 98