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Games that sound best with GUS?

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Reply 20 of 42, by ripsaw8080

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Cloudschatze wrote:

based on my own experience with the common, AMF-supporting players.

AMF format significantly limits the choice of players, hence the conversion to MOD.

Aside from the point I was getting at regarding the many possibilities of external players and add-on effects, I actually prefer to listen to the converted AMF modules sans effects in Impulse Tracker. IT gives a fairly detailed rendition compared to the muddiness of some other players.

Reply 21 of 42, by Great Hierophant

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Does anyone with a real GUS find that their card is especially sensitive to the ISA Bus Speed? Someone on my blog pointed out that there were skipped notes in my OMF recording. I had the bus speed set to 7.159MHz (this is a unique speed offered by my BIOS) when I made the recording. I lowered the bus speed to 6.6MHz (33 / 5) and the notes were no longer skipped. Is this an issue with my GUS ACE 1.0 or something that is generally encountered with GUS cards?

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Reply 22 of 42, by Scali

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Great Hierophant wrote:

Does anyone with a real GUS find that their card is especially sensitive to the ISA Bus Speed?

I don't recall ever having problems with my GUS MAX, and I run mine in a pretty fast 486DX2-80 VLB system.
I'll have to check OMF specifically, but I would suspect it is an issue specific to your motherboard, it may have a flawed ISA implementation (I doubt it's the ACE, since it uses the same GF1 chip as all other GUSes (pre-PnP/InterWave of course)).

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Reply 23 of 42, by Cloudschatze

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:

Anyone checked out the Ensoniq option?

The Ensoniq support provided by the V1.06 ASYLUM.DLL includes the same stereo and spatialization playback behavior as experienced with the SB16/AWE32 support, making the Soundscape another nice option. Being a higher-quality card, the Soundscape output is also more revealing than that of most of its Sound Blaster contemporaries, for good or ill.

Perhaps there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for it, but limiting the GUS support to monophonic output seems rather odd/lazy.

Reply 24 of 42, by James-F

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Great Hierophant wrote:

I had the bus speed set to 7.159MHz (this is a unique speed offered by my BIOS) when I made the recording. I lowered the bus speed to 6.6MHz (33 / 5) and the notes were no longer skipped. Is this an issue with my GUS ACE 1.0 or something that is generally encountered with GUS cards?

7.159MHz is exactly half of 14.318MHz which is de facto standard for the oscillator frequency on pin B30 of the ISA port.

This one suggest to avoid the 7.159 even though it is the default...

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EDIT:
But you obviously know all about it: Re: ISA clock rate 😊

Maybe even try higher speed?:
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/mbsys/bios/set/advchISA-c.html


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Reply 26 of 42, by MrFlibble

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I just discovered that the music in Trugg not only sounds better with GUS (if I select SB16 even w/ 44 kHz mixing it still sounds like 22 kHz) but also has some extra instruments/sound effects not present in the Sound Blaster version.

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Reply 28 of 42, by DracoNihil

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Probably worth mentioning, any MS-DOS game that uses MikMod for it's entire sound handling is going to be better on the GUS, especially if using DosBOX because for some reason DosBOX's Soundblaster Emulation really underruns in MikMod based games in most cases.

MikMod doesn't do any kind of interpolation if you're on Soundblaster rather than GUS, and MikMod handles all sound (and music) on the GUS through hardware mixing, but be prepared to obviously run into issues with the 1024KB only memory limit.

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Reply 30 of 42, by DracoNihil

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-03-10, 17:47:

Thanks for the info! Is there a list of such games, or an easy way to identify those?

Don't really have a list, I just go by if "MikMod" is mentioned in the credits, or the sound is broken and seemingly only fixed by switching to GUS emulation.

Three games I have off hand currently that use MikMod:
CRASH by Digital Nightmares
Ravage by Alpha Helix Productions
ACID Tetris by Dungeon Dweller Design

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Reply 31 of 42, by Pierre32

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DracoNihil wrote on 2021-03-10, 19:02:
Don't really have a list, I just go by if "MikMod" is mentioned in the credits, or the sound is broken and seemingly only fixed […]
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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-03-10, 17:47:

Thanks for the info! Is there a list of such games, or an easy way to identify those?

Don't really have a list, I just go by if "MikMod" is mentioned in the credits, or the sound is broken and seemingly only fixed by switching to GUS emulation.

Three games I have off hand currently that use MikMod:
CRASH by Digital Nightmares
Ravage by Alpha Helix Productions
ACID Tetris by Dungeon Dweller Design

Interesting info. Would love to get a list going.

Reply 33 of 42, by DracoNihil

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One of the tell tale signs a game is using MikMod, other than it using tracker music, is if there are .UNI files located either loosely or inside of a binary blob of files.

.UNI is the internal representation of a tracker module within MikMod's own API. You normally don't need to "convert" modules to .UNI, but I guess some people do it either to frustrate attempts at "stealing" music, or they really need that extra cycles of processing time shaved.

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Reply 34 of 42, by Pierre32

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It's interesting because when the GUS topic comes up, there are usually a small handful of games that get mentioned as good showcases, such as Jazz Jackrabbit, Epic Pinball (etc), and Star Control 2. Evidently there are numerous gems out there that don't generally come up in the conversation.

This list of game music rips would be a good start for the intrepid explorer I guess. Filtered for DOS, there are 130 games with tracker music (archived here, at least):

http://www.mirsoft.info/gamemods-archive.php? … bmit=SHOW%3E%3E

Testing and comparing these against other sound cards for quality and performance would be a good project. Who isn't busy?

Reply 35 of 42, by MrFlibble

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DracoNihil wrote on 2021-03-10, 14:44:

MikMod doesn't do any kind of interpolation if you're on Soundblaster rather than GUS, and MikMod handles all sound (and music) on the GUS through hardware mixing, but be prepared to obviously run into issues with the 1024KB only memory limit.

There's one thing that I was wondering about. From my recent tests, I noticed that there are games where changing to GUS is an improvement in sound and music from good to better, sometimes not even very noticeable (the sound gets "deeper" but otherwise SB is already okay). Yet there are others where music sounds really not good with SB, with very audible rustling kind of noise in the music, which goes away if GUS is used. Such games include Axia and Kingdom at War. Do you know if this is because of the lack of interpolation you mentioned, or for other reasons?

DracoNihil wrote on 2021-03-10, 19:02:
Three games I have off hand currently that use MikMod: CRASH by Digital Nightmares Ravage by Alpha Helix Productions ACID Tetris […]
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Three games I have off hand currently that use MikMod:
CRASH by Digital Nightmares
Ravage by Alpha Helix Productions
ACID Tetris by Dungeon Dweller Design

I wanted to mention Ravage too, I like the intro/menu music.

BTW, as I recently discovered and mentioned elsewhere, Bref displays some kind of graphical glitches with mouse cursor if SB is used, which is fixed by using GUS. I suspect that this might be related to the sound effect which is played if you click the mouse anywhere except menu items, but not sure.

Pierre32 wrote on 2021-03-11, 08:27:

It's interesting because when the GUS topic comes up, there are usually a small handful of games that get mentioned as good showcases, such as Jazz Jackrabbit, Epic Pinball (etc), and Star Control 2. Evidently there are numerous gems out there that don't generally come up in the conversation.

So far I'm getting the impression that shareware/freeware games produced by demo groups tend to have GUS support, or even were written predominantly with GUS in mind. Many of these originate in Europe (France, Germany, UK, Spain, Finland) but I cannot yet say with certainty that such games are more common/numerous compared to the Americas.

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Reply 36 of 42, by digistorm

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Yes, the difference in sound is often lack of interpolation (that is really taxing on 486 class machines) but sometimes also less accurate software mixing routines with lots of rounding errors or even 8 bit output. Also, the GUS needs far less bus and memory access when playing music and sound effects so it is far less time critical.
But the opposite is also possible. DOOM for example does just mix all sounds together in software and streams the result just in time to the GUS sample RAM. Really convoluted and it sounds worse than a real SoundBlaster in my opinion.

Reply 37 of 42, by DracoNihil

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digistorm wrote on 2021-03-11, 17:22:

But the opposite is also possible. DOOM for example does just mix all sounds together in software and streams the result just in time to the GUS sample RAM. Really convoluted and it sounds worse than a real SoundBlaster in my opinion.

At some point DMX apparently had the ability to just, upload all the sounds to the GUS's RAM and play sounds on a round robin basis in hardware but when I try to dig for info on this I find a lot of USENET posts listing some pretty embarrassing excuses as to why this had to be given up. (something something "DMA problems")

Considering the MikMod games I've played that upload sound effects to the GUS and uses the hardware mixing for both sounds and tracker music don't appear to lock up randomly even after a hour of ingame time really makes me wonder...

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Reply 38 of 42, by MrFlibble

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A few more titles:

Of these, TwinBlok does not work with GUS in v0.74-3 (freezes at startup), but does in more recent SVN builds.

Tronic has an option in the sound device setup menu to "Use DMA for sample downloading" when GUS is selected. If this is enabled, there are very long delays when a new music piece is loaded, so I'm not sure what the purpose of this is, perhaps it worked differently on real hardware (I only tested this in 0.74-3).
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Reply 39 of 42, by zyga64

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I know this is not exactly a game, but C64s (Commodore 64 emulator for DOS) works much better with GUS than with SB.
On my 486DX33 I can play C64 games at 100% speed with sound. This is not possible with Soundblaster (without frameskipping).

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /CL-GD5422 /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /TGUI9440 /YMF718+GUS
3) i440BX /P!!!750 /256MB /MX440 /SBLive!+Vibra16s