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First post, by Neville

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I have to admit it, since I discovered DOSBox years ago I haven't payed this sound deviuce much attention. Printer port DAC? Lame. Just FX here and there? Lame. After all, DOSBox emulated much more interesting stuff, such as AdLib, several Sound Blaster models and the Gravis UltraSound.

This however, changed a few days ago. Another retrogamer urged me yo try "Aracnophobia" with the DSS enabled (run it with SPIDER.EXE ON) and I couldn't believe it. This game cleverly uses the device to produce snippets of music during the opening screens rather effectively, and the rest of the sounds are much better than with the PC speaker.

So, I'm finally ready to give the DSS a chance. My question is, what games should I try with it? Which ones make the most of it?

Reply 1 of 34, by root42

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Pinball Fantasies / Dreams support the Covox Speech Thing. So I guess they will work with the DSS...? They use three channel MOD tracker music plus on channel of sound effects.

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Reply 3 of 34, by root42

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mrau wrote:

does it sound like the amiga version or is there something more be had?

The PC port is very much like the Amiga version, I think.

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Reply 5 of 34, by root42

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Short list here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covox_Speech_Thing#Games

Build engine games seem to support it for SFX.

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Reply 6 of 34, by Neville

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root42 wrote:

Short list here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covox_Speech_Thing#Games

Build engine games seem to support it for SFX.

Thank you.

ripsaw8080 wrote:

Maybe look at games published by Disney that promote their own hardware, such as this one. 😉

Good thinking. However, I only get speaker sounds with it. I'll keep trying.

EDIT: Found the solution. WOW! That's cool.

Reply 7 of 34, by root42

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Do you have the ability to capture a sample of gameplay with sound? Would be interesting...

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Reply 9 of 34, by digger

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There is something interesting you could try, Neville. It was not originally my idea. I read it as a suggestion by bristlehog in this topic. But here it goes:

Apparently, a VESA standard was developed for audio devices, just like there was a VESA standard for high resolution (post-VGA) graphics). It was called the VBE/AI standard. Although there weren't any games that supported this standard directly as far as I know, both a DIGPAK bridge driver and a Miles/AIL/ADV bridge driver existed which would wrap around VBE/AI drivers. This is particularly interesting, since there is a VBE/AI driver for the Disney Sound Source, but also a lot of games used DIGPAK or Miles/ADV drivers! It's a very extensive list of games, most of which (as far as I know) don't support the Disney Sound Source directly.

Anyway, you can download the VBE/AI drivers from here:

* http://cd.textfiles.com/freedom/CODE/SOUND/VAISDK.ZIP (the SDK, which includes a driver for the Disney Sound Source)
* http://cd.textfiles.com/freedom/CODE/SOUND/VAISDK.TXT (documentation)

The Disney Sound Source wave driver that you need to run is SSWAVE.COM. (By the way, I already tried to run this driver using DOSBox, but the driver would not detect a Disney Sound Source, even though I had DSS emulation configured in DOSBox. Since you have the real thing to test this with, that should be no problem for you.)

Anyway, once you've loaded the VBE/AI driver in memory, you will have to load DIGVESA.COM from the DIGPAK drivers for DIGPAK games. This should allow games that use DIGPAK drivers to output digital audio to your Disney Sound Source. For games that use Miles drivers, you'll have to use the VESADIG.ADV driver. the DIGVESA.COM and VESADIG.ADV files might come with the games, but sometimes they do not. In that case, you'll have to copy those VESA bridge drivers from other games. Alternatively, you can Google for them, since both the Miles drivers and the DIGPAK/MIDPAK drivers can be found on-line.

Even though it would take a bit more work to get these games going, I really hope you try this out, since I'm really curious if this works! 😀 If it does, suddenly the compatibility/support of the Disney Sound Source will expand greatly beyond just the games that supported the DSS out-of-the-box. What I'm particularly curious about is if the VBE/AI driver for the Disney Sound Source will also handle the playback of 11kHz samples, since the Disney Sound Source only supports 7 kHz playback in hardware. I cannot imagine the driver being sophisticated enough to perform downsampling, so I wonder how and if that will work in games that output digital samples at frequencies other than 7 kHz. Will the driver simply play back 11 kHz audio at a higher pitch, or will it simply not output any audio in such cases? Only one way to find out... 😉

For lists of games supported by MIDPAK/DIGPAK and Miles (ADV), see this post, also by bristlehog: Re: Innovation SSI-2001 MIDI driver (NOTE: some of the lists pertain to other driver models, which may or may not have VBE/AI wrappers as well.)

See also these threads for more info:

* A list of sound engines found in DOS games
* Is there a example of what a "VESA MIDI" device is?

Good luck! 😀

Last edited by digger on 2018-09-10, 00:14. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 34, by Neville

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digger wrote:

Apparently, a VESA standard was developed for audio devices, just like there was a VESA standard for high resolution (post-VGA) graphics). It was called the VBE/AI standard. Although there weren't any games that supported this standard directly, both a DIGPAK bridge driver and a Miles/AIL/ADV bridge driver existed which would wrap around VBE/AI drivers. This is particularly interesting, because there is a VBE/AI driver for the Disney Sound Source, but also a lot of games used DIGPAK or Miles/ADV drivers! It's a very extensive list of games, most of which (as far as I know) don't support the Disney Sound Source directly.

That's indeed very interesting.

digger wrote:

The Disney Sound Source wave driver that you need to run is SSWAVE.COM. (By the way, I already tried to run this driver using DOSBox, but the driver would not detect a Disney Sound Source, even though I had DSS emulation configured in DOSBox. Since you have the real thing to test this with, that should be no problem for you.)

I'm afraid there's been a misunderstading. I do not own a DSS. My experience with it is limited to DOSBox. I did put a picture of the device on my first message so people who owned one back in the day could recognise it and help me in my search of games that use it.

Reply 11 of 34, by digger

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Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding, then.

Well, a new version of DOSBox was just released the other day. Maybe they improved the compatibility of the DSS emulator in that version as well. So we could try that first. 😉 Failing that, we'll have to ask someone else in the forum who owns an actual Disney Sound Source to try this out, if we want to find out whether this actually works. 😀 Do you happen to know of anyone?

Reply 12 of 34, by leileilol

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PCem's got Disney soundsource emulation too, but as i'm like you and never owned one (or any LPT sound for that matter) I couldn't tell you how they'd sound.

(Did experience it IRL though, in '94 there was this very Disney-loaded OEM machine. but that's so long ago and was my last interaction with the DSS)

The Apogee Sound System games do all have native DSS support. ROTT, Duke3D etc.

Last edited by leileilol on 2018-09-10, 00:30. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 13 of 34, by Neville

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digger wrote:

Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding, then.

Well, a new version of DOSBox was just released the other day. Maybe they improved the compatibility of the DSS emulator in that version as well. So we could try that first. 😉 Failing that, we'll have to ask someone else in the forum who owns an actual Disney Sound Source to try this out, if we want to find out whether this actually works. 😀 Do you happen to know of anyone?

I'm afraid not. Just noticed I originally posted this on the DOSBox Games / Apps phorum. A mod must have moved thinking I was talking about real hardware, hence the confusion.

EDIT: Looks like the topic is back where it belongs. Thank you, mods.

Reply 14 of 34, by Stiletto

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Since it's a mix of emulator talk and non-emulation talk, looks like some other mod (not me) shoved it into Milliways. 🤣

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Reply 15 of 34, by digger

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Neville wrote:
digger wrote:

Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding, then.

Well, a new version of DOSBox was just released the other day. Maybe they improved the compatibility of the DSS emulator in that version as well. So we could try that first. 😉 Failing that, we'll have to ask someone else in the forum who owns an actual Disney Sound Source to try this out, if we want to find out whether this actually works. 😀 Do you happen to know of anyone?

I'm afraid not. Just noticed I originally posted this on the DOSBox Games / Apps phorum. A mod must have moved thinking I was talking about real hardware, hence the confusion.

EDIT: Looks like the topic is back where it belongs. Thank you, mods.

It was the screenshot coupled with the question "what games should I try with it" that threw me off as well. But that's okay. Sorry if I added to any of the confusion. 😉

Reply 16 of 34, by bjwil1991

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I think King's Quest VI for DOS has the Disney Sound Source option (I have the CD that has both MS-DOS and Windows)

Source: https://www.mobygames.com/attribute/sheet/att … t,50/p,2/so,0a/

Note: This is for speech and SFX only.

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Reply 17 of 34, by digger

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bjwil1991 wrote:

Note: This is for speech and SFX only.

That was was pretty much the case for most games that supported the DSS, since it contained no synthesizer, just a buffered DAC. Only games with tracker-based music would have been able to output music to that device. Star Control II is such a game.

By the way, it's interesting how adventure game developers never went the tracker route w.r.t. in-game music. (Perhaps the Gobliiins series were an exception? I'm not sure.) I guess the reason why most major titles didn't use tracker music was because by the time computers were fast enough to mix such music in the background while running a game at the same time, sound cards with synthesizers had become very common and affordable anyway.

Reply 18 of 34, by dionb

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I don't own a DSS either, but I recently received a fully working Aztech NX Pro, which has the 1st gen Aztech SBPro clone with built-in Covox and DSS support. Haven't taken it for much of a test run yet beyond testing if it works (it does!) but intend to see which period games it works with and how it sounds.

My first test was with Colonization and it made music. It sounded much 'cleaner' than I'd have expected (I was expecting something more like the sound on a Sinclair Spectrum 128k) but of course much less complex than AdLib/Soundblaster FM, let alone MT-32 or GM.

With a bit of luck I'll have the time to explore how it works and what it sounds like a bit more these next few days.

Reply 19 of 34, by lolo799

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root42 wrote:

Short list here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covox_Speech_Thing#Games

Build engine games seem to support it for SFX.

There's a longer list at https://www.mobygames.com/attribute/sheet/att … et,0/p,2/so,0a/
Alone in the Dark and Shadow of the Comet both support the Disney Sound Source, give them a try if you like adventure games.

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