Warning! Sound Crash/Stuck/Hang with Wing Commander 1 and 2 with MT32 BLUE RIDGE Firmware!

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Warning! Sound Crash/Stuck/Hang with Wing Commander 1 and 2 with MT32 BLUE RIDGE Firmware!

Postby Retroview » 2019-11-22 @ 02:17

Hello Everyone

After nearly three weeks of trial and error I finally nailed a issue down I have not found a solution yet anywhere else on the Net. Because I have often used the net and also this forum in the past to find advice I will now take the time to share this information so someone else can maybe find it with google and safes himself the trouble and the money :)

Ok lets start
I wanted to play Wing Commander again and this time on real Hardware of that time. I used a 486DX33 without Turbo and my MT32 with SOFTMPU. I encountered a strange lockup of the MT32 at random points in every mission(mostly when it was really stressfull with multiple enemies and much much shooting and sounds). The only thing you could do then was to turn the unit off and on again (of course you need to restart WC then too or all sounds wrong)

I first though OK might be some hanging notes buffer overflow bug and used all Softmpu gave me to use but nothing helped.

I then blamed Softmpu for the error and bought a Roland SCC1 and a HardMPU on Ebay. The SCC1 arrived first and I was confident that the issue would be gone and tried it again but BAAAM Crash MT32 . I was like WTF.

I now blamed the Bus Speed of my 486 ISA Port and I used a other 486 Board I still had in storage that had a bios where you can set clock2/X ... Of course that board had a Dallas chip on it so I got myself the right desolder equipment to desolder the Chip and put a socket with a new one on it (The Board survived and I really could now set the clock speed manually to clock2/4 and even down to clock2/6!!! Well you can guess ... Still CRASH MT 32...

Now I blamed the 486 Processor and got myself a 386DX33 from Ebay again and( because I had now read from a lockup bug on Mt32 with OLD Firmware) I also ordered a new Blue Ridge Firmware, too. Lucky for me that I thought, oh well its only 15Euros I will also order a NORMAL 1.07 firmware, too JUST IN CASE ...

Well the 386 and the ROMs arrived today and I first tried the 386DX33 but the Roland Crash was of course still there. I then opened my MT32 and saw that there were already custom ROMs on it with the number 1.08. I did not get what that means and put my new BR 1.07 on the unit ... Well and I was really like WTF WTF when it crashed again! .........

I gave up and wanted to wait till my new MT32 would arrive from Japan ( I had ordered one with a 90000 number, mine is a 83000 one).

and THEN it hit me ... What if the guy who wrote 1.08 on the ROMS inside my MT32 actually meant 1.07 BR ???!!! If so I would have switced a Blue Ridge ROM for a Blue Ridge ROM today !!

I really did not think it would work, I was under the impression BR would be flawless for sure, but I then switched the ROM again and this time I used the NORMAL NON BLUE RIDGE 1.07 and now its FINALLY fixed and no more crashes even after 1 hour running a mission that always crashed again and again and again :)

Well long text short meaning: Dont use BR1.07 when you want to play Wing Commander 1 or 2 with your MT32 :)

EDIT:

Just to add for clarity I have not encountered any other errors with that MT32 BR1.07 in any other game before not even in games that use the same Origin Sound System like Ultima 6 or World of Ultime Savage Empire. It was really only in WC1 and WC2 and there also ONLY inside missions when the unit was stressed with lots of sounds
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Re: Warning! Sound Crash/Stuck/Hang with Wing Commander 1 and 2 with MT32 BLUE RIDGE Firmware!

Postby Great Hierophant » 2019-11-22 @ 03:31

Great detective work!

The original MT-32 ROMs clear the patch memory on startup, the Blue Ridge ROM does not so you can keep your music patches in memory with a hardware battery backup when the device is turned off. It appears that Wing Commander expects the patch memory area to be clear and if it is not, then it may crash.

You could work around this if you do not want to give up your precious Blue Ridge ROM by sending System Exclusive data to clear the patch memory areas before running the game.
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Re: Warning! Sound Crash/Stuck/Hang with Wing Commander 1 and 2 with MT32 BLUE RIDGE Firmware!

Postby Retroview » 2019-11-22 @ 03:47

Thanks man :)

Really glad it works now!

Great Idea yes, that could work but I just use the Unit to play games and have no Battery in it anyway so I will never open it again unless I HAVE TO ;)
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Re: Warning! Sound Crash/Stuck/Hang with Wing Commander 1 and 2 with MT32 BLUE RIDGE Firmware!

Postby BloodyCactus » 2019-11-22 @ 13:36

The BR107 mods are only good if you have the hardware mods to go with it, I assume you did not have those. We also dont know what base rom version the BR descend from, could be edited from v1.00 for all we know..
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Re: Warning! Sound Crash/Stuck/Hang with Wing Commander 1 and 2 with MT32 BLUE RIDGE Firmware!

Postby Retroview » 2019-11-22 @ 20:14

Thats great info and you assume correct. I never even knew what I had as ROM until yesterday. If the BR descend from a version that still had the firmware lockup bug I read about then it would explain everything.

Very misleading then from some ebay sellers (incl. mine) to label them BR 1.07 ... :)

Well now at least the info will be known and is archived for others to find if they seek!
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