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Newly made PCMCIA sound card

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Reply 181 of 209, by yyzkevin

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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-09, 09:42:

Off the top of my head, sound in Earthworm Jim 2 didn't work with IBm card.

Here are some games that tried Re: PCMCIA Sound Cards

I gave EarthWorm Jim 1/2 a try and there was no issue on my card, but could not get them working on the IBM card. I should start a list of tests. I did notice though that I don't have a music track only the intro jingle and sound effects, is this because I have some stripped down downloaded copy? I was not able to get music in dosbox or on a regular soundblaster with my copy.

I seem my goal of exceeding the compatibility of the IBM card is realistic.

Reply 183 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-09, 22:44:
Bondi wrote on 2022-01-09, 09:42:

Off the top of my head, sound in Earthworm Jim 2 didn't work with IBm card.

Here are some games that tried Re: PCMCIA Sound Cards

I gave EarthWorm Jim 1/2 a try and there was no issue on my card, but could not get them working on the IBM card. I should start a list of tests. I did notice though that I don't have a music track only the intro jingle and sound effects, is this because I have some stripped down downloaded copy? I was not able to get music in dosbox or on a regular soundblaster with my copy.

I seem my goal of exceeding the compatibility of the IBM card is realistic.

Did you try the other ones from my post? These just did not start The Incredible Machine, Raptor, Tyrian, The Lost Vikings.

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 184 of 209, by dekkit

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-04, 04:45:

...
-or-

I just skip all the steps and just publish the information. Ideally I would like to make a bit of money off this to justify buying a massive stockpile of pcmcia frames and connectors for future projects, as they are going to become a lot harder to get soon, I have been getting last call notices from mouser/digikey etc and I have not seen too much consistency in parts on aliexpress etc.

Excellent progress on this project, just having basic sound blaster support for a retro laptop has been great to read (after recently finding my retro laptops only have a pc speaker, or really poor sound options) - i'd happily buy a few as either assembled or as a kit even to test. Its pleasing to see it working for doom and duke 3d too.

As for pcmcia caddy to buy, i see these pcmcia to cf card adapters available everywhere on marketplaces (ebay ali express) - could they be easily modified to take your pcb as well?

Perhaps do a set production run to sell a bunch and recover your investment in parts and time, then once reached open the project up?

Eitherway keep up the great work, and looking forward to the next stages 😀

Reply 185 of 209, by yyzkevin

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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-10, 07:58:

Did you try the other ones from my post? These just did not start The Incredible Machine, Raptor, Tyrian, The Lost Vikings.

Raptor works no issue.

The Incredible Machine & The Lost Vikings both do not see any sound card, this is too little activity though I will need to see what they are doing to detect to move it forward. They do not do anything to trigger an interrupt or access the dma, so I assume they either do not like the DSP version, or they are not happy to not see the OPL or CMS that I just do not have populated? I will sort that out. There is zero chance we will have compatibility issues based on OPL or Midi, there is nothing "special with those" which is why I have focused my effort on the digital audio side.

I am not sure where to ask this, I see the topic comes up here and there related to other SB emulation. In terms of the DMA it has mostly not been an issue. As long as emm386.exe is NOT loaded and interfering with access to the dma registers, I am able to find the memory location of the buffer (exception with GRiND so far, 286 protected mode mod player).

My issue is around simulating the interrupts. I have an ultra-Frankenstein card populates both PCMCIA sockets so that I can allocate two IRQs and this can work with just about every game I think. Maybe this will be an "option" if it comes to that.

So, is it actually simplified down now. So if a game is configured for IRQ5, when I need to send an interrupt to the game I just execute INT 0xD, and this works with doom,duke,war2,raptor,jazz, many games. It does not work with Tyrian, FastTracker II specifically (and for sure many others). So what I am wondering is, why. I am aware (but do not properly understand) that when these games are entering protected mode the handling of interrupts is different, and that almost leads me to wonder why my INT method works so well given I would expect these games to be changing the vector offset in the pic.

1. is the issue relating to the vector offset being changed, if I knew what the offset was could I amend my INT xx? I tried to guess some different offsets for primary pic, 0x20 etc, but no luck. If knowing the offset would work, is there a way for me to fish this out of the PIC? If not, it is not the end of the world if we manually figured them out a call could be made before the came was run notifying my TSR what the new interrupt the game will be expecting IRQ5's to arrive at.

2. is the game differentiating software interrupt over hardware interrupt and ignoring it? is there any other way for me to trigger the interrupt over an INT call? I could not figure out a software side way to manipulate the pic IRR

dekkit wrote on 2022-01-18, 03:59:
Excellent progress on this project, just having basic sound blaster support for a retro laptop has been great to read (after rec […]
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Excellent progress on this project, just having basic sound blaster support for a retro laptop has been great to read (after recently finding my retro laptops only have a pc speaker, or really poor sound options) - i'd happily buy a few as either assembled or as a kit even to test. Its pleasing to see it working for doom and duke 3d too.

As for pcmcia caddy to buy, i see these pcmcia to cf card adapters available everywhere on marketplaces (ebay ali express) - could they be easily modified to take your pcb as well?

Perhaps do a set production run to sell a bunch and recover your investment in parts and time, then once reached open the project up?

Eitherway keep up the great work, and looking forward to the next stages 😀

re: caddies, for sure it will always be possible to salvage old stock or other types of cards to repurpose the frames and connectors etc (as long as they are offset type), but it will require some small changes to the PCB physical outline. The day may come but while the new stuff is available for a little bit longer it is nice to use it.

Reply 186 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-19, 08:39:
Raptor works no issue. […]
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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-10, 07:58:

Did you try the other ones from my post? These just did not start The Incredible Machine, Raptor, Tyrian, The Lost Vikings.

Raptor works no issue.

The Incredible Machine & The Lost Vikings both do not see any sound card, this is too little activity though I will need to see what they are doing to detect to move it forward. They do not do anything to trigger an interrupt or access the dma, so I assume they either do not like the DSP version, or they are not happy to not see the OPL or CMS that I just do not have populated? I will sort that out. There is zero chance we will have compatibility issues based on OPL or Midi, there is nothing "special with those" which is why I have focused my effort on the digital audio side.

I am not sure where to ask this, I see the topic comes up here and there related to other SB emulation. In terms of the DMA it has mostly not been an issue. As long as emm386.exe is NOT loaded and interfering with access to the dma registers, I am able to find the memory location of the buffer (exception with GRiND so far, 286 protected mode mod player).

My issue is around simulating the interrupts. I have an ultra-Frankenstein card populates both PCMCIA sockets so that I can allocate two IRQs and this can work with just about every game I think. Maybe this will be an "option" if it comes to that.

So, is it actually simplified down now. So if a game is configured for IRQ5, when I need to send an interrupt to the game I just execute INT 0xD, and this works with doom,duke,war2,raptor,jazz, many games. It does not work with Tyrian, FastTracker II specifically (and for sure many others). So what I am wondering is, why. I am aware (but do not properly understand) that when these games are entering protected mode the handling of interrupts is different, and that almost leads me to wonder why my INT method works so well given I would expect these games to be changing the vector offset in the pic.

1. is the issue relating to the vector offset being changed, if I knew what the offset was could I amend my INT xx? I tried to guess some different offsets for primary pic, 0x20 etc, but no luck. If knowing the offset would work, is there a way for me to fish this out of the PIC? If not, it is not the end of the world if we manually figured them out a call could be made before the came was run notifying my TSR what the new interrupt the game will be expecting IRQ5's to arrive at.

2. is the game differentiating software interrupt over hardware interrupt and ignoring it? is there any other way for me to trigger the interrupt over an INT call? I could not figure out a software side way to manipulate the pic IRR

dekkit wrote on 2022-01-18, 03:59:
Excellent progress on this project, just having basic sound blaster support for a retro laptop has been great to read (after rec […]
Show full quote

Excellent progress on this project, just having basic sound blaster support for a retro laptop has been great to read (after recently finding my retro laptops only have a pc speaker, or really poor sound options) - i'd happily buy a few as either assembled or as a kit even to test. Its pleasing to see it working for doom and duke 3d too.

As for pcmcia caddy to buy, i see these pcmcia to cf card adapters available everywhere on marketplaces (ebay ali express) - could they be easily modified to take your pcb as well?

Perhaps do a set production run to sell a bunch and recover your investment in parts and time, then once reached open the project up?

Eitherway keep up the great work, and looking forward to the next stages 😀

re: caddies, for sure it will always be possible to salvage old stock or other types of cards to repurpose the frames and connectors etc (as long as they are offset type), but it will require some small changes to the PCB physical outline. The day may come but while the new stuff is available for a little bit longer it is nice to use it.

Tried some more games for digital sound with the IBM card. Raptor worked this time as well.
I've mostly chosen the "heavy" later DOS era games:
- Quake 1 - OK
- Chasm the rift - OK
- Terminator SkyNET - OK
- Tomb Raider - OK

- Need for Speed I - no sound
- Little Big Adventure - no digital sound, game does not start (music works)

Next to try are Fallout and Last Rites

As for the question re INT calls, guess very few people have the expertise on this. I can think of bjt or Eric (Snark Barker). Maybe contact the directly?

EDIT: And what's really cool about IBM card (and potentially the newly made as well) is that it worked perfectly on my Thinkpad X60s (core duo) laptop. Tried DOOM, Chasm, MDK, Duke3D, Wolf3D.
The late DOS 3D games are not really intended for 486 CPU, and the fact that the card works on a much powerful machines is a huge advantage.

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 187 of 209, by yyzkevin

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I will give some of those games a try. For running on a newer machine, I anticipate if the IBM works this new card will work also.

On the topic of newer machines, I had also played around a bit with a separate basic mcu (along the lines of what retrowave opl / dreambaster x2 etc does) so that you could actually use this card outside of a pcmcia socket on a modern system via USB to get the true OPL audio and maybe the midi. It could be done, I will likely bring the needed pins out on the 25pin connector so this could be done in the future with the usb portion of things residing in the "dongle box".

re: Eric I think he is busy trying to reconstruct a spaceship!

Reply 188 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-19, 22:58:

I will give some of those games a try. For running on a newer machine, I anticipate if the IBM works this new card will work also.

On the topic of newer machines, I had also played around a bit with a separate basic mcu (along the lines of what retrowave opl / dreambaster x2 etc does) so that you could actually use this card outside of a pcmcia socket on a modern system via USB to get the true OPL audio and maybe the midi. It could be done, I will likely bring the needed pins out on the 25pin connector so this could be done in the future with the usb portion of things residing in the "dongle box".

As you use a modified scpena.exe for your card, I decided to try a normal version of it on the X60s. And it worked with no issues. Which is very promising.
It would be a good addition to use the card as an external USB device. While the MIDI part is quite obvious, I don't quite see which windows software could benefit from an external OPL device.

re: Eric I think he is busy trying to reconstruct a spaceship!

Wow. Seriously?

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 189 of 209, by yyzkevin

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I actually progressed further and no longer use a modified version of scpena, my TSR now handles configuring the PCIC directly. As long as it is intel compatible which most are, it will work.

The USB side of things, I was also not certain what people would use. I had recalled the video LGR had posted regarding using the OPL and that Retrowave device, so I was not sure if there is a particular interest to use a true yamaha chip with dosbox etc for some people... i thought was if it is something easy to implement later on, it may have some use to some people. I recently picked up a USB PCMCIA board out of interest to see if it could be helpful with testing (debugging incompatible games in dosbox while talking to my card) and it revived that thought of what if you could just access the card directly over USB. I have not tried yet.

https://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/usb2pcmcia.html

I think the above has been briefly talked about here, at least the ISA version from this company.

re: TubeTimeUS
Haha I guess not an actual spaceship, I just always see him on youtube in there with CuriousMarc, Ken Shirrif and the gang restoring some kind of space gear and other cool stuff.

Reply 190 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-20, 20:14:
I actually progressed further and no longer use a modified version of scpena, my TSR now handles configuring the PCIC direct […]
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I actually progressed further and no longer use a modified version of scpena, my TSR now handles configuring the PCIC directly. As long as it is intel compatible which most are, it will work.

The USB side of things, I was also not certain what people would use. I had recalled the video LGR had posted regarding using the OPL and that Retrowave device, so I was not sure if there is a particular interest to use a true yamaha chip with dosbox etc for some people... i thought was if it is something easy to implement later on, it may have some use to some people. I recently picked up a USB PCMCIA board out of interest to see if it could be helpful with testing (debugging incompatible games in dosbox while talking to my card) and it revived that thought of what if you could just access the card directly over USB. I have not tried yet.

https://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/usb2pcmcia.html

I think the above has been briefly talked about here, at least the ISA version from this company.

re: TubeTimeUS
Haha I guess not an actual spaceship, I just always see him on youtube in there with CuriousMarc, Ken Shirrif and the gang restoring some kind of space gear and other cool stuff.

But is the option of using the scpena or your TSR with SS/CS still there? The controller on X60s is not actually intel 82365 compatible. And the drivers that talk to the PCIC directly do not work. And it can be the case for the most of "newer" laptops. Will check it on my TP A31 from 2002.

Ah, I didn't know about this Retrowave device. If it's easy to make it work with Dosbox, then it's certainly a nice thing to have.

EDIT: Both A31 and X60s have Ricoh RL5C476 PCMCIA controller, which claims to be Intel 82365 compatible. Yet, I tried many drivers that do not need CS/SS and configure the controller directly. None of them worked with RL5C476. But they work fine on older IBM 486 laptops.

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 191 of 209, by yyzkevin

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scpena is no longer an option as things are a bit more complicated now. I need to get myself a newer laptop I can test on. If I am unable to update my TSR to configure those PCIC's correctly, I should be able to adapt this into something that works with card/socket services.

also, not something I want to dive into right now as this is already dragging on, but it should be possible to have a mode for use in newer laptops to use the actual DMA of newer pcic's.

I did not have much time this weekend but I made some changes and Tyrian now works. Simcity 2000 works as well. I will get a list going of what is supported and what is not.

Reply 192 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-24, 06:16:

scpena is no longer an option as things are a bit more complicated now. I need to get myself a newer laptop I can test on. If I am unable to update my TSR to configure those PCIC's correctly, I should be able to adapt this into something that works with card/socket services.

Either option is fine. CS/SS take up some memory, but it's not critical in case of protected mode games.
Another common controller on newer laptops is TI 1450. It can be found on TP A21 in particular. Have not tested if it works with point enablers. My A21 suffers from BOD and turns on only on good days.

also, not something I want to dive into right now as this is already dragging on, but it should be possible to have a mode for use in newer laptops to use the actual DMA of newer pcic's.

That's interesting. AFAIK DMA was introduced in PCMCIA 5.0 standard in 1995 and for some reason was removed in 7.2 release in late 2000. So there may be some later controllers that do not support it.

I did not have much time this weekend but I made some changes and Tyrian now works. Simcity 2000 works as well. I will get a list going of what is supported and what is not.

Good news re Tyrian. I'm curious what the problem was.

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 193 of 209, by yyzkevin

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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-24, 11:29:

Good news re Tyrian. I'm curious what the problem was.

I did not actually implement anything specific in response to Tyrian, just after other improvements and optimizations it started working. It is one of the more intensive games though in that it leaves no room for timing error, using such a small 384byte single buffer setup, no autoinit etc. I am sure there are many others given that autoinit was not an option in the first soundblaster dsps.

Have not had time recently for testing new games, but I did try GTA for Dos tonight and it works perfectly even though the PC110 486SX33 is on max struggle with that game.

I also had this thought, the external dongle box, it would be easy to stick a wavetable header in there. So if you were using the card with the simple cable like we use with our IBM 3D Sound cards, you would only have the general midi output from the VLSI 1053B, but if you were using the bigger box contraption you could use any wavetable you wanted instead (or in combination of you are really wanted).

Reply 194 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-27, 04:26:
I did not actually implement anything specific in response to Tyrian, just after other improvements and optimizations it starte […]
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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-24, 11:29:

Good news re Tyrian. I'm curious what the problem was.

I did not actually implement anything specific in response to Tyrian, just after other improvements and optimizations it started working. It is one of the more intensive games though in that it leaves no room for timing error, using such a small 384byte single buffer setup, no autoinit etc. I am sure there are many others given that autoinit was not an option in the first soundblaster dsps.

Have not had time recently for testing new games, but I did try GTA for Dos tonight and it works perfectly even though the PC110 486SX33 is on max struggle with that game.

I also had this thought, the external dongle box, it would be easy to stick a wavetable header in there. So if you were using the card with the simple cable like we use with our IBM 3D Sound cards, you would only have the general midi output from the VLSI 1053B, but if you were using the bigger box contraption you could use any wavetable you wanted instead (or in combination of you are really wanted).

That is a very tempting option to have a `midi header on the breakout box! Is it going to be two different ports for built in and external board? Or a software switch?
Afaik traditional MIDI daughterboards need 12v. Isn't this going to be a problem? BTW the Dreamblaster X2/S2 boards need only 5v.

I have also done a brief test of TI1450 controller. It seems to work with point enablers. My A21p died after first power cycle, so I tested only one card, but it worked.

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 195 of 209, by dekkit

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Sounds like there could be a few models/options in the way you release this. Ie a base model for folks that just want basic pcmcia soundblaster support of their games and a more advance version with all the extra interface ports and ' tinkerable' /expandable options.

I could see myself buying iterations of both when they're ready for some of my different retro laptops and setups.

Reply 196 of 209, by yyzkevin

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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-27, 10:12:

I have also done a brief test of TI1450 controller. It seems to work with point enablers. My A21p died after first power cycle, so I tested only one card, but it worked.

I was unable to figure out how to enable the VLSI controller in my Compaq LTE Elite directly, so I decided it was time to implement the card services client. The TSR now first checks to see if cardservices are available, and if so it will request/configure that way. If not it will attempt to find an intel compatible controller and do it the direct way. I am falling down a rabbit hole and wondering what it would take to get the DSP working in Windows95.

Reply 197 of 209, by Bondi

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yyzkevin wrote on 2022-01-31, 06:16:
Bondi wrote on 2022-01-27, 10:12:

I have also done a brief test of TI1450 controller. It seems to work with point enablers. My A21p died after first power cycle, so I tested only one card, but it worked.

I was unable to figure out how to enable the VLSI controller in my Compaq LTE Elite directly, so I decided it was time to implement the card services client. The TSR now first checks to see if cardservices are available, and if so it will request/configure that way. If not it will attempt to find an intel compatible controller and do it the direct way. I am falling down a rabbit hole and wondering what it would take to get the DSP working in Windows95.

Really impressive how this all develops. And where does the hardware side of the project currently stand?
As for Win95 drivers, must be an interesting challenge, yet, not very useful in my opinon, if gaming is concerned. But there may be other opinions. I'd pesonally really appreciate the vice versa - dos drivers for Windows only cards, like Yamaha or TDK. (:

PCMCIA Sound Cards chart

Reply 198 of 209, by yyzkevin

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Bondi wrote on 2022-01-31, 19:35:

Really impressive how this all develops. And where does the hardware side of the project currently stand?
As for Win95 drivers, must be an interesting challenge, yet, not very useful in my opinon, if gaming is concerned. But there may be other opinions. I'd pesonally really appreciate the vice versa - dos drivers for Windows only cards, like Yamaha or TDK. (:

Hardware is going well, more geared towards what parts are available and what do they cost. One particular concern is, making the cable assembles etc could be a time consuming process, not to mention that the connectors are not cheap and stock from regular sources is not stable as they are nearing end of life. One thing being explored now is, could the case be 3d printed (high quality resin), and then have an audio jack and DB15 connector directly on the card.

In terms of getting dos soundblaster support on non-supported cards, I need to take a look at any source/libraries that are out there that can be used to playback audio to wss cards from dos.