VOGONS


First post, by georgel

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Here is the current version of the DOS32AWE utility based on the DOS/32A DOS Extender. Now Sound Blaster DOS MIDI synthesizer with Creative's AWEUTIL is also possible for Protected mode DOS games thus allowing you to use MIDI sound banks of your taste while what's best -- you don't need any additional wavetable modules/PCBs/ external MIDI synthesizers, etc. for your ISA AWE Creative Sound Blasters . This utility also assists the VIA's Sound Blaster emulation (VIAFMTSR) that uses VIA chipset south bridges for protected mode games otherwise they hang, fail or sound choppy. If you wonder how to use the DOS32AWE, first ensure the AWEUTIL is loaded as TSR (AWEUTIL /EM:xxx) and then start you game with "DOS32AWE yourgamename" or alternatively replace the DOS4GW .EXE in your games's directory (if exists separately there and is not already bound to the main executable) with the renamed to DOS4GW.EXE DOS32AWE.EXE file.

The DOS32AWE is a DOS32/A DOS Extender modification which is capable of redirecting MIDI sound hardware accesses of DOS Extended applications running in protected mode to the real mode Creative's original AWEUTIL (when loaded as TSR) MIDI emulator. This archive contains the latest Version 1.9 of the DOS32AWE which is stable and refuses to run under PM environment (like EMM386, QEMM, 386MAX, windows dos box, etc.) because is intended to extend raw/clean DOS (with or without XMS). DOS32AWE compatibility with memory managers is considered from time to time though not considered important because DOS Extenders manage all available RAM themselves and provide it to the extended DOS applications.

Have fun! Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Here is what DOS32AWE is NOT compatible with (to my knowledge) :

1. Transport Tycoon since that series of games is built for completely different Phar Lap DOS Extender;
2. Sideline which is of Asian origin *extremely* buggy game that can only be made running somehow under EMM386 despite the game itself uses no EMS . Most likely the EMM386's V86 monitor skips and constraints some of the game's bugs. If you have more in-depth info on that your advice is welcome.
3. Terra Nova. The game loads the FF.SBK sound font by itself so you can replace that with your favorite .SBK (renaming it to FF.SBK) and thus you would achieve what DOS32AWE is doing for all other DOS4G extended games.

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  • Filename
    DOS32AWE_1_9.zip
    File size
    20.27 KiB
    Downloads
    40 downloads
    File license
    Public domain
Last edited by georgel on 2021-11-05, 02:11. Edited 29 times in total.

Reply 1 of 202, by Gmlb256

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Interesting. This would make it almost on par with the Gravis UltraSound MegaEm utility for MIDI emulation support. Gonna try this later on my AWE64.

I wonder if bringing EMU8K internal equalizer and SF2 soundfont support would be possible one day in pure DOS since the best soundfonts uses the SF2 format.

Reply 2 of 202, by Namrok

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I will definitely give this a spin. I wonder what game would be a good candidate for it. I guess I could just go with Doom and use general midi instead of it's built in AWE support. But that feels slightly anticlimactic.

EDIT: Well Doom 2 just hung on the first note. It was minimally responsive, in that I could bring up the menu after significant delay. I'm using Unisound to init the CT4500 I have in there though, and running AWEUTIL with EM:GM afterwards. Generally works.

Is there a particular game you know this works with?

Reply 3 of 202, by Gmlb256

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Tested the DOS extender and got crashes and reboots with Doom and Duke Nukem 3D when using the MIDI emulation from AWEUTIL. The MIDI playback works but it feels that it's not ready for general purpose yet.

FWIW I ran this with QEMM loaded.

Reply 5 of 202, by Gmlb256

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georgel wrote on 2021-08-21, 03:17:

Well, I tested the DOS32AWE with DOOM 1 and it worked flawlessly. No EMS manager was used, just clean DOS. If the game without AWEUTIL's emulation is stable then obviously I have to further investigate the problem. But if a problem occurs without AWEUTIL then this is a general incompatibility of the DOS/32A DOS Extender with that particular game and then maybe it would be a better approach to base this solution on the DOS4GW Extender itself...

Tried again without any expanded memory manager and it fared much better. However the computer now freezes after some time has passed instead.

Could you try with an older version of DOS/32A? I find the version 7.35 more stable than 9.1.2.

Reply 6 of 202, by georgel

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@Namrock:
You are failing to start your game under DOS32AWE . Your game the way you are starting it still using the DOS4GW built-in DOS extender.

@Gmlb256
I downloaded and tested DOOM2 and on my AMD 486 DX5 (5x86) 133MHz SIS 496/7 motherboard with 8MB RAM and all games I tested were 100% stable for hours no matter if QEMM 9.0 was loaded or not.
On Celeron 1.3GHz VIA 6XBAS-T motherboard same HDD and peripheral cards lead to problems exactly you described. Now I am about to test earlier versions of QEMM because I remember from my youth QEMM version > 7.04 was full of bugs which used to show up on faster machines.

Reply 7 of 202, by Gmlb256

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georgel wrote on 2021-08-21, 16:54:

@Gmlb256
I downloaded and tested DOOM2 and on my AMD 486 DX5 (5x86) 133MHz SIS 496/7 motherboard with 8MB RAM and all games I tested were 100% stable for hours no matter if QEMM 9.0 was loaded or not.
On Celeron 1.3GHz VIA 6XBAS-T motherboard same HDD and peripheral cards lead to problems exactly you described. Now I am about to test earlier versions of QEMM because I remember from my youth QEMM version > 7.04 was full of bugs which used to show up on faster machines.

About QEMM when I load it on CONFIG.SYS I use the X=F000-FFFF parameter to exclude the BIOS ROM location because at least QEMM 9 has a tendency to use this for UMB and this leads to stability issues. I also stay away from using the "Stealth Mode" feature and force the "STACKS=9,256" to load in low memory for similar reasons.

The computer that I was testing this has an AMD K6-2+/450 CPU with 64MB of RAM.

Reply 9 of 202, by Gmlb256

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georgel wrote on 2021-08-21, 19:13:

So far the QEMM doesn't seem to be the problem (QEMM has its own peculiarities though). On my couple of 486 133 MHz motherboards DOS32AWE works flawlessly and on the VIA ISA p3 motherboard reveals the same problems you have. I am out of fast ISA boards for now so can't test it further. The only "faster" motherboard I have right now is this 6XBAS-T.

The motherboard I'm using has an Intel 430VX chipset and the CPU is on a voltage adapter.

Reply 11 of 202, by Gmlb256

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georgel wrote on 2021-08-21, 20:10:

If you have a slower socket 7 CPU like a Pentium could you install it on the same motherboard and run it at around 75-90 MHz and see if there will be changes in the behavior? So far it is not clear if the chipset architecture leads to a problem (most likely on my opinion) or the CPU in terms of speed or features itself...In theory the faster the CPU the better would be for the AWEUTIL to deal with the EMU8000's handshaking.

I used to have a Pentium MMX 233 CPU there, however I could change the CPU multiplier and lower the FSB to 50 MHz on the fly to see if the situation improves. I can do that as the K6 CPU I'm using is a mobile one and the motherboard supports a "turbo" button.

Will report to you later on.

Edit: Tried with x2.0 multipler and 50 MHz FSB for 100 Mhz. Still have problems with freezing and reboots.

Reply 14 of 202, by jesolo

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Very nice alternative if you have a much better sounding *.sbk file that you can load (by just renaming the default *.sbk GM file).
Now someone must just write an Aweutil utility that can also load *.sf2 files...

Reply 15 of 202, by georgel

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jesolo wrote on 2021-09-01, 21:21:

Very nice alternative if you have a much better sounding *.sbk file that you can load (by just renaming the default *.sbk GM file).
Now someone must just write an Aweutil utility that can also load *.sf2 files...

I use the default MT-32 sbk bank with the /EM:MT-32 aweutil option not with /EM: GM and it sounds good, have you tried it?

I see very few downloads so far therefore maybe the AWE32DOS is not rather needed utility?

Reply 16 of 202, by jesolo

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georgel wrote on 2021-09-02, 03:06:
jesolo wrote on 2021-09-01, 21:21:

Very nice alternative if you have a much better sounding *.sbk file that you can load (by just renaming the default *.sbk GM file).
Now someone must just write an Aweutil utility that can also load *.sf2 files...

I use the default MT-32 sbk bank with the /EM:MT-32 aweutil option not with /EM: GM and it sounds good, have you tried it?

I see very few downloads so far therefore maybe the AWE32DOS is not rather needed utility?

The /EM:MT-32 parameter remaps the standard General MIDI (GM) instrument set to the arrangement of the Roland MT-32 (which is not a GM device). However, it cannot emulate the custom sound banks functionality of the MT-32.
You shouldn't use this option with GM games as the music will sound incorrect.

The AWE range of cards is best suited for General MIDI games (1992 or later) and not MT-32 games.

My reference was to the "synthgm.sbk" file, which is a soundfont preset file, one that is required for using the 1MB ROM set. If you replace this file with another *.sbk file that actually contains GM samples, then your listening experience improves, but the vast majority of soundfonts are V2 (*.sf2) soundfonts.
If someone can write another Aweutil that can read V2 soundfonts, then that will expand one's selection considerably.

Reply 17 of 202, by georgel

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The /EM:MT-32 parameter remaps the standard General MIDI (GM) instrument set to the arrangement of the Roland MT-32 (which is not a GM device). However, it cannot emulate the custom sound banks functionality of the MT-32.

First, the MT-32 parameter instructs AWEUTIL to load the MT-32 soundbank file which is SYNTHMT.SBK file and is twice the size of the general MIDI .sbk file. You don't know how to program a soundbank converter to .sbk format but you claim :

The /EM:MT-32 parameter remaps the standard General MIDI (GM) instrument set to the arrangement of the Roland MT-32 (which is not a GM device).

Secondly, which games use custom MT-32 soundbanks?

Reply 18 of 202, by Falcosoft

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georgel wrote on 2021-09-02, 06:38:

Secondly, which games use custom MT-32 soundbanks?

Almost all MT-32 games use some forms of custom instruments. It's much easier to list the ones that do NOT:
https://minirevver.weebly.com/mt-32-music.html
(Monkey Island 1 and Dune 1 are the most famous exceptions that do NOT use custom instruments)

These custom instruments are not in 'soundbanks' but programmed by sending special SysEx messages to MT-32 compatible units and cannot be emulated by soundfont devices or even Roland Sound Canvas series.

Website, Facebook, Youtube
Falcosoft Midi Player + Munt VSTi + BassMidi VSTi topic

Reply 19 of 202, by georgel

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Falcosoft wrote on 2021-09-02, 07:48:
Almost all MT-32 games use some forms of custom instruments. It's much easier to list the ones that do NOT: https://minirevver. […]
Show full quote
georgel wrote on 2021-09-02, 06:38:

Secondly, which games use custom MT-32 soundbanks?

Almost all MT-32 games use some forms of custom instruments. It's much easier to list the ones that do NOT:
https://minirevver.weebly.com/mt-32-music.html
(Monkey Island 1 and Dune 1 are the most famous exceptions that do NOT use custom instruments)

These custom instruments are not in 'soundbanks' but programmed by sending special SysEx messages to MT-32 compatible units and cannot be emulated by soundfont devices or even Roland Sound Canvas series.

None of the protected mode games sends SysEX messages as far as I've learned from this forum, correct me if I am wrong, please?

Last edited by georgel on 2021-09-09, 19:23. Edited 3 times in total.