VOGONS


First post, by Physikant

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Hey guys,

we all know that there isn't the one best single sound card for DOS games. The music for each game was composed with a particular sound device in mind, so if you want the "correct" music, you need the appropriate device. Of course there is a huge number of sound cards/ midi devices etc., but I think most games were intended for a small set of hardware.
For example doom was made with the sound canvas (SC-55) in mind, for monkey island its the MT-32, and for OMF2097 its the Ultrasound.
Does a list exist, what DOS game was inteded to be played with which device, or if this is not known, what device is widely accepted as the optimal solution for the particular game?
And if not: anyone interested to help me create such a library?

Niko

Reply 1 of 7, by KainXVIII

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Physikant wrote on 2022-05-17, 07:53:

Does a list exist, what DOS game was inteded to be played with which device, or if this is not known, what device is widely accepted as the optimal solution for the particular game?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MT-32-c … _computer_games - look at "original synth" column (dunno how correct this list though)

Reply 3 of 7, by ericvids

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There's also the minor snag that some games don't seem to have "optimal" sound solutions in the quality sense.

For example, The Lost Vikings is perhaps recommended with a fully programmable MT-32 for sound effects (and SC-55 in MT-32 emulation mode sounds pretty bad). But its MT-32 music doesn't strike me as "really" good. (Maybe it's because I'm used to the regular SC-55 sound.)

Probably a better example is Day of the Tentacle, where your choice of MT-32 or SC-55 is *highly* subjective -- I think the composer made the effort to make them both sound good. (At least to me -- I actually switch back and forth just for the experience.)

Reply 4 of 7, by chinny22

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Attached is my incomplete list of my dos games where I list the sound options (as well as multiplayer options and year released)
vogons doesn't allow csv file type so have renamed to .txt if you rename it back to csv excel will open it again.

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    DosGames.txt
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    40 downloads
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    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 5 of 7, by Gmlb256

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The Crusader series are an interesting example: GUS output is mono even though the game uses tracker music and takes advantage of the hardware mixer. The "optimal" sound cards are the Ensoniq Soundscape and SB16 because it does support 16-bit mixing and has stereo separation for the music. Any other sound card that is compatible with these games will get poor music quality.

Another one could be Zone 66 where it has a different music for the GUS as it doesn't have a FM synth and has to be installed separately for the shareware version.

Reply 6 of 7, by Physikant

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But it still holds that every composer had certain hardware in mind and if you want to listen to the game music as it was intended, you should use this hardware.
For example Dune 2. While you can argue it sounds best on the SC-55 (and Frank Klepacki used this device for the recording on his homepage), Frank told me that the music was composed on an Adlib-Card and then translated. So the original way of listening to Dune 2 is the OPL2/3, and not the SC-55.

Reply 7 of 7, by Jo22

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-05-17, 12:53:

The Crusader series are an interesting example: GUS output is mono even though the game uses tracker music and takes advantage of the hardware mixer. The "optimal" sound cards are the Ensoniq Soundscape and SB16 because it does support 16-bit mixing and has stereo separation for the music. Any other sound card that is compatible with these games will get poor music quality.

The music was extremely haunting on real hardware, I think.
And the SoundScape digital audio was really good. It's a shame it's not really emulated these days.
Unless we consider emulation within emulation.
The AudioPCI drivers do provide some sort emulation on themselves.
The real SoundScape 2000 was an ISA card, if memory serves.
I like to think that the SoundScape is a bit like the PAS16.

Re: Games that sound best with GUS?

Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-05-17, 12:53:

Another one could be Zone 66 where it has a different music for the GUS as it doesn't have a FM synth and has to be installed separately for the shareware version.

Zone 66 had some badass soundtrack! 😁

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