VOGONS


First post, by Joseph_Joestar

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This is intended to be an informal thread for gathering info about DOS games which have stereo music when it is played back on sound cards which have an OPL3 chip (or compatible). For example, a Creative Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 or Yamaha YMF719 sound card would work fine for testing purposes. Ideally, it would be best to make a recording and then compare the left and right channel waveforms using Audacity or a similar tool. Listening via headphones can be enough, if the stereo effect in the music track is very distinct.

Anyway, it appears that most developers didn't bother to implement this functionality, so many mainstream DOS titles don't have stereo music when played back on something like a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0. I think their reasoning was probably that many people still had Sound Blaster 1.5 cards (or older) during the early 90s, so they didn't think the extra development time was worth it. On the other hand, there were some developers which did take into account SBPro 2.0 and newer cards, usually by offering specific OPL2 and OPL3 options in setup. Choosing the latter would provide stereo music.

Here's a list of games which have been confirmed to have OPL3 stereo music. All tests were conducted via Audacity recordings.

Feel free to add to this list as you like.

Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2023-10-11, 12:23. Edited 16 times in total.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 1 of 29, by Stretch

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In your Doom batch file, paste the following code before doom.exe, to enable stereo music:

set DMXOPTION=-phase -opl3

Win 11 - Intel i7-1360p - 32 GB - Intel Iris Xe - Sound BlasterX G5

Reply 2 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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Stretch wrote on 2023-10-07, 16:26:
In your Doom batch file, paste the following code before doom.exe, to enable stereo music: […]
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In your Doom batch file, paste the following code before doom.exe, to enable stereo music:

set DMXOPTION=-phase -opl3

Thanks! Got it to work, albeit with some caveats (see below).

I used E1M2 for testing, since I know it has stereo in the first couple of seconds when using a General MIDI device such as a SC-55. Now getting proper stereo with OPL3 as well. This also works with Doom 2.

P.S.

This works perfectly from within the Win98 DOS prompt, but for some reason, I couldn't get it to function in pure DOS (Restart in MS-DOS mode). Made absolutely sure that I didn't mistype the variable, but still no dice.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 3 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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There is a specific mention of "4-OP FM" in the "Advanced" section of the Dark Forces setup program:

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Of course, the game properly supports OPL3 stereo. I'm theorizing that other Lucas Arts games from that time period which use iMUSE might do so as well.

Additionally, I've confirmed that Cybersphere also uses OPL3 stereo for some tracks, which isn't a big surprise since that game actually requires an OPL3 chip to run. What did surprise me was that certain OPL3 tracks in Settlers 2 are not stereo, likely those that were converted from the CD soundtrack. So that game is a mixed bag, some tracks do use OPL3 stereo, while others don't.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 4 of 29, by Sombrero

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2023-10-07, 19:38:

There is a specific mention of "4-OP FM" in the "Advanced" section of the Dark Forces setup program:

Of course, the game properly supports OPL3 stereo. I'm theorizing that other Lucas Arts games from that time period which use iMUSE might do so as well.

From memory Sam & Max Hit the Road and Star Wars: TIE Fighter have 4-OP FM in their setup, but I don't remember seeing it in any other of their games. Day of the Tentacle might have and I've just forgotten.

Can't verify they are stereo off the bat, both Sam&Max and TIE were composed for sound canvas so I've always went with midi.

Reply 5 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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Sombrero wrote on 2023-10-07, 19:53:

From memory Sam & Max Hit the Road and Star Wars: TIE Fighter have 4-OP FM in their setup, but I don't remember seeing it in any other of their games. Day of the Tentacle might have and I've just forgotten.

Tested and added, thanks! Day of the Tentacle didn't have stereo music, but the other two did. I've also tried a few Sierra adventure games, and it seems that some of their later titles like Gabriel Knight do use OPL3 stereo.

Can't verify they are stereo off the bat, both Sam&Max and TIE were composed for sound canvas so I've always went with midi.

Yeah, I also go with whatever the music was originally composed for, if possible. The OPL3 stereo list is more of a curiosity to see how many developers actually bothered with that.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 6 of 29, by Rincewind42

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Great initiative, I love OPL music, and stereo OPL even more so! 😎

If you want to extend your "stereo OPL3" criteria to "stereo OPL" (so also include Dual OPL2), I started a list a while ago on our wiki that lists the titles with Dual OPL2 support. I'm thinking of changing that to a "stereo OPL games" list later and incorporating the findings from this thread at some point:

https://github.com/dosbox-staging/dosbox-stag … Dual-OPL2-games

DOS: Soyo SY-5TF, MMX 200, 128MB, S3 Virge DX, ESS 1868F, AWE32, QWave, S2, McFly, SC-55, MU80, MP32L
Win98: Gigabyte K8VM800M, Athlon64 3200+, 512MB, Matrox G400, SB Live
WinXP: Gigabyte P31-DS3L, C2D 2.33 GHz, 2GB, GT 430, Audigy 4

Reply 7 of 29, by Gmlb256

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SlipSpeed by tijn, not a game that was present during the era DOS games but supports OPL3.

Speaking of dual-OPL2 support: Check the DOS version of Sardonic.

VIA C3 Nehemiah 1.2A @ 1.46 GHz | ASUS P2-99 | 256 MB PC133 SDRAM | GeForce3 Ti 200 64 MB | Voodoo2 12 MB | SBLive! | AWE64 | SBPro2 | GUS

Reply 8 of 29, by SuperDeadite

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Rincewind42 wrote on 2023-10-09, 00:35:

Great initiative, I love OPL music, and stereo OPL even more so! 😎

If you want to extend your "stereo OPL3" criteria to "stereo OPL" (so also include Dual OPL2), I started a list a while ago on our wiki that lists the titles with Dual OPL2 support. I'm thinking of changing that to a "stereo OPL games" list later and incorporating the findings from this thread at some point:

https://github.com/dosbox-staging/dosbox-stag … Dual-OPL2-games

Took a look at your list at just for accuracy's sake, Knights of Xentar is actually Dragon Knight 3 (not 2)

Modules: CM-64, CM-500, SC-55MkII, SC-88 Pro, SY22, TG100, MU2000EX, PLG100-SG, PLG150-DR, PLG150-AN, SG01k, NS5R, GZ-50M, SN-U110-07, SN-U110-10, Pocket Studio 5, DreamBlaster S2, X2, McFly, E-Wave, QWave, CrystalBlaster C2, Yucatan FX, BeepBlaster

Reply 9 of 29, by Rincewind42

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SuperDeadite wrote on 2023-10-09, 01:51:
Rincewind42 wrote on 2023-10-09, 00:35:

Great initiative, I love OPL music, and stereo OPL even more so! 😎

If you want to extend your "stereo OPL3" criteria to "stereo OPL" (so also include Dual OPL2), I started a list a while ago on our wiki that lists the titles with Dual OPL2 support. I'm thinking of changing that to a "stereo OPL games" list later and incorporating the findings from this thread at some point:

https://github.com/dosbox-staging/dosbox-stag … Dual-OPL2-games

Took a look at your list at just for accuracy's sake, Knights of Xentar is actually Dragon Knight 3 (not 2)

Fixed, thanks!

DOS: Soyo SY-5TF, MMX 200, 128MB, S3 Virge DX, ESS 1868F, AWE32, QWave, S2, McFly, SC-55, MU80, MP32L
Win98: Gigabyte K8VM800M, Athlon64 3200+, 512MB, Matrox G400, SB Live
WinXP: Gigabyte P31-DS3L, C2D 2.33 GHz, 2GB, GT 430, Audigy 4

Reply 10 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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Rincewind42 wrote on 2023-10-09, 00:35:

Great initiative, I love OPL music, and stereo OPL even more so! 😎

If you want to extend your "stereo OPL3" criteria to "stereo OPL" (so also include Dual OPL2), I started a list a while ago on our wiki that lists the titles with Dual OPL2 support. I'm thinking of changing that to a "stereo OPL games" list later and incorporating the findings from this thread at some point:

https://github.com/dosbox-staging/dosbox-stag … Dual-OPL2-games

Cheers! 😀

There could very well be some overlap between dual OPL2 support and OPL3 stereo support. For example, I just tested Dungeon Master 2 from your list and have confirmed that it has OPL3 stereo music.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 11 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2023-10-09, 01:43:

SlipSpeed by tijn, not a game that was present during the era DOS games but supports OPL3.

Thanks! I downloaded the shareware demo and can confirm that it has OPL3 stereo music.

BTW, kudos to the composer! The OPL3 music in that game is excellent.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 12 of 29, by spiffythedog

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I recently found that Fleet Defender can play stereo OPL3 music (with optional PCM drum samples) via Sound Blaster Pro 2/16/AWE32. Like many other MicroProse games of that time, it can also play stereo OPL2 music exclusively via Sound Blaster Pro 1 and its dual OPL2 chips. I confirmed this myself using the latest version of DOSBox Staging and its relevant Sound Blaster emulation settings.

Reply 13 of 29, by Jo22

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MegaMan X supports OPL3 Stereo, too, I believe.
It uses Miles Sound System or a different music/sfx engine.

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Reply 14 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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spiffythedog wrote on 2023-10-11, 10:00:

I recently found that Fleet Defender can play stereo OPL3 music (with optional PCM drum samples) via Sound Blaster Pro 2/16/AWE32. Like many other MicroProse games of that time, it can also play stereo OPL2 music exclusively via Sound Blaster Pro 1 and its dual OPL2 chips. I confirmed this myself using the latest version of DOSBox Staging and its relevant Sound Blaster emulation settings.

Added, thanks!

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 15 of 29, by Joseph_Joestar

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Jo22 wrote on 2023-10-11, 10:24:

MegaMan X supports OPL3 Stereo, too, I believe.
It uses Miles Sound System or a different music/sfx engine.

I just tested this game and it doesn't seem to use stereo OPL3, per Audacity recordings.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 16 of 29, by ElBrunzy

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stereo music in doom using opl3 !? 😮 A day I learn something new about doom music is a good day (although it's quite late already). I could not refrain myself and immediately try it on my nearest retro-computer hosting an ct2760. In clean dos it worked alright, no need to boot windows. The difference is quite drastic since stereo seem hard panned. Is it a opl3 limitation or maybe Bobby Prince was rough at panning not knowing if it would make to the end product ? In doom 1 the music idmus33 (deep into the code) in stereo feel like it's missing some beat in the rhythmic guitar accompaniment.

Reply 17 of 29, by digistorm

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OPL3 only supports hard panning for a synthesizer voice, that is why it is (seemingly) rarely used by musicians, because it doesn't sound nice. A musician would rarely pan an instrument hard left or right, and the middleware that translates the MIDI data performs some rounding that places almost all instruments in the middle. You should compare E2M8 on a MIDI device and on OPL3 for example; you can hear the music pan fluently from left to right and vice versa, but with OPL3 it "jumps" from left to middle to right etc.
Theoretically you could sacrifice a synthesizer voice and use 2 voices to create one "true stereo" voice that can pan anywhere, but clearly this cannot be done by a generic MIDI translator (that would reduce the polyphony to 9) and truly, Yamaha should have provided real panning in the OPL3 chip anyways, hard panning is so not done for musicians… and that is why it is rarely used.

Reply 18 of 29, by Gmlb256

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digistorm wrote on 2023-10-26, 09:36:

OPL3 only supports hard panning for a synthesizer voice, that is why it is (seemingly) rarely used by musicians, because it doesn't sound nice.

It is more about the lack of talent when composing music since OPL3 does support 4-op mode and additional waveforms which were barely used in games.

VIA C3 Nehemiah 1.2A @ 1.46 GHz | ASUS P2-99 | 256 MB PC133 SDRAM | GeForce3 Ti 200 64 MB | Voodoo2 12 MB | SBLive! | AWE64 | SBPro2 | GUS

Reply 19 of 29, by digistorm

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I was clearly talking about making stereo music, not about using other OPL3 features. But if you are so eager to impose that topic, the lack of the use of additional waveforms and features is not because of the lack of talent, but because studios for the most part used generic tools based on MIDI. And the translation layer between the MIDI data and the hardware is probably very generic and therefore cannot afford to use 4-op mode for example because it will then run out of polyphony. A translation layer cannot make any assumptions about the music it has to translate. It is a pity that a lot of potential is wasted in this manner, but the same is true for the Gravis Ultrasound, AWE 32, and why not specific versions for your favourite waveblaster module?