Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Talk about games or general tech issues that are not Sierra related.
User avatar
MusicallyInspired
Village Elder
Posts: 2812
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:46 am
Gender: Male
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by MusicallyInspired » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:00 pm

Here's a quote from NewRisingSun on the Quest Studios forums regarding MT-32 errors:
"Buffer Overflow" means the data arrives too fast for the MT-32 to handle. As stated previously, second generation units don't have this problem, as no data can arrive too fast for these models to handle. Reasons why this problem can occur:

the game programmer just didn't care
the game programmer only tested with a second/third generation model
the game programmer did insert the necessary delays, but timed them by counting CPU cycles.
Only in the last case will slowing down your system/DOSBox do any good.

"Checksum Error" is distinct from the "Buffer Overflow". It means that some data got lost before it arrived at the MT-32. This can happen because:

the game programmer counts CPU cycles to wait for the next available MIDI cycle (signaled by the MPU-401's "Data Receive Ready" bit) before sending a data byte. On fast computers, it finishes counting before the next MIDI cycle occurs, and so the game just gives up on sending that particular byte, thus losing it. Obviously, this is a different speed issue than the one causing the "Buffer Overflow".
the sound card/laptop/USB-to-MIDI's drivers don't handle large amounts of MIDI data properly and lose data. Update drivers.
the cables used are broken or not connected properly. Check connections and replace cables.
Only in the first case will slowing down your system/DOSBox do any good. Since you've said it doesn't, check the other reasons.
01010100 01110010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01010100 01001000 00110001

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:24 pm

Thanks, seems it was indeed the cable.

I got fed up trying these various cheap cables I get on eBay and found a store (quite a long drive from here but so tired of all these bad cables by now!) that carries these kinds of cables.

Said on the back it only supported XP and Vista 32 bit but I took the chance anyway, and I didn't even need to use the included driver CD.

Anyway, everything is working perfectly now, finally! :D

User avatar
MusicallyInspired
Village Elder
Posts: 2812
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:46 am
Gender: Male
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by MusicallyInspired » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:53 pm

Great! Enjoy!
01010100 01110010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01010100 01001000 00110001

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:22 pm

Thanks, yeah I'm enjoying this a lot! :D

I really love how the Police Quest 2 opening song sounds on the MT32, I always hated the adlib version of that one.

Had a little 'doh' moment that made me jump a little btw - suddenly nothing happened, the MT32 didn't seem to be receiving anything and didn't play anything either.
Turns out I'd somehow opened two DOSBox windows, which was obviously the reason.

But at this point it seems almost too good to be true, after all this waiting and cable crap... so it scared me a little bit right away :p

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11549
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by Collector » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:47 pm

Good to see that you got it sorted out. For the Sierra games that were optimized for MT-32 music it is the only way to hear those games. Those without just don't know what they are missing. The good news is that there has been progress on the Munt project. It looks like it is possible, maybe even probable that the emulation will achieve 100%. Give it more time, and there will be no excuse for anyone for playing these games without MT-32 music.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:11 pm

Cool, I actually haven't tried any of the QfG games yet... off to find the disc here and try it out.

I'll have to find my USB floppy drive before I can try the Conquest games though, so I'll wait until tomorrow doing that... I should back up all my floppies and store them on a DVD or something anyway, I'll probably end up doing that now that I'm using the floppies again for the first time in ages, anyway.
Just hoping they still work :shock:

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11549
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by Collector » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:21 pm

Copying the disks is the very first thing that I do when I get a new game that is on floppy. I have an old PC with a 5.25" drive and DOS/9x/XP in case I have any trouble getting the files off the disks. I do not trust floppies to last. I burn them and keep them on another hard drive partition. CD can go bad, too.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:25 pm

Yes, I've put it off for way too long.

Luckily a lot of these games are still easily found so the worst case scenario is having to rebuy a few of them.

But yeah, going to go through my entire collection and back it all up this time.

About CDs going bad... that's of course very true but to me some of the claims you find online seem a bit exaggerated.
I have hundreds of quite old games on CD, and I've yet to have any of them fail (of course there might be some that I haven't tried out in a while, but generally speaking).

When you take good care to store them in a good place, and also make sure to be very careful whenever handling them... they seem to last for quite a while!

But I'm going to have to back all of them up someday soon as well.
Good thing most of these games are old enough not to have any kind of copy protection, at least I won't have any hassle of that kind.

EDIT - just realized I didn't mention my fav MT32 tune from a Sierra game so far, after having tried out quite a few here... (still haven't tried out QfG) - maybe because this was the first game I started up, but more likely because I never could stand the adlib version of the tune - my favourite one so far is still the one I already mentioned earlier in this thread - the opening tune in Police Quest 2.
Just an amazing difference, from sounding like crap to near CD quality (well, really good in any case).

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11549
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by Collector » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:51 pm

I was mostly referring to the older CDR discs going bad, not the pressed commercial CD-ROM discs. Granted, the CD-ROM will not last forever, but they have good deal of life left to them.

By the way, if you find any bad files or disks, we have this thread to request help. You just need to provide proof that you own the game. Any exchange of files will be done privately.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11549
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by Collector » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:51 pm

I was mostly referring to the older CDR discs going bad, not the pressed commercial CD-ROM discs. Granted, the CD-ROM will not last forever, but they have good deal of life left to them.

By the way, if you find any bad files or disks, we have this thread to request help. You just need to provide proof that you own the game. Any exchange of files will be done privately.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:57 pm

Cool, thanks for the link!

That might actually turn out to be very helpful indeed, didn't know there was somewhere you could do that.

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11549
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by Collector » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:06 pm

It is probably not strictly legal, Sierra had allowed it on their boards when official copies were no longer available. And it is not like abandonware is being distributed. It is replacement files/manuals for those that can prove they legally own the games.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:16 pm

Yeah, personally I don't have problems doing it that way in any case.

The copyright holders would have to be quite anal if they took issues with people, who after proving they owned an original copy, could get working backups for any failed floppies.
Last edited by laffer on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Qbix
DOSBox Author
Posts: 646
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:19 pm
Location: Friesland
Contact:

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by Qbix » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:40 am

MusicallyInspired wrote:Here's a quote from NewRisingSun on the Quest Studios forums regarding MT-32 errors:
"Buffer Overflow" means the data arrives too fast for the MT-32 to handle. As stated previously, second generation units don't have this problem, as no data can arrive too fast for these models to handle. Reasons why this problem can occur:

the game programmer just didn't care
the game programmer only tested with a second/third generation model
the game programmer did insert the necessary delays, but timed them by counting CPU cycles.
Only in the last case will slowing down your system/DOSBox do any good.

"Checksum Error" is distinct from the "Buffer Overflow". It means that some data got lost before it arrived at the MT-32. This can happen because:

the game programmer counts CPU cycles to wait for the next available MIDI cycle (signaled by the MPU-401's "Data Receive Ready" bit) before sending a data byte. On fast computers, it finishes counting before the next MIDI cycle occurs, and so the game just gives up on sending that particular byte, thus losing it. Obviously, this is a different speed issue than the one causing the "Buffer Overflow".
the sound card/laptop/USB-to-MIDI's drivers don't handle large amounts of MIDI data properly and lose data. Update drivers.
the cables used are broken or not connected properly. Check connections and replace cables.
Only in the first case will slowing down your system/DOSBox do any good. Since you've said it doesn't, check the other reasons.
In the SVN of DOSBox there is now some code that will insert delays when writing to your real MT32. (you can enable it through the midiconfig parameter)
This should make DOSBox is little more friendly with games that write too fast and cables that don't buffer.

laffer
Sierra Enthusiast
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:13 pm
Gender: Not Specified

Re: Real MT32, not being 'programmed' - using default sounds

Post by laffer » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:54 am

I've been using the MT32 quite a bit the last few days here, and there are a few things I'm wondering about -

The volume in many games seems quite low (even when I set the in-game volume to max)... and I have to crank up my amplifier quite a bit compared to how I have it set normally. Is this normal, and is there a way to increase the MT32 midi somewhere in 'software', if you know what I mean... like a way in Windows or DOSBox or something?

Another thing I've noticed is the volume sometimes varies a bit too much inside games - the Quest for Glory 2 intro music gets a bit loud while the little menu tune and the very opening in-game music (haven't played further) is also a bit low in comparison?

Post Reply