SQ4 SCI and General MIDI

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Raziel
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SQ4 SCI and General MIDI

Post by Raziel »

With some other games (like SQ1, Conquest of the Longbow etc.), i get a reminder on start that the game weren't meant to be used with General MIDI, but Sierra took care of it after release and provided .PAT files for some games with General MIDI mapping added.

With SQ1 SCI i get this reminder and it goes away when i add the corresponding .PAT file.

With SQ4 SCI nothing comes up and the game starts right away...

Were there different versions of the game?
Some which already had the General MIDI patch or is this simply an oversight or even a bug?

I don't have any other patches installed and i don't have any .PAT files inside the game dir...and the corresponding patch file is also not in extras.

Just asking because SQ4 is one of the .PAT files from the GeneralMIDI patch found here.

Thanks a lot

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Post by tsoliman »

I know that there's at least 2 versions of SQ4: The one I grew up with was a floppy version with "Radio Shock" and no speech. The one I found a few years ago was a CD one with "Hz So Good" and full speech.

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Raziel
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Post by Raziel »

It's the CD Windows speech version i have here.

Oh and btw, MIDI playback does not sound out of place, like with other non GM mapped games.
I guess with this release the GM MIDI patches were already in then?

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Post by tsoliman »

I suppose so. I am not an SCI dev.

I guess it is a newer version of SCI as well because of the way it has color cursors instead of the monochrome cursors of the floppy SQ4.

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Post by md5 »

The CD version of SQ4 already has the GM MIDI patch included. This patch is only necessary for the floppy version.

ScummVM only falls back to these after market patches, if a game doesn't have a GM patch in its resource files, and the user selects GM music. In the case of the CD version of SQ4, the external patch won't be loaded, so it doesn't affect the game in any way.

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Re: SQ4 SCI and General MIDI

Post by MusicallyInspired »

Raziel wrote:With some other games (like SQ1, Conquest of the Longbow etc.), i get a reminder on start that the game weren't meant to be used with General MIDI, but Sierra took care of it after release and provided .PAT files for some games with General MIDI mapping added.
Yeah, but they're not very good. There's only so much you can do with a GM conversion of custom MT-32 sounds. The GM patches (both of them) completely omit the slime sound effects and even a whole instrument from its theme, for instance. It also replaces many snare sounds with a taiko drum for whatever reason along with most percussion sounds. Most noticeable in the Magmetheus Bar intro sequences.

The GM patch in SQ4 CD is not the same as the after market GM patch for SQ4 floppy. I'm not a fan of either of them, though.

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Post by Raziel »

md5 wrote:The CD version of SQ4 already has the GM MIDI patch included. This patch is only necessary for the floppy version.

ScummVM only falls back to these after market patches, if a game doesn't have a GM patch in its resource files, and the user selects GM music. In the case of the CD version of SQ4, the external patch won't be loaded, so it doesn't affect the game in any way.
Ahh, ok, thanks a lot for the info

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Re: SQ4 SCI and General MIDI

Post by Raziel »

MusicallyInspired wrote:
Raziel wrote:With some other games (like SQ1, Conquest of the Longbow etc.), i get a reminder on start that the game weren't meant to be used with General MIDI, but Sierra took care of it after release and provided .PAT files for some games with General MIDI mapping added.
Yeah, but they're not very good. There's only so much you can do with a GM conversion of custom MT-32 sounds. The GM patches (both of them) completely omit the slime sound effects and even a whole instrument from its theme, for instance. It also replaces many snare sounds with a taiko drum for whatever reason along with most percussion sounds. Most noticeable in the Magmetheus Bar intro sequences.

The GM patch in SQ4 CD is not the same as the after market GM patch for SQ4 floppy. I'm not a fan of either of them, though.
That may be true (can't tell any differences as i played the game only on Amiga, before i switched to the PC versions), but i won't get anything better (if not using a real MT-32, that is), right?

Or do you know about third-party patches that "fix" or "enhance" the aftermarket GM conversions?

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Post by md5 »

The MT-32 output is using different music patches (patch 1 is used for MT-32 output, whereas patch 4 is used for GM output).

IIRC, these games contained a patch 1 (MT-32), but not patch 4 (GM). So, a real MT-32 won't make any difference for these games, these after-market patches are used for newer GM sound cards

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Re: SQ4 SCI and General MIDI

Post by MusicallyInspired »

If you had a real MT-32, you'd play the game in MT-32 mode as there's no reason at all to go GM.
Raziel wrote:That may be true (can't tell any differences as i played the game only on Amiga, before i switched to the PC versions), but i won't get anything better (if not using a real MT-32, that is), right?
Outside of MUNT, no. But, in my opinion, even Adlib is better than these post-composition GM patches.
Or do you know about third-party patches that "fix" or "enhance" the aftermarket GM conversions?
None. Unless there's a special SQ4 MT-32 soundfont out there somewhere, which you could get a much closer reasonable facsimile. But then you'd run the game in MT-32 mode but send the MIDI output in ScummVM to your system's MIDI device that can play soundfonts. But none exist that I know of.

The problem is that GM just doesn't have the instruments needed and the sound/patch resources don't map many of the MT-32 instruments to GM at all. It's for the sake of compatibility, not perfection. It does its best with what GM instruments there are that are suitable. (I really don't understand the purpose for removing the drum kit and snare from Magmetheus etc in favour of a taiko drum/toms, though) GM is clearly the lesser choice.

(edited several times)

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Post by tsoliman »

I would like to add that a lot of older games (before GM became standard) used to reprogram the MT32 with SYSEX commands (exposing bugs in crappy USB-to-midi adapters - thanks again wjp and md5). The famous example is MI2.

Old MT32s are not that expensive if you keep looking. I paid around 80USD and 120USD for the two that I have (the more expensive one was toast). At one point people were selling them for over 250USD. Don't overpay for one. It can be had for 40USD on eBay if you're patient enough.

There's also the matter of some games depending on bugs in the older MT32 (like SQ1VGA) so even a newer MT32 doesn't work quite right in some rooms.

There's a video somewhere here that gets into a lot of these details.

The most mind blowing "MT32 vs everything else" comparison was the PQ2 intro. I grew up with this game on PCSPKR and hearing it in a YouTube video convinced me to buy one.

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Post by MusicallyInspired »

I got my first MT-32 for $150 about 15 years ago on ebay. Something like that. I got a second one a few years ago for $100. Recently sold it to someone I know online who needed one for the same price.

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Post by envisaged0ne »

I bought my MT-32 back in 1988 or 1989. I had an IBM PS/2 that used it's own proprietary hardware, so setting it up wasn't all that easy. I still own it today & it still works great. But I've been using the Munt emulation for a while now & actually prefer it over the real MT-32

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Post by MusicallyInspired »

It is nice to not have the hissing background noise that can exist in the hardware (especially for games with quiet soundtracks like KQ5). Of course, you need to own an MT-32 to acquire the ROMs legally anyway so...

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Post by envisaged0ne »

Exactly. The other benefits is that it doesn't suddenly change the volume like the MT-32 did. I'd turn the volume down, then it'd jump back up to 100. And you don't have to keep resetting the emulator after every game because the sounds would get messed up. And, of course, it takes up less space on your desk :)

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