King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

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EstelRandir
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King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by EstelRandir »

There is a hybrid version of KQ IV that includes full environmental sounds, music, sound effects, etc. It requires you to own a copy of KQ IV the SCI version. The additional files are taken from various actual version of KQ IV including the Amiga versions - all of which is supported individually by ScummVM. This is done via a patch that is included on the Sierra Help site, so apparently they are "OK" with it. I understand that ScummVM does not want to get involved in pirated hacks, etc. But this is actually on the Sierra website for download.

It works perfect on DosBox with full MT-32 sounds. On ScummVM it appears as "King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (SCI/Amiga/English). The game id is "kq4sci-amiga-fallback-1". On ScummVM it will run normally, but the extra sounds do not come through using MT-32, MUNT, or similar. By using Adlib, some of the sounds such as ocean waves at the beach come through, but other sounds are delayed or still missing. A ticket was submitted 2+yrs ago asking for support. But no action or no one has been assigned to it. I am asking can/will something like this be supported by ScummVM? After all, the Monkey Island ultimate talkie versions are.

This might be the reason ScummVM does not play all sounds (I am guessing) - In the mod author's replies to his mod:

Someone asks, "I am also curious, why do we need a GUS?"
Mod author replies, "As I wrote in the initial post: "the game plays several samples simultaneously", being based on the Amiga version and such. I suppose I could write a software mixer for that, but that would require having all samples in memory simultaneously, which is difficult since the game itself consumes most of it (I could use EMS...)."

Also, if anyone has on their own gotten this to work or done their own patch, please reply here.

See the following links:

http://www.sierrahelp.com/forums/viewto ... =24&t=3925

Sierra games with Munt:
A little misplaced for the non-Sierra installer thread, but I did not want to add the following to the installer page because of their extra requirement. These are new installers for a few Sierra games that include a Munt enabled build of DOSBox. They require the "MT32_CONTROL.ROM" and "MT32_PCM.ROM" ROMs be present on installation. Because of questionable status of the their IP, please do not publicly ask for these here. Remember, Google is your friend.

New:
Ultimate Kings Quest 4 with Amiga sounds and Munt
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almeath
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by almeath »

Some years ago I got the “enhanced” version of King’s Quest IV working in DOSBox. I never tried it in ScummVM. As you said, it basically took the ambient sounds from the Amiga version and patched them into the DOS SCI version of the game, also using the slightly better graphics from the 1988 1.0 SCI release.

You might want to consider the fan-made “King’s Quest IV Retold”:

https://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/s ... la-retold/

This basically takes all the enhancements one step further, including MT-32 (digitized) score, blended SCI 1.0 graphics, removing dead ends etc., and then adds full point and click support to remove the old parser driven interface. It works well in the AGD engine and therefore can also be made to run in ScummVM, which is my preferred option.

The only downside to using the digitized MT-32 score is that looping of music tracks does not work that well. For example, looped tracks (i.e the dwarves’ house) will just stop, rather than repeating. I spoke to the developer about this, but he’s not sure how to fix it. He suggested we should find someone to re-master the score. If anyone is interested please do drop him a line.
EstelRandir
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by EstelRandir »

almeath wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 11:12 pm Some years ago I got the “enhanced” version of King’s Quest IV working in DOSBox. I never tried it in ScummVM. As you said, it basically took the ambient sounds from the Amiga version and patched them into the DOS SCI version of the game, also using the slightly better graphics from the 1988 1.0 SCI release.

You might want to consider the fan-made “King’s Quest IV Retold”:

https://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/s ... la-retold/

This basically takes all the enhancements one step further, including MT-32 (digitized) score, blended SCI 1.0 graphics, removing dead ends etc., and then adds full point and click support to remove the old parser driven interface. It works well in the AGD engine and therefore can also be made to run in ScummVM, which is my preferred option.

The only downside to using the digitized MT-32 score is that looping of music tracks does not work that well. For example, looped tracks (i.e the dwarves’ house) will just stop, rather than repeating. I spoke to the developer about this, but he’s not sure how to fix it. He suggested we should find someone to re-master the score. If anyone is interested please do drop him a line.
I have 5 versions of KQ 4 installed, all unique (Retold included). Lol. But I really think it's to the benefit of the fan base to get the ultimate edition running on ScummVM.

I am pretty sure the issue lies with making two different sets of sound files to play simultaneously.
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almeath
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by almeath »

Yeah, I have all of them too. :) That was the one King's Quest I seem to have fixated on in my childhood. I have the AGI version, Amiga, both SCI versions etc.

One thing I would like to know is what are the differences between the 'enhanced' version that was discussed on Vogons years ago (I think the original thread was called "Kings Quest IV hacking") and the 'ultimate' edition that is now provided on Sierra help pages. Are they the same thing? Or are there additional enhancements in the ultimate version?

Also, is there anything that the ultimate version provides that is not already featured in King's Quest IV retold? I am actually a fan of the old parser driven interface, and if I could add perfect MT-32 support, with parser, to the Retold version, I think that would be the ultimate version of King's Quest IV for me.
OmerMor
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by OmerMor »

Here's the (archived) thread about this patch: https://web.archive.org/web/20180102190 ... =7&t=41384
EstelRandir
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by EstelRandir »

OmerMor wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 9:55 pm Here's the (archived) thread about this patch: https://web.archive.org/web/20180102190 ... =7&t=41384
Yes, and this is not a good post to bring up. I purposely did not. It contains some very pointed hatred toward ScummVM developers.
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almeath
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by almeath »

That was definitely the version I used then. It seems it is the same as the one provided in the installer on the Sierra help site.

You’ll see on that thread, which I won’t mention by name, that I had asked about how to improve it further, but it was a dead thread even by then.

KQIV Retold does a better job of implementing the ambient sound effects. It also uses the Apple IIGS ambient sounds, rather than from the Amiga version. It’s just a pity about the imperfect MT-32 music implementation. Hopefully the developer will keep improving it over time. The most recent release was just a few weeks ago.
EstelRandir
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by EstelRandir »

almeath wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 5:38 am That was definitely the version I used then. It seems it is the same as the one provided in the installer on the Sierra help site.

You’ll see on that thread, which I won’t mention by name, that I had asked about how to improve it further, but it was a dead thread even by then.

KQIV Retold does a better job of implementing the ambient sound effects. It also uses the Apple IIGS ambient sounds, rather than from the Amiga version. It’s just a pity about the imperfect MT-32 music implementation. Hopefully the developer will keep improving it over time. The most recent release was just a few weeks ago.
I have watched the same streamer go through KQ 1 - 7, SQ 1-6, & QFG 1-4. It amazes me how utterly crappy the development team was to allow multiple what is often called "soft locks" aka dead ends. Did they actually think that was a fundamental part of the challenge?
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almeath
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by almeath »

Very good question. Having extensively read interviews of Sierra online staff and also the excellent adventure game blog by “The Digital Antiquarian”, I am of the opinion that this is mostly due to a lack of play testing by Sierra developers. They seldom tried playing their own games thoroughly, or even employing others to do so, which would expose such problems and also help iron out bugs.

I am a huge Sierra fan and do respect what Ken and Roberta Williams achieved, but to enjoy early Sierra games you need to understand the culture of the time. PC adventure games were a niche hobby on expensive hardware (in comparison to mass market gaming in the 90s and beyond .. Doom etc), targeting demographics that are very different today. I remember as a child that we had the attitude that constant “deaths” and dead-ends were to be expected .. as if that was part of the challenge. It seems weird these days, but that was the time.

I highly recommend the Digital Antiquarian’s blog for anyone interested in the history and “theory” of adventure gaming.
Last edited by almeath on Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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almeath
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Re: King's Quest IV - "Ultimate Edition"

Post by almeath »

Something else I forgot to mention, is that notwithstanding the cost of hardware, PC adventure games back in the 80s were also quite expensive, even accounting for inflation. So, it is quite possible that some developers deliberately chose to make their games harder, with some really obscure puzzles and frequent danger of character death, to ensure you would spend more time playing the game and feel you extracted some value from it. It is entirely different to nowadays where you can distribute a game cheaply and quickly online, so you can charge far less, and split an adventure game into easily digestible 'chapters'. You do not want to make the game too hard, otherwise people will generally give up and not want to buy the next installment. Adventure games were developed in an entirely different commercial context in the 80s.

Lastly, Sierra had a diverse range of developers working for them, so it is quite possible that some of their own biases and traits crept into their games that way too. King's Quest IV was of course designed by Roberta Williams herself, so while I am sure she intended children to be able to play and beat the game, I imagine that for a game retailing for $50+ in the mid 80s, she also wanted to make sure the average gamer would not be able to solve it within a couple of hours of play.

Due to all the above factors, many early Sierra adventure games can be considered an acquired taste, so to speak. You need to understand the cultural, commercial and technological context in which they were created, in order to appreciate, and hopefully, enjoy them.
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