Better Music for GM ScummVM (and DOSBox) games

General chat related to ScummVM, adventure gaming, and so on.

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cwadge
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FatBoy BETA Soundfont updated to version 0.779

Post by cwadge » Mon May 21, 2018 6:12 am

almeath wrote:Do you think you will introduce the new trumpet or flute by the v1 release, or are those a longer term project?
If they work out in the context of FayBoy, it's likely. If not I'll release them separately so at least somebody can get some use out of 'em.

FatBoy BETA 0.779

I've not had much free time lately, including working on the above-mentioned instruments, but I have at least done some minor improvements in the meantime.

https://pub.dotbalm.org/misc/FatBoy-v0779.7z

Obligatory sample:

▶ RPG Maker XP - Boss 1

Changelog:
• More spatialization of presets
• Reverb adjustments across several presets
• Fine pitch tuning of the low-velocity flute samples (by ear VS sinus wave)

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almeath
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Post by almeath » Tue May 22, 2018 8:46 am

For consistency, I am predominantly testing the same tracks in KQ6 and 7 each time you make a release. So far, no problems to report with this latest build.

I might just be imagining it, but the oboe sounds different (and better) in some of the KQ6 tracks where there are oboe solos. The flute is sounding fine as is, but happy to test further if you end up making changes there. Beauty's Theme is good for testing both flute and oboe as they both have solos there. If you make changes to the trumpet, I will test it with the Castle of the Crown theme because it has that loud opening fanfare.

I was also testing in TIE Fighter, but I note that earlier problem where some instruments seem to be drowned out or missing, and you said there were some potential faults in the code or MIDI compatibility in that game. So far, that is the only game I have found where FatBoy is not working properly.

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Post by cwadge » Tue May 22, 2018 4:28 pm

almeath wrote:...
I was also testing in TIE Fighter, but I note that earlier problem where some instruments seem to be drowned out or missing, and you said there were some potential faults in the code or MIDI compatibility in that game. So far, that is the only game I have found where FatBoy is not working properly.
Thanks for all your testing, I really appreciate it. At this point a good percentage of bugs I've fixed in FatBoy have been due to reports from other folks playing games I'd never have thought to, or noticing things that I'd missed.

FatBoy does work in TF and most times it even sounds fairly good. But the iMUSE implementation in that particular game does seem a little weird, at least in capturing raw MIDI output from DOSBox when it's running. But probably the strongest reason TF's not the best for testing soundfonts in general is that its soundtrack was VERY specifically composed for the Roland SC-55. The SC-55 had a synthetic enough sound that unusual instruments could be subbed in where they really have no business and still sound "right", but anything even slightly more realistic sounds "off", including the SC-88.

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almeath
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Post by almeath » Wed May 23, 2018 1:41 pm

cwadge wrote:Thanks for all your testing, I really appreciate it. At this point a good percentage of bugs I've fixed in FatBoy have been due to reports from other folks playing games I'd never have thought to, or noticing things that I'd missed.
No problem, I am glad to contribute. I am already amazed at how much it improves the Sierra games in particular.
cwadge wrote:FatBoy does work in TF and most times it even sounds fairly good. But the iMUSE implementation in that particular game does seem a little weird, at least in capturing raw MIDI output from DOSBox when it's running. But probably the strongest reason TF's not the best for testing soundfonts in general is that its soundtrack was VERY specifically composed for the Roland SC-55. The SC-55 had a synthetic enough sound that unusual instruments could be subbed in where they really have no business and still sound "right", but anything even slightly more realistic sounds "off", including the SC-88.
OK, that does make sense. I had mistakenly thought that iMuse was only used in certain LucasArts adventure games, and I did not realize it was also used in some of the Star Wars games too. Thanks for the clarification.

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FatBoy BETA Soundfont updated to version 0.780

Post by cwadge » Sat May 26, 2018 3:22 am

It's a holiday weekend here in the 'states and I may be a bit busy, so I thought I'd release this a little early. Today's build of FatBoy (beta 0.780) sees the remainders of the instruments properly spatialized, along with many minor adjustments to reverb across the board.

https://pub.dotbalm.org/misc/FatBoy-v0780.7z

Here, have a taste:

▶ Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse - Fanfare

Changelog:
• Finished spatializing presets for correct 3D placement in stereo (or greater) mixes
• Adjustments to reverb of many instruments for a more clean, consistent sound
• A few minor attenuation tweaks to certain sound-effect presets

As always, please let me know if you have any feedback.

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Post by Raziel » Mon May 28, 2018 11:10 am

Just a question for understanding.

This soundfont you are creating, do one need to have a special program or OS running to be able to use or is there a way to use it with ScummVM?

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Post by almeath » Mon May 28, 2018 1:16 pm

Raziel wrote:Just a question for understanding.

This soundfont you are creating, do one need to have a special program or OS running to be able to use or is there a way to use it with ScummVM?
I do not know about ScummVM on portable platforms, but on PCs or Macs you need to go the options in ScummVM (or edit each game individually) and under the 'MIDI' tab select a GM device that will utilize the sound font. On my Mac I have used Fluidsynth and also the Apple DLS Software Synthesizer. As far as I know Timidity also supports sound fonts but I cannot get that to work on my Mac.

Once you select the preferred GM synthesizer, you need to click on the 'SoundFont' button and just point to where your sound font file is located. As long as the game you are running supports General MIDI, then the sound font should work automatically.

I am aware that FluidSynth and other synthesizers can be run at the OS level but the setup is more complex. ScummVM bundles these into the program and makes it very easy to use.

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Post by cwadge » Mon May 28, 2018 5:15 pm

Exactly what almeath said. In addition some older Sierra games in particular, such as King's Quest 4-5, weren't written for GM/GS MIDI so they will sound pretty weird with anything but MT-32 emulation out-of-the-box. In those cases, there are patches to make many of them compatible with the newer standard.

For instance, here is KQ5 in ScummVM with the original MT-32 soundtrack:

▶ King's Quest V - Oasis Theme (MT-32)

And again with Ravi's sound patches and the FatBoy soundfont:

▶ King's Quest V - Oasis Theme (FatBoy)

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MusicallyInspired
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Post by MusicallyInspired » Tue May 29, 2018 5:55 pm

Sounds like there's no portamento in that FatBoy recording.

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Post by cwadge » Tue May 29, 2018 6:27 pm

MusicallyInspired wrote:Sounds like there's no portamento in that FatBoy recording.
Good ear. I believe that's just Tom Lewandowski's MIDI transposition, not the soundfont itself. The nylon string guitar in FatBoy handles portamento just fine, it's a GM-compliant preset. Basically I used Tom's MIDI transposition version for the FB demo so I could fast-render it in FluidSynth, but I captured the MT-32 version straight out of the game. In a nutshell I didn't feel like patching the game and retesting in realtime, so it's not exactly 1:1 but enough to get an idea of the difference in sound overall.

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FatBoy BETA Soundfont updated to version 0.781

Post by cwadge » Thu May 31, 2018 7:23 pm

A relatively minor update, but one which can dramatically improve the sound of certain MIDIs:

https://pub.dotbalm.org/misc/FatBoy-v0781.7z

Samples:

▶ Albion - Celtic Hut
▶ Duke Nukem 3D - Gut Wrencher

Changelog:
• 32 individual adjustments to fiddle sample start values for much more responsive attack
• Minor adjustment of reverse symbol attenuation to more closely match the relative attenuation of the Roland SC-55/88

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FatBoy BETA Soundfont updated to version 0.782

Post by cwadge » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:32 pm

This a "whoops" update to fix bugs I inadvertently introduced in FB 0.781. Namely, the GM recorder preset was completely screwed.

https://pub.dotbalm.org/misc/FatBoy-v0782.7z

Sample:

▶ Discworld - Track 27

Changelog:
• Corrected overlap with GM recorder and low-velocity flute, causing major auditory and attenuation issues with the former preset
• Adjusted spatialization of pan flute preset, which was incorrect

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Post by MusicallyInspired » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:44 pm

Actually, portamento was the wrong word. Pitch shifting, I mean. But yeah. If it's just his files that's unfortunate.

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Post by cwadge » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:32 pm

MusicallyInspired wrote:Actually, portamento was the wrong word. Pitch shifting, I mean. But yeah. If it's just his files that's unfortunate.
I knew what you meant. But yeah, pretty sure it's just this particular transposition. Which is weird, since most of his rips from other games don't strip out the pitch-bending. *shrug*

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FatBoy BETA Soundfont updated to version 0.783

Post by cwadge » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:39 am

Bug reports have been slowing way down, so I decided to focus a bit on polishing. The acoustic grand piano lacked a bit of presence, IMO, but I believe it sounds a bit richer and brighter now (though obviously not as bright as the "bright grand" preset).

https://pub.dotbalm.org/misc/FatBoy-v0783.7z

Sample:

▶ LSL5 - As Time Goes By

Changelog:
• Acoustic grand updated for additional depth and clarity

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