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When I play games from GOG using the automatic dosbox files, the games seems to load with generic MIDI sounds. For instance, instead of a sword swinging, I hear a musical cord. Instead of footsteps I hear what sounds like a note playing on a harp.

When I used to play these games back in the 80's and 90's I recall running the game without Sound Blaster support caused this. Is there any way to get GOG games to run with the original sound effects as played with a sound card? I don't know much about dosbox so I will need detailed instructions.

Specifically I am talking about Ultima Underworld I and II.

Thanks
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mudplayerx: Specifically I am talking about Ultima Underworld I and II.
Those two games supported Soundblaster, and alternatively Rolant MT-32/CM-32L. You could even use both at the same time, Roland for music and most of the sound effects, and Soundblaster for digitized speech and certain special sound effects (which might have been sampled).

The reason why you hear them wrong is because Windows is playing the Roland MIDI stuff through your Windows GS Wavetable Synth (which is the default MIDI device in all modern Windows versions). I'm surprised though if the GOG versions really opt for Roland music by default, because then most people will hear them wrong. Usually GOG games opt for the inferior Adlib/Soundblaster music because at least that works fine on all PCs. Currently the GOG versions are trying to play Roland MT-32/CM-32L music and sound effects using the Windows General MIDI device, which is wrong.

You have two options:

1. The easier way giving you the poorer Adlib/Soundlbaster music and sound effects:

Since GOG versions of Ultima Underworld 1-2 don't contain the "UINSTALL.EXE" utility to change sound devices, edit the UW.CFG files for both games directly with Notepad. They are under e.g (default installation path, if you installed them there):

C:\GOG Games\Ultima Underworld\UNDEROM1\DATA\UW.CFG
C:\GOG Games\Ultima Underworld 2\UNDEROM2\DATA\UW.CFG

Change the lines (specifically the first "sound" line) to this (only the bolded lines):

For Ultima Underworld:

4 -1 -1 -1 sound
2 -1 -1 -1 speech
0 cuts


For Ultima Underworld 2:

4 -1 -1 -1 sound
2 -1 -1 -1 speech


Save UW.CFG and rerun the game. I think the "-1" value means just using the default value (e.g. for sound card port, DMA and/or IRQ), instead of giving exact values for those. The first number refers to the sound card I guess, 4 is probably Adlib (= OPL-2 FM synthesis, also on Soundblaster), and 2 means Soundblaster Pro.

Also I don't think the "0 cuts" line is needed in UUW2 either, at least it isn't there in the original game. I think that is referring speficially to the animations setting in the first game, not applicable to the second game.


2. The harder way giving you the best music and sound effects for both games:

Leave the UW.CFG files as they are, don't edit them. Instead, go to the internets and locate and download the following items:

- Munt (a Roland MT-32 emulator)

- CoolSoft VirtualMIDI Synth (allows you to tell Windows to use the aforementioned Munt MT-32 driver for any MIDI music, e.g. the one coming from the Ultima Underworld games, instead of the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth which is meant for General MIDI music, not MT-32/CM-32L MIDI music).

- A Roland MT-32 or CM-32L ROMs (control and PCM ROMs). These are needed by Munt to produce Roland music. You have to get them on some torrent site or something because their copyright is fuzzy at best, it seems no one owns them currently, even Roland? Might be there are direct links to them as well on the internets.

CM-32L ROMs are preferred (over the MT-32 ones) for the Ultima Underworld games specifically, because only then you get e.g. the correct swimming sound in the first game. But the MT-32 ROMs will be fine otherwise.

Install VirtualMIDISynth and Munt, and configure them (specifically, use VirtualMIDI Synth to tell Windows to use the Munt MT-32 driver for MIDI, not the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth, then exit VirtualMIDI Synth). Then you should get the best possible sound on the UUW games. If you later play any General MIDI games though, you need to run VirtualMIDISynth again in order to revert back to Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth as the MIDI sound device, instead of the Munt MT-32 driver. Just like Roland MT-32/CM-32L music/effects sound wrong on General MIDI devices, similarly General MIDI music sounds wrong on the Munt MT-32 driver.

VirtualMIDISynth installation is optional though, there is also some way to edit the dosbox config files in Ultima Underworld directly, telling them to use the Munt MIDI after you have installed just Munt, but I don't quite recall how to achieve that. VirtualMIDISynth brings some other advantages for other games too, like improving General MIDI music with replacement soundfonts if you choose so, so it has a dual purpose.
Post edited October 26, 2015 by timppu
For comparison, this is how the first game sounds with Soundblaster (which you are probably more familiar with):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVHKgDlRh68

This is how it sounds if you go through the trouble of setting up the Munt MT-32 emulator:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PyoUdXXiTg
Post edited October 26, 2015 by timppu
Here are also some instructions how to get the MT-32 support to work with the Munt emulator:

http://gogwiki.com/index.php?title=DOSBox#Roland_MT-32_support

Look specifically for the part "Configuring DOSBox" what to do if you don't want to install or use the Coolsoft VirtualMIDISynth, but merely install Munt. The correct value to be used in the DOSBox config file in order to get Munt MT-32 MIDI music is probably "midiconfig=1" (for me it is midiconfig=2, because I have three virtual MIDI devices, one of which is the VirtualMIDISynth).

The DOSBox config files to be edited in that case are:

C:\GOG Games\Ultima Underworld\dosboxULTIMA1.conf

C:\GOG Games\Ultima Underworld 2\dosboxULTIMA2.conf

This doesn't need to be done if you use the VirtualMIDISynth approach.

EDIT: Removed the wrong suggestion about using "config" instead of "midiconfig" with UUW. midiconfig=1 (or similar) is correct, add it as a new line under the [midi} section, as those instructions state. If you have VirtualMIDISynth already installed and still want to use this option, then midiconfig=2 is probably the correct value (it is for me).
Post edited October 26, 2015 by timppu
Thank you very much for your great, detailed response. I will definitely try to get this to work. I will try the easier option as I am not the same. computer guru i was back in the 90s. Great post thanks.
The thing is, Ultima Underworld sounds muchos muchos better with the Roland support, but your mileage may vary if you want to go through with it.

I think the main "obstacle" is finding the Roland CM-32L (or MT-32) PCM/control ROMs, but they are obtainable in many places online.

Besides that, I think you just need to:

- install Munt (1.5.0 is the newest version I think)
- run Munt once in order to tell it where those CM-32L ROMs are
- edit the Ultima Underworld 1-2 DOSBox config files (dosboxULTIMA1.conf , dosboxULTIMA2.conf), just add the midiconfig=1 line under the [midi] section.

You can skip the part about installing and configuriong VirtualMIDISynth, it is not necessarily needed in order to get Munt to work (but it can be helpful otherwise, also for games with General MIDI music).

I think this thread was useful also to me, as now I found out about the way to enable Munt music with DOSBox (also GOG) games without having to change the MIDI device in VirtualMIDISynth before playing those games. I think from now on I will leave VirtualMIDISynth in its default setting (giving superior music with General MIDI), and those DOSBox games which want Roland MT-32 music, I'll edit the DOSBox config instead.
Post edited October 27, 2015 by timppu
Thanks for the UW.CFG settings timppu, you saved me a lot of headache.
I wanted Adlib sound since that's how I remember it from years ago. It really annoys me when gog doesn't include the original installers to let us set these things ourselves
Post edited June 19, 2016 by drone01
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timppu: [lengthy post describing how to set up audio for the Ultima Underworld series]
I would suggest cross-posting this in the Ultima Series sub-forum so that it can be more easily found.
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timppu: [lengthy post describing how to set up audio for the Ultima Underworld series]
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dtgreene: I would suggest cross-posting this in the Ultima Series sub-forum so that it can be more easily found.
I was thinking the same, but there seems to already be some lenghty 2011 thread stickied in the Ultima forum as well, possibly containing the same information.

Maybe I'll make the link anyway, at least in that thread.
In Windows 10 I can't even seem to get VirtualMidiSynth to see Munt in the MIDIMapper device list. Any advice?
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Baggins: In Windows 10 I can't even seem to get VirtualMidiSynth to see Munt in the MIDIMapper device list. Any advice?
Starting with Windows 8 the default MIDI device cannot be changed anymore. Luckily DOSBox allows for internal remapping. You need to open and edit one of the *.conf files in the game's folder (should be "dosboxGAMETITLE.conf". Look for "config=" in the [midi] section. Setting it to 1 should do the trick.
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Baggins: In Windows 10 I can't even seem to get VirtualMidiSynth to see Munt in the MIDIMapper device list. Any advice?
I think in Windows 10 you can't anymore change the default MIDI device (to point to Munt emulator), so VMS won't help you there. You must use the other way instead, edit the Ultima Underworld 1-2 DOSBox config files (dosboxULTIMA1.conf , dosboxULTIMA2.conf), just add the midiconfig=1 line under the [midi] section.

It could be some other value than 1 too, check https://www.gogwiki.com/wiki/DOSBox#Roland_MT-32_support (Configuring DOSBox) for the complete instructions. These were mentioned in the earlier messages above.

I think VirtualMIDISynth is still useful in Windows 10 for General MIDI games, allowing you to use better General MIDI soundfonts (but I presume also there you'd need to change the dosbox config files manually, to point to the "Coolsoft VirtualMIDISynth" device).

For MT-32 support though, VMS apparently doesn't serve any purpose anymore in Windows 10.

EDIT: Ninja'ed.
Post edited August 04, 2016 by timppu
I discovered a work around... Coolsoft the makers of VirtualMidiSynth has a beta program they are working on called Coolsynth Midimapper...

It is able to remap munt through to VirtualMidiSynth, and other program's built emulators. So I was able to get MT32 support working again (system wide).

http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/forum/post/2120#post2120

It's slightly unstable perhaps, and crashed on me 'once' (causing the system to continually play a sound, and I had to log out of windows and log back in to fix it) but overall it works fairly well

It kind of reminds me how in windows 7 (and VISTA) you had to use Putzlowitch's to switch the midimapper channels around. But its likely working in a much different waythan Putzlowitsch did it... But the final outcome is basically the same for me as long as it does the job!
Post edited August 07, 2016 by Baggins
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timppu: CM-32L ROMs are preferred (over the MT-32 ones) for the Ultima Underworld games specifically, because only then you get e.g. the correct swimming sound in the first game. But the MT-32 ROMs will be fine otherwise.
I know this post is a bit old, but wanted to add to this. More than just the swimming sounds seemed to be wrong for me with the MT-32 ones, things like opening doors were off aswell. I was much happier with the CM-32L ones. Also, the Munt version I seemed to install was just looking for the MT-32 files in whatever folder it was being installed from. I renamed the CM-32L files to the equivalent MT-32 versions and it seemed to work correct.

All in all your directions in this thread were great, and much more clear than all the various other information floating around in that other thread. I'm very happy with the sound in this game now. Thank you!