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Thread: Creative Music System / Game Blaster clone

  1. #11

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    Nice project, indeed.
    BTW: what software is there with CMS/GB support? I know of the following:

    the stuff which came with the card, notably the *.cms files player
    100 games listed in MobyGames: 99 from 1987-1992, and the modern Paku Paku
    MIDI driver for Warcraft II (and maybe for other games using the same sound system)

    Anything else? MIDI driver for Windows? Any demos?
    And is it possible to tweak CMS to work as a DAC?
    In the docs for GLX 2.12 I found "Future enhancements : SoundBlaster Stereo Support (that's not SB Pro, no typing error !)" - which would suggest using the CMS chips, but looks like it's never actually been made.

  2. #12
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    I don't think their are any Windows drivers or applications that use the CMS but Tronix has built a Miles Sound System driver for the CMS that allows it to be used in most games that use Miles audio (Warcraft II included). You can find more about it at this thread

    I doubt you will have much success using the CMS as a DAC - it really isn't designed for that. Creative has 2 demos that I know of that use the CMS and several song disks. Outside of that, support is mainly limited to the 100 or so games that support it.

    However, for those games that do support it I find the CMS audio to be quite enjoyable - especially in games such as Silpheed and Thexder Firehawk. Yes, these games support the MT-32 and sound great with it, but the CMS soundtrack is closer to the PC-88 originals and is far more fitting in my opinion - it definitely has its own charm to it and is quite different from Adlib music.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xacalite View Post
    And is it possible to tweak CMS to work as a DAC?
    Yes. I have an idea of how to do this; it's done the same way as it is on most platforms, where you trick a channel into producing a level waveform and then bit-bang the volume register. I believe I have code to do this, and if not, I think the Activision omnimusic driver played sampled audio through a CMS so I could disassemble that and poke around.

    Speaking of which, here's a great write-up of games that support digitized audio on chips that were not designed for it: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/...digitized.html

    Also, any games that used the omnimusic driver might play digitized audio on CMS. Confirmed list of games:

    Activision's F-14 Tomcat
    Activision's Ghostbusters II
    Activision's Shanghai II: Dragon's Eye
    Capstone's Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
    Capstone's Trump Castle II
    Infocom's BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge
    Interplay's Lord of the Rings: Vol. 1
    Sega's Joe Montana Football

    Unconfirmed list (I found "omnimusic" in the executables but never tested it):

    ./1992/LeatherGoddessesofPhobos_2_GasPumpGirlsMeetthePuls atingInconveniencefromPlanetX_1992__Activision_Inc .__Adventure_/MADE.EXE
    ./1992/Rodney'sFunscreen_1992__Activision_Inc.__Education al_/RODNEYS.EXE
    ./1991/TrumpCastleIIv1.1_1991__CapstoneSoftware__Simulati on_/TC2.EXE
    ./1991/Lots_o_$lot$_1991__CapstoneSoftware__Simulation_Ad don_/TC2.EXE
    ./1991/StarTrek_25Anniversary_Demo__1991__InterplayProduc tions_Inc.__Adventure_/DEMO1.EXE
    ./1991/StarTrek_25Anniversary_Demo__1991__InterplayProduc tions_Inc.__Adventure_/DEMO2.EXE

    Finally, Tongue of the Fatman acts like it uses the omnimusic driver but I couldn't confirm that.

    In the docs for GLX 2.12 I found "Future enhancements : SoundBlaster Stereo Support (that's not SB Pro, no typing error !)" - which would suggest using the CMS chips, but looks like it's never actually been made.
    There was no later version of GLX, so that was never done. But yes, bit-banging the CMS chips, one channel for right and another for left, would have indeed worked. This would have required a lot more CPU power though, and the output quality would have been worse.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - Documentation and original distribution disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Corona PPC-400, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)
    - Any very old/ugly IBM joystick (such as the Franklin JS-123)

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by veovis View Post
    I doubt you will have much success using the CMS as a DAC - it really isn't designed for that.
    Neither was the Adlib, but there are a few games that use it well as a DAC, such as Stunt Driver (in fact, the game runs faster if you choose Adlib instead of Sound Blaster, since it uses the Sound Blaster's byte-at-a-time DAC mode instead of DMA).

    it definitely has its own charm to it and is quite different from Adlib music.
    Being stereo definitely helps.

    Two of the best CMS soundtracks I've heard are Times of Lore and Qix.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - Documentation and original distribution disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Corona PPC-400, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)
    - Any very old/ugly IBM joystick (such as the Franklin JS-123)

  5. #15
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    One thing I'd like to ask about the parts list:
    What tolerance % is recommended for the resistors?
    I see you used light blue ones on your card, they are 1%?

  6. #16
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    5% resistors should be fine since that is what Creative appears to have used on the original cards.

    I used 1% resistors on mine but that was simply because it is what I had in stock. There is nothing in the design that actually requires a high level of precision.

  7. #17
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    Okay, I got most of the parts.
    TEA2025 and SAA1099 are still underway. Also, I haven't managed to source a fitting volume pot yet.
    I just put all the ICs and the resistor network on one of the cards. For the SAA1099s I used two sockets. I also put the 3.5mm jack on. It fits, but mine only has 3 of the 5 pins. The other 2 holes don't seem to be connected to anything on the PCB. Next stint will be the caps and resistors. Then I'll have to wait for the remaining parts to come in.

  8. #18
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    The footprint for the 3.5mm jack has extra holes because the jack I used happened to have a built-in switch which is not used in this case. The jack you have should work fine unless the pinout of the jack happens to be different (which is doubtful, pinouts for these types of jacks appear to be pretty standard.)

    When I designed the PCB I used a footprint for a volume pot that I thought would fit. However when I ordered the pot I discovered it was too tall to fit. I think a Bourns PTD90 series like the one at Mouser will fit the PCB footprint and be short enough for an ISA slot but I haven't purchased one to test yet.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by veovis View Post
    The footprint for the 3.5mm jack has extra holes because the jack I used happened to have a built-in switch which is not used in this case. The jack you have should work fine unless the pinout of the jack happens to be different (which is doubtful, pinouts for these types of jacks appear to be pretty standard.)
    Yea, there were a ton of different jack pinouts, and for this particular pinout, there were 6 models:
    3, 4 and 5 pins, and of each variation, either with a threaded jack or not.
    I got the 3-pin version, because the extra pins appeared to be for switching. I didn't think they'd actually leave off the pins though. I thought they'd still be on the jack body for extra support. But there's just two holes in the casing where the pins would be.
    No big issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by veovis View Post
    When I designed the PCB I used a footprint for a volume pot that I thought would fit. However when I ordered the pot I discovered it was too tall to fit. I think a Bourns PTD90 series like the one at Mouser will fit the PCB footprint and be short enough for an ISA slot but I haven't purchased one to test yet.
    I'm afraid not. I have a few Bourns PTD902 of 1k:
    https://nl.mouser.com/Search/Product...D902-1015KA102
    They should be the same size as the 10k ones. These have a far smaller pinout than the PCB footprint.
    Perhaps an alternative is to get a chassis-mounted version of such smaller pots, mount it in the ISA bracket, and then run wires to the PCB.

  10. #20
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    I'm happy to report that my SAA1099s and TEA2025s finally arrived. I put one card together, with some resistors to substitute for the missing volume pot.
    I did a quick test, and it seemed to work! I started Leisure Suit Larry 3, and I could hear the music. It was very loud, noisy and distorted, but that's probably because my resistor-hack for the volume wasn't a very good one

    I'll have to shop around for a proper pot, and then I can properly test it. Currently I'm not sure if the distortion came from the amp, speakers, or from the card itself.

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