Opened 3 years ago

Closed 3 years ago

Last modified 3 years ago

#12994 closed feature request (invalid)

SCI: GK1 MIDI/Digital Music Selector Toggle?

Reported by: GermanTribun Owned by: sluicebox
Priority: normal Component: Engine: SCI
Version: Keywords:
Cc: Game: Gabriel Knight 1


This is something that bugged me for some time. The way digital music is handled by the game's CD-version is a bit messy.

The game does have resources for three themes in the game (in the SFX-folder) that can be played from a far better digital version: 5.wav (opening menu and opening credits), 99.wav (nightmare sequences) and 5400.wav (end credits).

Strangely enough only the first and last are used, while the game still uses the normal MIDI version of the nightmare music. Since the MIDI-versions of the two credit themes are also in the game files (for those at the time without a sound card capable of digital audio), perhaps a toggle can be implemented to switch if the digital or MIDI versions of these three songs are used in the game?

It certainly would be cleaner than the current inconsistent behavior.

Change History (3)

comment:1 by sluicebox, 3 years ago

Yes, GK1 audio is confusing! There are several things going on here:

99.WAV is an unused resource. No version of GK1 has ever ever touched that file; there is no sound resource 99. The other two WAV files you mentioned do play because 5 and 5400 are the resource numbers for those sounds. When GK1 plays a sound it plays a WAV file if one is there with the matching number, otherwise it uses the MIDI resource. Nightmare theme is 100. Why is 99.WAV on the disc at all? I don't know; there's a lot of unused stuff, including AVI files. That makes it sound like no one can ever hear digital audio for the nightmare, except...

The DOS and Windows versions are different. The Windows version plays AVI files for movie sequences, and those contain digital audio. You even get lightning sounds! DOS versions have always played MIDI for nightmare, Windows versions have always played digital audio via AVI. GK1CD was dual-platform, it came with both DOS and Windows executables, and the game scripts ask which one they're running under and alter their behavior quite a lot during movie scenes. That's why ScummVM asks which platform you want when adding GK1. Add it a second time as Windows or toggle the platform to compare the differences. Except...

Your name suggests you might be playing the German version, in which case DOS is your only option because only the English versions were dual-platform. All localized versions are DOS-only.

Whew! In summary...

  1. ScummVM is behaving correctly; you get digital nightmare music if you select Windows
  2. If you want digital nightmare music and can't do Windows, just rename 99.WAV to 100.WAV =)

comment:2 by GermanTribun, 3 years ago

So that means the ressource would be selected by the game, if not for the fact that someone messed up? So the game looks for 100.wav, but the file was named 99.wav by accident? I tested it and renaming it lets the game use the digital music correctly.

Since that is actually a bug (wrong file name), can the game be patched to look for the correct file name, since the digital music does sound a hell of a lot better than the MIDI one? After all, telling players to rename game files is not optimal.

comment:3 by sluicebox, 3 years ago

Owner: set to sluicebox
Resolution: invalid
Status: newclosed

Short version: no, nope, and no. =)

The game isn't looking for "100.WAV". The game is looking for sound resource 100. There are almost 300 sound resources. If there happens to be a WAV file with a matching filename for sound then that WAV gets used; any sound can be overridden by a WAV file. I hope that distinction makes sense.

So we can't make the assumption that someone just messed up. It's just as likely, and I believe more, that Sierra intentionally went with the MIDI version for DOS on that track by not naming it 100.WAV. That's why I mentioned the unused AVIs. They're the video fragments that went into the real AVIs that actually get used. 99.WAV would have gone into making its AVI video (where there's lightning over it). Unused resources are everywhere in SCI games. We see more of these scraps in the CD releases where disk space wasn't an issue.

It would be a bold claim that the entire DOS introduction music was always wrong and Sierra never noticed, and then kept not noticing throughout the later versions when they fixed bugs. And it's kinda moot; either way this is the DOS intro music that everyone always heard and expects. "Better" isn't relevant here, and even if it were, Roland users might disagree. (If you haven't tried these games on an MT-32 emulator, it's pretty fun!)

We've gone through a similar but much more complicated thing in SQ4CD where Windows-only digital audio was always getting played in the DOS version (where it had never played) and it caused all kinds of feedback and bug reports about "all the audio being wrong"; I recently sorted this out and now both platforms are accurate and (I hope!) everyone's now happy.

I don't think that one single unused WAV file meets the threshold for a formal game option. And selecting Windows already does this. Given that, I am letting anyone who still really really craves an inauthentic DOS introduction know that the power is in their hands. =)

Last edited 3 years ago by sluicebox (previous) (diff)
Note: See TracTickets for help on using tickets.