Pioneer Musical Appreciation Society
Comes quite close to the Creative 8MBGMSFX
Sure i have a "better" version of the SC2K music, i use converted MIDI of SC2K also for "Streets" and "Copter" not the best music but suits to the SC2K games. The files of the DOS and Win95 version differ slightly, the Win95 version MIDI are made to be played by the meager Win32 MIDI soundfont (ca. 4Mb) and leak of reverb and other system exclusive commands which the Win32 MIDI disregards. The best version so far is the DOS SCC-1/SC-88 (roland sound canvas) version. The DOS release includes a MT-32 SMF version and a Tandy/PCspeaker version and are played back (you guessed it) using the Miles AIL2 drivers (later RAD Gametools AIL2 release, the drivers are named usually a32... .dll) thus they playback perfect using PX and the AIL2 drivers (Miles release). The MT-32 version of SC2K is as good as and has an own sound. In the end it depends more on the soundfont you use today as on the (virtual) MIDI synth. The AWE sound was quite good for it's time but keep in mind that even the AWE64 doesn't uses a larger soundfont as 4 MB (it's on a ROM. i have a copy of it as soundfont to use it's quite meager similar to the Win32 soundfont, both i guess are trademarked by Roland, in principles the latter Soundblaster cards offer exactly the same ROM soundfont as the AWE plus a soft soundfont with 8MB, named "8MBGMSFX" as long as i had my SB in my machine i only used this soundfont which changed with my laptops which else can only playback a MIDI using the meager Win32 soundfont, still the 8MBGMSFX is a good and well balanced soundfont), Fatboy which is a recent one has a size of ~400MB, it's not that size would be everything, i downloaded a 4GB soundfont which doesn't sounds as good as Fatboy, it's also important how good the instruments are balanced and not especially that every sample is stereo 32bit @ 96kHz that won't make a big difference in the final mix and only blows up the size uselessly, a "lousy" mono 8bit @ 22kHz from GUS can sound as good as (the final stereo panning doesn't refer to the sample if it's stereo or not, the samples are only a matrix how to generate the sound and not a simple soundsample which is played back, already the MT-32 uses samples but they are very very small, enough to tell the synthesizer how a trumpet or violin should sound). Imho with todays virtual MIDI synths such as "Virtual MIDI Synth", "Bass MIDI", "Fluidsynth" you get much more out of the MIDI as with the old hardware.
Personally i play SC2K (and i do still play SC2K) using Munt, it sounds super for the SC2K MIDI.
I made this clip as comparison how each sound-font or MIDI device sounds like, the MT-32 version seems to be broken, it can give problems since the MT-32 expects the channels either on ch1 - ch8 plus ch10 percussion (alternative setup) or on channel ch2 - ch9 plus ch10, the reason is that on the MT-32 ch1 is hardcoded the Piano, if you like to use a different Piano sound (the hard coded is brittle) you will need to use ch2 - ch9 which is the standard setup for the MT-32. It is possible to bypass the piano on ch1 (alternative setup) but you can never have more as 8 channels plus percussion. I use Munt in standard mode (ch2 - ch9) but it can be the files use ch1 - ch8 (probably i changed that once myself).
I'm still learning, i found out that a system exclusive command exists to program the MT-32 to use either the standard or alternative setup (else you would have to switch on a real device or tell Munt to use the setup you need), but this i recognized a month ago while the SC2K files i prepped last year.
In my humble opinion 🙂 Fatboy easy beats the rest and the MT-32 still sounds better as the AWEROM font. At the very end of the clip i play a fluteconcerto from Mozart this will show the real difference, Fatboy is good for games but brilliant for classical music vice versa the classical track shows off well the leak in saturation of the AWEROM font while it still sounds good on the MT-32 using a GM to MT emu sysex. (no warranty for exactness of the AWEROM font, the creator states that he extracted the samples from the ROM but how far they are identical and get used identical by the virtual synth is uncertain).
I would still own an AWE32 but i dunno if i have still a proper board for it, it depends on an ISA slot which is obsolete since at least '98. However it doesn't sound as good that it would make much sense, it has sounded good for 1995 but on the other hand imho the GUS sounds as good as the AWE, better even, can emulate a MT-32 and offers other tid bits an AWE or creative blaster won't. If i would have to choose between them in 1993 i would have chosen the GUS with 1MB RAM. The GUS soundfont is very good balanced and sounds well from classical over jazz to rock. It leaves everything up to the user how he likes to hear his MIDI and since the samples are stored in a directory you can exchange the samples with better ones whenever you like (i.e. pro patches or pro patches lite). One can use the quite large propats but has to setup for each game a special .ini to move only those instrument patches to the 1MB RAM which are really needed by the game. The patches are free and easy to edit you can control, loudness, start, end, loop condition, tone shifting with little effort (there would be even a windows software to make it easy to work on patches or create own from raw samples).
The AWE besides is a so called "Wavetable Synthesizer" (like MS-WS) which uses a wavetable (the soundfont on the ROM) to generate the sounds with, DOS SC2K has a set of files especially for wavetable synthesizers this version is identical to the MIDI in the Win95 release of SC2K, obviously since it is meant for the MS - wavetable synthesizer, its sound-font is "soft" and 2MB "large", as comparison the standard GUS folder is about 8MB of samples while only 1MB can be loaded, the Ultramid TSR does a good job and recognizes itself which instruments are used by a track and exchanges them in the RAM, the latter "loadpats" program (loads in front of the app to run) which is usually used with Miles AIL3 doesn't acts intelligent and depends on an .ini file in which i have to state which patches are the preferred and in which quality it should be loaded to RAM, wherefore again the TSR "MegaEm" acts again intelligent and loads only used instruments. Ultramid can be adviced to use only 16bit quality, MegaEm not it decides upon the amount of free RAM if 8bit or 16bit quality will be used and lowers even the samplerate if space gets tight, i.e. on a basic GUS with 256kB. In general AIL2 Ultramid is the better choice if a game supports it even if GUS itself states that "MegaEm" completely replaces Ultramid it doesn't, it's just that MegaEm will run with any game as long as there is space for the TSR and if it doesn't runs in protected mode, such games which are gen. '95 usually use the AIL2/AIL3 "loadpats" which loads the patches in advance to the GUS RAM, in DOSBox i managed it to run such games even with Ultramid and the AIL2 driver, it's major to "loadpats" since loadpats can miss to load an instrument patch or even some patches depending on the size of the patches, i.e. propats or propats lite and if the .ini is made proper, unfortunately most games come with a standard .ini for loadpats they don't respect that the GUS can load only 1MB of patches and thus often the "wrong" patches will be loaded and half of the instruments are missing afterwards. You see the GUS is a very flexible soundcard, a bit a tohou-wabohou and the whole project looks rather like a open-source community project as something you know from industry, i assume Gravis was a quite small factory and the devs put in GUS any idea they had. Like MegaEm which is the only program i know so far which can handle SMF (MT-32 compatible MIDI) and it does it in a intelligent manner i can't reproduce by simply re-assigning the instruments to GM/GS. GUS would have offered you to play the most MIDI with the proper sound, else a MT-32 can't playback GM proper and vice versa a SC-88 (or any GM/GS synth) can't play MT-32 music, but MegaEm supports both as long as the MT-32 isn't programmed (which is the case for many games, i.e. Dune II, F1GP's SFX, FE2's SFX, Wing Commander's SFX, and, and, and... mostly the SFX leak but Dune II uses a complete own instrument set for the MT-32 almost all used instruments are programmed, fortunately they made a GM/GS version for this game else it would be not to listen)
Since DOSBox pipes all to the MIDI port on your machine (in principles again the MSWS) i'm not sure if it proper regards the system exclusives for soundcanvas (SCC-1/SC-88), the player will pipe it to the device but i assume the device won't recognize it, dunno exactly in between that stands the virtual MIDI device, probably it can mange such things as GS reverb levels (a pure wavetable device like MSWS, AWE or GUS won't, that's why the GUS has a quite strong reverb).[/spoiler]
As evidence that i still play it:
The city is called "Intypolis" and is a copy of the track layout in "Intellivision Autoracing", recently only one track of five is ready to race in "Streets". The clip of this Track i unfortunately threw away but i can make easy a new one. It's a wip (whatelse) when you export a race from the race editor it will (can) need some extra hacking to enable; messages, SFX, cops, crooks even certain to reach points you can mark or let the player pick up a special item, unfortunately i know only 10% of the API, it's a puzzle to find out with which i can reach what (trial and error until i have blisters on my fingers). Two years later i found out i have forgot already half of what i did before (i missed to note it back then). Most cities for "Copter" and "Streets" are grown, less planned, some are similar to SC3K starter towns and contain only the zones and streets and you can watch how they grow. Grown cities look better as if you plan one. Intypolis is a "new" experiment, it has only one gas-station each track and as i assumed this lowers the amount of items you will find on your path. That means for the recent race of 100 laps (the green track on the map, it's only 20 seconds long), take care you can't fix your car so easy and the gas-station is a little aside of the track, this will cost you the few extra seconds you can gain in a couple of rounds, mostly you will fail to win because of a destroyed car or your time is running out. The map is half and half, i started with a pre-made central city and grew the city to its extensions it has now, in this manner i made most cities for "Streets". It leaves a little game to play in SC2K where the goal isn't to manage the city as to build a good racing track step by step. Due to that most cities for "Streets" are along a long strip which winds up and down the mountain(s). This method has even an advantage for "Copter" - you can wait "years" for a police car, rescue car or fire truck (every city has only one police, hospital, fire dept.), means it forces you to do it yourself and not to depend on the emergency team because i can grant you before the fire truck reaches his target half of the city is burned down, especially when there is an additional traffic jam on the only road in the whole city. Intypolis differs a bit for this and it isn't meant to be used for "Copter". I have to admit that my tracks are quite difficult to play, "Streets" itself uses for racing tracks wide roads and wide turns and almost no crossings, i use narrow streets and harder turns, the city is sometimes a grid and i have to warn the player that a turn is ahead. It is less the goal to shoot the opponents down as it is to manage the race at all. "Copter" requires usually a bit a different city layout as "Streets" in "Copter" it is challenging if the city is located on the corners this forces you to fly longer ways, if you build a large central mountain you have additionally to climb the mountain to reach the corners. Sure the first city in the career isn't such a hard one, it starts with a central island and end with a city with almost no water (the map itself has no water, the terrain is raised to maximum so that the "off city" map is similar in altitude and offers very little pits you can dip your bucket in) and none of the city buildings is at the road, which means no car can reach a large building. On the very last map only a small road circle is present, riots must be managed! Best is shoot the rioters down, that works well in the "non violent" (cough) game "SimCopter", only rioters will be hit by shots from the Apache Heli, other Sims won't be hurt by your shots. Of course you need the Apache for this which is only present in the late mission maps.
I still like both additions to SC2K and they still offer what none of the later SC offered but was promised with a lot of hollow words by EA "fly & drive through your city" yeah but for real and with that much fun only in SC2K (resp. Streets or Copter). The graphics could make use of an overhaul, but unfortunately the dude who started "MisCopter" as a remake of "SimCopter" cancelled his project. Because in general the .sc2k maps can be used and was planned to be used by multiple games and they still could be used as map for such a game. It's still a good and unique concept.
Amazing the difference a sound-font makes. I agree, Fatboy does sound pretty good, an all rounder good at lots of different styles of music! But thanks for the in-depth explanation Gerot, very enlightening it was. 😎
As for SC2k, for me at least, it's still the best in the series. I too still play it often. I even re-created Ankh-Morpork, from the Disc World series, on my Amiga back in the day because I was given a map of it as a present. The only thing I missed was not having Medieval style buildings. One of these days I'll get around to finishing it! 😆
I made this clip because to a clips i commented "no problem to make from any file a .wav" of which i received "that sounds like an awful lot of work" which it isn't as you can see. I didn't claimed that it will sound good or harmonic or something, a lot of noise (which was the topic more or less).
Something else, more serious:
and we have this in Switzerland (yech):
which is a worse example how to destroy a good song.
Which i reminded me of this:
I can't promise Geraldine, but i should have a medieval building set for SC2K, part-wise at least.
I collected once all i could get my hands on, but unfortunately this stuff is on a old HD and unfortunately my external controllers i used for the drives are both broken. I need to call my friend up (the one who works for the computer refurbisher) i know he can acquire one or two, else i have to re build an old computer just to run the HD's and retrieve the needed stuff. But i can lookout as well for it a few sites still host SC2K building sets. Sure i have a own one but apart from being incomplete it is not medieval, more european style (with "Manneken Pis" as statue). Unfortunately most building sets for sc2k are incomplete, that's because it's really a lot of work to make them. I wrote that i rendered some models for sc2k, it's a possibility but won't really simplify or speed up the process, the renderings need to be reworked by hand because the result is so tiny, but the shading i receive due to rendering is not to reach by hand.
If all fails i can make one perhaps, using existing renders for sc3k and own buildings, for such a render to sc2k the building hasn't to be very detailed, in general a cube with a texture on it which can be a photo, the stuff is so tiny in sc2k that you won't notice any detail, but to draw one from ground up is a lot of work. The building set of sc2k isn't very large even this is a advantage of good old sc2k to later releases. You can imagine that i even started to build for sc3k, using the architect or later based on renderings using scurk for sc3k (it differs to sc2k scurk and the architect, sc3k scurk is meant to use renderings). Just for sc4 i never made a single one, the effort is to high, not in work but in software, to make really good stuff you would have needed to invest in 3ds max which was a to high hurdle for many i guess.
Perhaps even such suits:
It's not medieval (rather victorian) but could suit as industrial building, further this is a render for SC3K, but it could be easy sized down and used for SC2K. The angle is if i remember right the same for sc2k and sc3k, viewed in 30° from top, if not this model should even still exist and can be rendered to sc2k specs i noticed i still have the memo how to set up the scene for this in blender. In real life this is a fire department in "Schmerikon, ZH". For the SC3K building set i made once many shots of buildings which i found interesting. Sure the photo isn't in the proper angle usually to use as texture, such a photo needs also a lot of work, stretching, bending, colorizing, add a little shade here and remove unwanted shadows there.
I assume in your neighborhood it will have many such industrial buildings from this aera?
This chapel already exists for SC2K (without the trees), yes i used it once in FFED3D and Pioneer, you are right. (you have to admit that the renderings look much better as all you can do with the architect)
A real medieval looking one, even from "Schmerikon".
Recently i live close to a medieval city, "Lichtensteig" (not to confuse with the principality "Lichtenstein"), it is really a nice little city with wall and gates as one can expect of a medieval city. Lichtensteig differs in many form where i live, "Wattwil" is a junction, not more, if there would have been no industry (Heberlein Textile) Wattwil would be still a little "Dörfli". The city (as far as it can be called this) was always "Lichtensteig" it was for centuries the court seat for the former principality "Toggenburg".
To sad, i moved the SC2K repository because of lack of space on my laptops HD.
this could work for it, it's an impression from Amsterdam (no existing building), "hand made".
It's meant as low value low density residential, but as it is a wooden cabin it can work also for a medieval set, a typical SCURK building, not rendered.
A takeover from SC3K, it's not my work i only sized it down for sc2k (as you see the viewing angle is the same).
The Sawmill, yep that can work as industry, it's a re-rendered overworked SC3K building from me.
The above posted "Fire dept" for sc2k as industrial bld. you see it's a lot more smaller as the one for SC3K, still it's the rendered building and you can't reach this exactly by hand.
Another takeover from SC3K, it's a Theatre in reality, neither my work, could be otherwise a City Hall.
This is even a takeover from SC3K, it's an architekt demo building, i use it as Museum (it is meant as that)
This is from an actual SC2K building set, if i remember right "Boston", one of the rare completed user made ones. It is filled with such brick houses, this is the School.
I don't know if this will suit, a medium value residential, since it is a brick house it could fit, all mediocre residential are such brick houses, it helps me to differ the value in the game, wooden is lowest, brick houses are medium and the white painted residential are high value. Sure they are "handcrafted" and i took a lot of effort to make these tiny buildings, more as for the rest.
Last but not at least the "Manneken Pis"
That isn't much but i'm sure i had a medieval set it's just that i never used it, to be honest if then i use my "Europe" building set which is a mix of all kind of styles through the centuries.
Really that is turd that i moved all my stuff but i was at limit with space and needed to move all which i don't recently use, tons of material to be honest. I'm lucky that i haven't moved my blender projects.
Finally a picture from "Lichtensteig", it's worth a visit with my camera.
Anyone has an idea how to display images from other sites here? The usual gibberish doesn't seem to work.
Another possibility is to either use SC3K building sets or to use the architect and build a couple of medieval buildings in LEGO manner, the building(s) you can import in SC3URK and it will make 4 renderings from the building you can use for whatever (usually to refine them but also size down for SC2K i.e.). I have seen back then weird stuff made with the SC3URK, buildings with holes in it and such stupid things which can't exist in reality. In theory one could make and use a typical M.C. Escher optical illusion with SC3URK (an endless stair or waterfall i.e.).
It's a puzzle work if one likes to get a medieval building set i assume, however if i have the patience to do so i will look out for sites which still host SC2K building sets, i hope they are still on. I remember one site who was almost complete, he offered the most if not all building sets ever published for SC2K. From this site i had downloaded the "Boston" set and other fine building sets. He also offered hints how to improve your SCURK art. I just don't remember the name of the site, but probably if i dig long enough i will find it again. The forums for SC3K SC4 or even the recent have sometimes topics about SC2K, digging in them can help to find the stuff you need (i.e. from such a forum i have the modification of WinSC2K which runs on x64 machines).
Now i will have to post a clip, in the end this is about music and not architecture, however it has pleased me.
Those buildings are cool Gernot! But don't worry about it. It's so hard to find any mods for SC2k these days. EA I think used to have a page of them but it's long gone now. I did find this old archive on Mediafire. One of these days I'll go through it:
I did uncover an open source re-make of SC2k tho:
Not tried it yet tho, so no idea how stable it is. Maybe there is mods for that?
Those buildings in Lichtensteig are beautiful! Switzerland sure has some amazing places in it Gernot. Everything in Scotland is just dull grey and yet more dull grey, and that's just the weather, never mind the buildings! 😆
I've got SC 3000 and 4 too. Likely, if I make another attempt at Ankh-Morpork, I might be better off using one those instead as mods should be easier to come by for those. Guess it was just for nostalgia sake I wanted to do it in SC2k. As you can see by the map, the streets are really intricate. It took me ages just to lay down the road network and it was hard to create a dragon shaped impression in the ground for Dragon's Landing. A real challenge re-creating this. The Shades was the worst tho because it was, by design, a pretty much lawless area of the city. So the Sims were constantly rioting in there! A real hell hole! 😊
English version of Smokestack Lightnin'
<grins> The Grateful Dead's cover of Smokestack Lightnin'...
Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck
Lets slow things down some....
Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck
I found something in the vault of the web:
via a website which is long time down. I guess that will cover your needs, i'm by myself surprised that i found something like that this quick, foremost that it is still up. I'm amazed, he put a lot of effort in it, more as just a lot. I have the impression of a painting (he's a hobby photographer).
Sundown at two o'clock and if it's raining everywhere it is grey, the clouds hang very deep in Wattwil because the valley is near to 1000 meters over sealevel. "Apolcalyptical weather situation" i call this. But in general would say the ppl don't see the beauty, as it's written on the wall (and dammit it is written on a wall in midst of Wattwil): Only who takes himself time to rest can see the beauty in common things. But it can be written on the wall and it won't help 🙂
Perhaps something else suppresses us?
Perhaps this suppression causes more as we might guess, or like to think about because it's one of the unpleasant topics. The same Problem as we have with climate change it expects a change of us in our lifestyle and world consciousness.
We live against nature and we have to pay a price for this, if go to far we lose. Is it worth to lower the capabilities of our immune system for future generations? A question my master* asked me 40 years ago. (as far as he can be called this, he teached me a chemistry at work which i didn't learned in school).
As more as we drift apart from our simple natural live we had for 10'000's of years as more we feel uncomfortable with the situation we live in. We aren't made to live like this. It's less the technique as the purpose we give her which matters. It makes us weaker step by step, simplified said.
I don't like to wake up one morning and find out i look like an Alien with a blown up head on a to small body 🙂
I'm aware that everybody knows this, nonetheless give it a try.
For those who like to listen to it like a concerto:
Some real noise
That, is EXACTLY what I needed! It even includes city walls too! Thank you so much for finding this gem of a build set. Oh well, now I know what I'll be doing over Christmas!
Doom tracks were cool too! I can only offer these in return.
The song that the Blues Brothers were not able to remember when they played Bob's Country Bunker - The Wreck of the Old 97
The Wreck of the Old 97
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald...
Give me five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck
G major F major A minor C major