Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Teh bygone days of teh winning.



Ahh... I creamed my jeans when I first heard this bad boy, which caused me to fiercly covet my neighbor's juarez. I can't remember if this unit also functioned as a standard sound card, or whether it had to be paired with something like a Sound Blaster for full audio coverage in games.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Sbaitso

Remember the installers for old games where the GUI was colored ASCII, and you would get to select between one of five or so options for audio cards?

10 comments:

Mondu said...

Ah yes, GMidi was the dressing on the salad days of my youth. It could only playback rom samples, so if you used it as a general purpose sound card you would get some semi random mix of canned sound effects triggered at the right time. Or maybe a pizzicato string or timpani hit when you fired that blaster. MT-32 mode was nice because it basically gave you an alternate set of samples, those I think there was some overlap between the Gmidi and MT32 sets. Also, the included demo songs sounded better when loaded from the 5 1/4 disk.

Mondu said...

though I think*

Huge Larry said...

Wow. That's awesome that it would try to play some samples in response to an audio signal. Does that mean that someone wrote an algorithm to analyze the frequency content and amplitude of the digital audio and then pick the best fitting ROM sample to match it?

Mondu said...

The game would transmit MIDI messages to the SCC1 to trigger FX just as it would for music. So I guess the programmers had to sit around and decide which canned GMIDI fx/intruments sounded the most like the digital sample based fx they would normally use through a soundblaster. So when you selected SCC1 or MT32 as your audio card during the installation process, the game would be setup to only send MIDI messages, no digital audio. There were a few games that allowed you to select independent digital audio and MIDI music cards. Sound Blaster + Scc1 bifecta.

Mondu said...

So basically that crappy Gmidi gunshot sound got way overused.

Mondu said...

I see my use of the phrase 'semi random mix' makes it sound like there was some algorithm triggering the the GMIDI samples in response to the digital audio demands of the game. Unfortunately the semi-randomnimity of the 'rom sample'->'in game playback context' correlation only stems from the programmers lack of choices when it came to matching audio cues in game with the available sounds resources on the scc1/mt32. So you get a timpani blast when you close a door, or a dog howls when a deer dies, etc. The samples dont match the action that well, but its as close as the programmers could get.

Huge Larry said...

That's really funny. So, the fact that most games lacked the ability to simultaneously access your SCC1 and Sound Blaster must have left you in a quandary. Which do you want to be hotter, the sound effects or the music?

Mondu said...

Initially I went with the SCC1 for the music, but then went back to the SBpro. I eventually realized the SCC1 was best for just MIDI playback.

Mondu said...

I'm trying to remember how I handled two audio cards. I didn't have a mixer. Hmmm...maybe I used those two speaker setups.

Huge Larry said...

Maybe you piped the output of your SCC1 into the line in of your SB Pro, and then left your speakers always connected to the SB pro line out. That configuration would have allowed you to record your SCC1 MIDI playback as audio. The downside is the slightly longer signal path between the SCC1 and the speakers.