Hiya All, It's been a while :)

General talk about Transport Tycoon that isn't specific to TTD, TTDPatch or OpenTTD.
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RichNagel
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Hiya All, It's been a while :)

Post by RichNagel » 24 Dec 2013 07:23

How do Folks,

Been a REALLY long time. Some of you might remember me from the alt.games.microprose.transport-tyc newsgroups. I hadn't played TT or TTDLX in AGES (maybe close to a decade or so) but just decided to give it a whirl again... I forgot how much fun that it was :)

About the only thing Transport Tycoon-eey thing that I've done in the past few years was to create a Yamaha XG-ified version of the TTDLX song "Goss Groove" (hehe, I'm sure that some of you might remember me for my MP3s that I recorded of several select pieces from TT/TTDLX years ago <grin>).

YouTube video is here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsHdyN5lPJ0 , and an MP3 is here -> http://jasonwilliams400com.startlogic.c ... ove_XG.mp3 . BTW, check the song (or YouTube video) at about 1 minute and 30 seconds... the song really gets a-rockin' there :)

BTW, something that I discovered a while back, about the General MIDI driver for TTD/TTDLX (DOS versions):

I was twiddling around with the various music drivers for TT and TTDLX under DOSBox, and found that the Ensoniq SoundScape MIDI driver provided *REVERB* during the music playback within the two games :) I had always used the standard General MIDI driver, and although there is a little bit of reverb, it was never enough for my taste.

Anyhow, after a bit of hexing/hacking/investigation, I found that the GM MIDI driver was hard-coded for a reverb level of 30, while the SoundScape MIDI driver was hard-coded for a reverb level of 127.

For anyone still playing the old DOS versions of these games (and have some sort of MIDI hardware, or something like the BASSMIDI Driver installed (which fully supports reverb) -> http://jasonwilliams400com.startlogic.c ... mididriver / http://jasonwilliams400com.startlogic.c ... ration.htm ), the hex offset is 0B18.

This is in the games' "MUSIC.COM" driver, after selecting "General MIDI" for the MIDI music device. The default value is hex 1E, which is a decimal 30 for the reverb.

Hex-edit that byte at hex offset 0B18 to something like hex 7F, and that will crank up the reverb to 127 (the maximum for General MIDI) :)

Another discovery from several years ago (some of you might already know about this) is that several other Microprose games ALSO use the same format of ADLIB.CAT/GM.CAT/ROLAND.CAT files that contain the games' music.

Copy over the GM.CAT to your TT/TTDLX game directory (overwriting the original) with, let's say, the GM.CAT file from "X-Com: Terror of the Deep", and you'll then hear THAT game's music within TT/TTDLX. Hehe, the in-game "jukebox" even displays the proper titles for the songs, as the song titles are ALSO embedded within the various ".CAT" files for the games :)

Hmmm... although I HAVE found a utitlity that would extract all of the raw music files from the ".CAT" files, I have yet to see one that would take a bunch of MIDI files, convert them to whatever the format of the ones are in the ".CAT" files, and then compile them into a new "GM.CAT". Anyone ever seen a utility that would do this?

Anyways, enough rambling... I just wanted to drop in and say "Hi" :)
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cirdan
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Re: gm.cat format

Post by cirdan » 26 Dec 2013 15:51

Welcome to the forums.
RichNagel wrote:Hmmm... although I HAVE found a utitlity that would extract all of the raw music files from the ".CAT" files,
Like this?
RichNagel wrote:I have yet to see one that would take a bunch of MIDI files, convert them to whatever the format of the ones are in the ".CAT" files, and then compile them into a new "GM.CAT". Anyone ever seen a utility that would do this?
I could probably hack up such a tool in a few hours, but would it be worth the effort? You have a bunch of files in a standard format and want to pack them into the obscure format used by some ancient DOS music driver program. Why not use the MIDI files directly, and send them to a sequencer in whatever way you like? And if you really want to have a custom gm.cat file to use it under a DOS emulator, I think that you would be better off trying to patch music.com to fathom standard MIDI files than trying to shoehorn those files into the original gm.cat format.

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Re: gm.cat format

Post by RichNagel » 26 Dec 2013 16:37

cirdan wrote:Welcome to the forums.
Thankee! :)

cirdan wrote:Like this?
That would be the one :)

cirdan wrote:I could probably hack up such a tool in a few hours, but would it be worth the effort? You have a bunch of files in a standard format and want to pack them into the obscure format used by some ancient DOS music driver program.
You're probably right. There's probably not too many folks still playing the old DOS versions of these games.
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WWTBAM
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Re: gm.cat format

Post by WWTBAM » 27 Dec 2013 04:47

cirdan wrote:Welcome to the forums.
RichNagel wrote:Hmmm... although I HAVE found a utitlity that would extract all of the raw music files from the ".CAT" files,
Like this?
RichNagel wrote:I have yet to see one that would take a bunch of MIDI files, convert them to whatever the format of the ones are in the ".CAT" files, and then compile them into a new "GM.CAT". Anyone ever seen a utility that would do this?
I could probably hack up such a tool in a few hours, but would it be worth the effort? You have a bunch of files in a standard format and want to pack them into the obscure format used by some ancient DOS music driver program. Why not use the MIDI files directly, and send them to a sequencer in whatever way you like? And if you really want to have a custom gm.cat file to use it under a DOS emulator, I think that you would be better off trying to patch music.com to fathom standard MIDI files than trying to shoehorn those files into the original gm.cat format.
If someone understood how to do that then OpenTTD could become compatible with the DOS versions music and people could create music packs in that format.
Formerly known as r0b0t_b0y2003, robotboy, roboboy and beclawat. The best place to get the most recent nightly builds of TTDPatch is: http://roboboy.users.tt-forums.net/TTDPatch/nightlies/

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cirdan
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Re: Hiya All, It's been a while :)

Post by cirdan » 29 Dec 2013 19:16

"If someone understood how to do that..." What, exactly? Do you want to decode an existing gm.cat or to encode a new one?

To make OpenTTD compatible with the music from the DOS version, you only need the former; in fact, when I posted my program to extract the midi data from gm.cat 6 years ago, I had the hope of being able to integrate it in OpenTTD so that it would load the music from the DOS version, which I have; Maedhros even seemed interested, too, but in the end nothing came out of it. (Incidentally, I was contacted 3 years ago by SupSuper, from the OpenXcom project, because he wanted to support the music from the DOS version of UFO:EU, and it was fairly straightforward, so doing the same in OpenTTD should not be hard, either, if there were an interest.)

On the other hand, I see little point in trying to create a tool to encode new gm.cat files. If you want to have new music packs for OpenTTD, the obm format it currently uses is far from perfect, but still more manageable than that of gm.cat; after all, gm.cat is a container for midi data, only that with custom modifications (see here), so you would first need the midi files and then tweak them, at which point you are better off just listing the midi files in an obm list.

There could be a use case for packing the midi files into a new gm.cat if you insisted in running the original TTD under a DOS emulator, but I doubt many people still do this (I know TTDP is still actively played, but it is based on the windows version of TTD, right?) and, even then, I think it would be better to try to patch music.com to accept simpler gm.cat files than to write a gm.cat compiler.

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