Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Roland MT-32 and emulating it in old 90s games




A few days ago 8bit-keys published a video about Roland MT-32 midi device.


This got me intrigued because i have played too many of those old 90s games and i never had the cash to buy such a device. It was crazy expensive back then. I could buy 3 Gravis Ultrasounds for the price of one roland MT-32 from the local music shop.

So, not knowing what i missed I decided to test MT-32 by emulating it in windows 7 + Dosbox combo and after some tinkering i found how to set it up.

Here's what you need:


* Munt from https://sourceforge.net/projects/munt/
* Roland ROM software for munt to use. (zip file)
* Dosbox from http://www.dosbox.com/
* Games - You probably know which one to test already


Install Munt, download the rom files and extract the zip contents somewhere.
In Munt "Rom configuration" menu choose the directory where you unzipped the roms and choose two corresponding roms. You need one control rom and one pcm rom. Munt should be able to help you with this. Versions don't matter that much in general use.

While Munt is running in the background, install and run Dosbox. Instructions for general use of dosbox are out of the scope of this article. In dosbox type 'mixer /listmidi' and you should get a list of possible midi outputs. Most likely device numer 0 is the default windows midi output and device number 1 is Munt. Take note of Munts device id whatever it might be.

Open dosbox options / configuration file and search the line for midiconfig=
add the Munt device id number on that line  (ie. midiconfig=1).

Tada! You should be able to run some games with MT-32 music enabled.
Sierra games in particular have a lot of jokes included for the small lcd screen of MT-32
and they pop up in the taskbar.

Some sidenotes:

In some games MT-32 is the de-facto method of creating music for that particular game and it really shows, while in other games MT-32 support is an afterthought and on the same line as general midi and as such don't use the full features of the old Roland.

UFO/XCom 1 current "retail" 1.4 version has a broken roland driver, which you have to fix yourself by finding and replacing it with a 1.2 version of the roland.cat file in the games sound\ directory.

Happy gaming!

edit: fixed romlink

8 comments:

  1. Ha! I had the Roland LAPC-1. The LAPC-1 was the MPU-401 and MT-32 module combined together on a single (8-bit ISA!) card. I specifically saved up an entire summer's worth of money to buy that card for the sole purpose of having it to play Sierra On-Line games.

    I later bought the external MIDI break-out box for it to connect it to MIDI keyboards. That "ignore Channel 1" thing was annoying as hell! ;)

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a native trash. I often feel nostalgic. So even on a computer, I installed some ROM from this site https://romsmania.com/ . So modern children cann`t understand me cuz, they have an iPhone and a bunch of other fun gadgets.

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is AWESOME! I loved playing my very first PC game I bought - Hero's Quest / So you Want to be a Hero by Sierra Online. Bought a Roland LAPCI just for that game. West LA Music. $500 Still have the board, just can't use it because it's an 8bit ISA card. Now I can play HQ and enjoy the same sound all over again. :-)

    ReplyDelete
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