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Friday, May 15, 2020

Atari ST Extra [004] The Secret of Monkey Island DOS/VGA Intro in ScummVM on CT60 Falcon Roland MT32

Let us return to Monkey Island in this capture of the VGA DOS version's intro accompanied by the MT32-produced sound, all running on a CT60-equipped Atari Falcon.

So, for the time being, I think I will be doing ScummVM Fridays, showcasing the intro's to various titles that run on ScummVM on a high-end Atari.  I might also jump into running titles that don't run well just to showcase the issues. For example, The Curse of Monkey Island is a very intensive game, and while it runs, it does not run well at all.  I also might post some work in progress games/engines that are in the ScummVM development tree as well, such as Star Trek - The 25th Anniversary.  I also might dive into doing full game playthrough’s showcasing that titles are completable on the port.  I have completed a variety of games in the past, all for general ScummVM testing, but that was long before I was posting videos on YouTube.  The Atari port has been part of the official ScummVM source tree since version 0.9.0, released June 25, 2006!

I am using an unboosted Atari Falcon, unboosted in that the bus is still 16 Mhz and not 20 or 25 Mhz.  This Falcon is equipped with a CT60 with a revision 6 m68060 CPU running at 66 Mhz and 512 Megs of RAM.  The Falcon also has its own 14 Meg of RAM.  I am using a SuperVidel and have a Svethlana attached as well.  Currently I am capturing video from the SuperVidel, with audio going through a mixing board (to mix MIDI and computer-generated audio) and all of that is then fed directly to the Startech USB capture device.  The OSSC is not presently being used here for upscaling, unlike in other captures.

For ScummVM, I am compiling stripped-down versions to use for these captures.  I am pulling the source from the ScummVM development's git repository, and stripping out items such as ogg, png, and mp3 support, for example, and targeting only a single engine to produce close to the smallest binary possible.  I am also using the optimization parameter '-Ofast' with GCC for the time being to see if that makes a difference in the resulting executable.  As SDL_Timers from the Atari port of SDL 1.2 are not presently working with the ScummVM usage of timers for MIDI events (for them to work properly, threads are needed, which we currently lack, and the pth library that supported this function in a past version no longer works), I have added a hack to run timers in the ScummVM code (not one that would be accepted into the official source) and that is what is responsible for producing working MIDI output.  As this is a hack, MIDI timing is off, and that is noticeable in the captures.  This hack does not work across all engines.  I am presently using Thorsten Otto's latest build of GCC, which currently is 9.3.1, to compile the code.  The Falcon is running a FreeMiNT 1.16.3 kernel, and not starting GEM, with only NVDI and the SuperVidel driver loading out of the AUTO folder besides the MiNT kernel.

Now that the boring details are out of the way, here is the Intro to the DOS/VGA version of The Secret of Monkey Island, with music from the Roland MT-32 MIDI module.  I kick this series off with this title because of the Atari ST being slighted with this title.  With having built in MIDI ports, and MIDI data not taking up a whole lot of space, how did LucasArts fail to give the platform MIDI support?  LucasArts is not the only developer to slight the ST in this fashion.

This VGA/DOS version of The Secret of Monkey Island looks nice, way better than the EGA version which I briefly tested to make sure it both worked and had the MT32 patch installed.  I plan to capture the EGA version later, and maybe also the Atari ST version running natively, to do a comparison.  I do not believe the ST version looked as bad as the EGA version, but I could be misremembering.

For the brave, I will provide the binary that was used to capture the title in this video.  This binary was tested only under FreeMiNT, on an ext2 filesystem, compiled for the m68000 target, and absolutely every library and engine that was not needed was stripped out when configuring the build.  Only SCUMM games, up to The Curse of Monkey Island are supported; the Humongous Entertainment games are not.  No support will be provided for this build, and I do not know if it can even be used to complete a game yet!  Download here.

This video was captured on May 10, 2020.

This capture was played on an Atari Falcon equipped with a CT60 clocked at 66 Mhz and a SuperVidel with the DVI and audio output being captured by a Startech USB3HDCAP.

Video was edited with Shotcut.

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