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Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 6:33 am
   Subject: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Greetings!

I was adding some new sounds (not replacing existing ones, but adding new sounds) to the VSWAP & engine code last night, and I was having some trouble concerning sound priorities. I haven't delved into the code yet to see if I can solve this since I didn't have time, but I thought I'd inquire about it here this morning. Maybe one of you knows what I'm talking about!

My problem is two-fold. I added a new door to the engine, and I wanted this new door to make a different sound than the regular doors. So, I added two new digital sounds with FloEdit 2, went through the procedure in the help docs to add it in the code, modified the door routines to handle the sound exception, and tried it out. It works, but the problem is, the new door sounds override every other sound that is playing. Actor sounds, player weapon sounds, pushwalls, everything. It all cuts off if one of my new doors opens or closes. Is there some place in the code where I can control what sounds override others? The regular Wolfy door sounds, by contrast, behave in the usual manner -- every other sound will override them. How do I get my new door sound to behave like that?

The other thing is the dreaded digital silence. I've been having this problem since Project Totengraeber. This problem never seems to happen with any of the original sounds in the game, but occasionally when I play a new sound that I've added, the digital sounds will go completely silent afterwards. I'll have to use some procedure that resets the sound engine (like pressing B+A+T) before they'll work again. I noticed even Spear Resurrection relabeled B+A+T as a digital sound reset feature! Did anybody ever figure this problem out, or figure out how to solve it? This isn't quite as important to me as the sound priority issue, since it rarely happens, but it still irks me.

Thanks a lot in advance for any help.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 7:22 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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For your first problem: This seems to be the inverse of most of my sound problems! While I have encountered this problem before, I most often have trouble with sounds just not having enough priority; sometimes a sound will come out perfectly, and will have that perfect priority, where it can interrupt and be interrupted, but often it will just come out wrong. This is often the sound itself, though I'm not sure what exactly causes it; I've tried different lengths of sounds, shortening and lengthening sounds that don't work, etc., but nothing seems to work, which leads me to believe it may actually be the sound itself (I mean as in the very sound it makes), but there has to be a more scientific explaination. Smile
However, are you using SD_PlaySound or PlaySoundLocActor? The latter seems to have less priority for the most part (but it could just be me), plus it's the general function already used for playing sounds when doors open anyway.
But (and I know this probably doesn't solve your problem, but still it's a good bit of information) if a sound doesn't have enough priority, a quick fix that seems to work pretty well is placing SD_StopDigitized right before the call for the sound. This only works for digitized sounds, but I doubt you'll have any priority problems with Adlib and PC Speaker sounds Wink For more information, take a peek into ID_SD.C and poke around a bit.

-DAD

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 7:58 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Thanks for the fast response! That's funny you seem to have the opposite problem -- in my experience there are still some things I have not been able to locate in the source regarding certain sound mechanics, and perhaps this is one of them. (I liked how in the Duke3D CON files you could assign a numeric priority for each sound; that was super handy.)

To tell you the truth, I don't remember whether I used SD_PlaySound or PlaySoundLocActor (or LocTile, whichever it was). But my door sounds get quieter the further away I get from the tile, plus they pan in stereo depending on my facing direction, so I think I did it properly. I just cut and pasted the standard door sound routine to make my new one, so it should have been done right.

I'll look at ID_SD.C though, and see what I can find. Also, I'll reinvestigate the InitDigiMap routine to see if there's anything there that might help me, although I think that routine is fairly straightforward.

Thanks again!
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 8:31 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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The sound priorities for the wav portion of the code is rather simple...

In Wolf3d there are 46 sounds which can be inserted/extracted as wavs. They use the priority based on their defined position within the file (based on the load define order in wl_main.c).

If you add sounds to the list, then they will have less priority than the sounds that come before them. ie: you add sound 47 as a shotgun... all other sounds will have a greater priority than the new sound so you could here guards shooting over your new shotgun or you'd be firing and hearing silence.

If you want to play with priority of sounds so that certain sounds take precidence, then you must add the new sound shift all those above it to the next position. Using Floedit, WDC or the new Chaosedit, you would insert your new sound into the priority position that you want it in, and then move all the sounds up one position. If you don't, then you run into the problem of say a guard being able to yell over the sound of a shotgun blast etc.

To add a new sound (shotgun) and give it priority, you would have to do something like this:

::: CODE :::

   HALTSND,                         0,
   DOGBARKSND,                  1,
   CLOSEDOORSND,              2,
   OPENDOORSND,                3,
   ATKMACHINEGUNSND,       4,
   ATKPISTOLSND,                5,
   ATKSHOTGUNSND,             6, // New Sound
   ATKGATLINGSND,              7, // old value 6,
   SCHUTZADSND,                 8, // old value 7,
   GUTENTAGSND,                 9, // old value 8,


This will fix the prority, but it will also mess up the digi sounds for those without adlib/soundblaster support.

If you are adding multiple sounds, then time and care must be taken to choose the order to load them into the file so that your game maintains continuity. Take the time to figure it all out before loading your new sound order into the vswap as you really don't want to do this multiple times.

And yes as Dugtrio mentioned, using the SD_PlaySound will have greater priority than the PlaySoundLocActor routine. I personally use the PlaySoundLocActor when calling my sounds so that I get the distance effect and simultated stereo image based on the players position relative to the sound being called.

Hope that helps...

Greg
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 3:33 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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BrotherTank,

Thanks a lot, that is some great information. I never knew about that stuff before. I checked my code and I am using PlaySoundLocTile to play the door sounds (which is what the original door routine uses in WL_ACT1.C). Oddly, while my new sounds are the very last ones in the VSWAP, they are taking priority over all other sounds that might be playing, even sound #0 (HALTSND). Really weird.

I'll continue to look into it.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 5:47 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Hmmm...after investigating this issue, it seems to me as though sounds placed later in the VSWAP will actually take precedence over all sounds that come before them, not the other way around. Thus the last sound defined will have the highest priority. I have noticed much evidence to this effect this evening while toying around with things.

So, it seems that to make this work correctly, I need to do as you mentioned -- insert the new sounds somewhere early on in the VSWAP, then shift the position of every other sound after it. Ugh! Not pleasant!

Now, you mentioned that if I did this, it would mess up the sounds for people who don't have digisound support (only adlib effects). I presume this is because, while I have shifted all of the digisounds down, the adlib sounds remain in the original order, correct? So, if I inserted two new matching adlib sounds into the AUDIOT at the same point in the sequence as my new digisounds, would this resolve the problem? It would seem so.

Off to play around some more!


Last edited by Anonymous on Fri May 28, 2004 9:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 9:46 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Solved the problem!

Thanks to your pointers, BrotherTank, I managed to figure this out. Since I was adding two new doors, each with an open and close sound, I had to rearrange the sounds in the VSWAP so my four new door sounds came right after the original door sounds, so all other sounds were shifted ahead by four indexes. I then had to define four new sounds in AUDIOWL6.H, and it is here where the priorities are controlled by the order of those definitions. I had to define them right after the original two door sound definitions. But of course, once I did that, all the following adlib sounds were off by four indexes. So I added four new adlib chunks (copies of the adlib door sound effects) to the AUDIOT file, in the correct sequence, to set everything straight. Lastly I made sure I increased by four the number of chunks, digisound start and music start indexes in AUDIOWL6.H. Now it all works, and the sound priorities on everything are perfect too. Finally!

All that work for adding a couple doors...well, at least it's done now! Very Happy

Thanks for your help!
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 7:48 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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B. Blaze wrote:
Solved the problem!


Excellent... Although I didn't think you would have a problem with it...

B. Blaze wrote:

Thanks to your pointers, BrotherTank, I managed to figure this out. Since I was adding two new doors, each with an open and close sound, I had to rearrange the sounds in the VSWAP so my four new door sounds came right after the original door sounds, so all other sounds were shifted ahead by four indexes.


Yep, that is why I mentioned that if you are playing with the sounds and doing the rearrange that one should take the time to figure out all the new sounds they are adding before doing the arranging. Nothing like shuffling all the sounds only to have to do it all again... Smile

B. Blaze wrote:

I then had to define four new sounds in AUDIOWL6.H, and it is here where the priorities are controlled by the order of those definitions. I had to define them right after the original two door sound definitions.


My bad... forgot to mention the Audiowl6.h file. Yes, they have to be inserted there as well, in their proper order within the vswap file.

B. Blaze wrote:
But of course, once I did that, all the following adlib sounds were off by four indexes. So I added four new adlib chunks (copies of the adlib door sound effects) to the AUDIOT file, in the correct sequence, to set everything straight. Lastly I made sure I increased by four the number of chunks, digisound start and music start indexes in AUDIOWL6.H.


That is something else some people forget to add or adjust when playing with the sounds.

B. Blaze wrote:

Now it all works, and the sound priorities on everything are perfect too. Finally!

All that work for adding a couple doors...well, at least it's done now! Very Happy

Thanks for your help!


Not a problem... Glad to hear that it all worked out. And yes, it sure does take a lot of time to get it all right. I've had to do it a few times now, and the first couple of times, I didn't take into account other new sounds that I was going to add. Hence, the shuffling process had to be repeated... Once you've done it one time, then you learn to sit back and decide what sounds you might be adding, get/make a list, and then start the shuffle.

Let's just hope you don't have to do another shuffle... Smile It's usually later in the project that I find I wanted to add something new and then it would have to be done all over again. The other option that I found useful (in this case) is to insert all your sounds at the end and keep going until you are actually satisfied with all your features and ideas for your game. Then go back and do the shuffle only one time. This saves many hours of aggravation.

Glad to have helped...

Greg
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 8:40 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Hey, this is brilliant! The one reason why I have yet to add a sound to the engine... Solved! Thanks BJ and BrotherTank! The one real flaw in some of WSJ's mods is precisely this problem. Playing his latest one, the player meets some enemies who have a very long 'greeting' sound. This overrides everything; gun sounds, door sounds, and apparently even their own death screams! I personally don't like this, so up until now I had been thinking that I wouldn't add any sounds, and just replace sounds that I'd never use - for example DEATHSCREAM6 (the funny one). I had all sorts of crazy schemes planned, such as making each wave really long and containing many different sound effects in each; then writing a function that played the sound with a time offset and for a certain time only.... Even though I really have no idea whether that's even possible. But well... Now I don't have to bother!

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 10:03 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Until I read BrotherTank's post, I didn't even know about the "sound priority." I only knew about the tendency of SD_PlaySound to override PlaySoundLocActor. But I did notice the sound problems that people have mentioned here, including what happens when you add new sounds (which was kind of a bummer since my games needed more digitized sounds.) I didn't know what I could do to fix them at the time, though. This thread has indeed been helpful to me. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 10:44 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Thanks again to everyone who has helped, particularly BrotherTank. And, I'm glad this thread has already helped WSJ and Hair Machine! I obsess over nitpicky details like sound priorities and such, so I wasn't gonna stop until I got it right. Mr Green
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 12:42 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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You know, I was pondering on the idea of adding multiple channels for sound, or is this impossible with the 8-bit mono compression?
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 2:35 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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I never realized that override sound problem that wolfenstein has.

Ok, maybe I'm lying.

But it is very annoying especially when you you encounter a guard and starts shouting at you and you shoot and you don't even hear the sound of your gun, which is very annoying...
Or like you pick the chaingun up and you hear that annoying music when you pick it up and every other sound gets blocked out Surprised
TheTalentedMrLeo wrote:
You know, I was pondering on the idea of adding multiple channels for sound
That would be a great idea to have, but I think it would also take a lot of memory up Sad ... Damn I wish Wolfenstein wasn't so limited

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:36 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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When working on EoD, I kept getting unsatisfactory results using the method described. So I decided to dig into this matter and I discovered some interesting things.

In Wolf, there are a couple of priority classes when it comes to sounds. They are numbered 20 (lowest), 50, 80 (rarely used) and 90 (highest).
Sounds with a lower priority are completely overridden by those with a higher one. This means, if a lower one is already playing, it will abort and the sound with the higher priority will start to play.
Likewise, if a higher one is playing and a lower one is feeded to the engine, the lower one won't be heard at all.
If two sounds are in the same priority class, the first one will be playing only until the second sound starts to play.
Of course, the priorities are only valid within the range of either Adlib or Digitized sounds respectively. When an Adlib and a digitized sound are played simultaneously, both sounds can be heard at the same time.

Unfortunately, those priority classes are hardcoded into the Adlib soundchunks in AUDIOT.WL6, see the following lines in ID_SD.H:

::: CODE :::
typedef   struct
      {
         longword   length;
         word      priority;
      } SoundCommon;


If you look into an individual sound chunk with a hex editor, the first six bytes will look something like this:

09 00 00 00 32 00

which obviously means that the sound in question has a length of 9 bytes, and a priority of 50 (hex 32).

I've learned that the priorities in these Adlib sound chunks are used also to assign priorities to the digitized sounds in VSWAP.WL6
This also explains why newly added sounds usually have the wrong priority, unless you're lucky enough to shove them into a slot with the right priority by coincidence Smile
So far, I haven't seen an editor that offers the possibility to alter these priorities. Apparently, ID used the MUSE program to deal with this matter, but I'm not sure about that (@Adam: shouldn't be too hard to include such a feature in WDC, I guess).

Of course it would be possible to alter the priorities by poking them directly into AUDIOT.WL6, but that's a boring task and, unless your name is Chris Chokan, you won't get much fun out of it Smile

Here's how I did it for EoD. I set up an INT array with priorities (just like the hitpoints in WL_ACT2.C) and paste the sound info out of AUDIOWL6.H as comments (this second step isn't necessary, but it will make your job easier, as it will be more obvious which sound you're dealing with), like this:


::: CODE :::
int soundpriority[NUMSOUNDS] =
   {   
      50,                    // HITWALLSND         
      50,                    // SELECTWPNSND       
      50,                    // SELECTITEMSND     
      50,                    // HEARTBEATSND       
      50,                    // MOVEGUN2SND       
      50,                    // MOVEGUN1SND       
      50,                    // NOWAYSND           
      50,                    // NAZIHITPLAYERSND   
      50,                    // SCHABBSTHROWSND   
      50,                    // PLAYERDEATHSND     
      20,                    // DOGDEATHSND       
      20,                    // ATKGATLINGSND     
      50,                    // GETKEYSND         
      50,                    // NOITEMSND         
      50,                    // WALK1SND           
      50,                    // WALK2SND           
      50,                    // TAKEDAMAGESND     
      50,                    // GAMEOVERSND       
      20,                    // OPENDOORSND       
      20,                    // CLOSEDOORSND       
      50,                    // DONOTHINGSND       
      20,                    // HALTSND           
      20,                    // DEATHSCREAM2SND   
      50,                    // ATKKNIFESND       
      50,                    // ATKPISTOLSND       
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM3SND   
      50,                    // ATKMACHINEGUNSND   
      50,                    // HITENEMYSND       
      50,                    // SHOOTDOORSND       
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM1SND   
      50,                    // GETMACHINESND     
      50,                    // GETAMMOSND         
      50,                    // SHOOTSND           
      50,                    // HEALTH1SND         
      50,                    // HEALTH2SND         
      50,                    // BONUS1SND         
      50,                    // BONUS2SND         
      50,                    // BONUS3SND         
      50,                    // GETGATLINGSND     
      50,                    // ESCPRESSEDSND     
      90,                    // LEVELDONESND       
      50,                    // DOGBARKSND         
      50,                    // ENDBONUS1SND       
      50,                    // ENDBONUS2SND       
      50,                    // BONUS1UPSND       
      50,                    // BONUS4SND         
      50,                    // PUSHWALLSND       
      50,                    // NOBONUSSND         
      50,                    // PERCENT100SND     
      50,                    // BOSSACTIVESND     
      50,                    // MUTTISND           
      50,                    // SCHUTZADSND       
      50,                    // AHHHGSND           
      50,                    // DIESND             
      50,                    // EVASND             
      50,                    // GUTENTAGSND       
      50,                    // LEBENSND           
      50,                    // SCHEISTSND         
      50,                    // NAZIFIRESND       
      50,                    // BOSSFIRESND       
      50,                    // SSFIRESND         
      50,                    // SLURPIESND         
      50,                    // TOT_HUNDSND       
      50,                    // MEINGOTTSND       
      50,                    // SCHABBSHASND       
      55,                    // HITLERHASND       
      50,                    // SPIONSND           
      50,                    // NEINSOVASSND       
      50,                    // DOGATTACKSND       
      50,                    // FLAMETHROWERSND   
      50,                    // MECHSTEPSND       
      50,                    // GOOBSSND           
      50,                    // YEAHSND           
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM4SND   
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM5SND   
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM6SND   
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM7SND   
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM8SND   
      50,                    // DEATHSCREAM9SND   
      50,                    // DONNERSND         
      50,                    // EINESND           
      90,                    // ERLAUBENSND       
      90,                    // KEINSND           
      95,                    // MEINSND           
      95,                    // ROSESND           
      95,                    // MISSILEFIRESND     
      95,                    // MISSILEHITSND     
   };


Save this info in a new text file, name it priority.h and store it in your source folder.

Then open up ID_SD.C and add the following red lines:

::: CODE :::
#include <dos.h>

#include "ID_HEADS.H"

#include "priority.h"


   s = MK_FP(SoundTable[sound],0);
   s->priority = soundpriority[sound];



That's all. To alter the priority of any of your sounds, just modify the number preceding the comment of that sound.

If you add a new sound to the engine, be sure to add its desired priority to priority.h (don't forget to adjust the NUMSOUNDS variable in AUDIOWL6.H as well).

Using this method, you will have more precise control over the priorities of all sounds used in your game. Also, you will save yourself the hassle of the time-consuming juggling act of importing and exporting WAVs in and out your VSWAP.

MCS.

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Last edited by MCS on Fri Oct 29, 2004 1:23 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:58 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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MCS wrote:
@Adam: shouldn't be too hard to include such a feature in WDC, I guess).

Actually, it's already there. Smile Both adlib and PC sound chunks have a priority. It's on their respective edit screens.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:14 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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Oops... sorry, I wasn't aware of that Embarassed

Too bad that you didn't step into this thread before.

Might have saved me some time Smile

MCS.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 12:53 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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MCS wrote:
Oops... sorry, I wasn't aware of that Embarassed

I'm finding it rather odd that Adam Biser (being the helpful guy that he is, and also considering that he's the moderator here) would go this whole time without reading this thread, or withholding such information from us for so long as this topic evolved. It's like he purposely wanted to hide in the background and see what kind of answers people would come up with, and wait awhile to see if anyone could catch on to the hidden Sound Prority Numbers and how they worked.

Well, looks like you won this goal in a big way MCS! Not only was your message informative and accurate, it was also extremely entertaining to read. I really enjoyed diving into your experience, and hearing your encounters with this mystery. You rock! Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:27 pm
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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@Chris and MCS: The information was not intentionally withheld.
I didn't think that the pc or adlib sound priorities would relate to the digital sound at all since pc and adlib sounds have independent priorities.
I read BrotherTank's solution and assumed it to be true since the digital sound chunks have no explicit priority in the data itself and people said that his solution helped them out.
But I guess the adlib->digital priority relation makes sense now that I think about it, being that the digital sounds are just a subset of the sounds.
Sorry.

Chris, want to know something else I might know that maybe no one has tried? I don't even know if it'll work or not, but there's a couple more ENDART commands that FloEdit doesn't show you: ^T and ^B. The ^T (don't know about ^B) is left over from Command Keen. Both should work. Just look in the source for how to use them. I've not tried them at all, but I don't want to hold you back. Smile

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:25 am
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I know what the ^B is, that feature allows you to write over pictures I discovered that when I messing about with the helpart code (I was trying to implement new stuff for Double Trouble, but had now success).

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2004 9:07 am
   Subject: Re: Sound priorities, and the dreaded digital silence
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MCS wrote:
When working on EoD, I kept getting unsatisfactory results using the method described. So I decided to dig into this matter and I discovered some interesting things.

... Stuff Deleted ...

This also explains why newly added sounds usually have the wrong priority, unless you're lucky enough to shove them into a slot with the right priority by coincidence Smile

... Stuff Deleted ...

Here's how I did it for EoD. I set up an INT array with priorities (just like the hitpoints in WL_ACT2.C) and paste the sound info out of AUDIOWL6.H as comments (this second step isn't necessary, but it will make your job easier, as it will be more obvious which sound you're dealing with), like this:

... Code Deleted ...

Using this method, you will have more precise control over the priorities of all sounds used in your game. Also, you will save yourself the hassle of the time-consuming juggling act of importing and exporting WAVs in and out your VSWAP.

MCS.


I guess that I was just hitting the right priority slots then. Must have been my lucky day and I didn't even know it. Smile When it worked for me, I didn't even bother to dig further into the code as I thought I had found the solution. I guess that I had it half right in that there must be an adlib sound for each digital sound you add, but half right isn't right. Sorry, for giving you wrong information Shidoshi.

And thanks for giving us this fix... See, that's why I call you Shidoshi (for those that don't understand the name it means Master Instructor or Teacher). It is a position/name of high respect. I could also call you Semphi (<- higher rank Investigator - again a position of high respect)

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