Dark Sun: Shattered Lands - Roland LA music - R02 - Arena

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The music of Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, as played by the game running in DOSBox connected to a Roland CM-64 via a USB MIDI interface. The CM-64, like the MT-32, CM-32L, and LAPC-I, is one of Roland's "Linear Arithmetic" synthesizers, which produce musical tones by combining PCM samples with synthesized waveforms. These devices, marketed to amateur musicians and players of computer games, were less expensive, less powerful relatives of Roland's D-50 Linear Arithmetic synthesizer which was used by professional musicians in the late 80s and 90s. These videos include a photo of the LA32 synthesis chip in my CM-64 which produced the sound recorded in the videos. The date code printed on it indicates that it was produced in the 13th week of 1989. Dark Sun's Roland LA soundtrack makes use of sound effects like the whistle from the MT-32's percussion set as well as sound effects only available on later devices (CM units and LAPC cards) such as wind and thunder sounds. Dark Sun uses the Audio Interface Library (AKA Miles Sound System) to play music, recorded as MIDI, through various sound devices. An XMIDI file for each region in the game contains, in addition to musical notation, special control messages describing subsequences and loops. Dark Sun's tracks contain on the order of 5 (as many as 8) subsequences each, for different modes like peaceful exploration, combat, and special plot events. The sound system loops a given subsequence indefinitely until instructed by the game to switch to another (e.g. because combat had begun or had ended). The XMIDI files are stored as resources within two files: RESOURCE.GFF for in-game music (which I've numbered "Rnn") and CINE.GFF for cinematic music (which I've numbered "Cn"). There are three versions of each track, for various sound devices: GSEQ for General MIDI and FM devices, LSEQ for Roland LA devices, and PSEQ for the PC speaker. The tracks are not named within the game files, so I've named most of them after the regions in which they are used. To record the game's full soundtrack, I modified the control messages in the files to have the game play through all subsequences of each music track (rather than loop one subsequence indefinitely), ran the game in DOSBox, and had it play each track in turn. This playlist (Roland LA version): See also the FM version of the soundtrack: from Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (1993) Music: Cooksey Music Engine: John Miles Game Developer: Strategic Simulations, Inc.
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