AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Chat about anything related to the QuestStudios Archive, Classic PC Games, MIDI, Etc.

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Marten
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AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Marten » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:31 pm

The Xeen Music YouTube channel has been uploading videos with music from classic game titles over the past 4 years. After focusing initially on the Might and Magic series (naturally), the channel has covered other New World Computing titles and expanded into other companies' titles as well.

Xeen Music covered their first Sierra title in November 2019 with King's Quest IV, in which they wrote:
This soundtrack has been made in full conjunction with William Goldstein. The music, having originally been composed using the Roland MT-32, has been recorded directly from an authentic MT-32. Due to the hardware limitations of the MT-32 causing polyphony problems,each channel has been recorded independently and then merged into a single track. Therefore, no notation data is lost through polyphony limitations and the tracks may be heard at their fullest. (Unfortunately, at the time of this recording, W.G. was not able to locate the original music files. This soundtrack will be updated if the situation should change.
They've also released King's Quest V and VI soundtracks, too.

All very interesting, but here's the really curious thing: In April of last year, Xeen Music uploaded MT-32 soundtracks for King's Quest, King's Quest II, Space Quest II, and King's Quest III... AGI versions. These videos only came to my attention today because YouTube's recommendation algorithm is trash. :roll:

Each of these videos includes this claim:
The official MT-32 version of this game's soundtrack has never been previously released, but an edited version was used in the Apple IIGS editions. Because the 1988 edition replaced some of the themes from the original game, MT-32 versions of these missing themes have been unofficially created using the 1984~1987 editions' data.
Each of the unofficial recreations is credited to Andrew Harrington, whom I am guessing is the author of the channel.

The implications of the above claim is that while porting earlier Sierra titles to the Apple IIgs, Sierra created MT-32 soundtracks for some of those titles.

If this is accurate, I wonder if we could obtain recordings of the original MIDI and SysEx for this site.

Tom Lewandowski did a conversion of the AGI King's Quest III soundtrack for AGDI's remake, and it's interesting to draw comparisons between his version and the version that Xeen has posted from the IIgs.

From Xeen Music:

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Marten
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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Marten » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:10 pm

I grabbed a IIgs emulator (https://apple2.gs/plus/), ROM file, GS/OS, and King's Quest AGI disks.

Sure enough, there's different opening song for this game vs. other versions.

Don't know if any of the IIgs emulators support mocking the Apple MIDI Interface, though.

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Spikey » Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:14 am

Unfortunately, Andrew Harrington (Xeen Music) is a bit of a problematic guy, at least from a QuestStudios/Sierra Music Central "make things free and available to all" perspective. Recently he stopped me from gaining access to the KQ8 master files because he wanted exclusive access to it, potentially because he runs a Patreon where downloads of the soundtracks he records/acquires are based upon having made multiple subscriptions/donations to his account.

As for the AGI MIDI files, I did obtain the Apple 2 versions from him for the KQ games 1-4. However, the rest will likely be unobtainable, although he did mention a person coded software for him, perhaps a person who coded the 2GS emulator?
While the AGI scores don't personally interest me, I'm sure there will be lots of people who they appeal to, so I'm happy to send you the ones I have.

"This soundtrack has been made in full conjunction with William Goldstein."
Basically, this is not correct. :) While Andrew does work as an official archivist for Neal Grandstaff for (a somewhat problematic situation, with implications for anyone trying to work on music Neal composed - many KQ7/SQ6 tracks, for example, have been kicked off YouTube as a result), he does not employ such capacity for any other ex-Sierra composer that I am aware of, although he is probably Ben Houge/Kevin Manthei's chosen archivist for KQ8 now.
The above paragraph is also true for any non-Neal Grandstaff/KQ8 soundtrack where he claims "Official Soundtrack".

Anyway, enough about that. Xeen Music is a bit of a sore point with me :)

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Marten » Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:51 pm

Yes, when I saw that Xeen Music is locking things away not belonging to him behind his demands for Patreon donations, I wasn’t terribly thrilled with that.

You’ll notice that I did not say, “perhaps we could collaborate with Andrew”, because the Pateon thing was an immediate put-off. He is just looking to profit off of others’ work by collecting it and holding it hostage, and pretending that the process of his curation has somehow added value.

It’s very sad to hear you say that he has claimed exclusive rights to some of Sierra’s music. Official archivist or not for some composers, unless he has legal standing with Blizzard/Activision, or unless B/A has ceded rights back to the original artists, he might be overstepping his authority.

Also, to quote Indiana Jones: “It belongs in a museum!”

Back to my main point, I would be interested in whether anyone here might be able to extract or record the MIDI out of these early titles and contribute it to this site.

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by syllogism » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:29 am

A few years back asked me to take down a few Might & Magic recordings I had on my channel. He claimed to be working with Tim Tully, which is why I agreed to his request. That and because the recordings he was posting at the time were more accurate.

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Spikey » Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:12 am

As for AGI soundtracks. I have the Apple II GS for KQ1-4. I imagine the man who made the emulator is related to the custom software Andrew claims he paid to have developed for him, so he would be a good lead to follow up with. I'd be quite curious to hear the Police Quest 1 AGI score, for example.

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Ari » Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:36 pm

Didn't there use to be an AGI-to-MIDI DOS program, that let you play the old AGI games using a Roland MT-32 or other MIDI card/module?
I have a vague memory of playing Space Quest 2 using that program...

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Ari » Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:37 pm


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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Spikey » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:14 am

While you are correct, that has nothing to do with the Apple IIGS soundtracks. The big finds are:
- that the Apple IIGS scores represent different, longer, and greater quantities of music
- that the Apple IIGS scores may have been composed (or at least arranged for) for the Roland MT-32

So the DOS AGI games have nothing to do with this, in terms of soundtrack.

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Re: AGI, MT-32, and the Apple IIgs

Post by Ari » Sat Mar 27, 2021 4:41 pm

I get that we're talking about the Apple IIgs and not the DOS versions.
What I don't understand, is what the Apple IIgs and MT-32 have to do with each other.
As far as I know, besides the IBM PC and compatibles, the Roland MT-32 was only used with systems such as the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, and several Japanese computer systems.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Apple IIgs was ever supposed to work with the MT-32, so I doubt any soundtrack was written specifically for it. Maybe Xeen used some program similar to the AGI-to-MIDI programs I linked to, and perhaps remixed them to create an MT-32 soundtrack, but that's his own work entirely (which in and of itself, is nothing to sneeze at).

What am I missing here?

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