Kurt_Woloch Posted December 20, 2009 Share Posted December 20, 2009 I've tried to do some TI-99 stuff in the past week. Initial main purpose was to make an audio recording of a program I wrote back in 1983 which makes the TI-99 sing a short song I composed called "Key are you" using the speech output feature of Terminal Emulator II. At first I thought I must still have a recording of that on an old tape, but I couldn't find that tape. Second idea was to hook up the TI-99 and record the audio directly from it (well, not exactly directly...). Everything worked nicely, and I quickly found the correct disk, but then I found out that mysteriously my Speech Synthesizer has died. Every time a program tries to access it, the TI-99 just crashes. On the other hand, the Peripherial Box worked nicely. So my next idea was to transfer the program to the PC and try it on an emulator. But how do you do that? Well, my idea was to do a tape saving of it, actually recording it on the PC and then converting that recording into a file usable on TI emulators. Well, I found two programs for the PC to do the converting job. One of them was CS1er, but that one does not work very well, despite tries of me to clean up the audio. So I tried to use the WAV file in MESS directly, but somehow the tape control refused to work properly, or at least I couldn't figure out how to operate it properly. I blamed that on the version of MESS I had and downloaded the latest version, but that one only gave me more trouble... it didn't accept the WAV file at all, and I also found out that support for the old cartridge format had gone (as I already wrote in another thread). So I had to fix some things to get it going. First I downloaded a fresh set of RPK files for the new MESS version, and then I downloaded another program for converting the tape, tape994a, which was rather tricky to get hold of since the author's homepage heavily uses JAVA and crashes Internet Explorer 9. But finally I managed to get it, and with it, conversion worked pretty well. Then I finally managed to get it going in MESS along with Terminal Emulator II, but the output doesn't quite sound right. Here, the main trouble seems to be that Terminal Emulator connects a string of allophones to produce its speech output, and each allophone gets sent to the Speech Synthesizer as a separate command. Now here comes the trouble... basically, you can imagine the speech signal being a base frequency with the pitch of the speaker with some overtones which vary according to the letters spoken. (Yes, I know this is a bit technical). Now if a speech command ends while the wave is at an arbitrary point, the "real thing" would continue the wave at the point it just was. MESS, however, does not seem to do this, instead it seems to reset the wave with each new command, which makes the speaker sound somewhat distorted if commands follow in rapid succession, like they do in Terminal Emulator II. At least I think that's what's going on here. I then tried another emulator, Win994a, which basically seems to have a much nicer speech output here which sounds nearly correctly, but its frequency response is somewhat distorted compared to the original... I remember the original speech output had much more bass than Win994a's output has. This aspect is handled correctly in MESS. But Win994a's sound output generally leaves something to be desired... it seems to use sine waves instead of the square waves the original sound chip puts out, which just sounds wrong. Also, in Win994a, the synchronisation to the speech synthesizer seems somewhat off, which you can see by the sound from the sound chip I built in. In MESS, this sound starts after the Speech Synthesizer has stopped singing. In Win994a, however, it starts somewhat earlier. Then I tried to do some custom speech in Extended Basic. It was always my dream to make the TI talk German. Now that my speech synthesizer is broken, I basically can forget this dream, but I still tried to put together a program that puts out some custom speech out of LPC data created with QBOX. I think I somewhat succeded here. And since that speech segment is in one piece, MESS renders it nicely. However, only once... I built in a loop described below which repeats the speech, and on repeat, part of the speech becomes garbled. In Win994a, however, it's different... there, sometimes the speech gets output, and sometimes it doesn't. I can't say when it does and when it does not. I can't say how this one sounds on the real TI99 since my Speech Synthesizer is now broken. Anyway... I've attached two files to this mail. The file called "speechtest.zip" contains a disk image which contains the two programs mentioned: speechtest.zip "KEYAREYOU" works with Terminal Emulator. You have to hit the space bar after the screen goes black, which will start the song. After the song there is a fading tone, then some silence, and after that, some garbled speech comes out (can't remember if it worked like that on the original too). "CUSTOMSPEE" works with Extended Basic. It first says "Hello" out of the Speech Synth's standard vocabulary, then loads the custom speech data, after which the custom speech data gets output. Then a question mark appears which promts you to enter an arbitrary string (which gets discarded). On pressing "Enter", the speech gets repeated... or not (as described above). The second file, "Speech error TMS5220 emulation.PNG", is a diagram I drew up which roughly describes what I think to be the error in MESS concerning speech commands. You can see two (crudely drawn) sine waves on yellow background. The red lines mark the 0 level, the blue lines mark the transition of one allophone (speech command) to the next. The upper wave would be the original output where the wave just continues with each new command. The lower wave would be MESS's output where the wave gets restarted with each new command. Oh, and then I tried to find another program, "TI99 PC", which is supposed to read my TI disks on a PC 5 1/4" drive. Since I've got an old 386 with such a drive, I thought I could use it to convert up all my old TI disks which contain a lot of programs written in Extended Basic. But somehow the only download link I can find is on the following page: http://www.99er.net/download.html and strangely, the download on this page seems to be broken, as are many downloads on that page. Finally, I also tried the emulator Classic99, but somehow disk support doesn't seem to quite work. I chose a bit of a different path to install it (D:\Programme\Spiele\classic99\), and now that emulator doesn't find any of the programs in its "DSK1" directory. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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