Hey, No Sound?! Sound card issues.
What's with the Warnings?! Sound configuration.
The Images Stink?! Video display issues.
I get "Out of Memory" Errors?! Windows memory configuration.

Hey, No Sound?!

Q. I just downloaded the package and the audio doesn't work. I have a Pro Audio Spectrum 16 sound card (or Sound Blaster or XYZ Brand Sound Card) and it does play midi files through the Windows Media Player just fine?
A. Most sound cards come with new setups for the MIDI Mapper. There are often three setups that'll use the internal sounds of the sound card - one labeled "Basic", one labeled "Extended" and one labeled "All". The differences between these three setups are the channels used. A Basic setup will ignore anything on channels 1 to 12, and an extended setup will ignore anything on channels 11 through 16. The All setup will listen to all 16 MIDI channels.

You can also bypass the MIDI Mapper altogether and select your FM driver directly by using the Options/MIDI Configure... menu item.


Q. When do I use All?
A. For songs contained in multimedia GIF's, All is the best setting. MIDI songs contained in GIF's adhere to the General MIDI Standard (not necessarily Microsoft authoring guidelines). This means that they contain MIDI data on any of the 16 channels, with percussion on channel 10.

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What's with the Warnings?!

Q. I get a warning message saying that the "Song x sends output on channels not supported by my driver"?
A. If you are using the MIDI Mapper as the output device (this is the default if you haven't configured MMGIF), see the above suggestions about using the ALL MIDI Mapper setting. If you are using the Jamie O'Connell - FM Synth driver directly, open the Control Panel applet and select (put an X in) all 16 channels, select the "save settings" box, press the Apply button, and then press the Close button.


Q. I get a warning message saying that the "Song contains x requires more voices (n1) than my driver supplies (n2)..."?
A. This is perfectly natural when using sound card driver supplied by most manufacturers. It is simply an advisory message. Most stock drivers cannot play more than 6 notes at once. If you have a more advanced card with 2 OPL2 chips or a single OPL3 or OPL4 chip (Sound Blaster Pro, Media Vision PAS 16, etc.), and want to hear more notes, download the FM Synth driver (FMSYNTH.ZIP). This driver has the ability to play 15 notes at once.

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The Images Stink?!

Q. I tried to use your MMGIF viewer on another .gif file that displays very nicely on cshow.exe (or other DOS viewer) and find that your MMGIF returns an image that is overlayed with white-dots. What Gives?
A. In order to achieve the highest resolution, MMGIF requires that a Super-VGA card is installed, and that a 256 color driver is installed in Windows. DOS programs can set VGA cards into other video modes -- Windows programs must use the video driver that is currently installed. The "white-dots" or cross-hatching are dithering marks. They are produced when MMGIF translates a 256 color picture into 16 colors. Trust me, it is better looking than if we didn't do the conversion!

GIF files cannot contain more than 256 colors so you may get more memory available, and better response if you switch to a 256 color driver from a more capable one (16 million colors?).

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I Get "Out of Memory" Errors?!

Q. I Downloaded your mmgif viewer, and was disappointed to find it would not work. It will view a GIF file, poorly, but when I try to load the smallest file on the forum (teapot) it sends a "OUT OF MEMORY" message. I do not have one of the mega-memory monsters, I simply have 2 megs RAM?
A. GIF files are compressed. Some GIF's can compress much more than others. When expanded, Teapot occupies over 2 Megs of RAM -- it is definitely not the smallest, although it's disk image is. A realistic minimum amount of memory for playing multimedia GIF's is about 4 Megs of RAM. All files currently available will play in 4 Megs on a properly configured PC


Q. What do you mean "properly configured"?
A. The first thing to find out is how much disk space you are donating for a swap file. Opening the Control Panel, 386 Enhanced Mode applet and pressing "Virtual Memory", will display the amount. It is better to dedicate a "permanent" swap file if you can manage it. For a machine containing 4 Megs of RAM, an 8 Meg swap file would be ideal. The Program Manager Help/About box should display over 9 Megs of virtual memory in this case (with no other apps loaded).

Other things to check are for are TSR's such as RAM drives: nuke 'em. Look in the AUTOEXEC.BAT (or CONFIG.SYS for older DOS), for the amount of RAM being given to SMARTDRV. With my 4 Meg machine, I only allow SMARTDRV to use 512K of memory when running Windows. This may cause more disk accesses and slow things down slightly, but I can play all the GIF's here! Obviously, the best solution is to get more memory.

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Copyright 1995-2001 by Jamie O'Connell. All rights reserved.
This page was last modified on 07-15-03