Wine: MIDI sounds for Age of Empires

With version 1.3.37, Wine got a complete own DIB engine. I've been waiting since ~8 years for this to happen, because now I can play the classic strategy games Age of Empires and Age of Kings with Wine on my Linux machines properly. Before, the games would stutter and be generally not playable because they were so damn slow. With the fresh DIB engine, all that trouble is a fading memory.

After installing Age of Empires on my Ubuntu 11.10 box with Wine 1.4rc2, running patch 1.0c and executing the no-cd crack, I could start the game. Launching the first campaign, I missed an important thing: The music. Since the music is so important for the feeling of the game, I decided to fix it.

Age of Empires' music is delivered in MIDI files, and since nobody has soundcards with hardware MIDI support, you need a software synthesizer like TiMidity++.

Installing TiMidity together with Freepats (a sound font) is possible with apt-get. Note that you do not need timidity-daemon since one can run it by hand when you need MIDI sound:

$ timidity -Os -iA

When you did that, you can run aplaymidi to see that it is working:

$ aplaymidi -l
 Port    Client name                      Port name
 14:0    Midi Through                     Midi Through Port-0
128:0    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 0
128:1    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 1
128:2    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 2
128:3    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 3

Without TiMidity running, there would me "Midi Through" only. Testing MIDI playback is also possible with aplaymidi:

$ cd "~/.wine/drive_c/Programme/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires/sound"
$ aplaymidi --port 128:0 MUSIC5.MID

Contrary to the WineHQ MIDI wiki page did I not need to change any registry settings. Age of Empires now just plays awesome music!

Written by Christian Weiske.

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