======================================================================== THE GRAVIS HELPER ======================================================================== A Publication of Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd.

Winter 1996 Edition Issue 1 Please address comments or suggestions to helper@gravis.com ________________________________________________________________________ TOPICS AT A GLANCE ________________________________________________________________________ In this issue, you will find: - GRAVIS - A Little History - FEATURE - GrIP Technology - NO PROBLEM! - Answers to 4 common PC GamePad questions

- NEWSLINE - New product info in a nutshell - MYSTERIES OF MIDI - The nitty-gritty on patch conversion for UltraSound Plug & Play - TALK BACK - 101 (well, almost) ways to reach a real person at Gravis ________________________________________________________________________ GRAVIS - A LITTLE HISTORY ________________________________________________________________________ Founded in 1985, with the introduction of the Apple Analog Joystick, Gravis (Advanced Gravis Computer Technology, Ltd.) has grown into a world leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of high-quality entertainment devices (peripherals) for the personal computer market. With a product range that includes joysticks, control pads, and sound products, Gravis has earned a reputation for introducing innovative products with award-winning design. With its headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Gravis markets its products throughout the world, generating over 90% of its sales from export markets (35% outside of North America), and was awarded the Canada Export Award in 1995. The Company distributes products from facilities in Canada, the USA, Belgium, and China. Gravis also maintains a European sales and technical support office in Almere, Netherlands. The Company has a strong worldwide distribution network of close to 200 dealers/distributors in more than 40 countries. The combination of leading edge products, brand equity, and strong distribution channels has resulted in a dramatic growth in sales revenues from $250,000 in the

company's first year to Fiscal 1996 sales of over $42 million. OUR MISSION Advanced Gravis will design, develop, and market personal computer entertainment devices that embody both leading technology and superb quality. The Company will continue to be recognized as a worldwide market leader in game controllers_recognized for their innovative awardwinning design and functionality_and as a technological leader in the wavetable sound card market. Advanced Gravis' products will provide the best in functionality and performance at a wide variety of price points. ________________________________________________________________________ GrIP TECHNOLOGY ________________________________________________________________________ GRAVIS GrIP TECHNOLOGY BRINGS MULTI-BUTTON, 4-PLAYER ARCADE GAME ACTION TO THE PC. Gravis GrIP digital game interface technology levels the game platform playing field, then blows the other players away! With the new GrIP Game System from Gravis, you get the four-player, multi-button support and blazing arcade speed that have become common on the newer game console platforms_but on your PC. What is it exactly? The GrIP MULTIPORT is an adapter box that connects to your PC game port with a standard D-15 connector. On one side, the MultiPort has two D-15 pass-through connectors, so it is backwardcompatible with all your older joysticks. The MultiPort's other wing has four D-9 connectors for GrIP controllers. These GrIP ports are digital and allow two-way digital communication between your game port and attached controllers. What does that mean? First, it means SPEED. A standard game port uses 12 to 15% of the CPU's cycle time to read the position of a single joystick. The GrIP MultiPort uses less than 1% of the cycle time to read four controllers. That means faster game performance. The MultiPort's two-way communication also gives you autocalibration. Even more exciting for the future, the MultiPort supports "virtual reality" control features that you could be seeing in upcoming GrIP controllers_like 3-D and 6-D controls, tilt, tactile force-feedback, and velocity-sensitive buttons: for instance, one day you'll be able to kick hard, kick soft, kick anywhere-in-between in your PC soccer game by using a harder or softer touch on the buttons. The GrIP Game System also includes two 8-button digital GrIP-Pad controllers (extra pairs of GrIP-Pads are available separately). In games that support GrIP, the MultiPort supports all eight buttons on each of up to four GrIP-Pads at one time. In Windows 95, and in games that you can run from a Win 95 DOS box, the GrIP-Pads are programmable for keyboard controls, too. So in games that don't support GrIP directly, you can still use custom controls. Or you can choose to use the GrIP-Pads in GamePad Emulation mode, emulating a standard PC GamePad with a choice of control styles for arcade or driving games. A Gravis GrIP MultiPort driver is built into Windows 95. GrIP works with every Win 95 DirectInput game automatically, and support for GrIP is

also built into new titles from Electronic Arts, Virgin Interactive Entertainment, Acclaim Entertainment, and MINDSCAPE. Gravis provides active support for game developers, so you'll be seeing GrIP support in all the best new games. The GrIP Game System is available now in two $99.95 software bundles: the ultimate Team Sports Set with a special GrIP edition of EA SPORTS NHL Hockey 96 and the ultimate Fighting Machine with the full version of Acclaim's WWF Wrestlemania. You can also pick up the GrIP Game System without bundled game software ($79.95) or an extra pair of GrIP-Pads ($29.95) direct from the Gravis Mail Order System. To order yours, call 1-800-257-0061. ________________________________________________________________________ NO PROBLEM! Today's Topic: 4 Common PC GamePad Questions ________________________________________________________________________ 1. What's the GravUtil program for?

Your GamePad does not require DOS drivers or any other software. The Gravis Utilities (GravUtil) software on CD (or Disk) is for testing only. If your GamePad works, you don't need GravUtil. 2. Why do only two buttons work?

The game port you are using probably supports only two joystick buttons. This is a common limitation with the game ports on multi I/O cards. What do you do? If you have a sound card in your computer: - Try disabling the game port on the multi I/O card (see the hardware manual for instructions - there's usually a jumper for this). - Next, enable the sound card game port (see the sound card manual for instructions - there is often a software switch to enable/disable the game port). - Then plug your GamePad into the sound card's game port. These usually support four buttons and four axes. If you don't have a sound card, you can purchase a dedicated game card like the Gravis Eliminator that supports four buttons and four axes. 3. Why won't Windows 95 recognize my GamePad?

If you have a Joystick icon in your Win 95 Control Panel, all you have to do is select it and choose "Gravis PC GamePad" from the list. If there's no Joystick icon in the Control Panel, you have to install Microsoft's Gameport driver first: - Choose Add New Hardware, and select NO at the "search for new hardware" prompt.

- Select Sound, Video, and Game Controllers. - Select "Microsoft" as the Manufacturer and "Gameport Joystick" as the Model. - Click the Finish button. A Joystick icon should now be present in your Control Panel. 4. Why do I get the message "Joystick is not connected properly" when I try to calibrate my GamePad in the Win 95 Control Panel? - Check the game port connection. - Make sure you've selected Gravis PC GamePad in the Joystick setup. - Use GravTest to check that the game port is active. - Use Device Manager to make sure the input range of the Microsoft gameport joystick driver is 0201-0201. If not, remove and reinstall the driver. NEED MORE HELP? If you have the new GravUtil on your system (the version with pictures of the GamePad and joysticks on the main screen), run it, and look in its Help file for the info you need. If you have the older GravUtil (the one with 3 text options on the main screen), download the file pcgphelp.txt (in the \FILES\PC\JOYSTICK\JOY-MISC directory on the FTP site. Or download the new GravUtil (grvutl4.zip, in the same directory). ________________________________________________________________________ NEWSLINE ________________________________________________________________________ Gravis GrIP ultimate Team Sports Set - Released January '96. The ultimate Sports Team Set unlocks the door to multi-player PC game action! More buttons, More Players with the Gravis GrIP Game System. Includes the GrIP MultiPort 4-player digital game control system and 2 GrIP-Pad 8-button controllers. Experience multi-player GrIP power with a special GrIP edition of EA SPORTS NHL Hockey 96! Gravis GrIP ultimate Fighting Machine_ Released January '96. The ultimate Fighting Machine brings full-speed arcade wrestling action to the PC! More buttons for MAYHEM MOVES. More Buttons, More FUN with the Gravis GrIP Game System. Includes the GrIP MultiPort 4-player digital game control system and 2 GrIP-Pad 8-button controllers. Inyour-face action with GrIP and the full edition of WWF WrestleMania by Acclaim! Gravis Thunderbird Joystick_Released November '95. Master flight and action games with the Gravis Thunderbird Flight & Game Controller for IBM PC. Dominate the battle with a fast-shooting trigger and 3 fire buttons. Take charge of the cockpit with Thunderbird's T-grip

throttle, trim control, and contoured stick with hand support, custom tension control, and 4-way directional hat. Gravis Firebird Programmable Flight & Game Controller-Macintosh Version_ Released December '95. Take control! The Gravis Firebird Programmable Flight & Game Controller for Macintosh has 13 buttons and an 8-way hat switch to handle all your game commands. Drag-and-drop programming. Built-in throttle and trim controls for precision flying (PC rudder pedals also supported). Includes settings for most popular games. Gravis UltraSound Plug & Play_Released December '95. The wavetable sound card for the Internet! Full-duplex for Internet phone applications! Includes Internet Starter Kit. A value-priced 16-bit card with Windows 95 Plug & Play setup. Ships with ROM only; upgradeable to 8 MB of RAM for custom sounds and stunning effects processing. DATquality playback, 32 digital channels, and IDE CD-ROM interface. Gravis UltraSound Plug & Play Pro_Released December '95. The Gravis UltraSound Plug & Play Pro Version is ideal for gamers or musicians! 16-bit, 32-voice wavetable, automatic Windows 95 Plug & Play setup. Built-in 512K, upgradeable to 8 MB of RAM for custom sounds and stunning effects processing. DAT-quality playback, 32 digital channels, and IDE CD-ROM interface. Full-duplex for Internet phone applications! Includes Internet Starter Kit. ________________________________________________________________________ MYSTERIES OF MIDI - Curtis Patzer ________________________________________________________________________ The UltraSound Plug and Play (PnP) is Gravis' great new sound card. It does everything other UltraSound cards do*, and more: it supports multilayered patches with up to 16 envelopes and onboard effects; and it supports up to 8MB of external SIMM RAM which can be used to store custom patches (the small sound and instrument samples used to produce wavetable sound). *Note: The UltraSound Plug & Play card requires at least 512K RAM to make it compatible with software written for the older UltraSound cards. ************************************************************************ There's some technical stuff here. If you're a novice, start with your UltraSound manual, play around with Cakewalk Express or another MIDI sequencer, and come back here later. If you're a MIDI whiz, dig in! -ed. ************************************************************************ A Tale of Two MIDIs... The UltraSound PnP supports two completely different MIDI patch formats: the GF1 patch format (used by classic UltraSounds - meaning any Gravis card before the UltraSound PnP), and the new InterWave patch format. These two formats are not compatable with each other. This means the UltraSound PnP can play patches from only one format at a time. How do you switch between patch formats? If you want to use GF1-style patches, you need to load GF1 (classic UltraSound) drivers for Windows

3.1 or Windows 95. If you want to use InterWave patches, you need to load InterWave drivers for Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. Note that you cannot use both drivers at the same time with the same card. (It is possible to install and use both an UltraSound PnP and a classic UltraSound card in Windows 95, though, as long as the SoundBlaster device for the PnP card is disabled.) When the UltraSound PnP is used with classic UltraSound drivers, it has all the same limitations as classic UltraSound cards: 1 MB of memory and up to 32 voices, depending on the sampling rate. To configure the UltraSound PnP this way, you must specify the same environment settings as you would for a classic UltraSound card, as well as the INTERWAVE environment variable. You must also run iwinit.exe before running Windows with the classic GF1 drivers, or running DOS mode games. In this configuration, you can use Patch Manager and Patch Maker Lite with GF1 patches. Here's an example of what this configuration would look like in autoexec.bat: set INTERWAVE=c:\ultrapnp\iw.ini REM ===== Gravis initialization (4.10) ===== SET ULTRASND=220,7,7,12,5 SET ULTRADIR=C:\ultrasnd REM ===== Gravis initialization ends ===== c:\ultrapnp\iwinit.exe For this to work, the Plug and Play setup for the PnP card must set manually to the same settings as shown on the ULTRASND= line above. This can be done either in the driver control panel, or in the InterWave initialization file named in the INTERWAVE environment string (iw.ini in the above example). When the UltraSound PnP is used with the InterWave Windows drivers (the ones that ship with the card), then InterWave patches are used exclusively. These patches can be located either in the card's ROM, or loaded into the card's RAM (the Pro version of the card comes with 512K of RAM; both versions of the card have two SIMM slots for adding up to 8M of RAM using 32-pin SIMMS). The InterWave initialization file (IW.INI) has a section for configuring which ROM and/or RAM patches are used for MIDI. (More on customizing the IW.INI file later.) It is possible to load ROM patches, and custom RAM patches at the same time. Of course, to load RAM patches, you must have some RAM on your UltraSound PnP card. Also, be aware that it is possible to use a combination of patches with a combined size larger than the size of available RAM, since RAM patches are cached. (This is the same principle that allows a classic UltraSound card with only 1MB of onboard RAM to use a 6 MB patch set.) As always, patch caching performance improves with more RAM. InterWave patch files (.FFF) may - and usually do - contain more than one patch. Also, sample data is often stored in separate .DAT files. Both types of files are necessary to successfully load InterWave patches. In fact, you can put an entire General MIDI patch set into just one (HUGE) InterWave patch file. Because the InterWave Windows drivers support multiple banks (using Control Change 0h and 20h), it is possible to access several banks of patches at the same time without a bank manager. To do this, you must configure the InterWave initialization file to use all the desired

banks, and then use a sequencer or MIDI player which can send the required MIDI bank selection messages to load the desired patches. A special feature of the Windows 95 InterWave drivers is the ability to mimic a classic UltraSound in a DOS box. This makes it possible to play DOS games that support the classic UltraSound sound cards. WHAT NOW? Gravis recently released a utility called GIPC, which stands for Gravis to InterWave Patch Converter. GIPC converts groups of classic UltraSound patches to the new InterWave format. Once the InterWave initialization file is modified to use the new patches, they can be loaded and played. GIPC is not meant to be a patch editor - it is a converter only. As such, it cannot access the advanced features that the InterWave patch format offers, but it does provide a quick way to port existing GF1 patches over to the new InterWave format. You can use Patch Maker Lite or another GF1 patch editor to create GF1 patches, and then convert them to InterWave patches using GIPC. Make sure you read the readme file before using it. IN THE FUTURE... Gravis is working on a professional, full-featured Windows 95 patch editor for InterWave (and possible GF1) patches. This application will make the full InterWave patch feature set available to the user. It will also support conversion from GF1 to InterWave patch format (and possibly from InterWave to GF1), and easy patch/bank configuration setup in the InterWave initialization file. Look for a first release in the first half of 1996. MORE ABOUT THE INTERWAVE INITIALIZATION FILE Even without an InterWave patch editor, you can specify patch and bank switching if you know how to edit the InterWave initialization file manually. Here's how: The name of the InterWave initialization file is indicated by the INTERWAVE environment variable (e.g. INTERWAVE=c:\ultrapnp\iw\iw.ini). For this discussion, we'll assume the InterWave initialization file is called IW.INI (the default name). The format of the IW.INI file is similar to the format of the configuration files that Microsoft uses for its Windows products. The file is split up into sections. The beginning of each section is marked with a line with the format [text] Each line in the configuration file that is not a section header is either a blank line, a comment line, or a line containing information needed by the InterWave software. Comment lines, which start with a semicolon, and blank lines are ignored by programs processing the configuration file. The configuration file contains sections for saving mixer options, patches, chip setup and sound card emulation (SBOS) options. We'll look only at the patch section. The InterWave software does not have to assume a specific set of MIDI

patches will ship with the UltraSound PnP card. The configuration file allows for mixing of different patches from different sources, whether they be in ROM, RAM, or some in each. A description of a patch configuration starts by listing the patch files and assigning a name to the list. For example, assume the patches are in three files a.fff, b.fff and c.fff. An entry describing these patch files would be found in the [vendors] section. [vendors] favorite=a.fff, b.fff, c.fff Some of the patches in the configuration files may be redundant. The InterWave software will choose the last patch it finds in the list. For example, if a music score is looking for a piano, and the piano patch is in both the c.fff file and the a.fff file, the software will choose the patch in c.fff. The location of the patches is determined by checking the filename. If the first three characters are ROM, then the filename is used to search for the appropriate set. If the first three letters of the filename are not ROM, then the configuration file is searched for a section labelled [vendor tag] where tag is the same tag used to identify the patch files. For example, the section to locate the patches described above might be: [vendor favorite] a.fff=c:\patches\a_set b.fff=d:\patches\more\b_set c.fff=n:\public\sharwar\patches\c_set Each patch file is listed on a separate line with the path to that file. The path is also used to locate any sample data associated with the patch file. By default, the UltraSound PnP uses the 1MB ROM patch set. In that case, the patches section looks like this: [vendors] rom_amd_1m=ROMAMDGM_1_1_ default = rom_amd_1m Because the patches are in ROM, there is no file path, and thus no [vendor rom_amd_1m] section. Now, say you wanted to add some patches that you converted using GIPC, and they are in a file called GIPC.FFF. If you wanted to use only the newly converted patches (and no others), you would setup the patches section as follows: [vendors] rom_amd_1m=ROMAMDGM_1_1_ gipc=gipc.fff default=gipc [vendor gipc] gipc.fff=c:\gipc\destdir ; this is the original ROM-only configuration ; add this line for the new configuration ; this line shows which configuration is chosen ; where the new InterWave patch file

is located If you wanted to combine the ROM patches and your patches, with your patches taking precedence over the ROM patches, you would setup the patches section as follows: [vendors] rom_amd_1m=ROMAMDGM_1_1_ rom_and_gipc=ROMAMDGM_1_1_, gipc.fff default=rom_and_gipc [vendor rom_and_gipc] rom_and_gipc=c:\gipc\destdir If you modify the InterWave initialization file, you must reboot for the settings to take effect. Until next time, don't stop the music! [More questions on patch conversion? Send them to sound@gravis.com] ________________________________________________________________________ TALK BACK ________________________________________________________________________ INTERNET Web Site: http://www.gravis.com File Server: ftp.gravis.com Internet E-Mail: Send us your comments or suggestions for this newsletter at helper@gravis.com Send your technical questions to one of these tech support addresses: pcstick@gravis.com - PC joystick and GamePad questions macstick@gravis.com - Mac joystick and GamePad questions sound@gravis.com - UltraSound questions BULLETIN BOARD SYSTEM (604) 431-5927 - V32bis N81. Commercial On-line Services America Online: GO KEYWORD: Gravis Email to: Gravistec 71333,350

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Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd. 101-3750 North Fraser Way Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5J 5E9 Phone: (604) 431-5020 Fax: (604) 451-9358 Technical Support: (604) 431-1807 Advanced Gravis Europe, B.V. Antennestraat 70, 1322 AS Almere The Netherlands Phone: +31-36-536 4443 Fax: +31-36-536-6011 U.S. Distribution 1790 Midway Lane Bellingham, WA, USA


________________________________________________________________________ The GRAVIS HELPER is published quarterly by Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd. The information in this publication is released to the public domain. GRAVIS HELPER (helper@gravis.com) ...this issue brought to you by Jennifer Wiebe, Curtis Patzer, Sam Manji, and Shannon Dougan...and the supportive thoughts of all the others who offered to help but couldn't quite find the time....