>> - There is not such thing as "VESA audio"
There was, but nobody used it and it was only supported
by PCI graphics cards with built-in sound or similarily
"exotic" hardware as far as I remember. I doubt that any
significant number of games supported that either.
>> - SB16, are the common "de facto" for DOS
>> - Right now, there is not emulation software for it.
For Windows: VDMsound, Dosbox, various virtual computers
Problem with Dosbox: Slow, because CPU is virtual, too.
For Linux: Dosemu, Dosbox, various virtual computers
Same problem as above ;-)
For DOS: Only the proprietary SBLive / SBPCI drivers which
are "locked" to work only with those (actually AC97) cards
and VSB, but VSB only emulates SB 1.0 and supports only
Covox (simple printer port adapter) and similar hardware.
> There is some emulation software for PCI cards but it
> needs proprietary hardware.
>> 1. Use VMware or Dosbox.
> Or Bochs, Qemu, DOSEMu, many others...
I would suggest Dosemu if you have Linux, Bochs if you
want maximum hardware independence, Dosbox if you want
slow but adjustable CPU speed ;-). Qemu or a commercial
(VMWare, Virtual PC, ...) product for more speed, but
most of are bad either speed or SB16-compatibility wise.
>> 2. Buy an old SoundBlaster 16 PCI card.
Better SBPCI or SBLive, if their virtual soundcard
is okay for you. Or hardware adlib cards like with
ForteMedia FM801 or (bad) CMedia chipsets: Those try
to be SBPro / SB16 compatible, too, but will often
fail with that on modern mainboards. But at least
their Adlib / OPL3 / FM part will still work ;-).
>> 3. Start a project to make my card work under FreeDOS/MS-DOS.
Depends on your soundcard, lowlevel programming skills
or ability to raise funds to motivate skilled people.
You can use parts of VSB, Mpxplay, Bochs, Dosemu, Alsa-
Project and similar components to implement the driver.
>> 1. I don't want to use emulation software.
Depends. Emulating nothing basically means that you
either have to buy a PC with ISA or rewrite all your
games. Emulating a bit means that K6 / Pentium III
and FM801 generation cards will be your choice. Next
step is emulating the whole soundcard (SBLive, SBPCI)
then whole external hardware (Dosemu) then allll your
hardware (Bochs, Qemu, VMWare, Virtual PC, ...) and
finally even emulating DOS (VDMSound, Dosbox) :-p
>> 2. I've found in eBay some used SB16 PCI cards.
Not sure about those. SBPCI / SBLive are more known
to work. Not really sure about Audigy either ;-).
>> Are old PCI slots compatible with the new ones?
Yes. Actually for DOS, it does not even make a real
difference whether you have PCI, AGP or PCIe. You
only miss the extra speed of the latter with DOS.
> SBLive works well on XP, Vista untested.
No idea. Almost every mainboard has built-in sound
with AC97 or HDA anyway, so you can use that in your
Windows and the good old SBLive / ... in DOS :-).
>> I could (a) Adapt my sound card to FreeDOS.
DOS never uses soundcards. Only DOS games do, and
you do not have their source code to adapt them...
>> (b) Create an ALSA DOS-wrapper to make to convert
>> SB calls to sound cards calls.
There are no SB calls. Games try to access hardware,
and you can intercept that (emulate hardware). Quite
challenging but VSB and the SBLive / ... drivers show
that it can be done even inside DOS. Note that ALSA
does not run in DOS at all, it might be easier to use
the MPXPLAY for DOS drivers as starting point. Note
that it only supports a few modern soundcards, but it
is open source so you can start my making at least
MPXPLAY itself work with your soundcard :-)).
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