How To: Fix Broken Sound in ScummVM under Linux

I’m running Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit, and thought I’d have a look at some old LucasArts gems today – but the version of ScummVM taken from the repos wouldn’t play any sound. So I fixed it.

  • The all-in-one complete fix:
    Fire up synaptic and install libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio then reboot. Sound (i.e. voice, samples etc) and midi should work absolutely fine now. A potential problem with this fix is that it means you have to uninstall libsdl1.2debian-alsa, which it’s possible you might want to keep. This is the route I finally took, but if I find a bunch of apps are now without sound, I’ll update the post and try to find some other methods.
  • Oh, and if you loose all sound after this (YouTube, Totem etc), then you’ve probably got gstreamer set to use ALSA, but have now removed the sdl-alsa lib, so just run gstreamer-properties and point your audio output to PulseAudio Sound Server then log out then back in. Fixed.

    Update: Although working yesterday, I found I had no sound in flash stuff today (YouTube vids etc), so I installed padevchooser from synaptic, which dragged in a couple of other pulseaudio bits and pieces, launched padevchooser, and then from the icon in the system tray (top-right in Gnome) I just selected Default for Default Server and Default Sink – closed then re-opened firefox and everything’s working again. I guess I didn’t come across this yesterday because I already had Firefox open and using flash (npviewer.bin) with the ALSA plugin already resident in memory and in use.

  • The easy fix to get midi working using ALSA:
    Try running ScummVM from the terminal as pasuspender scummvm – if you can hear midi sound when you start a game, that’s half the battle.
  • The slightly more involved midi fix:
    If the easy fix doesn’t work, grab yourself a midi file from somewhere (like this one) and play it from the terminal with timidity name-of-file.mid. If it plays, jolly good. If not, have you got timidity installed? If you have, and still can’t play a midi, read this.

    I’ll assume you can play a basic midi file from the terminal, but there’s no midi in ScummVM games (which was the situation I was in). So, first we need to find out where our midi ports are at – to do this, run the following line from the terminal: aconnect -o -l

    The output I get is:

    Midi in ScummVM wants to play on ports 17 or 65 by default, but on my box we can see that port 128 (i.e. client 128) is where the user-land midi ports are at. So now we need to modify the ScummVM config file with that data. So open up the file ~/.scummvmrc with your text editor of choice and add the line alsa_port=128:0 (or whatever your user-land aconnect -o -l output is), or if the line already exists just amend it to point at your midi port.

  • Give ScummVM another go (from the terminal so you can see its output), point the Music driver device at ALSA or Timidity now, and you should at least get midi sound, and see something like the following in the terminal output:

    Really though, I think the first option is the best, as I’ve not been able to get voice/samples working with anything other than installing the pulseaudio sdl library. I’ve just put the other options in incase you’ve a strong case against getting rid of libsdl1.2debian-alsa, and if I find there’s one in my case, I’ll come back and update things. But for now, I think I might have a crack at The Dig :)

How To: Fix Zone Alarm (zclient.exe) High CPU Usage

Think 25% CPU usage is unacceptable for a software firewall? You’d be right.

Steps to fix:
– Ctrl + Shift + Right Click on Zone Alarm icon in the system tray and select Set debug level from the pop-up menu
– Set Debug Level to Off by clicking the appropriate radio button in the Set debug level window
– Click [OK]
– Restart Zone Alarm (i.e. quit then restart it)

Works on:
ZoneAlarm version:
TrueVector version:

Feel free to delete the stupendous amount of logging dirge left behind by Zone Alarm’s “writing phase” in C:\Windows\Internet Logs while you’re at it.

How To: Fix Wii Virtual Console Black Screen Problems

If you’ve tried some Wii Virtual Console stuff out and the game appears to start – you hear things happening, but there’s just a black screen, and if you pause the game using the Home button on the Wiimote you can see the game screen – this is the problem we’re talking about.

The reason for this is that you’re using Component cables (likely to connect your Wii to a LCD or Plasma TV) and for bizarre Virtual Console-y reasons, the game isn’t set to use, or doesn’t support, Wii Component Cable Interlace Mode. Some games do, some games don’t – you can find a list of Component Interlace Mode Compatible titles here.

The bad news is that if your game doesn’t support interlace mode, the only way you’re going to be able to play it Wii VC style is to use your composite cables.

The good news is that if your game does support interlace mode you can switch it over as follows:

– Pause the game by hitting the Home button on the Wiimote
– Go to the Operations Manual for the game
– Plug a Nunchuk into your Wiimote
– To enable Component Interlace mode, hold down: Z, A and the 2 button at the same time
– To disable Component Interlace mode, hold down: Z, A and the 1 button at the same time

If the game supports it, and you’ve done it right, you should hear a chime-type sound indicating the game has switched modes. Now just get out of the operations manual and unpause and you should be able to play away to your hearts content.

Update 2013: Another option, as pointed out by The Dude in the comments below is to change your Wii display settings from 480i to 480p. You might consider doing this anyway (if you haven’t already) to get the best picture quality as possible out of your Wii.

How To: Fix Broken Sound in Totem on Jaunty 9.04

I un-installed ALSA and re-installed a diff version the other day, and somehow managed to lose sound in totem (i.e. movie player) in Ubuntu 9.04. Sound and video was fine in VLC (VideoLan), music played fine in RhythmBox… just no music or sound to avi’s in totem. Anyways, fixed it tonight – here’s how:

Run gstreamer-properties and change your audiosink to ALSA (assuming you’re using ALSA) or whatever you plan on using that works in other apps like this:


Then, open up gconf-editor and change the keys shown in the pic below to alsasink from whatever bastardised string it’s currently at:


And if all that doesn’t work (which it did for me) – try getting totem-xine or using VLC instead ;)

Comments always welcome if this does/doesn’t work for you.