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Developer: Origin Systems, Inc.
Header: Custom
Content: Notational
Instruments: Optional
Target Output
Output - Digital Audio - No.png Output - MIDI.png Output - FM Synthesis.png Output - PSG.png
Released: 1988-??-??
First Game: Times of Lore (DOS)
  • *.m
  • *.tm

M, it is assumed that M stands for Music, is an audio format created by Origin Systems and was used in several of their games from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. The format stores game music and, using drivers, can be sent to various output devices including AdLib, Creative Music System, Roland MT-32, Sound Master, SSI 2001, and Tandy 3 Voice, although not every game that used the M format supported each device.

The format does not store system exclusive data for any Roland devices, but is handled by the game itself before the song is to be played. If you plan on recording your own audio, you must first manually send the SysEx data to your device or the music will use incorrect instruments.


There are multiple versions of the M format. The format was originally made for Times of Lore (DOS) where it is compressed with an LZW algorithm. The AdLib and Creative Music System formats are stored in the M files, and the Tandy 3 Voice music is stored in separate TM files. A later version was used in Ultima VI: The False Prophet (DOS) which uses the same LZW compression, but it incorporates the Tandy music into the M file and adds support for the SSI 2001 and Sound Master. Finally, Bad Blood (DOS) appears to use a new, and, as of yet unidentified, compression format.

It's possible that the first two Wing Commander games used M (WC1 uses a .MID extension, but it's a packed file, not MIDI).


  • AdPlug - DOS, foobar2000, UNIX, Winamp, XMMS (Doesn't handle all compression formats)


Released Title Sample
1989-02-?? Times of Lore (DOS)
1990-??-?? Bad Blood (DOS)
1990-??-?? Ultima VI: The False Prophet (DOS)

How to Obtain

For Times of Lore, Ultima 6, and Bad Blood, the M files are located in the root install folder. The two Worlds of Ultima games (Savage Empire and Martin Dreams) doesn't use M but MIDI, and they're kept in compressed resource files.


If you want to study the structure of M files, they can be decompressed with the Ultima LZW Decompressor, although AdPlug can only play compressed files.