I knew about RealMagic for a long time...
But I also began to deal with this problem closely about a month ago.
Uka is probably one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet at the moment on this technology.
He gave me some consultations earlier.
I bought a RealMagic XCard for experiments ($2 price).
Here 's what I managed to find out in the course of my research.
- XCard plays standard MPEG1 (Non-standard formats - artifacts)
- XCard playback on an LCD monitor (mediocre quality)
- XCARD playback on CRT TV via S-Video cable (good video quality)
Huge problems with drivers and video playback software (terrible compatibility, unavailability on the Internet).
About the launch of games on the original RM:
There is a DOS program (http://mpegone.de/) that is capable of reproducing RM MPEG without hardware. (Compatibility is about 60% according to my tests)
The real RM hardware also experienced huge problems with running games that were specially made for it...
Special patches and specific hardware are needed otherwise there will be failures.
Here 's what the developer himself writes :
If you are experiencing color palette problems with some of your
software programs, such as wrong colors or posterized images, it is
most likely that you have a local bus VGA adapter. Some software
does not pass the palette information to the feature connector as the
palette changes. Since RealMagic gets the palette information from
the feature connector, wrong colors will result.
One solution is to connect your VGA display directly to your VGA
board, in effect bypassing the RealMagic board, when you are using
this software. Another solution is to connect the two VGA outputs,
one from RealMagic and the other from your VGA board, to a VGA signal
switch box. This type of device allows you to switch between the
RealMagic VGA output and your VGA board output with a flick of a
Playing DRAGON'S LAIR
The RealMagic DOS driver must be loaded before playing Dragon's Lair.
A batch file is created in the RealMAGC directory called DRAGON.BAT
which handles all this for you. To play Dragon's Lair, place the CD
in your CD-ROM drive and type:
CD \RealMAGC and press <Enter>
DRAGON and press <Enter>
Note: the batch file assumes your CD-ROM drive letter is "D". If this is
not the case, you will need to use a text editor to modify the batch
file. The line which reads:
should be changed to reflect your CD-ROM's drive letter (e.g. "E:").
Playing THE HORDE
You must have RealMagic Software Version 1.10 or later to run the
MPEG version of The Horde. If you have the RealMagic Lite, make
sure your sound card is 100% SoundBlaster(TM) compatible. Some
sound cards, such as the Media Vision ProAudio Spectrum 16(TM) and
boards that use the Media Vision PAS 16(TM) chip set, will not work
with The Horde (no sound). Crystal Dynamics has provided a fix for
this in the form of a new HORDE.EXE. It is available on the Sigma
Designs BBS for download.
Another sound card, the Sound Galaxy Pro(TM) from Aztech, requires
a special command when starting The Horde. Modify the PLAY.BAT file
in the \HORDE directory (created by the INSTALL program) to start
The Horde with the command line "HORDE /S:SBLASTER" (between FMPLOAD
and FMPLOAD /U). Without this command line option, the volume
controls of the Sound Galaxy Pro will be set to zero each time you
start The Horde.
If you use disk caching programs, such as Microsoft SMARTDRV, you
MAY experience hanging problems. If you do, try turning off the
"write-caching" to the hard drive where The Horde has been installed.
For example, if you use SMARTDRV and The Horde is installed on drive
C:, use the command SMARTDRV C to turn off "write-caching" on drive C:.
Playing RETURN TO ZORK
You must have RealMagic Software Version 1.11 or later to run the
MPEG version of Return To Zork. The Return To Zork installation
program will check the version of your RealMagic driver to make sure
you have a compatible version. You can also find Version 1.11 of
the RealMagic software on the MPEG version of the Return To Zork CD.
Playing MAN ENOUGH
You must have RealMagic Software Version 2.00 or later to run the
MPEG version of Man Enough. Be sure to read the README.TXT file on
the Man Enough CD for installation instructions.
Games used to be better!