YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-12 @ 18:56

Splinter Cell is a great reason to build a retro gaming PC :)

It will only display correctly and in its full glory, on a GeForce 3, 4 and FX.

I spent a bit of time with this game and its interesting technical details and put together a video.

The first part is a lot of bla bla, me talking about the hardware parts for a suggested retro PC.

The highlight is an video comparison of how the game looks on a retro PC compared to on modern PCs and this part is quite fascinating.

To view the entire videos here:

https://youtu.be/nB9BTbtNyDw

https://youtu.be/LSDOINLr37I

https://youtu.be/cZNGNU82SAA

https://youtu.be/sXWHaADTKk4

My recommended system for an awesome Splinter Cell retro PC:

XP SP2
Intel S478 board with 865 chipset
Around 2 GHz P4
Geforce FX 5950 Ultra
SATA HDD and optical drive
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 SZ
gog.com DRM free version of Splinter Cell
Last edited by Mau1wurf1977 on 2014-4-15 @ 07:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby d1stortion » 2014-4-12 @ 19:12

Never heard anything about this issue (haven't played the game anyway). That is quite a big difference indeed.

I took a quick look at the Xbox version and it seems the effects you are talking about are missing there as well, even though its NV2A should be able to display them theoretically.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-12 @ 19:14

d1stortion wrote:I took a quick look at the Xbox version and it seems the effects you are talking about are missing there as well, even though its NV2A should be able to display them theoretically.


Really?

Is this on a real Xbox, or emulated on a 360?

I actually purchased a copy of the game for the 360. Put it in and it told me I need a hard drive :blah: :dead: :depressed:

The NTSC version on a NTSC console should play at 480p through component. But not many have such a setup these days...
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby d1stortion » 2014-4-12 @ 19:19

Well this is the video I was looking at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JriSe12tzd8 It's emulated on the 360 indeed, with lower framerate apparently.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-12 @ 19:21

d1stortion wrote:Well this is the video I was looking at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JriSe12tzd8 It's emulated on the 360 indeed, with lower framerate apparently.


Funny fact: I couldn't find a single walkthrough recorded on an original Xbox (is that what the call the real Xbox 1)...

It should have all the shadows and effects just like on the PC.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Tr3vor42532 » 2014-4-14 @ 00:25

As far as this game goes, I won't play it on PC, its far too picky with hardware. Even a Geforce 6 card won't do the dynamic shadows.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby d1stortion » 2014-4-14 @ 00:38

Tr3vor42532 wrote:As far as this game goes, I won't play it on PC, its far too picky with hardware. Even a Geforce 6 card won't do the dynamic shadows.

"The Way It's Meant To Be Played", guess not anymore with the new fancy GF6 :lol:
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby leileilol » 2014-4-14 @ 00:38

And then there's a bit of confusion since certain ports were handled later by Ubisoft Shanghai that made some compromises and alterations to the PS2 and GCN ports. UnrealEngine2 in its earlier days was notoriously fussy about hardware as well - like UT2003 doesn't work on half of the hardware UT2004 can.


What happens if you throw it through 3DAnalyze! with DeviceID spoofing?
by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-14 @ 03:30

leileilol wrote:What happens if you throw it through 3DAnalyze! with DeviceID spoofing?


I don't even know what that means :blush: But if that would fix it we would know about it :)

Played quite a bit last night. In the CIA levels there the shiny tiles "act up" on the FX but display fine on the Geforce 4. Tried older drivers, but for the 5950 Ultra the older drivers only go back so far.

When the 5800 Ultra launched it came with driver 42.63, which is very close to the one recommended by Ubisoft, which is 41.09.

I couldn't see any glitches on the GF4, even with the very latest driver which is 90 something.

While the readme mentions the NV3x chip, it actually doesn't list the Geforce FX as supported card. I believe it wasn't out at this point yet.

But this was the only bug I cam across and you do get double the frame rate which is very handy at 1080p resolution.

Tr3vor42532 wrote:As far as this game goes, I won't play it on PC, its far too picky with hardware. Even a Geforce 6 card won't do the dynamic shadows.


Yea the Geforce 6 is too new for this game and you would have to play it in mode 0 which uses projected shadows.

I really wanted to try the XBox version on my 360 to compare, but it tells me I need a hard drive (I have the 4GB Flash version). Quite annoyed.

There are HD remakes on the PS3 (Watched a bit on YT, shadows look good, but HUD and other elements appear stretched).

How would an original XBox with component cables look on a modern TV? Would it display correctly in 4:3 aspect ratio?

Are there any workarounds for playing old Xbox games on a 4GB 360?
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby d1stortion » 2014-4-14 @ 12:50

You google the program, download it, set the ID for a GF4, GFFX or whatever and run the game, it's rather trivial. Had some luck with this enabling some settings on an Intel GPU for Need for Speed Most Wanted (coincidentally shadows), but it was dirt slow.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-14 @ 16:49

Working on my first retro walkthrough :blush:

It will likely be the only video on YT showing the PC version on a Geforce4.

I found another area with the FX glitching. In the Defence Ministry level, after you exit the elevator there are some funky shadows from the sun going through the window. In one is a flower, that one is glitchy on the FX.

So I believe the Geforce4 is THE card for this game :)

Pandora Tomorrow came out in March 2004 and the FX was launched before that. It is also mentioned in the readme as tested and working. Whereas with Splinter Cell the FX is not actually mentioned.

So I will change my recommendation to the Geforce4 :)

Question: How does the top Geforce3 stack up against the Geforce4 in this game? Was the Ti500 the fastest one? Would love to test it.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby vetz » 2014-4-14 @ 17:02

Well, for me frame rate uber alles, so if I'm going to play this game again (played it on the Xbox back in the days) I'm going with 60fps and highest resolution possible with my FX5950 Ultra :)
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-14 @ 17:13

vetz wrote:Well, for me frame rate uber alles, so if I'm going to play this game again (played it on the Xbox back in the days) I'm going with 60fps and highest resolution possible with my FX5950 Ultra :)


And you will have a blast :) The glitches are very, very, minor and don't affect gameplay. But for my walkthrough I went with a Geforce4 Ti 4800 SE because it's meant to act as a reference and when watching it on YT the frame rate doesn't matter much, with YT not going past 30 fps anyway.

Even on a FX you won't get 60fps most of the time. But the good thing is that this game is quite slow paced. It doesn't need to run at high frames to be enjoyable. On the Geforce 4 I would say it runs between 20 and 30 fps most of the time and it's not a big deal.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-15 @ 01:45

Vetz maybe you can keep an eye out for this issue on the FX.

My heart skipped when read the fixes of ForceWare 56.64 http://downloads.guru3d.com/ForceWare-5 ... d-753.html

Some of the Issues Resolved in Version 56.64
GeForce FX 5700/5700 Ultra/5950 Ultra, Windows XP: Rendering problems in Splinter Cell buffer shadow mode.


Unfortunately it didn't resolve my issue. Maybe it's a bug with my card?

I took images of the issue. It's in the "Defence Ministry" mission. If you want savegames let me know :)

The first one is with these shiny textures. They suddenly become shiny. Also happens in the CIA level:

Image

Image

The other is with some shadows glitching:

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-15 @ 02:51

Weird development

So I tried my FX5500 AGP 8x and this card displays the shadows perfectly!

Could it be that my FX5950 Ultra is a bit faulty? Are these two cards based on the same chip?

Also that shiny texture is also on the Geforce4, so I don't think it's a bug. But there was something similar, just a lot worse, in the CIA level.

EDIT: Ok the FX5500 is also good in the CIA level.

So yea, if someone could test this with another FX 5950 Ultra that would be awesome :)
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby swaaye » 2014-4-15 @ 03:11

Strange stuff there. That they specify 5700/5900 as having had this bug fixed but it doesn't work....

There are really two generations of GeForce FX GPUs. NV30/31/34 and NV35/36/38. Big differences between the two groups. That would be my guess as to the cause of different results between 5500 (NV34) and 5900 (NV35 or 38). Probably running quite different paths in the driver.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-15 @ 03:18

Ok I swapped back to the Geforce4 and the shiny texture issue is definitely not present, but present on both FX cards. The 5950 Ultra also has a shadow bug.

So it could be that the differences in chips causes the shadow glitch on the 5950 Ultra with both having the shiny texture bug.

So my conclusion is that this game is really best played on a Geforce4. I might add some annotations to the video or do it again :blah:
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby swaaye » 2014-4-15 @ 03:21

Do any other games use these proprietary NV shadow buffers?
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-4-15 @ 03:39

swaaye wrote:Do any other games use these proprietary NV shadow buffers?


Pandora Tomorrow does. This one officially supports the FX range with clear mentioning in the readme file.

This game doesn't have shadow projections and is more or less unplayable on newer systems.

I believe all of this relates to Nvidia DirectX extensions or something like that.
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Re: YT Video: Building a retro gaming PC for Splinter Cell!

Postby Tr3vor42532 » 2014-4-15 @ 04:32

Those screenshots look amazing. I wish I had something that could run it with those settings, although I'm not going to go out of my way to get something for this one game.

Seriously, this game is in my list of top worst PC ports....
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