akula65 and MS SideWinder 3D Pro Win9x Drivers

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akula65 and MS SideWinder 3D Pro Win9x Drivers

Postby warstorck » 2018-12-03 @ 12:45

Hi Akula I hope you are still reading this. I tried out your drivers here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=17941
and got my 3D pro to work on one of my systems on the other one however non of them worked. I even reinstalled the original Sidewinder drivers and ran through all of the divisors again just to be sure. The System is a socket 370 machine with a pentium 3 733/133/256 on a gigabyte GA-6VXC7-4X motherboard, 512mb of pc133 ram and the joystick is plugged in through a opti82c931 ISA soundcard. The joystick does get recognized as a regular 4 button Joystick in dos games.
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Re: akula65 and MS SideWinder 3D Pro Win9x Drivers

Postby akula65 » 2018-12-05 @ 04:24

Short Version: Odds are the ISA sound card is the source of timing issues that prevent recognition of your SideWinder 3D Pro in your problematic system, but it could conceivably be any of or the sum total of all your components.

Really Long Version: The driver package was created specifically for me to use the SideWinder 3D Pro with the Creative Sound Blaster Live! cards that I had in all of my Win98 machines at the time. As I was running tests to adjust the timing within the drivers, I discovered that the only way to get the SB Live! cards to work was to fix two (apparently) unrelated timing issues within the driver. The first problem is the specific timing and control sequence to get the joystick to switch into Digital Mode. The second problem is what appears to be a latency (or delay factor) present in the driver that had to be reduced to zero (no latency) in order to get the joystick to function with the SB Live! card. I can only speculate since I don't have access to the original joystick driver source code, but it is likely that for ISA cards (i.e. pre-SB Live! sound cards), the latency is necessary in order for the driver to work due to the slower ISA bus compared to the PCI bus of the SB Live!. If memory serves, the latency is nulled out for ALL of the drivers in the package, and this is why most (but not all) of the folks who are unable to get the modified drivers to work tend to be those users with ISA sound cards.

If you look at the original manual for the SideWinder 3D Pro, Microsoft enumerated a number of sound and gameport devices that they had apparently tested and found to be incompatible with the SideWinder 3D Pro. This is a sign that ANYTHING that causes a substantial deviation from Microsoft's timing "norms" is likely to cause the SideWinder 3D Pro driver to fail to recognize the joystick and put it into Digital Mode. Since Microsoft chose to use software timing loops in the driver, there are a host of factors that impact timing relative to the driver: CPU speed, FSB speed, particular bus settings for ISA or PCI bus (depending on the sound card), etc. This is why I say that any or all of the components in your problematic system may be contributing to the timing failure of the driver. A few people using SB Live! cards have also indicated that they can't get any of the drivers in the package I created to work. This is a sign that there are cumulative timing issues of the system components that wreak havoc with joystick driver on those particular hardware configurations.

As I mentioned above, the two timing issues that I had to address seem to be independent. This means that I could conceivably create some additional driver packages that retain the varying timing for getting the joystick into Digital Mode (Problem One), but also re-introduce the latency that ISA sound cards seem to need (Problem Two). I don't have a suitable system to test if or how the driver would function with ISA sound cards, so other users would have to the testing. I also don't have the time to do this testing right now even if I did have a suitable system. Basically, this would mean users would have to go through one or more additional sets of potential drivers just as you did with the original set and see if they work.

So the question would be: Are you and/or others willing to go through additional driver sets and see if they work? I would need to set up an Open Watcom environment, adjust and recompile the original programs and then generate some additional driver sets. This might take me a little time, but not nearly as much time as the original effort took ten years ago.
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Re: akula65 and MS SideWinder 3D Pro Win9x Drivers

Postby SirNickity » 2018-12-06 @ 21:45

I might be able to help with this. I have several PCs and a SideWinder 3D Pro.

386SX25 with SB Pro 2.0, DOS / Win3.1
486DX2/66 with SB16, DOS / Win3.1
P166MMX with SB AWE32, Win95
PII-450 with SB AWE64, Win98 (waiting on parts)
--- and PCI cards ---
PIII-1.0 with SB Live!, WinME
P4-2.4 with SB Audigy, WinXP (waiting on parts)

I also have Open Watcom C++, MS VS 4.0, MS VS 6.0. No experience writing Windows drivers, just a self-taught hacker with some Linux and embedded dev experience.
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Re: akula65 and MS SideWinder 3D Pro Win9x Drivers

Postby warstorck » 2018-12-06 @ 22:10

If you have the time and are willing to make more drivers I am certainly willing to test them.
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Re: akula65 and MS SideWinder 3D Pro Win9x Drivers

Postby akula65 » 2018-12-07 @ 23:06

Then I will post driver sets in this thread, probably without any documentation for the time being, and you guys can post test results here. Once we get a sense of whether they are working, I can append documented sets to the original thread or create a new thread.

We're supposed to get up to two feet of snow this weekend, so I may have some time to work on this.
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