Reply 60 of 68, by Nazo
RetroGamer4Ever wrote on 2022-05-03, 08:27:
XP SP3 was when the OS went to shit, because they did a lot of changes under the hood in the kernel and processes, due to the security issues that were popping up and that SP broke a lot of games and drivers for soundcards. Before that, I had no issues with older 9x games, though a lot of 95-ME era games were a bit wonky due to the changes in the DirectX APIs and having to figure out OpenGL quirks.
leileilol wrote on 2022-05-03, 08:33:
Nah. It's usually FUD'd because that's when the WGA stuff came in.
Hmm. Perhaps SP2 is better for retro gaming then? But perhaps it's not a problem if you are careful what updates you install. Obviously if the computer is connected to the Internet it should be behind a firewall and that sort of thing (but then most of us are behind at least one router which is, by definition, a firewall) anyway since you're running older, less secure software (though it may be hackers aren't particularly interested in hacking an old laptop anyway, lol.) I can't remember when I actually transitioned, but I remember VDMSound in XP carried me pretty far until the days I could switch to DOSBox more. It could also be that I was just lucky in that I was just happening to play games that had fewer troubles versus some other people. I did have automatic updates turned off by the time of stuff like SP3 and WGA and when I installed SP3 I did so by integrating it into an install media (via XPLite I think) and installing clean. I guess it might be best to install SP3 for the better security (though you should still be sure you're running it behind a router or firewall of some sort anyway) and seeing how that goes, then if that fails reinstall with SP2 instead (definitely be behind a router/firewall then.) I do honestly feel like I played a lot of older games even on SP3 without problems, but I can't specifically remember much of anything useful in that regard.
guest_2 wrote on 2022-05-02, 14:41:
I always remember XP being a pain to get some older games running? Games like Duke3d, Blood, Rise of the triad and some newer like Need for Speed did not support XP.
I don't know if there might be some confusion or what, but that's totally backwards. Generally it's not a question of if a game "supports" running on anything other than the exact hardware and software it expected so much as if using something else can be made to support it because the answer is, in short, the game does not. Period. Running a retro game on anything it doesn't expect can result in troubles and what we have to do when dealing with them is adapt software and hardware as needed to try to get the best from them -- within the limitations of what we have available. Those specific examples (except NFS if you mean NFS:SE) are DOS games and didn't "support" running within any version of Windows -- not even 3.1. The question at hand isn't whether the games supported XP, but whether you can get them to run within it. I can tell you for certain I did run Blood and Duke Nukem 3D in my Windows XP days with VDMSound, but I'm not sure about the other two (I never particularly went back to ROTT. I only found it interesting as the first to do the things it did.) As for NFS, if you're talking about the DOS version, maybe try Need for Speed Special Edition which does run in Windows (albeit 9x I suppose.) I think it's supposed to be basically the same game, just looking better and with a couple more cars or something.
But, to be clear, this is basically true for all PC software. No game truly "supports" running it on anything other than exactly what the developers developed it on. With anything else you risk running into issues and may have to jump through a hoop or two to get a particular game working ideally. That's just PC gaming.
I was however unaware of NTVDM and VDMSound though.
To clarify this point too, NTVDM is built into NT itself as Microsoft's best compromise. Any time you run a legacy executable it used it automatically without you necessarily specifically knowing (though you may have noticed a small delay as it ran through its startup process since it doesn't run automatically with cmd.exe.) VDMSound is third party software that is designed to complement the built-in NTVDM and improves sound support in particular (though I would just swear I remember it actually doing something else besides sound to improve legacy gaming compatibility somewhat. I can't remember what, if so.)
In short, when playing older games on newer systems, we have to expect to have to jump through a few hoops and potentially risk losing some quality or compatibility along the way sometimes because the only alternative is to actually buy and fix up the old physical hardware to provide a perfect environment (and sometimes that could even involve a soldering iron and ordering replacement caps and stuff online.) And if you think it's bad in the PC world, just look at how much collectors spend on retro console game stuff. If you really wanted perfect retro support you'd need perfect retro hardware and then you may actually be looking at spending as much as retro console game collectors spend because you'd want two PCs with some old hardware that would be very hard to find. For example, for perfect retro DOS gaming you'd probably want a 100MHz 486 or 75MHz Pentium 1 to avoid game startup crashes but set maximum on everything and a Vibra16 soundcard for the best digital sound with either a nice daughterboard like the DB50XG or an external synthesizer. Whereas for early Windows 9x gaming you'd probably want a Pentium 2 (something like 350MHz I guess?) and maybe a combo of a Voodoo2 and a TNT2 setup with the V2 acting as a passthrough only for Glide games along with probably an Audigy ES. And, of course, all this in a desktop PC, not a laptop as laptops all too frequently compromised in hardware. And, of course, you'd want to pair each with an appropriate CRT monitor because LCDs never have handled analog inputs and low resolutions super well. This would probably get very costly and time-consuming even finding the hardware. For most of us some compromise is just absolutely necessary. You may not get everything working 100% on that old laptop, but if you jump through the hoops I think you'll get quite a lot out of it all the same.