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S3D GLQuake - any real value in it?

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First post, by feipoa

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I have a socket 4 system setup with a Pentium Overdrive 133. I'm using an S3 card, the VirgeGX. A Dell Nitro 3D with VGABIOS v1.3.

At 320x200 in DOS, the quake timedemo scores is 28.3 fps
At 320x200 in Windows, the S3 GLquake timedemo score is 12.7 fps
At 400x300 = 10.6 fps (using the noted autoexec.cfg setting)
At 640x480 = 7.1 fps (using the noted autoexec.cfg settings)
At 640x480 = 6.6 fps (default settings)

I'm using the the miniGL wrapper for S3 which requires DirectX 6.1. I have installed DirectX 6.1. With the following recommendations,

To increase performance add the following to autoexec.cfg in your quake directory:
gl_texturemode "GL_NEAREST" - Turns off BiLinear filtering
gl_fullbright "1" - Turns off lighting
gl_picmip "1" - Blurs textures

I only get about 0.5 fps more.

Am I doing something wrong? Why would there be an S3 Quake minigl if it is slower than software mode?

For some reason, the option for 640x480 isn't available in software mode (DOS and Windows) for the Virge GX graphics card I'm using. Not sure w hy. Univbe 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 were of no use. 5.2 made the modes appear, but the screen goes black, then grey, then flickers, and nothing happens at 640x480.

Last edited by feipoa on 2019-10-09, 22:40. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 2 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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I think lightmaps are killing it more. For example Blood 2 runs somewhat playable at 400x300 with filtering, but without lightmaps.

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Reply 4 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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Depends. Virge DX/GX can actually accelerate, but you had to sacrifice all the bells and whistles like filtering, high resolution, etc. 3Dfx Voodoo 1 set just the bar too high for any budget card.

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Reply 5 of 31, by BinaryDemon

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So this guy here is running GLQuake on a P3 1ghz with Win98 and his S3 Virge GX is at 400x300:

https://youtu.be/llYTUPUEPBE?t=805

He doesn't do a benchmark or anything but it seems playable.

But yes, not sure why you would choose this over a software renderer - like WinQuake.

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Reply 6 of 31, by leileilol

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Not every CPU is a Pentium that can take advantage of the 2x span routines. 😀 In better context, this would make more sense in a trashy lower-end Cyrix6x86 system that'd likely suffer with a Virge in '97...

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Reply 7 of 31, by feipoa

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BinaryDemon wrote:
So this guy here is running GLQuake on a P3 1ghz with Win98 and his S3 Virge GX is at 400x300: […]
Show full quote

So this guy here is running GLQuake on a P3 1ghz with Win98 and his S3 Virge GX is at 400x300:

https://youtu.be/llYTUPUEPBE?t=805

He doesn't do a benchmark or anything but it seems playable.

But yes, not sure why you would choose this over a software renderer - like WinQuake.

Very interesting video. This guy was really dedicated to seeing what the Virge GX could do in 3D. There was a consistent them in the video though, along the lines of "I had to disable a lot of detail", running it at 400x300, and, the take away message for me was the comment that Quake 2, with the S3 Virge GX and a 1 GHz Pentium, plays about the same as a Pentium 166 in software mode. This card seems like a fairly impressive decelerator. Anyone here actually use it for 3D "acceleration" back in the day?

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Reply 8 of 31, by Putas

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feipoa wrote:

Am I doing something wrong?

CPU too weak or some software issue. With strong CPU Virge /GX does 7+ fps in first demo- with image quality features on and at 640x480.

It is really not a decelerator compared with processors of it's time.

Reply 9 of 31, by feipoa

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Sorry, I typed the 400x300 value incorrectly. I found my note from the trash. It should be,

S3D GLQuake
640x480 = 6.6 fps (default settings)
640x480 = 7.1 fps (using the noted autoexec.cfg settings)
400x300 = 10.6 fps (using the noted autoexec.cfg setting)

I will edit the original post. Still looks like a decellerator card to me compared to software mode.

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Reply 10 of 31, by Putas

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Ok, that is expected result. The lack of difference between quality and resolution settings points at the CPU starvation. That kind of setup having the conundrum of fast software renderer or slow but nice hardware one.

Virge, the unfortunate.

Reply 11 of 31, by feipoa

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lol, Virge - best when paired with a Voodoo!

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Reply 12 of 31, by Phido

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There were multiple driver versions, some drivers are much *MUCH* faster than others. There were also a whole bag of tweaks.
They worked a lot better on faster S3 versions. The very last S3 cards would play older games quite well.
There are 3 directx to opengl wrappers. DX5 had no filtering, DX6 had filtering and the best was the techland one, but that required more CPU.

I was able to get Quake, Quake2 and Q3Areana playing on a S3 Virge GX/2 AGP.
Some games the S3 Virge was tolerable. Incoming on a later Virge GX2 or Trio3D with SGRAM was quite playable at lower resolutions.

The card had its flaws. But it was generally pretty cheap from lesser name OEMs. If you could find one fitted with good memory, a memory overclock was possible.

Think of it as a slower Matrox Mystique. For earlier Directx 5 and earlier games, and 1994/5 games.

Reply 13 of 31, by kjliew

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Phido wrote:

Think of it as a slower Matrox Mystique. For earlier Directx 5 and earlier games, and 1994/5 games.

The Serpent Rider wrote:

Virge DX/GX can actually accelerate, but you had to sacrifice all the bells and whistles like filtering, high resolution, etc. 3Dfx Voodoo 1 set just the bar too high for any budget card.

How irony as such was probably Matrox business plan with Mystique, and Matrox was so badly criticized for leaving out bilinear filtering and some blending modes for speed and taking for granted that everyone should be happy with 3D as soaked up SVGA. 🤣 S3 business plan for ViRGE was "3D is just a checklist as long as we have it, too". Traditional PC graphics players were mostly betting against the onset of 3D revolution in PC game industry. They did not believe the sparks would turn into fires and they got burned, ATI survived.

Reply 14 of 31, by Putas

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kjliew wrote:

S3 business plan for ViRGE was "3D is just a checklist as long as we have it, too".

Obviously not. They were among the pioneers pushing developers into 3d acceleration. it is easy to predict performance demands will raise so quickly- but only hindsight.

Reply 15 of 31, by kjliew

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Putas wrote:

Obviously not. They were among the pioneers pushing developers into 3d acceleration. it is easy to predict performance demands will raise so quickly- but only hindsight.

Oh great 🤣 So S3 actually opened the road to their own demise with intention or by accident. I am indeed less of an S3 historian compared to 3Dfx. 3Dfx Voodoo really caught all traditional 2D players by surprise.

Reply 16 of 31, by vetz

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The Virge was designed back in 95 and the landscape was completely different then. Also it was never intended for highend users. If you look at all the early cards no-one really knew who would win the 3D war and how it would turn out. Just think of the failure with Nvidia's first card! Also in late 96, many thought Rendition Verite would win since it had Quake and was a better value proposition than the Voodoo. In the end it turned out that raw performance was what counted.

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Reply 17 of 31, by 386SX

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feipoa wrote:

🤣, Virge - best when paired with a Voodoo!

Beside the resulting final monitor signal quality ... imho S3 Virge was most of the time not built along high quality pcb components and the general analog output signal wasn't the best; this added to the Voodoo (1)... 😵
Matrox cards of those years imho had the best analog video signal for the add-on cards like Voodoo or Dxr3. 😉

Reply 18 of 31, by 386SX

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But wasn't the S3D GLQuake only a Direct3D wrapper? I only knew about this patch in these modern years but back then it'd have been great to see it running on the S3 Trio3D AGP I had, back then I've never ever seen a game running ok with, on both textures and effects. Probably modern games (like Half Life) and/or not the best drivers.
I bought few weeks later a Voodoo3 2000 new cause of it and I paid it too much, considering the K62-350 I had and just the few games I played when a Voodoo1 would have been more than enough for evrything with my old 640x480 monitor.. 😵