VOGONS


First post, by The Serpent Rider

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So I've tested one of the earliest and slowest VGA video cards in some games - Chips&Technologies F82C451C (Jovian Logic RUBY 451)

Test setup: Pentium MMX 233mhz, AOpen AP5T, 64mb SDRAM Micron CL2

Blood - 14-15 fps (gameplay with "rate" command, full window, 320x200)
Quake - 13.7* fps (timedemo demo1, default HUD, 320x200)
Doom Shareware 1.9 - 7.5 fps (timedemo demo3, no HUD)
Heretic - 14 fps (observed gameplay, both with HUD and without).

And here's the kicker: observed Heretic performance is much better compared to Doom, both ingame and in broken timedemo loop. But what might cause such difference? Did Raven software applied some secret sauce to the engine?

*Quake fps is also much better compared to Vlask result.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 1 of 31, by BinaryDemon

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I would guess the doom rendering engine was tweaked? Maybe test Doom2 vs Heretic since both were released in 1994 and its likely Raven had access to the latest builds and bug fixes. Also does anything seem more stressful about the Doom demo3? Doom1 shareware ingame experience match the demo closely?

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 2 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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Maybe test Doom2

It's the same engine version - 1.9. I doubt it will change anything.

Doom1 shareware ingame experience match the demo closely?

Yes, single digits performance. Almost as choppy as on 386DX system.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 3 of 31, by chinny22

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Heretic has few extra tweaks like look up/down and inventory.
I guess they were just able to squeeze a little better performance out of it.

Reply 4 of 31, by Rawit

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Heretic is Mode 13h, Doom uses Mode Y. I found/read about this out after encountering a similar issue with Heretic/Hexen being super smooth and Doom being slow/stuttery, especially parts with lighting effects.

My build: Speedsys

Reply 6 of 31, by amadeus777999

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As Rawit pointed out - Mode13H is used instead of Unchained.

This effectively takes out the possibility of some of the card's internals( e.g. ALU/latches) influencing the performance... which could, hypothetically, be the source of the slowdown.

Reply 7 of 31, by silikone

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Bump for interest in more Mode Y and Mode 13h comparisons. Carmack claims that the direct hardware access to VGA memory that the former provides boosts the performance by 10-15%. Evidently, this is far from the case on some configurations. Speed aside, Heretic's lack of Vsync stinks. The least they could have done was to provide an option for VBI waiting, and if they really wanted to be ahead of the curve, fall back to immediate writing when the rendering is not on schedule.

Do not refrain from refusing to stop hindering yourself from the opposite of watching nothing other than that which is by no means porn.

Reply 8 of 31, by Scali

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The thing with Mode X/Y is that it divides up the display in 4 separate 'bitplanes', or actually byteplanes, which is inherited from the EGA standard.
You can only access one plane at a time, and switching between planes (or changing the way you read/write/mask the planes) requires writes to the EGA/VGA logic.
It looks like this logic is extremely slow on that particular card (even though the VRAM access itself may be as fast or faster than mode 13h).

http://scalibq.wordpress.com/just-keeping-it- … ro-programming/

Reply 9 of 31, by dondiego

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Mode Y was very slow on old crappy isa cards, on my trident 8900C and a DX4 Boom was much faster.

LZDoom, ZDoom32, ZDoom LE
RUDE (Doom)
Romero's Heresy II (Heretic)

Reply 10 of 31, by gerwin

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See the first post of this topic: Doom in DOS: Original vs Source Ports
The attached pdf there contains Carmack's explanation from 1994.

--> ISA Soundcard Overview // Doom MBF 2.04 // SetMul

Reply 11 of 31, by BinaryDemon

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Given this - I'm surprised there was never:

1) and update to Doom -> v2.0
or
2) a Doom Total Conversion for Heretic.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 12 of 31, by silikone

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dondiego wrote:

Mode Y was very slow on old crappy isa cards, on my trident 8900C and a DX4 Boom was much faster.

Especially slow or simply slow? Because everything is slow on ISA.

Do not refrain from refusing to stop hindering yourself from the opposite of watching nothing other than that which is by no means porn.

Reply 13 of 31, by canthearu

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BinaryDemon wrote:
Given this - I'm surprised there was never: […]
Show full quote

Given this - I'm surprised there was never:

1) and update to Doom -> v2.0
or
2) a Doom Total Conversion for Heretic.

The better response would be to not use a 286 video card to try and play a 486 based game.

(another example would be that it is possible to rewrite a 3d hardware rendered game to run better on an S3 virge, but a better response is to accept that s3 virge sucks at 3d rendering and get a more suitable card)

Reply 14 of 31, by BinaryDemon

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canthearu wrote:

The better response would be to not use a 286 video card to try and play a 486 based game.

(another example would be that it is possible to rewrite a 3d hardware rendered game to run better on an S3 virge, but a better response is to accept that s3 virge sucks at 3d rendering and get a more suitable card)

Fair enough.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 15 of 31, by Scali

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canthearu wrote:

The better response would be to not use a 286 video card to try and play a 486 based game.

Not even that. That card just sucks, period. I wouldn't even put it in a 286.
Heck, when I first built my 486DX2-66, I re-used some parts from my 386SX-16, to save money. One thing I reused was the Paradise 512k ISA card (which would classify as a '286 card').
But that card played DOOM quite acceptably, because it was just a decent card. Certainly better than 7.5 fps. Probably somewhere in the low 20s at least.
Even early ISA VGA cards can be very quick.
And even late ISA VGA cards can suck.

http://scalibq.wordpress.com/just-keeping-it- … ro-programming/

Reply 16 of 31, by The Serpent Rider

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Because everything is slow on ISA.

But everything except Doom is up to 2x more playable. Heck, even Quake is faster.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 17 of 31, by silikone

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

Because everything is slow on ISA.

But everything except Doom is up to 2x more playable. Heck, even Quake is faster.

Yeah, on this abysmal card, but does the same apply to "bad" cards in general? There has to be at least one working class friendly card out there with the courage to gracefully confront the spooky Mode X boogeyman.

Do not refrain from refusing to stop hindering yourself from the opposite of watching nothing other than that which is by no means porn.