VOGONS


Reply 40 of 55, by Uka

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OK, today I have got and tested myself a REALmagic Maxima (EM 7011 - P/N 53-000417).

Most bugs that used to happen with REALmagic Ultra II / NetStream1 (EM 8010 - P/N 53-000517) are gone 😀

Moreover, I was able to run the ReelMagic games on my older PC (386SX 33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, Trident TVGA9000C 512 KB, ESS1868F) - most games are fine there as well, while with Ultra II every game used to freeze on 386 while loading the MPEG driver.
Still, that PC is a little bit too weak for Maxima as well (the official requirements list 486/25MHz and 4 MB RAM as minimal).

So, if anyone is interested, here are some more details:

1+2. 'Dragon's Lair' / 'Space Ace' - no issue, everything works fine both on 386 and Pentium-233MMX. These are the only games that worked fine with Ultra II as well (but only on Pentium-233MMX).

3. 'The Return to Zork'. The freeze bug that used to happen for me on zooming at the sign with Ultra II is luckily gone! So that's not something related to the motherboard or CD - it could be either RM card model or its drivers, although I have suspicions about the sound card (as with Maxima instead of Ultra II I have different IRQs for MPEG and sound cards).
Unfortunately, the overlay bug is still here, as it could be guessed. So, an old model with Feature connector is required... I have never seen one on eBay either.

4. 'The Psychotron' - everything is fine on Pentium-233MMX (and Windows 98), all the screens are visible now, in difference from Ultra II!
Strangely enough, it does not work for me on 386 (in Windows 3.1 of course) - I do not get any MPEG videos there at all (in CD Station, Media Player etc.), only green screens... In 'The Psychotron' I have animated stills and transitions (that used to be empty pink on Ultra II), but not FMV. Who knows what could the problem be? The game requirements state 486/25MHz and Super VGA videocard - maybe Trident TVGA9000C is not enough for Windows? I tried changing the Windows driver from Trident 256 to standard SuperVGA 256, but it did not help.

5. 'The Horde' - that seems to work fine, but it has some issue with my sound cards (they both are not original Sound Blasters it wants). The RM driver readme says there used to be a patch on Sigma BBS to fix that issue, but where to find that now?..

6. 'Entity' - this one does not work. With Ultra II I got only freezes. Now with Maxima the game runs - but it just skips the MPEG videos to the menu and then to the game itself! Very strange. It could be that this one wants only older ReelMagic, or needs some driver tweaking? It is worth to note that if I load OM1DRV before launching 'Entity', it does not lead me into the game but just returns to DOS after a few seconds.
And the source of the available disk is very dubious - it could have been buggy from the very beginning.
More testing is needed here!

Reply 41 of 55, by uematsufreak

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Super bummed after reading this post. 🙁 I speedrun (and otherwise obsessively research) Return to Zork and went down this rabbit hole for the sole purpose of getting gameplay footage of Return to Zork MPEG online, both in the form of standard videos and live streams. The bit that I've messed with the glitched-out Return to Zork MPEG on my current setup has made me extremely happy and has left me seriously wanting to experience this properly live on stream, and see what little differences exist between it and the various other versions, but damn. I suppose it's time to stop throwing money and other resources at this and just hope to eventually have one fall in my lap through a day where I randomly decide to type "reelmagic lite" into eBay or something.

Thanks for all the help and digging, but for now I'm taking the card out of my Pentium MMX machine and deleting all traces of the software that are installed on the machine, since I'm not *truly* interested in the other titles it has to offer. (Seeing Dragon's Lair run on it was cool, but now that I've seen it, that's about all of it I really needed.)

Reply 42 of 55, by Uka

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uematsufreak, that's very sad to hear, but I understand you...
I have also bought a REALmagic card (well, now already three of them!) in order to play the best version of 'Return to Zork'. But then it became a task to get as many RM games running as possible 😀

Now, most critical bugs gone, I do enjoy the RM version of 'Return to Zork' even with those overlay pallette glitches.
And I think it would be sooner that someone would write a wrapper for this version in ScummVM or something, than we would find a rare old ReelMagic card with Feature Connector...

Uka wrote:

Strangely enough, it does not work for me on 386 (in Windows 3.1 of course) - I do not get any MPEG videos there at all (in CD Station, Media Player etc.), only green screens... In 'The Psychotron' I have animated stills and transitions (that used to be empty pink on Ultra II), but not FMV. Who knows what could the problem be? The game requirements state 486/25MHz and Super VGA videocard - maybe Trident TVGA9000C is not enough for Windows? I tried changing the Windows driver from Trident 256 to standard SuperVGA 256, but it did not help.

I have solved this problem in 'The Psychotron' (and any MPEG videos not showing in Windows 3.1) by switching from Trident TVGA9000C to Cirrus Logic VGA CL-GD5401. Strangely enough, as that latter card is even weaker with 256 KB to Trident's 512 KB, but everything works there!

Reply 44 of 55, by Uka

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uematsufreak, that's very interesting.
There was a press release about Sigma Designs releasing 'Silent Steel', but it is not actually a ReelMagic game!

In fact, it is an MPEG game that could be played on any PC, i.e. the video decoding could now be made by software...

Virtual PC 2019-07-22 04-36-56-58.jpg
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

The disk images are available on Archive.org!
And the covers are on Mobygames: https://www.mobygames.com/game/silent-steel/cover-art

Reply 45 of 55, by uematsufreak

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If you look at the description of this YouTube video, it implies that there were three PC releases of this game, and one did require an MPEG decoder card: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIxRPKOHH58

This is the standard PC CD version, and not the version designed to take advantage of the Sigma MPEG-1 decoder card. The MPEG version's video quality is a substantial improvement, however, the hardware was obscure and hard to come by at the time of release, let alone nearly 20 years later.

If you'd like to see my playthrough of the 1999 DVD re-release...

This really makes me think there is a ReelMagic version of this game, and that the eBay listing is it.

Reply 46 of 55, by Uka

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No - the one sold on eBay is exactly the one available on Archive.org.
Its readme does say it needs an MPEG card, but it is NOT ReelMagic-exclusive, any MPEG decoding will work:

MPEG SILENT STEEL requires: Windows 3.1 or greater A 386-33 or better CPU 4 Megabytes of RAM A double-speed CD ROM […]
Show full quote

MPEG SILENT STEEL requires:
Windows 3.1 or greater
A 386-33 or better CPU
4 Megabytes of RAM
A double-speed CD ROM
An MPEG MCI device driver
The appropriate video hardware or adapter card as required by the MCI
video device driver.

There are no calls to RM's FMPDRV or something.

We don't call anything special outside of
the Windows Media Control Interface (MCI) specifications for AUDIO or
VIDEO

As you can see, I have just tried running it in usual Windows 98 in Virtual PC. All the videos are shown fine!

Reply 47 of 55, by Uka

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Well, what do you know: I have just bought an earlier and longer (?) version of REALMagic card...
That would be the fourth one for me, luckily the last 😀

It is sealed - but the requirements say VGA/SVGA videocard with feature connector is required, so that could be the one that has to run 'Return to Zork' without any glitches? However, the pass-through cable is supported as well, and it also says 'CD-ROM with SCSI', which I do not have. And the logo is newer 'REALmagic', not 'ReelMagic'. It seems that 'The Psychotron' and some demos are included as well. So it could still be the newer card with the glitches...
The seller is on vacation, so it will take some time before I would be able to test it.

uematsufreak, if you are still looking for it too, I see one more such card being sold, but it is more expensive.
Or you can wait for my tests, as I have already paid 😀

As for 'Silent Steel' - indeed, it seems that besides the generic MPEG version (the one sold on eBay on that link) there was a Reel-Magic version as well. It seems that I will buy that too.

Reply 48 of 55, by Uka

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OK, I have got my fourth ReelMagic card and I am ready to report about it 😀

What I got is a sealed box of ReelMagic Lite rebranded as 'FullVideo' by Digital. Full with manuals and disks!
_b3c22052d1c1af8850e248d633149722.jpeg
_c31b5410f853c0b6ef5529e12ec0c9b1.jpeg

The card itself is 53-000362 with EM7010a (Revision A9). Strangely enough, there are pictures of EM7010a on 53-000417 (i.e. Maxima) board somewhere, but mine is certainly RM Lite as it does not have a VGA pass-through cable (and EM9000 chip), only the VESA Feature Connector.
_cd99f98875bbff4444fc6778325e25b1.jpeg

Alas, the card is very, very picky because of that! And it has a long list of 'supported and unsupported' videocards and CD-ROM drives coming with it.
Unfortunately I do not have an ISA videocard with Feature Connector, only a PCI S3 Trio that has a lot of palette problems in Windows 98. Moreover, I was not able yet to install both RealMagic card and ISA sound card in my Pentium PC - it is either this or that... Must be some IRQ/DMA conflict. I had the same problem with NetStream 1 and Maxima, too, but then it was solved more quickly.

However, what is most important is that 'Return to Zork' runs fine - finally!!!
So that overlay bug certainly relates to the pass-through cable.
Here is the comparison - the left picture is pass-through and the right is feature connector:
_e5d588ff31eafa3deb6ca69af27e8c36.jpeg _4b58399b781a18f356c6a4f9dd6f13c8.jpeg

Reply 49 of 55, by uematsufreak

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I managed to secure a ReelMagic Lite card and the game works just fine now (other than a consistent crash towards the end of the game.) I guess now the issue I'm having is with some bad vertical banding with this card in this game. It looks like it's somewhat visible in your image but nowhere near as bad as mine. Does that banding look worse in person than the image makes it out to be?

Reply 50 of 55, by Uka

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Ah, yes, there are some vertical lines visible with the feature connector being used. I did not have them before (see the left picture) as I used a Cirrus Logic videocard then without the internal connector - as far as I know, those lines appear mostly on Trident cards. Do you have one?
However they are visible on LCD screens (or on screenshots) - I have switched to an old CRT monitor and I do not think I can see them there.

And what is 'a consistent crash towards the end'? I have successfully completed 'Return to Zork' without any problems.

Reply 51 of 55, by uematsufreak

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The only card I have that seemed to work properly with this was my S3 ViRGE, so that's what I'm running on. My purpose is to capture this footage for the internet, so switching to a CRT won't help my case as much as I wish it would.

When I get to the Dwarven Mines where when I should be deposited to the Ancient Ruins, the game just locks up. I tried playing the game over from the start real quick using the speedrun route instead and I get the same problem. Also, I noticed I'm only getting the FM synth music during the mine section and no sound effects like in the CD-ROM version. This only happens when in the mines. Obviously, I'm not sure if this is normal, but I'm assuming it isn't.

Reply 53 of 55, by thierry

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Its posible to make an iso from power ranger and the cd catalog ? thanks

Uka wrote:
OK, I have got my fourth ReelMagic card and I am ready to report about it :) […]
Show full quote

OK, I have got my fourth ReelMagic card and I am ready to report about it 😀

What I got is a sealed box of ReelMagic Lite rebranded as 'FullVideo' by Digital. Full with manuals and disks!
_b3c22052d1c1af8850e248d633149722.jpeg
_c31b5410f853c0b6ef5529e12ec0c9b1.jpeg

The card itself is 53-000362 with EM7010a (Revision A9). Strangely enough, there are pictures of EM7010a on 53-000417 (i.e. Maxima) board somewhere, but mine is certainly RM Lite as it does not have a VGA pass-through cable (and EM9000 chip), only the VESA Feature Connector.
_cd99f98875bbff4444fc6778325e25b1.jpeg

Alas, the card is very, very picky because of that! And it has a long list of 'supported and unsupported' videocards and CD-ROM drives coming with it.
Unfortunately I do not have an ISA videocard with Feature Connector, only a PCI S3 Trio that has a lot of palette problems in Windows 98. Moreover, I was not able yet to install both RealMagic card and ISA sound card in my Pentium PC - it is either this or that... Must be some IRQ/DMA conflict. I had the same problem with NetStream 1 and Maxima, too, but then it was solved more quickly.

However, what is most important is that 'Return to Zork' runs fine - finally!!!
So that overlay bug certainly relates to the pass-through cable.
Here is the comparison - the left picture is pass-through and the right is feature connector:
_e5d588ff31eafa3deb6ca69af27e8c36.jpeg _4b58399b781a18f356c6a4f9dd6f13c8.jpeg

Reply 54 of 55, by Uka

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OK, I could try to make an iso of 'Power Rangers', but a little bit later! It is not a game though, just some movie (that could be run on any MPEG player, not just ReelMagic).
And the catalog is printed - it is not on disk.