VOGONS


First post, by Dochartaigh

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My P3 with GeForce 4 build has been going great these past couple weeks (~60 games up and running so far!), but I want to see what all the fuss is about 3dfx Voodoo2 and Glide games so I ordered a Voodoo2 12mb and started messing around with it (and am looking into a SLI setup as well maybe).

To my surprise, even after reading all these forum posts and watching probably 50+ videos, I still have a TON of questions which weren't covered. Like really simple nitty-gritty type stuff. Even basic installation (or what should I buy) questions, even down to which exact games would be best served to be played on a Voodoo setup (stay with me about how the multiple lists are not adequate, and why...). Can anybody help educate me on the below? I'm going to be a dork and number them since there's quite a few...


PHYSICAL SETUP (mostly about a SLI setup):

(1.) If I want to go for a Voodoo2 SLI setup, I know it's best to match the brand of cards (although FastVoodoo 4.6 can use mismatched cards), and their amount of RAM, but does the brand of RAM on the card matter at all (none match what I have now)? I have a feeling it's perfectly fine, but just wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything.

(2.) When I install both cards, I can use ANY open PCI slots, right? Even a couple slots away from each other? I want to try to space them apart enough so I can maybe fit a fan blowing on them (heard these cards run hot), but it's tight in there.

(3.) What dictates what is the 'master' Voodoo2 which outputs the signal to the monitor? When I see SLI setups I only see 1 looped VGA cable - the other Voodoo2 card has no VGA hooked up, just the internal ribbon cable. Phil's video on the Voodoo2 drivers didn't go into how to choose which one outputs video unless I missed it (and if there's no setting for this, then BOTH cards would be outputting 100% of video at the same time??? – which might be cool for a dual monitor setup...)

(4.) This is probably a stupid question, but I've been corrected here when I called this a video card -  I was told it's an "add-on card" which people keep on stressing ONLY does 3D. No 2D at all. So is this literally not even drawing the 2d menus I pull-up in games, or the overlaid HUD's of games? Just curious how it actually works as I've never routed one video card through another before...

(5.) Anything to watch out for when pairing these with such a newer video card like my GeForce 4 ti? I found one post with problems doing this, and another who said he was fine... Seems to be OK so far in my limited testing on my CRT monitor (I do get some real quick stripes of color/tv-like-fuzz flash across the screen when it's switching from Windows desktop to a Glide game - is that normal?)

(6.) There's a bunch of DOS Glide games (assuming Voodoo1 games), do I need any DOS drivers for my Voodoo2 when I reboot into DOS mode for DOS games, correct? One post says yes another says no...another post says that I have to add some lines into my autoexec.bat? Another list seems to have an entire zip file filled with patches and custom launchers to do this?


NON-HARDWARE QUESTIONS:
(7.) Granted I have very limited experience so far, but right off the bat I'm already running into some issues. I tried the 7 games I already had loaded which were on some of the Glide lists.

Here's my first impressions (and issues) with those games:

Diablo II in Glide looked the same to me as on my GeForce card (but of course it's hard to compare when to change modes I had to exit the game, pop in the setup CD, run the video test to get the option to switch back to Direct3d or DirectDraw, switch disc again then play it in that mode 🤣...i.e. can't compare side-by-side). Blood wouldn't work for me (think that was a bad copy though, will retry). Only had Descent 1 instead of 3 which uses Glide I believe (there's a wrapper/hack for 1 and 2 I read?). Quake is supposed to be Glide I thought but then found out it's not unless you use a GLQuake wrapper which I will have to find and install. Think Hexen/Heretic have a wrapper too (but I have to patch the program first, a post or two mentioned?). And last, Quake III ran WAY better on the GeForce 4 – I know I don't have a SLI setup now, but it's like no comparison. Just the Voodoo2's 800x600 vs. GeForce 1600x12000 at over 85+ FPS I was getting demolished the Voodoo2 (can't imagine it being that much better at 1024x768). Outlaws wouldn't work in Glide at all (seems like Glide was only implemented in a later version than mine)....

(8.) So the above leads me to a couple other related points: I researched and researched, down the rabbit hole, and I'm kinda totally lost with all of these Glide wrappers? How some games didn't have Glide support at first, but then the developers released a version (or fix) with Glide at a later date? Seems like some were also unofficial add-ons (I assume by programmers/3rd parties)? - Some of those even seem to be from years and years later (like 10 years later they're still making these???) Then I keep on getting lists for GoG, DOSBox, nGlide and other glide wrappers...man, talk about overload. Can anyone shed light on this confusion, or where to start?

(8b.) That brings me a related point - if there's all these different versions, where do you find all this information about what game has what in what version, came with what initially, what version to get, if you need a 3rd party wrapper (and/or which wrapper works best for each game), then (C.) is it really worth it to still run Glide instead of running it on the faster GeForce 4 over DirectX or DirectDraw or Direct3D (or whatever is the difference between those)?

Example of issues just getting "Outlaws" to work...

To try to get Outlaws to work I tried FIVE different versions of Outlaws from all over the place and none had Glide...then when I got more specific with my search on glide wrappers for this game I found out I needed to find a specific later version of it (haven't done that yet fyi). I then told myself, that just like every other type of video/computer game there has to be lists out there. I mean, I can find the native resolution of every single game from NES to OG Xbox with a quick Google search – there has to be extensive lists with all this information out there for Glide and 3dfx Voodo cards... and literally 4+ hours of researching later, nope. There really isn't a list like this (or I lack the knowledge to know it when I see it). Of course I've found separate lists (from this forum and others) for DOS-only Glide games, Windows Glide games, those guys at Zeus software have a list people referenced several time (which is for nGlide but pertains to regular/original Glide too?).... but nothing that actually shows what games originally had Glide, which came with it later, which versions you'll need to search out, which patches you might need, the different flavors/types of wrappers available, which might be the best ones to look into, and finally, if it's even worth it to use Glide if the game can run faster and at a higher resolution if you have a later non-Glide video card (then to compound all this info you can then research add-ons to a game for more modern resolutions...like there's a million 'high-res' mods for Diablo II for example).

(9) So, the above being said, can you help me narrow down what exactly I should look for when searching out Voodoo2/Glide games? 

I'm thinking, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that since I have a non-glide video card that's way more powerful since it's 2 years newer than my P3 is, that I should maybe be focusing on games which have a max resolution of 1024x768 (max of a Voodoo2 SLI setup)? Because anything else that goes higher than that (and which my GeForce can get a much faster framerate with as well), it's probably no point in trying those out on Glide, right? (and is this kinda what they're talking about when I read things about a Glide to OpenGL wrapper for higher resolutions?)  OR am I missing the point of Glide all together? 

OR, and I think there is some validity of this - most of the Glide show-off and/or comparison videos I've seen are captured on a digital capture card, the guys are playing them on a LED, then we're watching them on a modern computer with a LCD/LED/non-CRT screen. Like Phil's comparison of Tomb Raider is night and day from Glide vs. non-Glide in terms of the jaggies. I'm not seeing rastic differences like that with the games I've tried so far and maybe it's because I'm playing on a CRT monitor? And NO LCD/OLED/IPS/etc can compare to 480p+ on a CRT. Just the phosphor decay and slight bloom helps smooth out everything drastically.

OR should I then be looking at the Glide wrappers? Aren't some of those wrappers specifically meant meant for non-Glide cards like my GeForce 4, to then be able to play games with the Glide API, but on a non-Glide card (or am I totally getting this wrong?)

Reply 1 of 5, by Oetker

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1) I don't think the brand of ram on the cards matters.
2) Any slot is fine
3) No idea, sorry
4) 2d elements in 3d games are still drawn by the 3d cards, a HUD element in a 3d game will be drawn on a rectangle made up of triangles with alpha blending/testing enabled to cut out transparent pixels
5) I have no experience with this but I can't imagine newer cards being an issue.
6) Some DOS games are only Voodoo1 compatible and need to be patched to run on a Voodoo 2. Some don't work on a V2 at all. Games that work on a V2 don't need drivers.
7/8/9)
-It seems you're confused on what a Glide wrapper is. A Glide wrapper converts from Glide to Direct3D or OpenGL, so Glide games can be played on a non-3DFX card.
-Of course anything that runs properly on the Geforce 4 will run way, way better than on a Voodoo 2, it's a much newer card.
-GLQuake is an OpenGL game. Back when it was released 3DFX cards weren't OpenGL compatible and 3DFX released a wrapper DLL so it would run on their cards, pretty much a reverse Glide wrapper. This is called a OpenGL minidriver. Due to the lackluster state of 3D graphics cards in ~1997 this was the best way to run the game, but a card with good OpenGL compatibility will do much better than the Voodoo 2.
-Due software rendering still being standard and multiple competing 3D accelerators existing in about 97/98 you saw games getting patches for some of these API's. For example POD got patches for many API's and you'd need to research per game which is the best way to play it.
-Due to the lackluster state of non-3DFX cards in this time period, yes, sometimes the Glide version isn't the only 3D accelerated version but is the best one. For these cases using a Glide wrapper with a non-3DFX card might be worth it.
-For some games you have seen video's / screenshots comparing software rendering to Glide, which would have been pretty much the only two realistic options back then, as even if a game supported OpenGL or DIrect3D or PowerVR the cards that supported these APIs were worse than the Voodoo 2.
-For games like Diablo 2 and Blood the only reason for Glide support was that texture filtering was neat at the time. I don't think anyone plays these versions of these games as anything than a curiosity.
-By the time Quake 3 was released, 3DFX cards were getting irrelevant.
-Really the point of a 3DFX card is playing a (very, very limited set of) games that work on nothing else or are limited using other cards, or using realistic vintage hardware for a certain time span of about 2 years. I use a Voodoo 3 in my retro machine as it does well at everything (2D, 3D non-Glide and Glide) and is a PCI card. A Voodoo 2 is much more limited in how useful it is.

For some games it's just complex. Unreal used to run best on 3DFX hardware. Then the game's D3D/OpenGL support improved and by the time Unreal Tournament was around many people were playing using D3D and OpenGL. However, the versions of those APIs supported by the games eventually got so old that modern cards had trouble running them; I remember playing Unreal using a Glide wrapper in the mid-2000s as a way to get it to play nice with my modern video card as the wrapper translated Glide to a modern version of Direct3D. Eventually the community released D3D9/D3D10 renderers for those games solving that problem.

Reply 2 of 5, by Dochartaigh

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Thank you for the information and for writing such a detailed reply! (and sorry I didn't see this sooner)

Oetker wrote on 2020-02-10, 08:06:

-It seems you're confused on what a Glide wrapper is. A Glide wrapper converts from Glide to Direct3D or OpenGL, so Glide games can be played on a non-3DFX card.

I was definitely confused. So this means that some games can ONLY be played on a Glide-compatible card, unless you have the Glide wrapper (assuming 3rd party?) update/hack/add-on installed, they simply can't be played on a non-Glide card? This confuses me because I've tried a whole bunch of Glide-compatible games and every single one worked on my GeForce card as well. I haven't searched out any special versions of any games, although for a few I did download official patches that the developer themselves released (i.e. not 3rd party).

Out of curiosity what are some of the more popular games which won't work on non-Glide cards? I did a quick search and saw a reference to Incoming being glide-only (and I had that loaded already so I tested it), and that one also works on my GeForce for example.

Oetker wrote on 2020-02-10, 08:06:

-GLQuake is an OpenGL game. Back when it was released 3DFX cards weren't OpenGL compatible and 3DFX released a wrapper DLL so it would run on their cards, pretty much a reverse Glide wrapper. This is called a OpenGL minidriver. Due to the lackluster state of 3D graphics cards in ~1997 this was the best way to run the game, but a card with good OpenGL compatibility will do much better than the Voodoo 2.

Gotcha. So in my case with the beefy GeForce 4 ti there's really no point in playing Quake on the Voodoo's then. I am going to search more for those games that won't run on anything but a 3dfx card though - see if I have any interest in those (and see if I'm going to keep the Voodoo 2s as well). Thanks again.

Reply 3 of 5, by derSammler

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Oetker wrote on 2020-02-10, 08:06:

-GLQuake is an OpenGL game. Back when it was released 3DFX cards weren't OpenGL compatible and 3DFX released a wrapper DLL so it would run on their cards, pretty much a reverse Glide wrapper. This is called a OpenGL minidriver. Due to the lackluster state of 3D graphics cards in ~1997 this was the best way to run the game, but a card with good OpenGL compatibility will do much better than the Voodoo 2.

That is not fully correct. The 3dfx OpenGL minidriver is not a wrapper. It's a basic OpenGL library that only implements the bare minimum of functions used by games. This way, it can be much faster than a full-blown OpenGL library that only professional users would need anyway (and which wasn't what 3dfx was aiming at). Almost all consumer 3d cards did OpenGL this way. Matrox was one of the few that did a d3d wrapper instead, and we all know the result of that... 😉

The Voodoo chipset was actually based on OpenGL (or IRIS GL, depending on the source), the hardware api was built around its core specifications. (GLide - get it? 😉)

http://retro-net.de/blog.html

Reply 4 of 5, by Oetker

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Dochartaigh wrote on Yesterday, 09:20:

I was definitely confused. So this means that some games can ONLY be played on a Glide-compatible card, unless you have the Glide wrapper (assuming 3rd party?) update/hack/add-on installed, they simply can't be played on a non-Glide card? This confuses me because I've tried a whole bunch of Glide-compatible games and every single one worked on my GeForce card as well. I haven't searched out any special versions of any games, although for a few I did download official patches that the developer themselves released (i.e. not 3rd party).

Out of curiosity what are some of the more popular games which won't work on non-Glide cards? I did a quick search and saw a reference to Incoming being glide-only (and I had that loaded already so I tested it), and that one also works on my GeForce for example.

Yeah your conclusion is correct, many games support more than just Glide. Also, games that touted '3dfx support' back in the day were often just using D3D but only really supported 3dfx cards as those were the only ones good enough. Anyway, unfortunately I can't find an exhaustive list of Glide-only games. Here's some: 3DFX/Glide Exclusive Windows Games?. Best is probably to cross-reference any game that truly supports Glide with 3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D) to see if it also supports another API.

Most DOS Glide games only support Glide and software rendering.

derSammler wrote on Yesterday, 09:26:

That is not fully correct. The 3dfx OpenGL minidriver is not a wrapper. It's a basic OpenGL library that only implements the bare minimum of functions used by games. This way, it can be much faster than a full-blown OpenGL library that only professional users would need anyway (and which wasn't what 3dfx was aiming at). Almost all consumer 3d cards did OpenGL this way. Matrox was one of the few that did a d3d wrapper instead, and we all know the result of that... 😉

The Voodoo chipset was actually based on OpenGL (or IRIS GL, depending on the source), the hardware api was built around its core specifications. (GLide - get it? 😉)

You're right, I was oversimplifying.

Reply 5 of 5, by leileilol

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well, it does link to glide2x.dll... it's not native OpenGL use, it's still practically wrapping to another API. It's just semantics squabbling at this point.

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x