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First post, by OpenRift

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Now, I know what you're thinking.

"There's plenty of software renderer source ports out there, try Mark V Winquake!"

"Quakespasm's pretty vanilla."

Here's the thing. As awesome as software ports like Mark V Winquake and Chadquake are, they still don't have the 100% vanilla experience. From a preservation perspective, the full DOS Quake experience is very far from accessible. Running it in DOSBox always yields performance issues (running too slow/fast). Running in an emulator like PCem or x86Box is a pain to set up and also has significant drawbacks.

But what sets DOS Quake apart from something like Mark V Winquake or Chadquake?

The most important things to look at are the resolutions available in DOS Quake.

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The main resolutions to look at here are 320x200 and 640x400. If you do the math, that should calculate to a 8:5 (16:10) aspect ratio, right? Well, if you know anything about old DOS games, you'll know that CRTs back then had the talent of being able to display non-square pixels. Given that most MS-DOS games ran at 320x200, this meant that this 8:5 ratio is squished into a 4:3 screen. This would mean that the pixels have a 1x1.2 width to height ratio.

But why is this important?
Let's have a look at a side-by-side comparison of DOS Quake at 200p and then at 240p respectively.

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Hud 2.png
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Don't see it yet? How about now?

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That's it.

Every 2D Texture, from the menus, to the console, to the hud, to even the crosshair are stretched when displayed at 240p because it then renders all these textures with square pixels instead of non-square pixels. To put things into context, most DOS game developers, including Id Software, designed their 2D texures with non-square pixels in mind.

Most people are used to the stretched look from 240p, 480p, etc. because no source port that I could find has ever made the effort to replicate these non-square pixels in the menus. This essentially means that most people cannot viably experience true vanilla Quake without having to jump through a bunch of hoops to get it working in some sort of VM or suffering with DOSBox's terrible performance handling.

But enough talk about resolutions, what about QuakeWorld? There are very, very few QuakeWorld source ports to choose from, which is kind of a shame in my opinion. FTEQW does come admirably close to a semi-vanilla experience, but can be incredibly bloated at times. Sure, there is the qwcl.exe that comes with your copy of Quake, but it's

So what could be done about this?

Think about Doom source ports. The ones like Chocolate Doom or Crispy Doom. They render the game in 320x200 (or up to 640x400 in Crispy Doom), squeezed to 4:3, and then scaled up to your monitor's native resolution.

I propose creating a sort of "Chocolate Quake", that would consist of the following.

- All resolutions from the DOS version are supported
- With support for non-square pixel resolutions, in a manner akin to Chocolate/Crispy Doom
- .MP3/.OGG support for the soundtrack
- NetQuake protocol 15 support
- A QuakeWorld variant
- Extended compatibility for modern QuakeWorld (like from ezQuake/nQuake) mods, protocols, etc.

So what's my point?

My point is to start a dialogue, create interest in making the original experience from 1996 and '97 more accessible. If anyone here knows how to work with Quake's source code and is interested in this idea, contact me on discord at OpenRift#8470. If I knew how to code, I'd do this myself, but the most I know how to do is edit .cfg files. I can't really tech myself either, since I'm knee-deep in college as of writing. Thank you.

Reply 1 of 24, by xjas

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Cripes, more aspect ratio pedantry. It's getting really old... I don't know why people are so insistent that everyone else have the "exact" same experience with something that they did. One of the nice things about source ports is you can play a game any way you like. Anyone interested in playing a 1997 game is going to be aware of the scaling issue and is free to choose however the hell they want to play. Peronally, I like DOS Quake at 360x350; the aspect ratio is squashed to all hell, and I find it amusing because I know what went on under the hood to support those bizarre modes. Are you going to tell me I'm doing it wrong?

If you want to make a 'Chocolate Quake', go right ahead, but don't try to make out like it's destroying history because one incredibly minor aspect of gameplay isn't being done how YOU like it.

Edit: BTW what's wrong with Quake on DOSBox? Then you really are getting the Vanilla Quake experience on a modern machine. I just tested it on my 7-year-old Macbook and I get 60FPS at 640x400 (stretched to fit my 16:10 display with nice, square, integer-upscaled pixels), which is far better than my 'authentic' 233MMX does.

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Reply 2 of 24, by OpenRift

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xjas wrote:

Cripes, more aspect ratio pedantry. It's getting really old... I don't know why people are so insistent that everyone else have the "exact" same experience with something that they did. One of the nice things about source ports is you can play a game any way you like. Anyone interested in playing a 1997 game is going to be aware of the scaling issue and is free to choose however the hell they want to play. Peronally, I like DOS Quake at 360x350; the aspect ratio is squashed to all hell, and I find it amusing because I know what went on under the hood to support those bizarre modes. Are you going to tell me I'm doing it wrong?

If you want to make a 'Chocolate Quake', go right ahead, but don't try to make out like it's destroying history because one incredibly minor aspect of gameplay isn't being done how YOU like it.

Edit: BTW what's wrong with Quake on DOSBox? Then you really are getting the Vanilla Quake experience on a modern machine. I just tested it on my 7-year-old Macbook and I get 60FPS at 640x400 (stretched to fit my 16:10 display with nice, square, integer-upscaled pixels), which is far better than my 'authentic' 233MMX does.

I don't know how you got to the conclusion that I'm against people choosing how they want to play Quake. I'm glad that there are so many ports for people to choose from (though there aren't as many QuakeWorld ports, unfortunately).

Yes, I'm aware how pedantic this is. And no, I don't care. If someone can give that kind of specific care with a port like Chocolate Doom, Quake honestly deserves the same treatment. It's not destroying a part of history, but it sure as hell is obscuring it. Perhaps not as big as something like the Star Wars Special Editions, but it does matter. The artwork for all the 2D assets (menus, status bar, console, etc.) was made with the 1x1.2 pixel ratio in mind. If you want to play with a stretched hud, power to you. But the artistically intended option shouldn't be so limited in its availability.

Now, here's what I'm curious about. How are you getting such good frames in DOSBox without it running too fast? I know it can vary with between processors, but I am curious what settings you use. But anyway, my main issue with DOSBox Quake is its limited functionality with NetQuake compared to WinQuake.

Reply 3 of 24, by ripsaw8080

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OpenRift wrote:

How are you getting such good frames in DOSBox without it running too fast?

FYI, there was a subtle issue in DOSBox 0.74 that confused Quake's internal "speed limiter", which has been fixed in current source, so do try an SVN build. Speed in this case refers to gameplay, not framerate.

Reply 4 of 24, by keenmaster486

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xjas wrote:

Cripes, more aspect ratio pedantry. It's getting really old...

I don’t think it’s out of line to point out that the graphics were all drawn with non-square pixels in mind. This is like flipping out over somebody wanting their TV to not stretch out old 4:3 movies to fit a 16:9 ratio... yeah, 5 foot tall squished-head Cary Grant looks great, and you’re a pedant if you would rather not!

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Reply 5 of 24, by xjas

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^^ this "discussion" raises my hackles because every time I see it brought up, it's never "I want to play games in the original aspect ratio, but there's no way to" (which isn't true, there are plenty of ways to fix it), it's always "other people are playing this game wrong and that's going to ruin everything!", which is a damn good way to drive everyone who's lightly interested in these games far away and back to whatever COD clone is trending on Steam.

FWIW I was going to come back and delete my post, because I didn't think it was very constructive, but OpenRift quoted the whole thing verbatim before I could get back to it. Now I'm in an argument that I don't feel like having. If anyone wants to make a Chocolate Quake that "preserves" the "historical" aspect ratio or whatever, go right ahead. Just don't make it out like some kind of travesty that other people don't play a game exactly the way you would.

OpenRift wrote:

Now, here's what I'm curious about. How are you getting such good frames in DOSBox without it running too fast? I know it can vary with between processors, but I am curious what settings you use. But anyway, my main issue with DOSBox Quake is its limited functionality with NetQuake compared to WinQuake.

I'm using one of Dominus's recent SVN builds with pretty close to default settings. svga_s3, cputype=auto, cycles=max. This PC has an i5 3210M. I haven't tested Quake extensively but it seems to work pretty well.

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Reply 6 of 24, by jmarsh

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OpenRift wrote:

If you want to play with a stretched hud, power to you. But the artistically intended option shouldn't be so limited in its availability.

Original DOS Quake let you choose a bunch of resolutions besides 320x200 and practically all of them resulted in a stretched HUD, menus, console etc. The original creators did not give a crap.

Reply 8 of 24, by Bruninho

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kolderman wrote:

Or: we need to preserve retro systems for vanilla Quake, among other things.

THIS. He wins this thread now

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Reply 9 of 24, by BeginnerGuy

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The only way I know of to perfectly display 320x200 with the stretched 4:3 aspect (with square pixels 320x200 is actually 16:10 according to my napkin math) on an LCD would be to upscale every x pixel x5 and every y pixel x 6, resulting in a final image of 1600x1200, quite annoying when you consider the average monitor is only 1080 pixels tall. This image could then be downsampled back to 640x480 with little to much loss depending on the method chosen, but not perfectly.

Question: does quake support 320x240 mode x? That is a 4:3 aspect. If it does, do we consider that "stretched" and 320x200 to be the native look of the art? 320x240 should scale perfectly to 1280x960...

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Reply 10 of 24, by OpenRift

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BeginnerGuy wrote:

The only way I know of to perfectly display 320x200 with the stretched 4:3 aspect (with square pixels 320x200 is actually 16:10 according to my napkin math) on an LCD would be to upscale every x pixel x5 and every y pixel x 6, resulting in a final image of 1600x1200, quite annoying when you consider the average monitor is only 1080 pixels tall. This image could then be downsampled back to 640x480 with little to much loss depending on the method chosen, but not perfectly.

Question: does quake support 320x240 mode x? That is a 4:3 aspect. If it does, do we consider that "stretched" and 320x200 to be the native look of the art? 320x240 should scale perfectly to 1280x960...

Remember, this is an MS-DOS game we're talking about, most MS-DOS games were made for 320x200 stretched to 4:3. If you want more thorough information on this, look at this video on the subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvckyWxHAIw

Reply 11 of 24, by BeginnerGuy

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OpenRift wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:

The only way I know of to perfectly display 320x200 with the stretched 4:3 aspect (with square pixels 320x200 is actually 16:10 according to my napkin math) on an LCD would be to upscale every x pixel x5 and every y pixel x 6, resulting in a final image of 1600x1200, quite annoying when you consider the average monitor is only 1080 pixels tall. This image could then be downsampled back to 640x480 with little to much loss depending on the method chosen, but not perfectly.

Question: does quake support 320x240 mode x? That is a 4:3 aspect. If it does, do we consider that "stretched" and 320x200 to be the native look of the art? 320x240 should scale perfectly to 1280x960...

Remember, this is an MS-DOS game we're talking about, most MS-DOS games were made for 320x200 stretched to 4:3. If you want more thorough information on this, look at this video on the subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvckyWxHAIw

I understand mode13, however, Mode x (320x240) was popularized by Michael Abrash who went on to work with john carmack on Quake, which wouldn't have just been your average dos game, hence my assumption that it supports 320x240. Not to mention mode x supports hardware page flipping where in mode 13 a double buffer was done in software, it's likely mode x would be faster or at least equal even with the extra pixel overhead. I would have chosen 320x240 if available in quake then and now, I just can't remember if its an option.

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Reply 13 of 24, by OpenRift

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BeginnerGuy wrote:
OpenRift wrote:
BeginnerGuy wrote:

The only way I know of to perfectly display 320x200 with the stretched 4:3 aspect (with square pixels 320x200 is actually 16:10 according to my napkin math) on an LCD would be to upscale every x pixel x5 and every y pixel x 6, resulting in a final image of 1600x1200, quite annoying when you consider the average monitor is only 1080 pixels tall. This image could then be downsampled back to 640x480 with little to much loss depending on the method chosen, but not perfectly.

Question: does quake support 320x240 mode x? That is a 4:3 aspect. If it does, do we consider that "stretched" and 320x200 to be the native look of the art? 320x240 should scale perfectly to 1280x960...

Remember, this is an MS-DOS game we're talking about, most MS-DOS games were made for 320x200 stretched to 4:3. If you want more thorough information on this, look at this video on the subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvckyWxHAIw

I understand mode13, however, Mode x (320x240) was popularized by Michael Abrash who went on to work with john carmack on Quake, which wouldn't have just been your average dos game, hence my assumption that it supports 320x240. Not to mention mode x supports hardware page flipping where in mode 13 a double buffer was done in software, it's likely mode x would be faster or at least equal even with the extra pixel overhead. I would have chosen 320x240 if available in quake then and now, I just can't remember if its an option.

It is an option. But also another thing to consider is that Abrash was working on the 3D components of Quake while someone else (I'm guessing Adrian Carmack) was working on the 2D artwork and it's unlikely that the HUD, console, and menus were designed with square pixels in mind. Based on my research running Quake in PCem emulating a Pentium 200 and MMX 233, staying above 60 fps is no easy feat. I could be wrong and PCem may not be accurate in that regard, but that's what I've seen.

Reply 14 of 24, by xjas

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OpenRift wrote:

Remember, this is an MS-DOS game we're talking about, most MS-DOS games were made for 320x200 stretched to 4:3. If you want more thorough information on this, look at this video on the subject.

[...]

The blanket assumption of this is a big pet peeve of mine. It was nowhere near universal! A lot of games really did use 320x200 as a 16:10 mode and all the artwork was drawn more-or-less with the assumption that "100x100" meant a square. Either because it was easier to implement than any deliberate artistic choice, or the game's art was drawn at 640x480 and downscaled, or they were ported from another platform (Amiga, Mac) where square-ish pixels were the norm, etc. Back when most VGA monitors had a simple dial for vertical size on the front it was trivial to just adjust your display so the game you were playing looked right. I used to do that all the time! I even remember a few titles that would put some test shapes on the screen before the game started and ask you to adjust it accordingly.

I'd argue "pixel aspect ratio" was a bit of a nebulous concept and not really thought about back when all-analog CRTs with huge overscan areas, rounded corner overlap, beam deflection, etc. were the norm. One mouthy know-it-all on Youtube isn't the definitive answer on this.

BeginnerGuy wrote:

I understand mode13, however, Mode x (320x240) was popularized by Michael Abrash who went on to work with john carmack on Quake, which wouldn't have just been your average dos game, hence my assumption that it supports 320x240. Not to mention mode x supports hardware page flipping where in mode 13 a double buffer was done in software, it's likely mode x would be faster or at least equal even with the extra pixel overhead. I would have chosen 320x240 if available in quake then and now, I just can't remember if its an option.

The first screenshot in the OP shows all the available resolutions for standard DOS Quake. It does indeed offer "square pixel" modes like 320x240, but notably it also supports really weird ones like 320x480, 360x350, etc. which aren't even close to square pixels or 1.2:1.

Unlike some of the early Doom source ports, Quake's engine has always adjusted the in-game geometry to show the right aspect ratio. It's really only the menus and 2D graphics that are affected. I think it's fair to say Quake was designed with all kinds of different aspect ratios in mind, and the menu fonts are pretty secondary to the gameplay. I doubt Carmack or Abrash cared much if the menus displayed at the "wrong" ratio, otherwise they would have put some scaling code into the game in the first place.

I think the aspect ratio discussion is taking away from some of the better ideas OpenRift outlined, e.g. better NetQuake support & extended compatibility in a vanilla-type engine. (And yes, that is mostly my fault, but it's too late to remove that post now...) That would be a far better justification for this type of port, IMHO.

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Reply 15 of 24, by spiroyster

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OpenRift wrote:

Based on my research running Quake in PCem emulating a Pentium 200 and MMX 233, staying above 60 fps is no easy feat. I could be wrong and PCem may not be accurate in that regard, but that's what I've seen.

Back in the day, running Quake with software renderer (given the hardware most people had), you'd be lucky to get 30fps on anything other than the lowest resolution (usaully only in small corridors with not much elese going on). This whole 60fps is a new (3D accelerator) concept, 30fps was the holy grail then.

Reply 16 of 24, by xjas

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Yeah, the 1997 Authentic Quake Experience(tm) for me was 12FPS on a 5x86/100 😜 (or later 20 FPS on a K6/200.) I doubt anyone younger than 35 would be willing to put up with that today.

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Reply 17 of 24, by OpenRift

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spiroyster wrote:
OpenRift wrote:

Based on my research running Quake in PCem emulating a Pentium 200 and MMX 233, staying above 60 fps is no easy feat. I could be wrong and PCem may not be accurate in that regard, but that's what I've seen.

Back in the day, running Quake with software renderer (given the hardware most people had), you'd be lucky to get 30fps on anything other than the lowest resolution (usaully only in small corridors with not much elese going on). This whole 60fps is a new (3D accelerator) concept, 30fps was the holy grail then.

Wouldn't it have been 35fps though? Given that's where Doom capped out and ran very reliably on a Pentium. If Doom was capped higher, I'm sure the average player's frame rate would've been much higher by '95-'96.

Reply 18 of 24, by spiroyster

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OpenRift wrote:
spiroyster wrote:
OpenRift wrote:

Based on my research running Quake in PCem emulating a Pentium 200 and MMX 233, staying above 60 fps is no easy feat. I could be wrong and PCem may not be accurate in that regard, but that's what I've seen.

Back in the day, running Quake with software renderer (given the hardware most people had), you'd be lucky to get 30fps on anything other than the lowest resolution (usaully only in small corridors with not much elese going on). This whole 60fps is a new (3D accelerator) concept, 30fps was the holy grail then.

Wouldn't it have been 35fps though? Given that's where Doom capped out and ran very reliably on a Pentium. If Doom was capped higher, I'm sure the average player's frame rate would've been much higher by '95-'96.

Possibly, quake and doom are two very different engines though. I didn't know doom was capped o.0, but capping at 35 would suggest that no one cared about anything higher... also depends what pentium?

Not many people without a voodoo cared to much about the rates of fps, having it be playable was all that mattered, and for me personally, I even settled for <10 in some situations (difficult to say since it was so low and changed so drastiaclly over a level, can't say I really cared what the FPS was or had a way to measure it, as long as I could play it). Having true perspective projected 3D playable without a voodoo, that in itself was amazing at the time. If you got 30 (even with a voodoo) you were laughing.

Like xjas said, 12 would be acceptable for most without a voodoo. It was only later on when people started to want to push 3D to see what it was capable of, that FPS started coming into the equation and even then it was just a metric for seeing how much the hardware could do. TV was PAL (24fps) and NTSC (29fps), so that was the kind of refresh rates people were used to. Most CRT's capped out 60/75hz (some higher, some lower). Resolution was more important (oh look I can get 640x480, 800x600, or even... that magical 1024... 1280 and 1600 were the realm of Windows desktop [and even then only with some expensive CRT's...17" or higher...wow!], not 3D games). My windows desktop throughout most of that era was 800x600, sometimes 1024.

Reply 19 of 24, by leileilol

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Winquake is a vanilla quake too and did support 320x200/640x400. Often those modes don't show up on modern video card drivers, but some do still have them (Intel HD for example)

and this aspect ratio stuff... stock quake always strictly calculated a 320x240 4:3 aspect FOV, and sure quake's software 2d routines don't adapt, but they did in GLQuake at one point (320x200 aspect for 2d for very early GLQuake even). Also since Quake supported a huge myriad of resolutions from the get go, your strict intended vanilla experience is not going to be another's. There's likely those that beat it in 320x480 in the day and that had the squishiest quakeface possible...

The framerate's more meant to cap around 72 than 35, and there are computers in 1996 that could achieve that high *COUGH*PENTIUM PRO*COUGH*

Know that non-integer, non-square scaling on the CPU is slow.

There's also the issues of the unreleased/documented source changes between 1.01-1.06 and 1.06-1.09, and there's quite a few... preserving the vanilla experience can't merely be done by aspect alone.

Last edited by leileilol on 2019-10-15, 23:06. Edited 1 time in total.

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