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First post, by kjliew

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In the past, I didn't bother to look into the regular versions of MW2 Mercenaries because only Direct3D was possible as hardware acceleration option. I was pretty happy with Titanium version and its 3Dfx Glide support. Checking out Wine AppDB, the game was considered garbage for Wine and none seemed to be interested to restore its playability. So I spent some time to work on this game. Initially, I had the game running but in-game textures were all lost and D3Derror.txt had tons of textures loading failures. I spent some time debugging the failures and was finally able to root cause them. It was a simple 1-liner patch to Wine DDRAW, and ka boom! The game became fully working and playable in its full glory, from QEMU on Win98 VM. 😀 Not sure if the same patch will help Wine on Linux without Win98 VM, but anyway for myself, WineD3D with Win98 VM is more manageable.

All versions of MW2 Mercenaries can now play from QEMU with WineD3D, so it is now possible to play the game in its initial settings of scripted salvage game or patched it up all the way for the new 1.1 with dynamic salvage game (and many bugs associated with the update). Many had expressed that scripted salvage game was indeed a better play. The Titanium version does not have the option for scripted salvage game and it was also being criticized for reducing CD tracks audio quality compared to retailed version to fit the game into the capacity of single CD.

So let's recap on all the versions:

  • Retailed version 1.0 - DOS version included. Can be patched to 1.05 and 1.06. Patch 1.081 got Direct3D support but DOS version no longer worked, no MercsNet. The final patch 1.1 introduced dynamic salvage game and Direct3D version of MercsNet.
  • 3Dfx version 1.05 - DOS version included. Can be patched to 1.1 for dynamic salvage game and Direct3D version of MercsNet.
  • Enhanced Direct3D Video and 3D positional audio - it is newer than 3Dfx version 1.05 based on the file date on the CD and possibly more recent than patch 1.081. I think this is the best version for the original scripted salvage game. Its game shell supports higher resolutions up to 1280x960 but choosing 1024x768 or higher actually gives 800x600. *Cannot be patched*, so scripted salvage is all this version has to offer, unfortunately. I am not sure if there is any workaround to apply patch 1.1 to obtain dynamic salvage game.

They are all restored and playable from QEMU with hardware 3D acceleration at their best, on modern Linux and Windows 10. 😁

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Reply 2 of 5, by kjliew

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Bladeforce wrote on 2020-10-29, 04:27:

PCem with windows 98 plays the 3dfx version

PCem is too slow for any games that support 3D acceleration. Simple games (for eg. Moto Racer 1) can be barely playable with hefty machines, high single-core turbo clocked and desktop class CPUs. Anything more than that (for eg. NFS3, Quake2 etc.) would simply be a joke for anyone to play the games on PCem.

BTW, DOSBox SVN with voodoo1 emulation can play the game, too, albeit not as fast as QEMU when one had all graphics details at max (chunky explosions, multiple-light, particles and shadow) or more then 2 opponents in sight. QEMU enables the games to be played at their best on modern OS, straight forward and seamlessly. I had just finished the Mercenary Commander campaign with the 1.1 dynamic salvage game. There were couple crashes dealing with salvages but thanks to promptly saved games, no big deal. The patch 1.1 was quite buggy by itself and crashed a lot even on real period correct hardware.

Anyway, DOSBox is not meant to be used for Win9x games and it has been a reality as WineD3D maturing and supporting resolution upscale on QEMU.

Reply 3 of 5, by Bladeforce

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kjliew wrote on 2020-10-29, 19:32:
PCem is too slow for any games that support 3D acceleration. Simple games (for eg. Moto Racer 1) can be barely playable with hef […]
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Bladeforce wrote on 2020-10-29, 04:27:

PCem with windows 98 plays the 3dfx version

PCem is too slow for any games that support 3D acceleration. Simple games (for eg. Moto Racer 1) can be barely playable with hefty machines, high single-core turbo clocked and desktop class CPUs. Anything more than that (for eg. NFS3, Quake2 etc.) would simply be a joke for anyone to play the games on PCem.

BTW, DOSBox SVN with voodoo1 emulation can play the game, too, albeit not as fast as QEMU when one had all graphics details at max (chunky explosions, multiple-light, particles and shadow) or more then 2 opponents in sight. QEMU enables the games to be played at their best on modern OS, straight forward and seamlessly. I had just finished the Mercenary Commander campaign with the 1.1 dynamic salvage game. There were couple crashes dealing with salvages but thanks to promptly saved games, no big deal. The patch 1.1 was quite buggy by itself and crashed a lot even on real period correct hardware.

Anyway, DOSBox is not meant to be used for Win9x games and it has been a reality as WineD3D maturing and supporting resolution upscale on QEMU.

I play the 3dfx version on PCem in linux quite alot and have never seen this unplayability you mention on this particular game

Reply 4 of 5, by kjliew

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Playability is a subjective experience.

You can monitor the frame rate with "Ctrl-Alt-Shift-FR" to show the little FPS counter on the top left as what I had shown in the screenshot. I only tried PCem on Windows 10 and it was worse than DOSBox SVN running Win98. Well, one could also significantly improve the playability by disabling chunky explosions and particles.

For Linux, PCem had never crossed my mind at all. QEMU KVM was always the choice and the game was playable at its best even on thin-and-light laptops. Furthermore, QEMU networking backends was great for MercsNET LAN party, in the full glory of hardware 3D acceleration instead of the dull and flat shaded DOS version over DOSBox.

Reply 5 of 5, by kjliew

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3-way MercsNET 1.1 Direct3D on 3 QEMU Win98 VM instances on the same machine with QEMU tuntap network backend. The I.S. Atlas is huge compared to the Clan's.
Just for fun 😁, not that I have 3 sets of keyboards and mouses to be able to play on the same machine.

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