VOGONS


Reply 40 of 59, by mr_bigmouth_502

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I was just thinking, Bochs is open-source, VirtualBox has an open-source variant, why doesn't someone just write a patch for one of those that can emulate a virtual 3D card in Win9x, and use the host's GPU for acceleration?

Reply 41 of 59, by Jorpho

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TheMAN wrote:

there is.... LIKE I SAID IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ... the trend is deploying thin clients in companies, and that will always involve a centralized server of some sort... virtualization is a key piece of this idea!

Really now, there is no need for screaming. What I meant was that if the makers of AutoCAD, Photoshop, 3D Studio, etc. see a market opportunity in companies deploying thin clients, they will probably release their own software versions targeted for such environments.

mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

I was just thinking, Bochs is open-source, VirtualBox has an open-source variant, why doesn't someone just write a patch for one of those that can emulate a virtual 3D card in Win9x, and use the host's GPU for acceleration?

If it was that simple, someone probably would have done it already.

I mentioned before (but will not write that in all caps because why would I do that?) that I think Win9x programs access the hardware at a lower level than 2k/XP programs, meaning that it would not be a simple matter of rerouting the 3D calls to the host's GPU. That one version of DOSBox that supports 3D acceleration emulates an entire Voodoo2 in software.

I suppose the question then becomes, "If DOSBox can emulate an entire Voodoo2 in software, why can't Bochs or VirtualBox?" Evidently the response is that this is an operation of sufficiently high difficulty and low priority that the relevant devleopers are not interested.

Reply 42 of 59, by mr_bigmouth_502

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Well, if it involves emulating an entire GPU in software, then why not write the emulation code to utilize OpenCL or CUDA? I know it would mean that a lot of systems without high-end GPUs wouldn't be able to support it, but why would you have a system with an awesome enough CPU to virtualize Win98 without an equally awesome GPU in the first place? 🤣

Last edited by mr_bigmouth_502 on 2012-09-12, 23:49. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 43 of 59, by Jorpho

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It seems to me no one is particularly interested in using CUDA or OpenCL for anything. At least, I don't hear much about people using it – but then, maybe that just means I haven't been looking in the right places.

At any rate, speed is not a particular priority for something like Bochs, so I don't think the possible performance penalty of adding an emulated 3D card enters into consideration.

Really, this is all hand-waving speculation on my part and if you're particularly concerned about the details, you might be better off consulting the developers of Bochs or VirtualBox yourself.

Reply 44 of 59, by TheMAN

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well I just got a trial version of vmware workstation and used it's built in feature to upgrade the hardware version from 8.0 to 9.0... I checked what it changed, and nothing is changed except for the virtualHW.version entry changed from 8 to 9... so anyone using player can safely upgrade their guests to the latest hardware version without using anything but notepad! Just open the vmx file in notepad, change it and save! The latest version of vCenter Converter still doesn't support going from 8.0 to 9.0, so you'll need to use this. If your hardware version is older than 8.0, then I recommend using the vCenter Converter to upgrade to 8.0 first before you manually upgrade to 9.0 with notepad 😉

Reply 45 of 59, by Dominus

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I suppose the question then becomes, "If DOSBox can emulate an entire Voodoo2 in software, why can't Bochs or VirtualBox?" Evidently the response is that this is an operation of sufficiently high difficulty and low priority that the relevant devleopers are not interested.

yes,it's most likely doable but no one wants to do it...

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox

Reply 46 of 59, by leileilol

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No one used Voodoo2s in professional environments like legacy CAD software because it's not really an industrial precision card, so it's off the tables of getting such support from a VM company.

Besides, 2000/XP had spotty Voodoo2 support anyway.

I'd really like to see more OpenCL use in emulation myself 😀 I've only seen it used in SVP and some bitcoin crap.

apsosig.png

Reply 47 of 59, by mgtroyas

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Just wanted to note latest VMware workstation 9 3d support has greatly improved. With 8 everytime I ran a game (i.e. Starcraft) on fullscreen, it was stretched to fill the screen and Ihad to leave/enter multiple times fullscreen mode of the VM until it added the black borders to maintain 4:3 AR on my 16:10 monitor. Now it always switches to correct AR when entering fullscreen.

I've also noticed a great speed inprovement, games run much "smoother".

I think VMware is the way to go for games from 2000/XP up.

Reply 48 of 59, by mgtroyas

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leileilol wrote:

I'd really like to see more OpenCL use in emulation myself 😀 I've only seen it used in SVP and some bitcoin crap.

Some experimental support exists on Dolphin Gamecube emulator, but I haven't noticed any speed improvement.

Reply 49 of 59, by Jorpho

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mgtroyas wrote:

Just wanted to note latest VMware workstation 9 3d support has greatly improved. With 8 everytime I ran a game (i.e. Starcraft) on fullscreen, it was stretched to fill the screen and Ihad to leave/enter multiple times fullscreen mode of the VM until it added the black borders to maintain 4:3 AR on my 16:10 monitor. Now it always switches to correct AR when entering fullscreen.

Perhaps you have simply updated your graphics card drivers since the last time you tried?

Reply 51 of 59, by mgtroyas

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Jorpho wrote:

Perhaps you have simply updated your graphics card drivers since the last time you tried?

Nope, it was just after updating VMware and the VMware tools.

Reply 52 of 59, by tsampikos

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I have experimented for a long time with virtual machines with various apps like vmware,vpc,virtualbox and i have found out that the host graphics card is indeed used by the virtual machine although it is not passed through.I mean when a game is running inside the vm the gpu core shows great activity.This can be verified with tools such as gpu-z or open hardware monitor.

That makes sense cause although the Vms do use their own virtual gpu they still need a real gpu to gain access to the monitor screen. I assume that the better the host gpu the better is the vm graphics performance too.

What I don't know and I do not have an answer yet is the following.It is well known that the vram of a gpu plays a role when multiple monitors are present. If the host display is the first one, then does the Vm display count as a second one? If yes then is there any benenfit for the vm performance if the host gpu has for example 2 or 4 GB of VRAM?

Reply 53 of 59, by mgtroyas

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tsampikos wrote:

I have experimented for a long time with virtual machines with various apps like vmware,vpc,virtualbox and i have found out that the host graphics card is indeed used by the virtual machine although it is not passed through.I mean when a game is running inside the vm the gpu core shows great activity.This can be verified with tools such as gpu-z or open hardware monitor.

That makes sense cause although the Vms do use their own virtual gpu they still need a real gpu to gain access to the monitor screen. I assume that the better the host gpu the better is the vm graphics performance too.

Until no so long ago, VMware emulated all the GPU via software, and 3D performance on games was completely depending on CPU and 2D GPU capabilities (that's the GPU use you saw). But now you can enable "3D acceleration" on the VM settings. Then the 3D calls to the virtual GPU are passed to the real GPU and executed natively (similar to how a glide wrapper passes the glide calls to the real hardware, but translated as opengl/direct3D calls). In case the game uses Direct3D and the host OS support Direct3D the pass-through done by VMware drivers should be much simpler.

tsampikos wrote:

What I don't know and I do not have an answer yet is the following.It is well known that the vram of a gpu plays a role when multiple monitors are present. If the host display is the first one, then does the Vm display count as a second one? If yes then is there any benenfit for the vm performance if the host gpu has for example 2 or 4 GB of VRAM?

Don't miss the perspective that VMware or any other virtualizatior is only a progam. It uses a simple file of your host's filesystem as a HDD, like Word uses a file as memory cache. It accesses the video card of your host as any program, like for example a 3D game does. VMware is not being presented as a second monitor, could be run in a second monitor but as soon as you extend the Windows desktop to that monitor. A 3D game running fullscreen needs more vram if you execute it at higher resolution and if you enable tripple buffer, and VMware does exactly the same, but not in any special way like if it was a dedicated second monitor.

VRAM is not split in host and VM VMRAM at low level, VRAM is reserved and mapped simply as any other fullscreen 3D game would do. Performance gain will be then like any other game: enough VRAM memory allows you to use higher resolutions, FSAA and triple buffering (or multiple monitors, which simply increases the total resolution). But raw performance depends of VRAM transfer speed and graphic card's architecture.

Reply 54 of 59, by tsampikos

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Thank you for your explenation. It is much appreciated. It made clear unanswered questions to me.About the second monitor and VRAM, I know that VMWare is just a program, but what counts is the result and what the host gpu "understands" when the Virtual Display appears. Thanks for helping me to make clear this. I have tried VMWare Workstation 9. I think it is very nice. What I don't like about it, is that I don't get a full filled display while in full screen or Exclusive mode. It just happens only with black borders on the right and left side of the screen, even if I stretch the guest resolution. I know this is meant to work as AR correction, but without it VMWare Workstation 8 was much better, with Full Display without borders and no AR Problems at the same time.

Any way to achive this in VM Workstation 9? Could this possibly have to do with Catalyst Options? (I have a Radeon HD 6570 for host GPU).But I don't think so, since with Workstation 8 there wasn't such an issue.

Reply 55 of 59, by mgtroyas

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tsampikos wrote:

I know this is meant to work as AR correction, but without it VMWare Workstation 8 was much better, with Full Display without borders and no AR Problems at the same time.

Any way to achive this in VM Workstation 9? Could this possibly have to do with Catalyst Options? (I have a Radeon HD 6570 for host GPU).But I don't think so, since with Workstation 8 there wasn't such an issue.

It's not possible to have a correct AR and at the same time don't have black borders, if the monitor has a widescreen AR and the guest uses a 4:3 AR.

If you like playing games stretched to fill the screen (but deformed, which I find pretty disturbing), I fear there's no option, as seems there's no way to disable AR correction, at least via GUI.

Anyway, in my opinion it's a good thing, and is something I have been waiting for years: VMware Workstation 9 is much better handling AR than 7 and 8 were. In 7 it always filled the screen without having AR in count, stretching and deforming the image, as you said. In 8 it tried to add the black borders but not always did, and I had to switch resolutions on guest OS, and enter and leave fullscreen, multiple times, until VMware relized it had 4:3 aspect guest on a 16:10 host and added black borders. Thanks god in version 9, finally, it works great, adding the black bars always it's needed. It has been a great enhancement for me, as I play a lot of Windows XP era games on a XP virtual machine and hated having them stretched.

What are you exactly wanting to get? What is the native resolution of your monitor, and what software do you want to run?

Reply 56 of 59, by tsampikos

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I use virtual machines to play older games just like you, especially Windows 9x games and 2000/XP games. Well, VMWare workstation 7, did have the black borders and it filled the screen just like VMWare Workstation 9. With borders on both sides. What I would like to see is something like Virtualbox's "Scale mode", which is fullscreen without borders. Display is stretched, but it does not disform anything, in any case the result is really good in my oppinion. I thought that Workstation 8 has changed to something similar to "Scale Mode" of Virtualbox and I was really happy about that. I thought it was an improvment rather than a problem. And I was really sad to see it go in Workstation 9.

Reply 57 of 59, by Orka Borka

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Yesterday my Retrocomputer powersupply blowed up, and I was left realizing the same questions. The emulation of a Windows 9x gaming architecture looks like the elephant in the room of retrocomputing.

PCSX2 and Dolphin are emulating some extremely exotic hardware on on my relatively powerful laptop (yes, not perfect emulation, but not horrible by any means), and yet I have to keep an old machine to run most games from the early '90s to play them without requiring always more complex and convoluted patches and hacks that would be required to keep them running on modern systems.

( Without taking in consideration the differences in power consumption between an old duron machine running on a 350W power supply and a 70W AC Adapter. )

I mean, giving a cursory glance we have the following:

  • * Qemu is quite a stable emulator/virtualizer for the x86 architecture, it supports PCI Devices emulation and has been shown to be quite adaptable for different requirements;
    * By looking at mame and some Dreamcast emulators status, it seems quite clear that 3dfx and PowerVR chips are understood quite well,and the experimental integration of 3dfx capabilities into Dosbox shows that using such cores for emulating a Direct3D/3Dfx card is somewhat feasible;
    * Wine lately has shown to have cleared the understanding of most of the weird behaviours that older software used under Windows 9x, By now I'm having better luck running some game on Mac OS X running it trough wine rather than using Windows 7, especially 64 bit. Most of the problems nowadays are related to older games and application using some low level calls to the hardware, which an API abstraction layer has very little to mess about.
    * Most if not any video card built in the last 3/4 years has been able to run OpenCL and "Fourth generation" shaders good enough to be used for Photoshop/Premiere/Final Cut, and all of them have shown support for programmable shaders. I've had extremely positive results on latest Intel HD video cards; by this point, wondering if a system could offload some of the computation to a videocard is akin to wondering if any modern processor supports a FPU.

I'm a graphic artist with a bit of understanding of CS, not a coder, so I've really no idea how much complex would be to write something capable fo emulating a DirectX 7-era PC (which could be summarized as...let's see, 400Mhz Pentium II architecture, roughly 128MB Ram, Pre-TnL video Card + Voodoo 2, Soundblaster 16) but it's quite clear that there are enough informations regarding such architectures.

Given that we're speaking about an extremely heterogeneous architecture, it's even possible that most applications do not require the same tight timing that makes some systems extremely hard to emulate, but as I said before, I'm not a coder, it's just speculation on my part.

Lately I've found that even some GOG games that are pretty much unsupported on my configuration despite all the official and unofficial patching, and they're Windows 9x based. Nothing that could be faulted on GOG, by the way, it's just the "natural" divergence between older and newer archs.

Reply 58 of 59, by filipetolhuizen

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mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

What I could never get is, why do most VMs ONLY support 3d acceleration in guests that are running windows XP/2000 on up, when the games you could run on such a setup will also run fine natively on vista/7? I mean there are plenty of win 9x games that use 3d acceleration that aren't properly supported on anything past 98.

Me neither. This makes virtualization senseless. What we need exactly is 3d acceleration under virtualized Win9x.

Reply 59 of 59, by puk

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Hi,

I've been an on-and-off forum reader here, a bit more active on the 3dfxit forum and on a French thread about voodoo cards, and as I was duckduckgoing hypervisor and 3dfx, this thread turned up in the results.
I already posted on 3dfxit about it, but what I think a way worth exploring is for this problem, is hypervisors.
Basically, it's a host for virtual machines that gives them direct access to the hardware. There are some free ones on linux and then you set up your virtual machines. However, I don't have the hardware to try this and have been trying to get some info, but found nothing so far. If the guest OS does not need special driver to access the hardware, then this sounds like the solution to all these problems.
...
I just found this: http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Xen_VGA_Passthrough
I think we're not that close to get this solution working.
If I had the hardware, I would try, just to see if I get lucky. Not having the necessary motherboard and cpu, I can't try.
Anybody here tempted by the adventure?