Hardware that enhance games?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Hardware that enhance games?

Postby RaVeN-05 » 2019-2-13 @ 20:33

Ok from what i know: (and if you know something else please post, very interesting)

A couple video cards from here viewtopic.php?t=33483

S3 Savage 3D (Metal API) yes its have metal.dll it invokes metal->mtl... functions.

3dfx cards of course.

ATI Radeon 8500 because of ATI TruForm.

Aureal Vortex Audio cards A3D API

SoundBlaster EAX

ReelMagic MPEG ISA Decoder 1993 (for games like Zork)

Anything else?
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby root42 » 2019-2-13 @ 20:38

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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby badmojo » 2019-2-13 @ 21:07

My Matrox Millennium came bundled with an ‘enhanced’ version of NASCAR racing, whatever that means.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-2-13 @ 21:23

We first need to define "enhanced". Because :

root42 wrote:Ageia PhysX accelerators:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics_processing_unit


later turned out PCI card was actually slower than running same algorithms on CPU (cracked "PPU-Only" Cell Factor demo), card was just a DRM piece :)
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby RaVeN-05 » 2019-2-13 @ 21:37

for enhance i assume visually or audially game looks or sounds better.
or simple game not run without that hardware or there is special game version that needs special hardware . =)
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-2-13 @ 21:40

Steel Battalion probably counts :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvN3iz3eXo
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby leileilol » 2019-2-13 @ 21:55

*lists the complete history of released PC hardware here*
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
SGL != Glide
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby SW-SSG » 2019-2-13 @ 22:08

rasz_pl wrote:... later turned out PCI card was actually slower than running same algorithms on CPU (cracked "PPU-Only" Cell Factor demo), card was just a DRM piece :)

OK, but... source? And which CPU? Naturally a newer CPU will likely be faster than the discrete PhysX card, but what about CPUs available during the same period? And not just the high-end ones; the mid-priced ones that the majority of people were buying.

EDIT: your reply tells us nothing. :p
Last edited by SW-SSG on 2019-2-14 @ 01:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-2-13 @ 22:25

from what I remember disabling the card did nothing to fps at the time
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby Zup » 2019-2-14 @ 06:01

Some things so obvious that nobody wrote about:
  • Most controllers would qualify. Gamepas are very useful when trying to play three people on the same computer (i.e.: Eittris). Microswitch joysticks (i.e.: competition pro, arcade controllers) feel more natural when playing MAME games or any shoot'em up. Steering wheels and analog joysticks greatly enhaces any vehicle game (i.e.: Need for Speed, TFX, Tie Fighter). And rhythm games plays better when using their dedicated hardware (dance mats, guitars and the like).
  • Mechanical keyboards, because there are times that you need to not press keys accidentally and be sure when you have pressed one (i.e.: rhythm games if you haven't got the required hardware, some minigames in LSL Magna Cum Laude).
  • Headphones, even cheap ones (i.e.: most atmospheric/terror games). Using 3D hardware means nothing if you have two cheap speakers.
  • CRT displays, with low res games (i.e.: almost any 8 bit computer game that you could think of). Because the natural "blurness" of that displays actually enhaces graphics (softening borders) compared to TFT/LCD displays.
  • Human beings are considered hardware? My wife is soft to touch, and every sports game is hightly enhanced when playing vs humans.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby doaks80 » 2019-2-14 @ 06:18

MMX.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby Errius » 2019-2-14 @ 06:34

badmojo wrote:My Matrox Millennium came bundled with an ‘enhanced’ version of NASCAR racing, whatever that means.

That accelerated version is very nice. I played the standard version back in the old days, and never liked the high-res S/W mode because it was so slow. With the accelerated version everything is super smooth even with graphical settings at maximum.

The downside is that it only works with the original Matrox Millennium, not on the Millennium II or the Millennium G200.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-2-14 @ 07:20

doaks80 wrote:MMX.


Eh; I believe they were only marginally useful and did not change the experience in any game, merely had a slight speed boost? IIRC the cache configuration accounted for the IPC gains more than MMX did at the time.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby Dominus » 2019-2-14 @ 08:57

slight speed boost is an enhancement :)
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby Davros » 2019-2-14 @ 09:46

EAX and A3D
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby root42 » 2019-2-14 @ 10:12

Soldering, retro game reviews and more on YouTube and Bonus videos
Me playing games on my 286 and on my Sega MD2 on Twitch
80386DX@25 MHz, 8 MiB RAM, Tseng ET4000 1 MiB, schlae AdLib, PC MIDI Card + SC55MkII, XT CF Lite, OSSC 1.6
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby root42 » 2019-2-14 @ 10:14

Thrustmaster Wizzard Pinball Controller:

https://youtu.be/-UHVFohpCqU
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby rasz_pl » 2019-2-14 @ 15:24

root42 wrote:The Nosulus Rift


how could I forget that :D
in the same vein Electropain as a Game Mechanic http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/parisi :)

http://www.mindwire-v5.com/home.html
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Connect up to 5 self adhesive pads to your arms, legs and stomach and feel the sensory feedback that mimics the game action.

There was another similar product in a form of electric shock vest, was supposed to shock every time you got shot in a game

doaks80 wrote:MMX.

useless for games, MMX is Integer math only, good for DSP, things like audio filters, or making a softmodem out of your sound card. Unsuitable for accelerating 3D games. Whats worse MMX has no dedicated registers, and instead reuses/shares FPU ones, this means you cant use MMX and FPU (all 3D code pre Direct3D 7 Hardware T&L) at the same time. Intel Paid few dev houses to release make believe enhancements faking game speedup. Same deal with SSE viewtopic.php?f=46&t=65247&p=734834#p734738

All comes down to Microsoft and Intel coming up with a concept of purely software peripherals around 1997. Intel released things like MMX, AC'97, Communications and Networking Riser (CNR), and audio/modem riser (AMR) standards, all in an effort to push hardware vendors out of the market by handling those roles in software by the CPU. More work for CPU = more demand for fast CPUs = more profit.

Funnily enough AMDs 1998 3DNow! did actually add floating point support to MMX and was useful for 3D acceleration until hardware T&L came along 2 years later.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby realnc » 2019-2-14 @ 22:20

VRR displays (G-Sync and FreeSync.) It was a huge enhancement (G-Sync in my case.) It ranks #2 for me. #1 being the introduction of 3D acceleration in video cards.
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Re: Hardware that enhance games?

Postby Errius » 2019-2-14 @ 23:04

As I recall, POD (1997) was one of the first games to use MMX, but only uses it for sound.
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