Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

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Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2012-12-10 @ 00:34

Me and Gona have been having some fun with our Creative 3D Blaster PCI cards and I guess we can share our findings here and invite the rest of you.

CGL was Creative's own API originally developed for the Creative 3D Blaster VLB. When the PCI version was released the API was implemented in this card as well.

CGL for the cards works primarily with CGL drivers found in .cgl files. The drivers for the VLB version with the GLINT chip are normally named GIGT*163.CGL (where * can be B, C, E, I) and the drivers for the PCI version with the Verite V1000 chip VRIT*165.CGL or VRIT*170.CGL (though the 165 file don't work with the released card.) Any CGL game with included VRIT files can be safely run on the 3D Blaster PCI, but if it is missing the VRIT files and only included GIGT or none CGL files it is safe to assume it is for VLB only.


All testing is done with the PCI card:

Supported games:

Actua Soccer - Supports both the VLB and PCI card. Runs well at 640x400, can also do 800x600. I can't get the game to run if I install the official PCI patch, so I think the version I've got is already patched, or the patch is for another version. Supports bilinear filtering on the grassfield with PCI.

Battle Arena Toshinden - Supports both the VLB and PCI card (PCI after patching it). I get 18 FPS with the PCI card on a P133 and 16 FPS with the VLB on a AMD 5x86 (VLB version is running with lower detailed characters than the PCI version). That is lower than the NV1 and the Matrox! 3DFX is rocking with 30fps and superior graphics.

Battle Race - Only VLB support. Refuses to load any VRIT* CGL files. (just got gigtb163.cgl file originally)

Euro 96 - Supports 800x600. Both VLB and PCI support (PCI through patch).

Flight Unlimited - This game was bundled both with the VLB and PCI version. The VLB version has no separate .CGL files, but instead have it inside the .exe file like some DOS 3DFX games do with Glide. This makes the VLB version unable to run on the PCI card. The PCI version has separate CGL files, but does not contain GIGT files, so it is uncertain if it can be run on the VLB card at all. This is the only CGL game that requires an IRQ that is not shared with any other PCI device. If you have shared IRQ on the 3D Blaster PCI and try to run this game it will crash. Performance is good on a quick CPU in 640x400 and it supports bilinear filtering in the PCI version. Screenshot included.

Hi-Octane - VLB support with CGL file integrated into the .exe file like the other games in the VLB bundle. Beta PCI patch made by Creative, but never released.

NASCAR Racing - Same as the Flight Unlimited VLB version with the CGL file included in the .exe file. VLB support only. Was included in the VLB bundle and also came with the CD-ROM retail release in 1995.

Magic Carpet Plus - Bundled with the VLB version with the CGL file included in the .exe file. VLB support only.

Rebel Moon - Again a game that works like Flight Unlimited in the VLB version. This game also came with both the PCI and VLB bundle. The version bundled with the PCI supported Speedy3D and CGL. On a P133 I noticed a little better framerate with CGL than Speedy3D. Supports bilinear filtering on the PCI card.

Screamer II / Rally - Last games to be released with CGL support. Includes only VRIT CGL files, meaning it was only intended for the PCI card. Can not be run on the VLB with manually adding the correct files. Supports bilinear filtering. Not the best framerate in 640x480, but if you set details to low it is playable. Better to run these games on a 3DFX card or Matrox Mystique.

Whiplash / Fatal Racing - Official support for the VLB card only, but can run on the PCI as well, but in a broken state. You need to manually add the VRITE170.CGL file to the game for it to run on the PCI card. When you fire it up the menu is black, but the game is still running. By starting a race the screen comes back to life and you can race as normal. Gona found out that since the VLB version can work as a throughput card like the Voodooo 1&2 the game is expecting two video cards when running in CGL mode. The "regular" 2D card for the menu and the 3D Blaster for the races in 3D. On the PCI card you have both in one card, so this function does not work properly which makes the whole menu go black. CGL gives better framerate than with software in 640x400, but no graphical improvements. It is playable with everything set to max. The CGL version seems to have been the port the Speedy3D version was done on. I can add that the Speedy3D brings better framerate and bilinear filtering, so there is little point in running the game in CGL mode if you got the 3D Blaster PCI. 3DFX is rocking this game though on framerate on a P133.

Screenshots:
Whiplash CGL top, software bottom:
Image
ImageImageImage

CGL in action:
Battle Arena Toshinden (PCI)
Creative 3D Blaster VLB all supported games montage


Are there other cards with CGL support?
There are sources and rumors which claim that Permedia 1 cards have this support. Creative wrote in a press release that they had licensed CGL to be used in the Permedia chip. 3D Labs also stated CGL support on their website for both the Permedia and Permedia NT. So was this implemented in reality? The Diamond Fire GL 1000, a card with the Permedia chip states no support for CGL on the datasheet and I have not found any information confirming that any other Permedia card actually had CGL support.

I could possibly be that Creative was planning on using CGL with their own Permedia card, like the CT6360 which was either cancelled or sold in very limited quantities. This would have been similar to what they did with the 3D Blaster PCI, which were based on the Verite V1000, but also was the only Rendition Verite card that featured CGL support.

Putas has mentioned on his website that the Laguna3D from Creative also had CGL support. Again, I've not been able to find any information confirming this. Creative itself has nothing on their archived website saying anything about this (other that they will bring CGL to more Creative products):
CGL (Creative Graphics Library) is Creative's proprietary 3D API under DOS which enables games and applications to take advantage of 3D hardware features and acceleration. We have ported CGL to the 3D Blaster, and will also extend that support to other 3D cards we produce. CGL games and applications will not run on non-Creative graphics cards. Source


If you got more info on supported cards, feel free to post :)
Last edited by vetz on 2013-3-31 @ 15:19, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby subhuman@xgtx » 2012-12-10 @ 11:07

Does the VLB blaster have support for at least some kind of bilineal filtering/mip mapping¿?

BTW, awesome post, as always. No one here that I know has ever posted screenshots of actual CGL games running :cool:
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2012-12-10 @ 14:43

subhuman@xgtx wrote:Does the VLB blaster have support for at least some kind of bilineal filtering/mip mapping¿?

BTW, awesome post, as always. No one here that I know has ever posted screenshots of actual CGL games running :cool:


I can't confirm it, but I don't think so. I can't see bilinear filtering/mip mapping in the specifications for the VLB card. Also no reviews mention this.

The CGL games that have bilinear support are the later ones which were made with the PCI version in mind. Games like Battle Arena Toshinden and Whiplash that were initially released for only VLB probably look very similar as they do on the VLB when run on the PCI.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2012-12-10 @ 16:16

Replied here instead since this is probably a better thread than continuing on the other one.

Putas wrote:In latest news casual Creative Blaster Exxtreme shows CGL compatibility, even though Permedia 2 support was never mentioned.
sebaz_ri wrote:How to test CGL, because i have one of these cards


The only game that I know of which have a demo with CGL support is Battle Arena Toshinden. If you want to test the other games, you need the full version. See above for supported games.

I've included the demo as a download as it can be hard to find.
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Battle Arena Toshinden DEMO
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby Putas » 2012-12-11 @ 07:28

Yes, Toshinden 2.5 was first and so far only game I could get to work with Exxtreme. No luck with Actua Soccer (it runs but switches to software), Flight Unlimited, Rebel Moon, Screamer II & Rally, Fatal Racing.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2012-12-19 @ 00:38

I recently got hold of an unreleased beta patch from an ex-employee of Creative which adds 3D Blaster PCI support to Hi-Octane. It didn't work on the retail version, but I've been able to get hold of the VLB bundled one and here the patch works! I've gotten permission to do whatever I want with it as long as I don't reveal the source.

The game runs more smooth than in software mode on a P133 and you got bilinear filtering! I'll try and see what files are different from the retail to the bundled version and include those in the patch files so that everyone with the 3D Blaster PCI (and other unknown CGL supported cards) can have a shot at playing this game accelerated. The retail version isn't hard to get on Ebay (and the music is sweet!)
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby F2bnp » 2013-1-21 @ 00:35

Oh man, I love this game (I love anything Bullfrog to be honest)! Bilinear filtering certainly adds more detail. Where there any other 3d accelerated versions?
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2013-1-21 @ 17:49

F2bnp wrote:Oh man, I love this game (I love anything Bullfrog to be honest)! Bilinear filtering certainly adds more detail. Where there any other 3d accelerated versions?


It is certainly a fun game! Nope, only accelerated on the 3D Blaster cards. Until I got hold of the unreleased PCI patch, VLB was your only known choice. I'll release this patch very soon when I get it working with the retail release. It is just unfortunate that so few people have the 3D Blaster PCI, though luckily it is a bit easier and cheaper to get hold of than the VLB card :)
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2013-3-23 @ 21:39

Games montage on the Creative 3D Blaster VLB:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7tTYwNDWlU

My VGA card does not want to sync with the 3D Blaster (640x400@73hz 640x480@63hz), thus I needed to shoot directly from my monitor. Not as good as VGA capture, but its better than S-video which was the alternative.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2013-3-31 @ 15:26

Putas wrote:No luck with Actua Soccer (it runs but switches to software),


This might help explain the poor performance of Actua Soccer on the VLB. Taking into consideration that the game could run in 800x600 on the PCI card and it was the only game that could sync with my VGA capture card I now believe it was running in software mode the whole time.....

Euro 96 is supposedly running on the same 3D engine as Actua Soccer and the huge performance difference between the games would be natural if one of them were not accelerated.

I need to do some more testing :P
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2013-5-06 @ 20:03

Finally time to do some more testing.

I can confirm that the footage seen in the video of Actua Soccer is software mode. I found the problem. Apparently I have a version of Actua Soccer that is made for the 3D Blaster PCI and with VLB support broken. If VRITB170.CGL is present in the folder the game will detect the 3D Blaster VLB and run, but not as accelerated. There are two options to fix this:

1. Update the default GIGTB163.CGL file to GIGTB170.CGL
2. Replace VRITB170.CGL with VRITB165.CGL

These files are available with other CGL games.

Actua Soccer still doesn't run exactly smooth at 15 FPS on the VLB, but it is a 100% improvement over software mode in 640x400. As with Euro96, 800x600 is also available.

EDIT: I've also managed to run my Pentium Overdrive at 100mhz. I get around 2 increased FPS in Battle Arena Toshinden, running at 17-18 FPS.
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GIGTB170.CGL
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2013-5-06 @ 22:00

Some first impressions of Pentium Overdrive @100mhz + Creative 3D Blaster VLB (comparing to AMD 5x86 @ 160mhz)

- Fatal Racing / Whiplash: The game with the biggest noticeable performance increase. Impressive.
- Battle Arena Toshinden: Around 2 FPS increase.
- NASCAR Racing - Noticable improvement. Was already running well on the AMD 5x86
- Hi-Octane - Noticeable improvement. Speed increased, less FPS slowdowns.
- Magic Carpet - None visible improvement. Pretty funny that the Pentium logo shows up in the CGL version :LOL:
- Actua Soccer - Some improvement, not by much.
- Euro 96 - Not tested as framerate was very good on the AMD.
- Flight Unlimited - Some improvement (blending could be turned out without much performance hit), side-by-side comparison required.
- Rebel Moon - Pretty good framerate on the AMD, same on the POD.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby Gona » 2013-6-01 @ 19:29

At last I have found and get a 3Dlabs Permedia 1 card (PowerColor C3000). I have looking for Permedia 1 based card because Putas has showed me a 3Dlabs news from 1995-Oct-23:
The first-generation, low-cost 3D chip from 3Dlabs was used exclusively by Creative Labs on their 3D Blaster(TM) board, which will be shipping in volume this Christmas. Creative plans to use custom versions of PERMEDIA for future boards in the 3D Blaster family.

Creative has been closely involved in the PERMEDIA design process and has worked with 3Dlabs to make 3D Blaster titles run on any PERMEDIA-based board without modification. This is possible due to the functional compatibility between 3D Blaster and PERMEDIA, and industry standard APIs - such as Microsoft's Reality Lab and Direct 3D. Many titles shipping today on 3D Blaster use Creative's CGL graphics library. Creative has licensed CGL to 3Dlabs - enabling CGL-based games titles to also run unmodified on PERMEDIA based cards.

"The PERMEDIA architecture is the ideal platform for our continuing relationship with 3Dlabs," said Hock Leow, vice president of the video and graphics product group at Creative. "PERMEDIA not only provides outstanding 3D performance for games and other pervasive 3D applications, but also includes the high performance 2D and video functionality we need to make our boards excel at accelerating all the graphics applications used by our customers. We are committed to working with 3Dlabs to make PERMEDIA the leading 3D architecture for pervasive 3D. Licensing our software to 3Dlabs provides a tremendous momentum to PERMEDIA by providing an immediate collection of top quality games for PERMEDIA-based boards."

"By definition, pervasive 3D includes all the entertainment applications," said Henry Choy, director of entertainment products at 3Dlabs. "We received a lot of positive feedback from the game developer community about Creative's 3D Blaster board. We listened carefully to their comments and integrated the performance and functionality into PERMEDIA to make it the leading next-generation 3D games accelerator."
(source: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/3Dlabs+Re ... a017424270)
So I have try to run Flight Unlimited 3D Blaster version (the original CGL version bundled with 3D Blaster VLB cards) on this Permedia 1 card. It is not run at all:
ERROR: Flight Unlimited could not find the 3D Blaster hardware.
and I also have tried Hi-Octane:
3D-Blaster Query Failed; Returned value: 4.
Failed to initialise 3D-Blaster: please check the settings for your 3D-Blaster.

I think that as Creative has not come out with Graphics Blaster Falcon - CT6360 (I believe that the card on this picture is a prototype/engeneering sample), finally Creative has not licensed CGL to 3Dlabs too.

There is some source about the planned Graphics Blaster Falcon (CT6360):

1996 Oct 1:
MILPITAS, Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Creative Technology Ltd. (Nasdaq: CREAF)
...
introduced a new graphics solution code-named, "Falcon."
...
It is based on the PERMEDIA NT chipset from 3Dlabs, Inc.
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Creative's+Graphics+Strategy+Elevates+3D+Performance+on+the+PC+to+a...-a018721158
("Permedia NT" is a Permedia chip + GLINT Delta geometry processor)

1996 Oct 1:
MILPITAS, Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Creative Technology Ltd. (Nasdaq: CREAF), today introduced a new graphics solution code-named "Falcon" that integrates 3Dlabs' PERMEDIA(R) NT chipset and provides a superior 2D/3D engine for workstation-class performance on PCs.
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Creative+Introduces+Powerful+Workstation-Class+Graphics+Acceleration...-a018722968

1996 Nov 19: on a forum:
Where in the hell is the Graphics Blaster Falcon???
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=1631&msgnum=231&batchsize=10&batchtype=Previous

COMDEX/Fall '96, Nov 18-22:
Partners showing 3DLabs products at COMDEX included: Canopus (Power Windows 500TX), Creative Labs (Falcon Graphics Blaster)
http://www.3dlinks.com/waveissue.cfm?issue=614

1996 Dec 12 on a forum:
Falcon - based on Permedia NT - is not at Internet World. They're showing Passport and Video Phone. Falcon is supposed to ship in first calendar quarter.
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=542477

1997 Mar 09 on a forum:
The Falcon is at the very least behind schedule. I'm beginning to wonder if we will ever see a Permedia NT board from Creative Labs.
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=955454

So CGL is not run on Permedia 1. And I think it is also not run on Cirrus Logic's Laguna3D based Creative cards too becaues Graphics Blaster MA334 (later renamed to Graphics Blaster 3D) has no bundled games at all. It seems the original CGL exclusively run on 3D Blaster VLB. (But it would be a nice try on a 3Dlabs Glint 300SX card.)

The CGL games ported to Rendition Vérité chip (this chip used by Creative 3D Blaster PCI but other card manufacturers too) is an other story, these games likely run on other Vérité based cards too, if Creative video bios is present in the system (Creative 3D Blaster VLB was a 3D addon card but Creative 3D Blaster PCI was a 2D/3D videocard and CGL Vérité games can seek Creative video bios than Vérité chip). As I get a Creative (non 3D Blaster PCI) PCI videocard I will test this theory using a non Creative Vérité card.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2013-9-14 @ 23:16

Thanks to VirtuaIceMan here on Vogons it has come to my attention that there were released a patch to Battle Race with new CGL drivers and render. Hopefully that will fix the problems with that game.

I'll test it out when I'm done moving as my collection is packed away atm.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2014-9-24 @ 17:06

vetz wrote:Thanks to VirtuaIceMan here on Vogons it has come to my attention that there were released a patch to Battle Race with new CGL drivers and render. Hopefully that will fix the problems with that game.

I'll test it out when I'm done moving as my collection is packed away atm.


Finally got around to testing the new CGL driver with Battle Race. I can confirm this fixes the UI and graphical glitches running Battle Race on the 3D Blaster (as shown in this video). Images taken with my camera as the game does not sync with my capture card.

Before:
Image

After:
Image

I've included the patch here as it's only available on newer releases of the game. The patch on Patches Scrolls is for the ELSA 3D Victory (S3 Virge) bundled version and does not work with the retail version of the game. The patch does not improve performance.

Both software and CGL mode doesn't run that well POD 100 system compared to other games. CGL is actually playable, software is not, so there are some 3D acceleration effect. For this game I recommend playing with S3D mode or get a powerful machine for software mode in SVGA.

In case anyone else is going to try this game then for some reason this game will not detect the 3D Blaster in DOS mode. It's the only supported game with this behavior. I have to start it inside Windows to get it running.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby swaaye » 2014-9-24 @ 18:56

I missed the video until now. Cool to see this card in action!
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby Stiletto » 2014-10-25 @ 20:01

Supposedly this demoscene demo has CGL support, if any of you guys can test it.
"21st Century Digital Boy" by spanish lords
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=20512
see: http://www.pouet.net/prod_nfo.php?which=20512&font=none

[EDIT] Looks like pouet could do with video capture of this demo too...

It would be a good project to create the 3D Accelerated Demoscene Demos List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D/OpenGL) ;)
I think it might be fairly short, aside from that one Rendition RRedline competition.
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Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Postby vetz » 2015-5-01 @ 11:10

Stiletto wrote:Supposedly this demoscene demo has CGL support, if any of you guys can test it.
"21st Century Digital Boy" by spanish lords
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=20512
see: http://www.pouet.net/prod_nfo.php?which=20512&font=none

[EDIT] Looks like pouet could do with video capture of this demo too...

It would be a good project to create the 3D Accelerated Demoscene Demos List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D/OpenGL) ;)
I think it might be fairly short, aside from that one Rendition RRedline competition.


So this demo does have CGL support for the last segment and it only supports the 3D Blaster PCI. I captured a video, but it's not a very impressive demo tbh.
http://youtu.be/rgXdINO2vBY
Fast forward to 3:05 if you want the accelerated CGL part.

Stiletto: Could you attach the video to Pouet if you have an account there?
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