First post, by vetz
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:
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.
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 😀