VOGONS


First post, by infiniteclouds

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I recently looked up the specs of my first PC, from the fall of 1998. A Dell XPS R450. Apparently it would seem we had gone with the fastest Pentium available at the time and this was a really sweet machine -- especially coming from a Crapintosh Performa. There's just one problem with this. According to the specs posted in the link below the R450 came stock with a STB TNT -- a capable graphics card at the time. However, I recall having to play Half-Life in ultra-pixel software rendered mode until a few months later when we got a Diamond Monster 3D II. Could such a machine -- or really any computer in the end of 98, really have only had a 2D graphics card?

https://books.google.com/books?id=1AEAAAAAMBA … 20specs&f=false

Reply 1 of 13, by JidaiGeki

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There is an ad suggesting the R450 also came specced with an ATI Xpert 98D 8MB AGP card ... could this have been your original card?

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=DgIAAAAA … cTKCZgQ6AEIJzAA (scroll down a page or two)

Reply 2 of 13, by dionb

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I also remember exactly that situation - having a glorious TNT, but having to run Half-Life in software rendering. If I recall correctly the first few driver versions didn't work with a lot of games. Maybe that was why you had to do so until you got the Voodoo.

Reply 4 of 13, by oeuvre

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unrelated but you can update the BIOS on your machine and put in a slocket and go oeuvre 1GHz!

HP Z420 Workstation Intel Xeon E5-1620, 32GB, RADEON HD7850 2GB, SSD + HD, XP/7
ws90Ts2.gif

Reply 5 of 13, by infiniteclouds

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JidaiGeki wrote:

There is an ad suggesting the R450 also came specced with an ATI Xpert 98D 8MB AGP card ... could this have been your original card?

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=DgIAAAAA … cTKCZgQ6AEIJzAA (scroll down a page or two)

It's possible -- depends on how this card would've performed and its 3D capabilities (or lack of .)

dionb wrote:

I also remember exactly that situation - having a glorious TNT, but having to run Half-Life in software rendering. If I recall correctly the first few driver versions didn't work with a lot of games. Maybe that was why you had to do so until you got the Voodoo.

Now this is interesting..

dave343 wrote:

That TNT should have sliced through Half Life...

That's what I was thinking, which is the cause for confusion.

Reply 6 of 13, by Ozzuneoj

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For what its worth, my first PC was a Gateway G6-400 with a PII 400Mhz and an integrated Velocity 128 (Riva 128), and I had no idea that it would even provide hardware acceleration until a few years later when I repurposed the system and installed the OS and updated drivers. Absolutely nothing I ran on that system allowed me to use OpenGL or hardware acceleration of any kind on the drivers that came pre-installed. I bought a Voodoo 3 2000 PCI to get anything other than software rendering in lots of very common games.

This is a complete guess, but it seems possible that some non-gaming systems back then may have shipped with very bare bones or very outdated drivers that reliable and proven for the desktop but were lacking a lot of compatibility tweaks and support for current games. Again, just guessing...

Now for some blitting from the back buffer.

Reply 7 of 13, by nekurahoka

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I have the STB card that shipped with my R400 and also had numerous driver/acceleration issues with it. Might fire it up again because of this thread.

Dell Dimension XPS R400, 512MB SDRAM, Voodoo3 2000 AGP, Turtle Beach Montego, ESS Audiodrive 1869f ISA, Dreamblaster Synth S1
Dell GH192, P4 3.4 (Northwood), 4GB Dual Channel DDR, ATI Radeon x1650PRO 512MB, Audigy 2ZS, Alacritech 2000 Network Accelerator

Reply 8 of 13, by infiniteclouds

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Okay! I managed to acquire an R450 -- reunited with my first PC model. The one that I found has a 'Dell STB 128' which POSTs as an NVidia 128 ZX 8MB and a Soundblaster 16 Vibra.

Looking at the drivers list here below I thought shows all the possible hardware that could come with these machines until I say drivers for TNT2 listed there which didn't come out until 1999? So some of these drivers can probably be ruled out, I'm just not sure which.

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/pro … nsion-r/drivers

For Audio...

Sound Blaster Live!
Turtle Beach Montego I
Turtle Beach Montego II
Sound Blaster 16 ViBRA
Crystal CS4236 (I suspect ISA)
Crystal CS4611 (I suspect PCI)

I'm 99% sure we had a Turtle Beach card because I remember the software for it. However, I don't know if it was a Montego I or II... I don't remember ever using A3D which I think would've been on a Montego II but not I? Also I've never heard of these Crystal sound cards -- please share what you think of them if you have any experience.

For Video...

STB TNT Nvidia 16MB PCI
STB TNT Nvidia 16MB (AGP I suppose)
STB Nvidia 128 ZX 8MB (AGP)
ATI Xpert 93D 8MB AGP (like Jidai pointed out in one of the ads)
Quandrant Permedia Drivers
Quadrant Permedia BIOS

I have never heard of Permedia but the BIOS description calls it Diamond Permedia Fire GL. Anyone have any info about these cards? Were they cheap trash? Could've have been my card.

Reply 9 of 13, by nekurahoka

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In the R400 I have, the sound card was the Turtle Beach Montego A3DXSTREAM (1). It's a great card for Windows, but I don't use it for DOS. The wave table card interface does have the hanging note bug.

Last edited by nekurahoka on 2018-05-18, 01:33. Edited 1 time in total.

Dell Dimension XPS R400, 512MB SDRAM, Voodoo3 2000 AGP, Turtle Beach Montego, ESS Audiodrive 1869f ISA, Dreamblaster Synth S1
Dell GH192, P4 3.4 (Northwood), 4GB Dual Channel DDR, ATI Radeon x1650PRO 512MB, Audigy 2ZS, Alacritech 2000 Network Accelerator

Reply 10 of 13, by Palladium

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TNT1 definitely works in OpenGL in HL1 on Socket 7 AGP but I was using 2002 win98 reference NV drivers.

And I'm pretty sure the original HL1 readme.txt specifically says HW acceleration on Riva 128 is not supported.

Reply 11 of 13, by infiniteclouds

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Off my original disc..

Half-Life Version 1.0 Readme File 10/30/98 […]
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Half-Life
Version 1.0
Readme File
10/30/98

************************************************************************
About This Document:

This document contains last-minute information about Half-Life, including questions you may have concerning the game or your computer. If you have a question, check to see if it is addressed here first: you may save yourself a call to Technical Support.
************************************************************************

I. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
II. GENERAL TECHNICAL ISSUES
III. GENERAL GAME ISSUES
IV. 3D HARDWARE ISSUES
V. CONTACTING SIERRA

I. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
Windows(r) 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0
Pentium 133+, 24 MB RAM
SVGA, high color (16-bit)
2x CD-ROM drive
Windows-compatible sound card
Mouse, keyboard

II. GENERAL TECHNICAL ISSUES

DRIVER ISSUES
When running Half-Life in OpenGL, you must select '3Dfx Mini Driver' from the drivers list in the Video Options menu if you have a 3Dfx card (Voodoo, Voodoo2, Rush or Banshee). Choosing the 'Default' driver may severely impact Half-Life's performance.

Make sure the most current version of DirectX is installed on your computer. DirectX 6 is the most current version (as of 10/31/98), and it is included on the Half-Life CD in the 'DirectX' folder.

If you are running a pre-OSR2 release of Windows95, get the OpenGL 1.1 fix in order to run Half-Life in OpenGL mode. The fix can be found at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/opengl95.exe

Make sure you have installed the most recent drivers for all your hardware before playing Half-Life.
[CUT TO]
IV. 3D HARDWARE ISSUSES

Half-Life has the ability to use both OpenGL and Direct3D. Many cards with support for 3D acceleration will provide both OpenGL and Direct3D drivers. Which one is better depends upon the quality and performance of the drivers themselves, and will vary from card to card.

The latest release of DirectX, version 6.0, is included on the Half-Life CD. It should be automatically installed as part of the Half-Life installation process. If you need to reinstall at a later time, open the DirectX folder on your Half-Life installation CD and run dxsetup.exe.

In general, make sure you have the latest versions of the device drivers for your display hardware. Most graphics card vendors make them freely available on the Internet, and a collection of links to sites of many popular cards is installed on your hard drive along with Half-Life. The default location for this file is:

C:\SIERRA\Half-Life\media\DrvPage\default.htm

Video configuration is set in the Configuration\Video\Video modes menu in Half-Life.

The following section explains the known driver and compatibility issues for specific chipsets at the time of Half-Life's shipping. If you have any questions about which chipset is incorporated in your graphics card, consult the documentation that accompanied your card, or contact the card manufacturer.

3DFX Banshee, Voodoo 1, Voodoo 2, Voodoo 2 SLI

Get the latest drivers from your card manufacturer or get the latest drivers directly from the 3DFX site. Half-Life ships with the current, tested GL mini-driver. Make sure that you have Glide version 2.54 or above. Half-Life does not support Direct3D on Voodoo cards.

The Voodoo 2 running in SLI mode on Windows/NT is prone to crashing. The solution to this instability is to either get an updated driver from 3DFX, disable SLI mode, or run under Windows 95/98.

3DFX Rush

With the current drivers, Half-Life supports the Voodoo rush in software mode only. Check with 3DFX for an updated driver that offers support for Half-Life

NVIDIA Riva 128

You must have Windows 95 OSR 2 or later, Windows 98 or Windows NT. As of shipping, Half-Life Riva 128 OpenGL support requires the latest reference driver from NVIDIA. Get this driver off of their site, http://www.nvidia.com. Direct3D support is currently unavailable. Contact NVIDIA for a Direct3D driver that supports Half-Life.

NVIDIA TNT

Half-Life supports the TNT in software, OpenGL and Direct3D modes. Get the latest driver off of NVIDIA’s site.

Matrox G200

Half-Life supports the G200 in software and Direct3D. Get the latest driver from Matrox’s site, http://www.matrox.com. Matrox will also be providing a GL mini-driver that will support OpenGL in Half-Life. Check with Matrox for details.

S3 Virge

Half-Life supports the Virge in software mode only.

S3 Savage

Half-Life support the Savage in software and Direct3D. You can get the latest drivers from S3's site, http://www.s3.com. S3 will also be providing a GL driver that will support Half-Life. Check with S3 for details.

General Issues:

Missing Decals (i.e. Bullet holes)
Half-Life uses a feature of OpenGL and Direct3D that some video card drivers do not support correctly. To over ride the default settings for this feature, put this line in your opengl32.cfg or d3d.cfg file:

gl_polyoffset 0.1

If this doesn’t work, try -0.1, 1 or 20. This tells the driver how far to offset the decal from the surface of the polygon that the decal is being applied to.

Direct3D or OpenGL are running very slow
On some cards that don’t fully support Direct3D or OpenGL, Half-Life will fall back to a software emulation mode. These modes are very slow. If your Direct3D support is slow, try selecting OpenGL, and vice versa. If neither work, change your settings to use Half-Life’s software video modes instead and the speed will improve.

Direct3D Input seems lagged.
If your input seems to lag behind the visual display on occasion, add this line to your d3d.cfg file:

gl_d3dflip 1

Copyright (1998 Sierra On-Line, Inc.)

So RIVA 128 and TNT1 are supported -- the former only in OpenGL but it is possible that Dell shipped their machines with crappy drivers and we just thought it meant the card couldn't do it. Unless we had one of those 'Parmedia Fire GL" cards... or the ATI. What are the oldest available drivers for the RIVA 128/TNT?

Reply 12 of 13, by leileilol

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The TNT *should work* from the release as it's been used in early Q3 development in 1998 as well as being touted to do 1600x1200 in Quake2's default OpenGL driver around its original 98 launch, and Half-Life doesn't really do anything more in OpenGL than Quake2 did (all its neat skeletal stuff and corona stuff are software calculated)

I'd blame Valve for messing up at this point. They've also had similar problems initializing the 3dfx Mini driver on Voodoo cards as well (having to copy 3dfxgl.dll to opengl32.dll and playing it through default opengl that way)

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long live PCem

Reply 13 of 13, by infiniteclouds

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leileilol wrote:

The TNT *should work* from the release as it's been used in early Q3 development in 1998 as well as being touted to do 1600x1200 in Quake2's default OpenGL driver around its original 98 launch, and Half-Life doesn't really do anything more in OpenGL than Quake2 did (all its neat skeletal stuff and corona stuff are software calculated)

I'd blame Valve for messing up at this point. They've also had similar problems initializing the 3dfx Mini driver on Voodoo cards as well (having to copy 3dfxgl.dll to opengl32.dll and playing it through default opengl that way)

I thought Quake 2's resolution cap was lower than 1600x1200?