VOGONS


Is it worth it for me to get a Voodoo card?

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First post, by DeiwosN

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So I know the answer to a question of worth is fairly subjective generally, but the problem is I entirely missed that section of technology when it was current at the time and didn't really have the ability to care about hardware acceleration until it became a standard thing.

Currently I've got a 200mhz Pentium MMX system with an S3 Virge DX, and to be honest I don't really know what games from the era might benefit from a Voodoo card aside from Quake/Quake 2 and Unreal. So, since I'm relatively limited by the CPU already to what games I can play, how much might I really get out of one of these?

Reply 1 of 128, by Joseph_Joestar

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DeiwosN wrote on 2021-08-18, 10:58:

Currently I've got a 200mhz Pentium MMX system with an S3 Virge DX, and to be honest I don't really know what games from the era might benefit from a Voodoo card aside from Quake/Quake 2 and Unreal. So, since I'm relatively limited by the CPU already to what games I can play, how much might I really get out of one of these?

Depends on which Voodoo card you plan on getting. A Voodoo1 is most suitable for DOS Glide games (e.g. Tomb Raider, Descent 2) and those would work quite well on that system. If you're interested, here are some my experiences on a similar rig.

But if you want to play Win9x games like Quake 2, Half-Life and Unreal on that system, you're probably better off with a Voodoo2 or a Voodoo3. They will provide much better performance, even on that CPU.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 2 of 128, by bloodem

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Many games from that era would benefit. However, I would say that Quake 2 is barely playable on a Voodoo 1, and Unreal is just unplayable.
On the other hand, there are a ton of DOS/early Windows games with Glide support that are playable on a Voodoo card: Blood, Tomb Raider, GTA, Descent 2, Screamer 2, Turok, Carmageddon, Shadow Warrior and many, many more.
People who build Voodoo 1 systems either had one back in the day and want to relive that experience, or never had one/couldn't afford one during its heyday, so they want to see what they've been missing. 😀

Having said that, if you have to ask... then it's probably not worth it for you. 😀

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 3 of 128, by The Serpent Rider

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that are playable on a Voodoo card: Blood, Tomb Raider, GTA, Descent 2, Screamer 2, Turok, Carmageddon, Shadow Warrior and many, many more.

IMHO Build engine games hardly can be called good experience with Glide. Performance is so-so due to engine code being almost literally assembled with black magic and duct tape. And you had to sacrifice voxels.

Last edited by The Serpent Rider on 2021-08-18, 11:16. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 4 of 128, by bloodem

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Yes, indeed, their Glide implementation is... lackluster, but still I played a few levels of Blood with a Voodoo 1 and it was fine. It's an interesting experience. 😀

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 5 of 128, by Pierre32

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A subjective but resounding yes from me. I have a Voodoo 1 in a near identical system, which only runs DOS. Here are the supported games: DOS Glide Games List

Highlights are Descent 2, Screamer 2, Screamer Rally, Carmageddon, and Fatal Racing / Whiplash. But Descent 2 most of all... the "killer app" of this setup.

Having Windows installed opens up many more options of course. I threw Win98 on my system briefly (it didn't like it, that's another story) and the games I played or had queued to play were GLQuake, Spec Ops, Rainbow Six, Interstate 76, Rogue Squadron, Shadows of the Empire and even Half-Life (just). And that's just scratching the surface.

A Voodoo truly transforms a system of this spec 😀

Reply 6 of 128, by DeiwosN

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Oh I had no idea Descent 2 could utilise one. Hmm, would it work with a Voodoo 2? Or a Banshee? (Apparently it does work with Voodoo 2, that might be what I go after)

These responses definitely opened my eyes though, so thank you!

Reply 7 of 128, by RandomStranger

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-08-18, 11:11:

that are playable on a Voodoo card: Blood, Tomb Raider, GTA, Descent 2, Screamer 2, Turok, Carmageddon, Shadow Warrior and many, many more.

IMHO Build engine games hardly can be called good experience with Glide. Performance is so-so due to engine code being almost literally assembled with black magic and duct tape. And you had to sacrifice voxels.

For build engine you don't even need 3D acceleration. On my ASUS retro laptop with an obscure 2D only graphics chip they are already pretty fast. And they don't look awful like for example Tomb Raider in software render.

sreq.png

Reply 9 of 128, by drosse1meyer

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Just to chime in. It depends on what you're looking for. To re-live days of yore? Or to just see what the hubbub is about? (The latter will probably not impress you unless you lived through that period.)

The main appeal of Voodoo was largely contemporary to its time. As you probably know most games were rendered in software mode, 3dfx products were really the first time that you could have things such as texture filtering, colored lighting, good FPS, on consumer level hardware. This era in computing was also extremely fast moving, so once devs saw how much of a hit it was, they raced to implement support and market it as such. Eventually competitor hardware moved in and killed 3dfx's offerings and its proprietary APIs and gave us the standards which helped shape what we have today.

As such there is an offering of glide supported games which pretty much only came from this time period (late 90s), plenty of threads listing these.
Glide-only Games
Windows Glide Games List
DOS Glide Games List

For reference I'm using a plain P166 with voodoo1...Win98, 640x480 res yields
- Quake2: 25 FPS (SW mode at 320 i get 15 fps)
- GLQuake: 41 FPS (DOS SW mode at 320 i get 38 fps)

Other notes
-Glide specific games, as expected, run extraordinarily well (forsaken, etc.) 60 fps or higher
-Unreal runs, and I didnt timedemo it, but I'd say its 10- 15 fps. Smaller areas are good, larger areas suffer. But this is much MUCH better than sw mode.
-D2 dos runs well over 60 fps

Re: Descent2 DOS
- may want to framecap it
- I was having a lot of trouble with the mouse as it failed to respond at all, despite working in regular descent2 and every other DOS game or app. Turns out that d2vooodoo doesn't like CTMOUSE... I changed my autoexec.bat to use mouse.com /R4 instead, and all is well.

Last edited by drosse1meyer on 2021-08-18, 16:08. Edited 2 times in total.

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB

Reply 10 of 128, by Gmlb256

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The combination of S3 and Voodoo Graphics is quite decent for that machine. Good DOS compatibility combined with Glide support.

I used one of these cards on my Socket 7 computer. For the earliest Windows games with 3D acceleration support I recommend using 512x384 resolution if possible for better performance.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-08-19, 21:21. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 128, by drosse1meyer

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:10:

The combination of S3 and Voodoo Graphics is quite decent for that machine. Good DOS compatibility combined with Glide support.

I used one of these cards on my Socket 7 computer. For the earliest Windows games with 3D acceleration support I recommend using 512x384 resolution if possible for better performance.

YMMV. I get hardly any bump at all in Q2 when dropping down to 512, I imagine my CPU is a bottleneck.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-08-19, 21:21. Edited 1 time in total.

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB

Reply 12 of 128, by Gmlb256

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drosse1meyer wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:24:
Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:10:

The combination of S3 and Voodoo Graphics is quite decent for that machine. Good DOS compatibility combined with Glide support.

I used one of these cards on my Socket 7 computer. For the earliest Windows games with 3D acceleration support I recommend using 512x384 resolution if possible for better performance.

YMMV. I get hardly any bump at all in Q2 when dropping down to 512, I imagine my CPU is a bottleneck.

Indeed. When I previously used a Pentium MMX 233 MHz there is slowdown during slugfests and explosions.

Enabling "8-bit texture" may improve the situation if the card has 4MB but it won't help you much due to texture thrashing and the CPU bottleneck.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-08-19, 21:22. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 13 of 128, by chinny22

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Never having one back in the day I'm not nostalgic or a 3DFX die hard fan.
I'd say its worth trying out but don't rush into getting a card. Keep an eye on eBay prices for a while and get a feel for how much they truly go for, cards often start at stupid prices.
I do like my 3DFX cards now I have them. In part its simply having something I couldn't get years ago and part some games while perfectly fine in software/D3D do look better in Glide.

Worst case you can always sell it on, Demand for cards is only increasing.

Reply 14 of 128, by Hoping

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I have one Voodoo Rush, two Voodoo 1 two Voodoo 2 in SLI and a Voodoo 3 3000. They doesn't worth the price they ask for nowadays. Back then I've bought a Riva TNT to upgrade from a Matrox Mystique and the only drawback was GLide.This was on a PMMX 200 with 32MB. The TNT was a lot faster than a Voodoo 1, on par with a single Voodoo 2, and when the Voodoo 3 came out, I think that the Geforce 256 was almost there so the Voodoo3 only had the GLide advantage again and no T&L.
The Voodoo cards are the most compatible, there's no doubt of that, but their prices are crazy only to take advantage of GLide only games because if a game supports D3D or OpenGL you can play it with other cards. I know that some games where better optimized for GLide, Unreal I think, was an example but nowadays with the updates that's not a problem.
Please Voodoo fans don't jump on my neck, this is only my opinion, don't want to offend anybody.

Reply 15 of 128, by Gmlb256

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Hoping wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:59:

I have one Voodoo Rush, two Voodoo 1 two Voodoo 2 in SLI and a Voodoo 3 3000. They doesn't worth the price they ask for nowadays. Back then I've bought a Riva TNT to upgrade from a Matrox Mystique and the only drawback was GLide.This was on a PMMX 200 with 32MB. The TNT was a lot faster than a Voodoo 1, on par with a single Voodoo 2, and when the Voodoo 3 came out, I think that the Geforce 256 was almost there so the Voodoo3 only had the GLide advantage again and no T&L.
The Voodoo cards are the most compatible, there's no doubt of that, but their prices are crazy only to take advantage of GLide only games because if a game supports D3D or OpenGL you can play it with other cards. I know that some games where better optimized for GLide, Unreal I think, was an example but nowadays with the updates that's not a problem.
Please Voodoo fans don't jump on my neck, this is only my opinion, don't want to offend anybody.

No offense here and I understand you. I'm not nostalgic about 3Dfx either.

One advantage of 3Dfx had were the driver optimization compared to other graphics vendors at the time besides the Glide API and the first to provide a working MiniGL implementation for GLQuake. Almost every card with 3D accelerator prior to nVidia RIVA 128 and TNT were not that competitive in terms of performance and/or features with 3Dfx Voodoo cards (except the Voodoo Rush which sucks).

Reply 16 of 128, by drosse1meyer

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:32:
drosse1meyer wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:24:
Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:10:

The combination of S3 and Voodoo Graphics is quite decent for that machine. Good DOS compatibility combined with Glide support.

I used one of these cards on my Socket 7 computer. For the earliest Windows games with 3D acceleration support I recommend using 512x384 resolution if possible for better performance.

YMMV. I get hardly any bump at all in Q2 when dropping down to 512, I imagine my CPU is a bottleneck.

Indeed. When I previously used a Pentium MMX 233 MHz there is slowdown during slugfests and explosions.

Enabling "8-bit texture" may improve the situation if the card has 4MB but it won't help you much due to texture thrashing and the CPU bottleneck.

Yea 8 bit textures off def does help a few fps. I spent too much time tweaking various parameters the other day, theres a decent amount that can be done via console commands and/or batch files haha... though i did get in a game or two of dm 😀

I was wondering how much a plain Pentium 200 would improve my FPS, I'm guessing maybe 5fps? (Unfort my board doesn't support MMX.)

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-08-19, 21:22. Edited 1 time in total.

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB

Reply 18 of 128, by luk1999

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@drosse1meyer
You can always try to overclock your cpu to 200 MHz (just set multiplier to 3x) and check how much your framerate improve.
Later you can use FSB 75 MHz if your board supports it.

Pentium 4 2400 + ASUS P4P800-X + 2 GB RAM + GF FX5200 128 MB AGP + SB Audigy
Duron 1000 + Soltek SL-75DRV4 + 256 MB RAM + Voodoo 3 2000 16 MB AGP + FM801

Reply 19 of 128, by Eep386

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Hoping wrote on 2021-08-18, 15:59:

Please Voodoo fans don't jump on my neck, this is only my opinion, don't want to offend anybody.

No offense taken. I'm grateful to own my PCI Banshee and I think I'll leave it at that. (*Maybe* get a PCI Voodoo1 or 2 for my discrete GPU-hating 300GL.)
For AGP stuff I've been exploring alternative GPUs, including the Savage4, of which I've taken quite a shine to lately. (Helps in my case that my CPUs aren't fast enough to fully take advantage of anything faster than, say, a TNT2 or Voodoo3 3500 at the most.)

Life isn't long enough to re-enable every hidden option in every BIOS on every board... 🙁