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PowerVR Fun Thread

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Reply 660 of 828, by leileilol

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The fastest I was able to use a PCX2 was on a P4 system and even there 800x600/1024x768 is visibly bottlenecked by PCI transfer. Forget about the "60fps target" as that wasn't even commonplace in 1997. Lower your expectations for hardware that old! Even in 1998 it wasn't possible for PCX2 to hit 60fps in 320x240 on then current processors as the drivers had a big FPU overhead making that another hard bottleneck (especially for non-Pentiums).

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Reply 661 of 828, by Garrett W

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Yeah, I think the Voodoo2 was one of the first cards to really market 60fps targets, which was very difficult to pull off in the majority of games due to the available CPUs of the era. PCX2 is not even on par with the original Voodoo, so expecting it to hit 60fps is rather wishful thinking 😀.
I know the PCX2 does not work like conventional graphics cards from that era, however do you think faster PCI transfers would have uplifted performance in high resolutions significantly? Wouldn't the card itself be swamped with workload and unable to cope anyway?

Reply 662 of 828, by Scali

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There actually were various levels of 'certification' for PowerVR games, as I mentioned in my blog back in the day:
https://scalibq.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/just … it-real-part-6/

The PowerVR Extreme Certification […]
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The PowerVR Extreme Certification

The ultimate in the PowerVR certification supported titles will be reserved for games of the highest quality, not only in technical capabilities but also in game play and market appeal. Games in this category must achieve a minimum frame rate and resolution of 30fps at 800×600. All of this must be done with a minimum of 16.7 million colors and should take advantage of all advanced features of PowerVR. Examples of this type of game include Virtua On by Sega Entertainment, Rave Racer, Tekken 2 and Air Combat 22 by NAMCO and Ultim@te Race by Kalisto Entertainment.

The PowerVR Enhanced Certification

Titles more advanced than basic Direct3D but not in the Extreme category due to lower screen resolution, frame rate and color depth will be found in this category. These titles include features and capabilities not found in other 3D hardware.
Minimum requirements for a title in this category include a frame rate of 30fps, resolution of 640×480 and a minimum color depth of 16 bits. A number of titles fall into this category and will make up the bulk that take advantage of the PowerVR technology. This may mean taking advantage of either high-resolution, translucencies, shadows, light volumes, fogging, filtering, among others. Examples of games in this category include Ubi Soft Entertainments POD, MechWarrior 2 by Activision and Wipeout XL from Psygnosis.

The PowerVR Accelerated Certification

All other PowerVR architecture compatible Direct3D titles not in the Extreme or Enhanced categories will be found here. The minimum level of 3D support required is 20fps and 640×480 resolution with a minimum color depth of 16 bits.

So apparently 30 fps was the 'gold standard'... 800x600 at 30 fps being the highest goal, 640x480 at 30 fps being decent.
And 800x600 at 30 fps was considered very good at the time, difficult even for VooDoo cards to achieve (especially since PVR also targeted 24-bit).

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Reply 663 of 828, by MrSmiley381

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All right, I made a post and it didn't dead-end a conversation for once 😜

leileilol wrote:

The fastest I was able to use a PCX2 was on a P4 system and even there 800x600/1024x768 is visibly bottlenecked by PCI transfer. Forget about the "60fps target" as that wasn't even commonplace in 1997. Lower your expectations for hardware that old! Even in 1998 it wasn't possible for PCX2 to hit 60fps in 320x240 on then current processors as the drivers had a big FPU overhead making that another hard bottleneck (especially for non-Pentiums).

Yeah, after a little more testing last night I've come to the conclusion that this is definitely going to be an experimental card. It's just so silly, though. The card is from 1997, so it would be period correct in my MMX 233 machine, but because of the limits of the PCI bus its only hope of scaling better is to use something much newer. But then the supported game list includes DOS title like Tomb Raider and Mechwarrior 2, so some ISA love would be nice but an Aureal Vortex 2 in Sound Blaster emulation mode should be good enough. Of course, on a faster CPU Mechwarrior 2 might start freaking out and removing jump jet capabilities, so I better have Throttle or an equivalent on standby. Just way too many variables! This hobby is ridiculous sometimes. I'll just start benchmarking the games across various hardware to see what happens.

Scali wrote:

So apparently 30 fps was the 'gold standard'... 800x600 at 30 fps being the highest goal, 640x480 at 30 fps being decent.
And 800x600 at 30 fps was considered very good at the time, difficult even for VooDoo cards to achieve (especially since PVR also targeted 24-bit).

Guess I've got my performance targets. Oddly enough, I'd prefer to run the PowerVR version of Resident Evil at 640x480 for integer-scaling on the pre-rendered backgrounds. Is the PowerVR version resolution-locked or is there some techno-wizardry possible to enable that?

I spend my days fighting with clunky software so I can afford to spend my evenings fighting with clunky hardware.

Reply 664 of 828, by leileilol

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I recently came across japanese PCX2 datasheets from 1997 and unfortunately they're just glorified white papers with a bit of pinouts for technical depth at best, and the text is pretty much what you'd expect in a powervr white paper (hidden surface removals, tile rendering advantages etc) but given how samey all the PowerVR chips work, it's all still relevant information 😜

(I was more hoping for registers/addresses and how the filtering is calculated since I swear it's an imprecise gaussian...)

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Reply 665 of 828, by Stiletto

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leileilol wrote:

I recently came across japanese PCX2 datasheets from 1997)

Send 'em my way? I only have one datasheet for the NEC uPD62011 in Japanese (from pg 12: S12238JJ3V0PF00, November 1997)

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 666 of 828, by kjliew

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MrSmiley381 wrote:

Of course, on a faster CPU Mechwarrior 2 might start freaking out and removing jump jet capabilities

I just want to say that Mechwarrior 2 jumpjet recharge issue is a function of the frame rate, not entirely on the CPU alone. The 3D accelerated version typically has higher detailed models and environmental effects, which needs an even faster CPU to hit the jumpjet issue. More often, this issue only comes to matter for those playing the game on modern fast PC with glide wrapper or in DOS using the software version.

Since the PowerVR PCX2 only has drivers for Win9x, there is literally a limit of how fast a CPU can be on the PC which still have high performance PCI slots and full drivers support for Win9x. And, if PCI bus really is the limit, then there is no way to get over 30FPS and the issue will never exist, regardless of how fast the CPU is. Perhaps, until the time has come that PowerVR or the SGL APIs can be emulated, this game will never see insane CPU/GPU/memory speed that would wreck havoc in the game universe.

Reply 667 of 828, by leileilol

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More progress on the shader again. I think it's HARNESSING the POWER of the NEXT GEN POWERVR2 in the DREAMCAST, SO AHEAD OF ITS TIME HARDWARE ANTIALIASING!!! blurring correctly now.

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Reply 668 of 828, by Der Kuenringer

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Anyone know if the Neon 250 was sold in Japan, and under what name & brand? German wiki tells me that the VideoLogic one is the only iteration of the Neon 250, but i think it only tracks western releases.

And btw, how rare are the PCX2 cards & what are they worth these days? Do you guys think that someone would trade a Voodoo 5500 in return for one, or is that asking too much?

Reply 669 of 828, by WARDNER

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leileilol wrote:

I went through the trouble to play the PC3DEngine demos which apparently requires japanese Windows and a PC 3DEngine2 driver to work. Rolfee's apparently also the NEC PowerVR mascot 😁

How did you manage to find them. Is there any possibility could send a link. So I could download them 😊 😎

Reply 670 of 828, by vetz

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WARDNER wrote:
leileilol wrote:

I went through the trouble to play the PC3DEngine demos which apparently requires japanese Windows and a PC 3DEngine2 driver to work. Rolfee's apparently also the NEC PowerVR mascot 😁

How did you manage to find them. Is there any possibility could send a link. So I could download them 😊 😎

I've uploaded them on Vogonsdrivers. http://vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?fileid=541

I didn't need japanese Windows to install and run them. I did have a 3DEngine card installed at the time though.

3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D)
3D Acceleration Comparison Episodes

Reply 671 of 828, by Warlord

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Recently I acquired one of these cards M3D.
To put things into perspective for a rare card not a lot of people own, games are impossible to find. I don't know where to start. Also no I don't feel bad at all looking for pirated powervr games, because you will never ever find a one for sale. 🤣

Reply 672 of 828, by gdjacobs

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Some games can be patched if you have an original copy. i.e. Tomb Raider, Mechwarrior 2 Win9x, MDK, etc. A few were exclusives that you have to track down with persistence and guile.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 673 of 828, by MrSmiley381

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gdjacobs wrote:

Some games can be patched if you have an original copy. i.e. Tomb Raider, Mechwarrior 2 Win9x, MDK, etc. A few were exclusives that you have to track down with persistence and guile.

Resident Evil and Cyber Troopers Virtual On are probably two of the sneakier ones to find with PowerVR support. If I'm recalling my research correctly, the PowerVR version runs at 800 by 600 which leads to non-integer scaling on the backgrounds which are 320 by 240. Aside from that, it looks like a really solid port. Virtual On looks awesome but requires some heavy horsepower to run at its best.

Mechwarrior 2 PowerVR looks sick as hell and is the primary reason I even nabbed an M3D. Tomb Raider was a bonus. How much of a headache will I have trying to hack the Playstation music mod into the PowerVR version? 😜

Any thoughts on MDK PowerVR vs. Software/Direct3D/Glide?

I spend my days fighting with clunky software so I can afford to spend my evenings fighting with clunky hardware.

Reply 674 of 828, by gdjacobs

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MrSmiley381 wrote:

Mechwarrior 2 PowerVR looks sick as hell and is the primary reason I even nabbed an M3D.

It's shit hot. My Win98 machine includes an m3d specifically for Mech2.

MrSmiley381 wrote:

Any thoughts on MDK PowerVR vs. Software/Direct3D/Glide?

Nah, I've never played MDK.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 675 of 828, by Garrett W

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MDK doesn't do too well with those 3D renderers and actually looks best with Software mode mostly due to the unusually high resolution textures for the time that 3D cards had issues with, so the D3D and Glide (and PVR most likely) renderers actually use lower resolution textures. Digital Foundry Retro had a video on this some years ago, along with footage of the PS1 version which is odd as hell.

Reply 676 of 828, by Warlord

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I got MDK to work on a voodoo 2 despite reports that it doesn't. It might not look any better but it certainly had better FPS. It looked the same.

yah I been looking for an ISO of RE1 UK uncut power VR. I did find a demo tho.

Reply 677 of 828, by rockleevk

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I know this may have been said, but want to say that PureVex on “No-Wait mode”(F2 key) for me goes above 60fps(need to see how to adjust that so it doesnt go ultra fast) with a Pentium III machine using a Matrox M3D card.
Moto Racer GP does go around 40 to 50 easily on 640x480, and above 50 average with 512x384, which I have to say is impressive.
Need to make some tests with Nirgends again and most of all with Virtual-ON once again. This setup is the best I’ve had with a Pentium III.

-rockleevk

Reply 678 of 828, by leileilol

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An update on my PowerVR2 shader stuff

it's made it into Flycast as an internal shader lately. so yay there's a Dreamcast emu with my thing now!!!

i've also learned a bunch in the process:

- It's officially called the Y-filter
- only works with 3 lines per line for 480i modes
- definitely happens before the Y-scaler and the 16bpp buffer dither
- specifying pixel height between shader backends gave me an inconsistent headache

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Reply 679 of 828, by xjas

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@leilei: nice work! Will have to check out Flycast. Let me know if you need better real hardware captures to refine the thing.

Speaking of which, someone ran the PowerVR version of Tomb Raider on real hardware on a GDQ stream. I haven't watched the whole thing yet, so don't know if he mentions how he did the capture, but fun to watch. Still waiting for someone to lug a beige tower to one of the GDQ feature events...

twitch.tv/oldskooljay - playing the obscure, forgotten & weird - most Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 6:30 PM PDT. Bonus streams elsewhen!