VOGONS


Table Fog & 8-bit Paletted Textures

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Reply 180 of 404, by mockingbird

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-04-06, 07:20:

I'm getting fog rendering with the retail CD version of Thief2 + patch 1.18 on my 9600GT using 285.58 drivers under WinXP. It doesn't look exactly the same as on older cards, but it still works. This is with default driver settings, no extra tweaks applied. The 16-bit color dithering on that setup is pretty bad though.

You will forgive me for saying this, but the benefits of older generation cards then in my approximation are greatly overstated (considering today's rarity and pricing)...

Since 8-bit paletted texture is so niche (read: not that important) and fog does in fact work on Radeons (up to driver 6.2 and with the above mentioned registry tweak on Win98) and later GeForce varieties, no need to spend money on a GeForceFX...

And if you need 16-bit dithering, stick with a PCIe GeForce 6xxx series card and perhaps an Intel 945 PCIe build. Hacked Intel INFs do exist for chipsets above 915. (Though they did not work quite right on an Intel 965 that was tested).

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Reply 181 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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mockingbird wrote on 2022-04-06, 14:37:

You will forgive me for saying this, but the benefits of older generation cards then in my approximation are greatly overstated (considering today's rarity and pricing)...

I fully agree, and have said so several times in this and other threads.

While conducting my tests, I had to actively search for games where the lack of table fog and paletted textures causes visible issues. I'm not saying that I have discovered all the games that require those features, but the fact that I had to put in considerable effort to find just a few of them speaks for itself.

And for people who absolutely must have table fog and paletted textures, a GeForce2 MX400 or a GeForce4 MX440 card fully supports those features and can be purchased for very little money.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 182 of 404, by Gmlb256

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-04-06, 07:30:

The death of 16-bit dithering is the death of an era. I think there was still plenty of room for improvement of the technique before it became outdated by fast 32-bit color.

I can remember as a kid being unable to tell the difference and wondering what all the hubbub was about.

16-bit vs 32-bit color was noticeable on gradient effects even in older video cards.

mockingbird wrote on 2022-04-06, 14:37:

You will forgive me for saying this, but the benefits of older generation cards then in my approximation are greatly overstated (considering today's rarity and pricing)...

I second this.

The main purpose of 8-bit paletted texture formats and 16-bit color dithering were defeated due to newer video cards having lots of RAM and bandwidth to handle the textures and frame buffer with higher color depth.

If any of these old features are needed on a modern video card, a wrapper could be used to emulate them in shaders.

The only possible exception is when using a newer generation video card on old computers such as (Super) Socket 7 with K6-2/III(+) where the CPU overhead in drivers can negatively impact the performance.

Reply 183 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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I got my hands on a TNT2 M64 so I wanted to put it through some tests. I used this rig for testing all the cards. All tests were performed under Windows 98SE with DirectX 9.0c. No unofficial service packs or any third-party hacks were used.

Graphics cards tested:

  • Nvidia TNT2 M64 using Nvidia reference drivers v3.68
  • Nvidia GeForce2 MX400 using Nvidia reference drivers v12.41 WHQL
  • 3DFX Voodoo3 2000, using 3DFX reference drivers v1.07.00

Note: all driver settings were left at their default values.

Games tested:

  • Final Fantasy VIII Demo - you can download the free demo from here
  • Thief II: The Metal Age - retail CD version with the latest official patch 1.18 applied

Final Fantasy VIII configuration program

FF8_Config.jpg
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FF8_Config.jpg
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150.93 KiB
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877 views
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

As expected, the config tool does not detect paletted texture support on the TNT2. In comparison, both the GeForce2 and the Voodoo3 properly pass this check.

Final Fantasy VIII options menu

FF8_Menu.jpg
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FF8_Menu.jpg
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To access this screen, start a new game, then press "D" to open the menu, move the cursor to "Config" using the arrow keys, and finally press "X" to open it. The TNT2 shows the washed out menu colors due to its lack of paletted texture support, while both the GeForce2 and the Voodoo3 render the menu correctly.

Thief II Mission 11: Precious Cargo

Thief2_Fog.jpg
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Table fog works properly on all of three cards.

Thief II Mission 1: Running Interference

Thief2_Stars.jpg
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This is an interesting case. The TNT2 and the Voodoo3 correctly display the stars in the night sky, but the GeForce2 fails to do so. For the record, I did try using newer drivers on the TNT2 (12.41 and 40.72) and it still rendered the stars just fine. In conclusion, this is not a driver issue, but a hardware related problem. Nvidia changed something in their rendering method while moving from the TNT2 to the GeForce architecture. I believe that this might also be what's causing the graphical corruption on GeForce cards in the game Incoming, which Phil frequently showcases in his videos.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 185 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-04-27, 13:18:

I thought that the TNT2 could do palletized textures.

Sadly, no.

From the Nvidia lineup, only GeForce 1-5 cards support paletted textures, as noted on the Vogons wiki.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 187 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-04-27, 14:17:

Given that the TNT2 displayed the stars in Thief II, this at least debunks the theory that it was missing on all nVidia cards. 😁

That was one of the reasons why I got this TNT2 M64.

Back in the day, I had a standard TNT2, and that was the card on which I played Thief 2 for the very first time. I sort of remembered seeing stars during that initial playthrough, but I wasn't sure. This test confirms it. 😁

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 188 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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My Vogons wiki credentials have just been approved, so I've created this page for games which use table fog, based on the findings from this thread:

https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_ … ble_Fog_support

Note: a separate page for games which use paletted textures already exists here:

https://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_ … texture_support

I will be updating that one with additional information as well.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 189 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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leileilol wrote on 2022-01-14, 18:56:

Another good place to check for paletted texture support is Quake2. The skyboxes will show the difference mainly, so if you have 8-bit textures ENABLED and the sky still looks smooth (and not banded in visibly low amounts of colors), then paletted textures aren't working. 😀 The only RGB textures in the game are those, so paletted tex support should benefit busy multiplayer games where it's easier on the texcache.

I did some testing with Quake2 and noticed a slight performance increase when the "8-bit textures setting" was enabled:

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Nothing huge, maybe around 10-15 FPS depending on the resolution on my GeForce4 Ti4200. But I'm guessing the performance boost may have been more prominent on older cards like the Voodoo1 and such.

Also, I checked the console log and the game uses GL_EXT_shared_texture_palette when "8-bit textures" is set to "yes". If it's set to "no" then GL_EXT_shared_texture_palette is ignored by the engine.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 190 of 404, by soviet conscript

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Anyone know if the ATI Rage128 supports table fog? In the drivers there are options to both enable 8-bit textures as well as table fog. I also recall reading a spec sheet that claimed table fog was supported on the Rage. After enabling both FF VII and VIII look fine on my Rage128 pro but table fog in Shadows of the Empire does not appear to work despite table fog being enabled in the drivers.

Reply 191 of 404, by psybyrd

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soviet conscript wrote on 2022-06-21, 04:01:

Anyone know if the ATI Rage128 supports table fog? In the drivers there are options to both enable 8-bit textures as well as table fog. I also recall reading a spec sheet that claimed table fog was supported on the Rage. After enabling both FF VII and VIII look fine on my Rage128 pro but table fog in Shadows of the Empire does not appear to work despite table fog being enabled in the drivers.

I never could get it working in 98se or XP. A real shame as these are great cards otherwise. ATI drivers.....

Reply 192 of 404, by Kahenraz

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One thing to note about table fog is that a lot of options emulate this with vertex fog, which is similar but the effect can look different.

I don't know if a good way to test which is being used, and to not misinterpret true table fog as vertex fog if a manufacture's implementation is slightly different from some arbitrary vendor, like 3Dfx.

Reply 193 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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soviet conscript wrote on 2022-06-21, 04:01:

After enabling both FF VII and VIII look fine on my Rage128 pro but table fog in Shadows of the Empire does not appear to work despite table fog being enabled in the drivers.

I noticed that table fog in Shadows of the Empire doesn't work on Radeons, despite being properly enabled via registry tweaks, so it might be the same for ATi's Rage cards. It's possible that this game simply doesn't work with ATi's table fog emulation under Win9x.

Try testing Thief 2 instead. You might have better luck with ATi's table fog emulation there.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 195 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-06-21, 05:30:

I don't understand what the deal is with that. If it's a fixed function, why is it inconsistent whether or not it's enabled?

I'm not sure either, but I'm guessing ATi's table fog emulation differs in some way from solutions used by other contemporary cards.

From my testing, table fog in Shadows of the Empire works fine on 3DFX, Nvidia, Matrox and S3 Savage cards, but consistently fails on ATi Radeon cards under Win9x. For comparison, Thief 2 table fog does work on Radeons under Win9x with the exact same drivers and registry tweaks.

Also, as noted before, Shadows of the Empire table fog renders correctly on Radeons using Catalyst 7.11 under WinXP, so I'm guessing ATi changed their emulation method from that driver version onward.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 196 of 404, by Gamecollector

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IIRC there are 3 table fog methods: linear, exp and exp2. ATI drivers not emulate all 3?

P.S. Can someone code and compile a simple test program for pixel fog? DX SDK 6.1 - 9.0с (June 2010) are available...

Asus P4P800 SE/Pentium4 3.2E/2 Gb DDR400B,
Radeon HD3850 Agp (Sapphire), Catalyst 14.4 (XpProSp3).
Voodoo2 12 MB SLI, Win2k drivers 1.02.00 (XpProSp3).

Reply 198 of 404, by rasz_pl

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You could try asking authors of one of those:
https://www.nongnu.org/wined3d/
https://fdossena.com/?p=wined3d/index.frag
http://dege.freeweb.hu/
https://github.com/CnCNet/cnc-ddraw
https://github.com/elishacloud/dxwrapper
https://sol.gfxile.net/ddhack/index.html
Im sure there are more Im missing on this list

Reply 199 of 404, by Joseph_Joestar

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I had acquired a 3D Labs Permedia 2 some time ago, but I never got around to trying it out until now. It's not the greatest card out there, yet oddly enough, it does claim to support paletted textures with the appropriate driver settings checked. This piqued my interest so I decided to run it through the usual tests. I used this rig for testing all the cards. All tests were performed under Windows 98SE with DirectX 9.0c. No unofficial service packs or any third-party hacks were used.

Graphics cards tested:

  • 3D Labs Permedia 2 using reference drivers v4.10.01.2105-0366
  • Nvidia GeForce2 MX400 using Nvidia reference drivers v12.41 WHQL
  • 3DFX Voodoo3 2000, using 3DFX reference drivers v1.07.00

Note: all driver settings were left at their default values except for Permedia 2's Final Fantasy support check which was turned on:

Permedia2_Driver_Options.jpg
Filename
Permedia2_Driver_Options.jpg
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34.43 KiB
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396 views
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

Games tested:

  • Final Fantasy VIII Demo - you can download the free demo from here
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire - retail CD version with the latest official patch 1.1 applied

Final Fantasy VIII configuration program

FF8_Config.jpg
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FF8_Config.jpg
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170.93 KiB
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396 views
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

With the aforementioned driver setting enabled, Permedia 2 passes the palletted textures check in the Final Fantasy 8 config program. For reference, if that driver setting is disabled, the check will fail on this card.

Final Fantasy VIII options menu

FF8_Menu.jpg
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FF8_Menu.jpg
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To access this screen, start a new game, then press "D" to open the menu, move the cursor to "Config" using the arrow keys, and finally press "X" to open it. As before, with the relevant driver setting enabled, the Permedia 2 properly renders the FF8 in-game menu. For reference, if that driver setting is disabled, the menu will not render correctly on this card.

Shadows of the Empire Mission 2: Escape from Echo base

SOTE_Fog.jpg
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SOTE_Fog.jpg
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I normally use Thief 2 for testing table fog, but it wouldn't run properly on the Permedia 2. The card is likely too old for that game. Instead, I'm using Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. As you can see, Permedia 2 doesn't support table fog and even has some other rendering errors in this game. I wouldn't recommend this card for any serious gaming, as it's old and quite slow, but I did find it interesting that 3D Labs actually included a Final Fantasy compatibility check in their official drivers.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi