VOGONS


First post, by Rikintosh

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I'm trying to create an optimized build of GTA3 to run on these video cards. I know it seems stupid, or a waste of time, but the reviews at the time massively point out the fact that GTA3 had very high specifications for the time, and I agree with that. This made me remember, that a long, long time ago, I tried running GTA3 on a Compaq laptop that had an 8MB ATI RAGE video card, and I don't remember how, but the game started, running with a terrible frame rate, and missing textures (which at that time led me to record a video and put it on YouTube, but unfortunately I lost that channel), I have already created many popular mods for optimizing games, so I had the idea of trying to play with that.

The problem is that I didn't find any in-depth documentation on how the game engine calculates optimization (the game investigates the graphics card's capabilities, and then converts all its textures to a raster format that the video card understands). The game does not have any texture compression (DXT), which is another big reason for the poor performance. I believe that optimizing the textures is the first step, but my doubt is:

Were these 8MB video cards already capable of working with DXT compression? I remember seeing S3 and Sis cards being able to use SRT in the late 90s, but what about ATI?

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 1 of 22, by 386SX

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The Rage Pro was supposed to support some sort of earlier texture compression on paper "Texture compression of up 8:1 using vector quantization".. not sure about the differences with the later DXT specifications.

Reply 3 of 22, by DrAnthony

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Yeah, Savage 3D was first card to implement S3TC which was adopted for Direct3D a bit later on. I do vaguely remember seeing promotional fluff stating Rage Pro supported some sort of texture compression but I don't think it was ever exposed by any API and might have been just an all or nothing driver level "optimization" sort of feature. Rage Pro only had vestigial CIF support and I doubt ATI added many,if any features to it for that generation (and it was completely EOL and unsupported on Rage 128).

Reply 5 of 22, by 386SX

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DrAnthony wrote on 2024-01-15, 01:48:

Yeah, Savage 3D was first card to implement S3TC which was adopted for Direct3D a bit later on. I do vaguely remember seeing promotional fluff stating Rage Pro supported some sort of texture compression but I don't think it was ever exposed by any API and might have been just an all or nothing driver level "optimization" sort of feature. Rage Pro only had vestigial CIF support and I doubt ATI added many,if any features to it for that generation (and it was completely EOL and unsupported on Rage 128).

While the S3TC was the first DXT and best S3 feature ever, it's interesting that the Rage Pro already had this VQ texture compression in hardware and it'd be interesting to know more about it and how much different it would have been. The same feature was supported even on later video chip.

Reply 6 of 22, by Deano

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Vector Quantisation was used as the Dreamcast 's main compression format, so the Kyro's had the hardware as well probablu. Its closely related to CLUT/Palette compression.

VQ isn't as good as BC1 AKA DXT1 AKA S3TC for the same bit rate and was never standardized, probably each IHV has slightly different capabilities.

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Reply 7 of 22, by Rikintosh

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Putas wrote on 2024-01-15, 04:00:

Did you have a Rage 128 8 MB by any chance?

Yes, I have it on my Compaq Presario 1800XL

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 8 of 22, by Rikintosh

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For anyone interested, I created a mod with performance improvements for GTA3.

Last edited by Rikintosh on 2024-01-24, 22:38. Edited 1 time in total.

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 10 of 22, by leileilol

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2024-01-17, 06:30:

3Dfx and PoweVR had texture compression before S3TC.

S3TC was 1998. Then, 3dfx had a very unused YUV422 format (SGI legacy baggage), and PowerVR had a broken implementation of RGB332 and I don't think they compare to what S3TC had brought. They also both had hard 256x256 texture limits so they can't do the big 512/1024 textures that S3TC normalized either.

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Reply 11 of 22, by Garrett W

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Rikintosh wrote on 2024-01-17, 00:39:
Putas wrote on 2024-01-15, 04:00:

Did you have a Rage 128 8 MB by any chance?

Yes, I have it on my Compaq Presario 1800XL

It is unclear if your laptop has a Mobility M1 or Mobility M3. The M1 is based on the Rage Pro, where as the Mobility M3 is based on the Rage 128 Pro. The Rage 128 Pro (or the non-Pro for tha matter) is a totally different chip to the Rage Pro, offering more than twice the performance and many features that the older chip simply can't do.

Reply 12 of 22, by 386SX

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leileilol wrote on 2024-01-17, 09:01:
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2024-01-17, 06:30:

3Dfx and PoweVR had texture compression before S3TC.

S3TC was 1998. Then, 3dfx had a very unused YUV422 format (SGI legacy baggage), and PowerVR had a broken implementation of RGB332 and I don't think they compare to what S3TC had brought. They also both had hard 256x256 texture limits so they can't do the big 512/1024 textures that S3TC normalized either.

Was the VQ texture compression inside the Rage Pro the same or any different?

Reply 13 of 22, by Deano

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The 0nly 'compression' the original Voodoo has was CLUT AKA Palette. YUV isn't really compression (and RGB332) as its simply quantization in the particular colour space (which can be similarly used on top of other compression system).

A CLUT works by finding the N colours used in an image and storing an index per pixel to those colours (its basic symbol replacement type compression). VQ works similarly but instead the code book (the 'palette') stores small spatial blocks and the index points to which block. i.e. each index in the texture points to a 2x2 block in the codebook. The codebook might be a few KB.

The problem is that every vendor had slightly different types of VQ so never got standardised.

S3TC became the standard due to it being designed explicitly for the job and implementation in HW.
Take a block of pixels, pick 2 colours in that block, quantize to 16 bit colour and then store a 2 bit code per texel that interpolates between the two colours. It was designed to be simple to implement in HW which made it an easy add. Enough that MS paid the license for all IHVs hardware under DirectX. OpenGL was more complicated, as the HW license had to be paid to S3 for each IHV that implemented.

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Reply 14 of 22, by Rikintosh

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Garrett W wrote on 2024-01-17, 11:02:
Rikintosh wrote on 2024-01-17, 00:39:
Putas wrote on 2024-01-15, 04:00:

Did you have a Rage 128 8 MB by any chance?

Yes, I have it on my Compaq Presario 1800XL

It is unclear if your laptop has a Mobility M1 or Mobility M3. The M1 is based on the Rage Pro, where as the Mobility M3 is based on the Rage 128 Pro. The Rage 128 Pro (or the non-Pro for tha matter) is a totally different chip to the Rage Pro, offering more than twice the performance and many features that the older chip simply can't do.

Device manager only shows Rage 128 Pro. It is definitely faster than the rage of my Armada 1750

But regardless of whether it was M1 or M3, I was able to run GTA3 in the past on an Armada 1750 that had the first Rage (I believe it was a Rage XL/LT 8MB).

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 15 of 22, by DrAnthony

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Phew, that really must have chugged badly on Rage XL. I know it's a slightly revised Rage Pro but that tech wasn't very impressive in 97, by 2001 it might as well have belonged to the ancient Egyptians.

Reply 16 of 22, by Rikintosh

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DrAnthony wrote on 2024-01-17, 20:15:

Phew, that really must have chugged badly on Rage XL. I know it's a slightly revised Rage Pro but that tech wasn't very impressive in 97, by 2001 it might as well have belonged to the ancient Egyptians.

Yes, at the time I had made a video for YouTube, but I lost that channel (a time when there was no copyright for music, but it was considered copyright to post gameplay)

He ran the vanilla game with fps in the 1 digits, and without most of the textures. I still have that compaq, I'm going to dust it off and try to redo that footage

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 17 of 22, by 386SX

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I imagine the Rage XL was supposed to be just like what the Rage IIC was before, a cheap video chip still compatible with the common sw requirements for office usage. If ATi had a much more advanced driver years before with a lighter driver design/package, while limited the Rage serie could have been a better choice even with all its problems.

Reply 18 of 22, by Rikintosh

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386SX wrote on 2024-01-19, 05:24:

I imagine the Rage XL was supposed to be just like what the Rage IIC was before, a cheap video chip still compatible with the common sw requirements for office usage. If ATi had a much more advanced driver years before with a lighter driver design/package, while limited the Rage serie could have been a better choice even with all its problems.

Unfortunately, no one was interested in developing custom drivers for it, but from my point of view, I consider it to be quite ok. It tends to be my universal starting point for the most varied builds with PCI graphics. It's not super powerful, but it does the job well, and is excellent value for money.

Take a look at my blog: http://rikintosh.blogspot.com
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRUbxkBmEihBEkIK32Hilg

Reply 19 of 22, by 386SX

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Rikintosh wrote on 2024-01-19, 17:09:
386SX wrote on 2024-01-19, 05:24:

I imagine the Rage XL was supposed to be just like what the Rage IIC was before, a cheap video chip still compatible with the common sw requirements for office usage. If ATi had a much more advanced driver years before with a lighter driver design/package, while limited the Rage serie could have been a better choice even with all its problems.

Unfortunately, no one was interested in developing custom drivers for it, but from my point of view, I consider it to be quite ok. It tends to be my universal starting point for the most varied builds with PCI graphics. It's not super powerful, but it does the job well, and is excellent value for money.

Time ago testing both the Rage IIC (late 8MB SDRAM version) and Rage Pro "Turbo" in both AGP versions they felt really interesting cards when using later even if a bit heavy drivers on late 90s games, using a fast CPU (like a late Pentium II or early Pentium III) results were quite acceptable with interesting rendering accuracy no S3 Virge/Trio serie cards could hope in any of their few driver releases.
Of course they probably didn't have enough speed to render the Directx6 times but at least they were pushed as much as possible at the end when accepting very low res and old style frame rates expectations.