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Reply 20 of 29, by Jo22

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Rikintosh wrote on 2021-05-28, 00:07:

Windows 95 may be a bit much for a 386, but Win3.1 is a 16-bit system, and I believe that in addition to the "bit" waste, it is more unstable [..]

Well, yes, but it depends in the situation, I believe.
Windows 3.1 in Standard Mode, in combination with its 286 kernal, is quite stable I think.
This one is using old 16-Bit Protected Mode with segmentation.

The 386 Enchanted Mode -pardon- Enhanced Mode (386 kernal) can be a bit finicky at times.
Especially in combination with Win32s and other virtual device drivers (VXDs).

Or long story short, Windows 3.1 has two faces/a split personality.
The 286 side is calm and reasonable, while the 386 side is a bit.. crazy.

So yeah, on a 386 onwards it likely shows its second personality.
Because even if invoked with WIN /2 or WIN /S old 3.1 will try to load the 386 kernal first.
And that means that *perhaps* the 32-Bit Protected-Mode is used, but without loading VXDs and virtual memory.

That being said, I'm speaking under correction here.
I'd love to know how it looks in a debugger or how 386 kernal in Standard-Mode behaves on these early, faulty "16-Bit SW only" 386 chips. 😉

Edit: Did I mention that 3.1's code name was "Janus"?
It's perhaps not truely related to what I wrote, but somehow amusing still.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus

Edit:

GigAHerZ wrote on 2021-05-28, 09:39:

Didn't win 3.11 also have DirectX 2 or 3 available? 😜

It definitely did have WinG.

😁

Makes me wonder if DirectDraw 2/3 could be re-implemented on 3.1..
WinG is there, so for a wrapper there's something to output to.

Edit: Shame on me! I completely forgot about good old DCI! 😅

“WinG used the Device Control Interface (DCI) driver that exists at the same software layer
as the GDI to exploit the video acceleration features of graphic cards.“

Source: https://jdelezenne.github.io/Codex/History/DirectX.html

Last edited by Jo22 on 2021-05-28, 14:44. Edited 1 time in total.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 21 of 29, by maxtherabbit

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Rikintosh wrote on 2021-05-28, 00:07:

I have programmed for the more distant future, two additional versions: One for very old Computers (386, 486) and another for a little more modern ones (xp era, P2 400, P3, P4). The version for older machines will come before the version for more modern machines.

Windows 95 may be a bit much for a 386, but Win3.1 is a 16-bit system, and I believe that in addition to the "bit" waste, it is more unstable, and with win 95, there is the possibility to run win32 games, even on an old machine (I loved playing sonic on my 486 dx2, but it requires Direct X, and that would only be possible with Win95)

I have Windows 95 running somewhat acceptably on a 386sx16 with 8MB RAM. With more memory it would be just fine.

Reply 22 of 29, by creepingnet

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GigAHerZ wrote on 2021-05-28, 09:39:

Didn't win 3.11 also have DirectX 2 or 3 available? 😜

It definitely did have WinG.

Nope, I think Direct X was strictly a Win9x thing. If there was a version for W31x I'd want to try it out.

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Reply 23 of 29, by BitWrangler

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Only 3D support I've ever come across for Win3x is some of the early Number Nine cards with their API.. IDK if anything actually used it though.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 25 of 29, by Jo22

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-05-28, 15:10:

I thought win 3.1/3.11 only had WinG and that was the precursor to DirectX.

Well, actually.. It had several APIs. But they weren't from Microsoft, except GDI/WinG/DCI. Edit: And DIB (DIB.DRV), if considered independent from GDI.

DCI is a bit special, because it's not a graphical API in the common sense, I think.
DCI is more like an access method for the frame buffer. Or a standardized way to create a video overlay.
Hence, it was mainly used by video players. The Xing MPEG Player comes to mind.
Some video drivers, like the S3 drivers from ELSA, supported DCI. They even had a DCI entry in SYSTEM.INI.

WinG itself could use DCI, however, as an alternative to GDI.
That being said, I don't know how exactly this worked.
Because, WinG used GDI objects at some point.

I'm also not sure how good or bad Win95-compatibility was.
Officially, DCI was Win3.1-only, but..
Win9x can use Windows 3.x (3.1x) display drivers, so..
On the other hand, during early Win95 development, there was "DCI32", whatever that was.

It's not exactly clear what happens with 16-Windows (Win16) applications that are aware of both DCI and the new features of Win95 (bezier curves in GDI)..
I mean, GDI, at it's core, is still 16-Bit in Win95. It uses thunking to interface with Win32 programs.

Lesser known are the third-party APIs.
OpenGL, HOOPS+3DR, VAGI, Autodesk's Maya (?) API and so on.

They were usually shipped/used with expensive CAD/CAM software.
Definitely not mainstream.

Edit : Not Maya. That was some.. apiarist's software? 😉

Edit : Another "API", that comes to mind - Creative Labs' CGL .
Re: Fun with CGL (Creative Graphics Library) on 3D Blaster

Last edited by Jo22 on 2021-05-28, 16:11. Edited 1 time in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 26 of 29, by Rikintosh

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Not definitively, DX is for win9x, it was written from scratch, with 32bit code, and there is no way to convert it to 16 bits. I believe that even if I rewrote in 16 bits, there would be no resources to execute the code. This possibility has already been discussed in other forums.

In fact WinG, it has nothing to do with direct x, it is only comparable as a predecessor, due to its functionality, but direct x is totally different in functionality. Microsoft developed WinG and faced the very limitations of its OS. Direct x benefited from the w95's 32 bits, and the way the system managed drivers and memory.

I'm developing a game manager frontend for Win 9x, take a look: https://rikintoshsmultimediamanager.blogspot.com/

Reply 27 of 29, by Jo22

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Well, DirectDraw 2/3 (2D) could perhaps be implemented in software, as an universal thunk (?) through Win32s.
It may or may not use WinG/DCI etc.

I was thinking of something like this, but for 3.1:
DXGL (DDraw\D3D wrapper to OGL)

Edit : That's just a mind game or Gedankenexperiment, of course!
For daily use Win 9x or 2k/XP is needed. Even NT3.51/NT4 have issues with games.
More than Windows 3.1+Win32s, even.

Edit: Okay, *technically* OS/2 Warp with DIVE and ODIN (Win32 layer) could play very simple DirectDraw games..
But that's abit of a far stretch, I guess.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 28 of 29, by Rikintosh

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I had a discussion like that with some devs on the msdn forum. The guys said it would be easier to rewrite windows 3.1 to be 32 bits, than to deploy direct x.

I think the main advantage of 3.1 for me is because it is a simple interface on msdos, you can copy it to a floppy disk, and start it on another machine easily. Unfortunately 95 is not like that.

Even though, a renowned programmer, he started to develop a kind of win32 wrapper for msdos, which was able to run very simple things. Starting from this (super complex) idea, a "32.1" windows (windws 3.1 32bits) would be born. Unfortunately, he abandoned the project. In fact, two people tried this, and both abandoned their projects. One (if I'm not mistaken) is called HX DOS-Extender, the other, WDOSX, and there was a third, created by Chris Jones: WinEM (DOSCON).

It would be really amazing to have a msdos program that could open a single windows game, with direct x graphics directly under pure msdos.

I'm developing a game manager frontend for Win 9x, take a look: https://rikintoshsmultimediamanager.blogspot.com/

Reply 29 of 29, by Jorpho

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Rikintosh wrote on 2021-05-28, 17:42:

I think the main advantage of 3.1 for me is because it is a simple interface on msdos, you can copy it to a floppy disk, and start it on another machine easily. Unfortunately 95 is not like that.

Depends what you mean by "easily". Back in the day there was something called "Norton Zip Rescue" that effectively used Win9x deployed to a Zip disk.

One (if I'm not mistaken) is called HX DOS-Extender

Yes, I mentioned that on the previous page. I don't know what its limitations are, but it definitely does stuff and can even run the Win32 version of DOSBox. Some versions can even use sound hardware that is otherwise unsupported in DOS. (I don't know if anyone has tried to use it to run BoxedWine.)