VOGONS


First post, by Adventure4Life

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Hi there...

I am really into Adventure Games and have recently been trying to look into win95-xp era games that do not run well on modern windows or dosBox or ScummVM. Games like Sanatorium or Discworld Noir for example. (these are the two I am testing with)

At first I tried using VMware and VirtualBox... but these had their own issues. For example the current VirtualBox has removed 3D Acceleration and VM Ware has scaling issues on larger monitors that I couldn't work out.. and that was just for XP.. both have issues with 98. (I am currently setting up a 98 in a older vBox version 5.2.44 to see if I can get 3D Acceleration running using this tutorial from youtube.)

Anyway... I then read about PCem and soon after learned on 86Box. I downloaded PCem17 and followed the instructions from this youtuber : Alexander Wurmser

I got it all installed fine and working.. but the audio is all choppy /laggy / stuttery.... and I can not seem to fix it.. so the thing is kinda useless for playing games at the moment.

I then tried to get 86box-v3.0 running using 86box-Manager and also got the OS installed but it is also super slow, even in the general usage, not just the audio.

Both 86Box is a fork of PCem (which the website says the project is now defunct, so v17 is last update) and unlike dosBox there is a ton of options in Machine/BIOS emulation and stuff.

HOST SYSTEM

  • Windows 10
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8700 CPU @ 3.20GHz 3.19 GH
  • 32GB Ram
  • VM Location is on a fast SSD

So I guess I am asking....

  1. Is there a current tutorial for getting win98se + 3D + Sound working in either 86Box or PCem that you can recommed
  2. in PCem what is a good Hardware Selcetion for getting win98se running well
  3. In 86Box what is a good Hardware Selcetion for getting win98se running well
  4. Do you have any other advise

Here is a link to a imgur thread with Screenshots of my setting.

I'd appreciate any advice or tutorials or other help you have time to offer.

Thanks

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Reply 3 of 21, by Adventure4Life

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SA1988 wrote on 2021-10-15, 11:26:

Well, the higher speed you want to emulate, the slower it will be, because it requires more resources to be 100% lag-free.

I'm more looking for machine settings I guess that people have tried and had success with, so I could then try the same settings.

awgamer wrote on 2021-10-15, 12:00:

I would highly suggest dgvoodoo2 before pcem. dgVoodoo 2 for DirectX 11

are you talking about 86box or PCem17?

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Reply 4 of 21, by Namrok

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What are your host system specs and what specs were you targeting in 86box/PCem? Also, were you using physical media with PCem?

I attempted to do pretty much exactly what you did, and it just pushed me to building an actual machine out of frustration. 86box/PCem come so close to be a solid, viable, Win9x gaming preservation platform. But it just falls short in terms of performance and a few quirks here and there.

For me I just couldn't help but constantly notice mouse lag even when the system was running pegged at 100%. And at least in the version of PCem I used heavily (v15 maybe?) while it had the option of using physical media, it caused the system to lag heavily compared to ISOs.

Which is sad, because a one stop "Works on everything Win9X" solution to that era of game preservation, with the compatibility and robustness of DOSBOX, would be amazing. Alas, we are still probably better off cobbling together hodgepodges of wrappers and fan made compatibility patches on a game by game basis for now.

Edit: Nevermind the host specs question. I see them in your to post. These emulators are heavily dependent on single threaded CPU performance, and that CPU may be a bit long in the tooth to expect exceptional performance in 86Box/PCem. But I'd think it would be good enough to get "acceptable" Pentium speeds.

Win95/DOS 7.1 - P233 MMX (@2.5 x 100 FSB), Diamond Viper V330 AGP, SB16 CT2800
Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 5 of 21, by awgamer

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Adventure4Life wrote on 2021-10-15, 12:26:
I'm more looking for machine settings I guess that people have tried and had success with, so I could then try the same settings […]
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SA1988 wrote on 2021-10-15, 11:26:

Well, the higher speed you want to emulate, the slower it will be, because it requires more resources to be 100% lag-free.

I'm more looking for machine settings I guess that people have tried and had success with, so I could then try the same settings.

awgamer wrote on 2021-10-15, 12:00:

I would highly suggest dgvoodoo2 before pcem. dgVoodoo 2 for DirectX 11

are you talking about 86box or PCem17?

Eh, no. dgvoodoo2 is a rewrite of early apis to dx11/12, old games making old api calls are intercepted with replacement dlls which implement those calls in dx11/12. http://dege.freeweb.hu/dgVoodoo2/ReadmeGeneral/ It's very compatible, beyond faster than pcem or its fork 86box, no virtual machine setup or overhead. It's for all the games from 1995 to 2006, and later that uses dx1-9 & glide, aka the early games you're trying run and more. Setup involves copying dlls to the game directory and there's a util for tweaking settings. dgvoodoo has its own section here at vogons like dosbox does. dgVoodoo General

Last edited by awgamer on 2021-10-15, 14:11. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 21, by Adventure4Life

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I think I have a 86box setup that might be passable... I need bed now, but will post the 86box setting tomorrow.. maybe people can give me some improvements.

Namrok wrote on 2021-10-15, 12:27:

For me I just couldn't help but constantly notice mouse lag even when the system was running pegged at 100%. <snip> Which is sad, because a one stop "Works on everything Win9X" solution to that era of game preservation, with the compatibility and robustness of DOSBOX, would be amazing.

dosBox use to lag like a son of a bitch when it was new as well... as long as the pros keep developing it, eventually it will be as slick as dosBox is now + computer will always be faster.

Last edited by Adventure4Life on 2021-10-15, 14:18. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 7 of 21, by Adventure4Life

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awgamer wrote on 2021-10-15, 13:58:

Eh, no. dgvoodoo2 is a rewrite of early apis to dx11/12, old games making old api calls are intercepted with replacement dlls which implement those calls in dx11/12. http://dege.freeweb.hu/dgVoodoo2/ReadmeGeneral/ It's very compatible, beyond faster than pcem or its fork 86box, no virtual machine setup or overhead. It's for all the games from 1995 to 2006, and later that uses dx1-9 & glide, aka the early games you're trying run and more. Setup involves copying dlls to the game directory and there's a util for tweaking settings. dgvoodoo has its own section here at vogons like dosbox does. dgVoodoo General

wait what?... are you saying this is to run them in windows10... not using a VM at all?

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Reply 8 of 21, by awgamer

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Correct. Though if you wanted to encapsulate a game in a vm, you could setup a vm running windows 7/8/10. install the game in the vm, install dgvoodoo2 in the game directory, which would be a faster vm setup than pcem/86box.

Reply 9 of 21, by awgamer

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There's also 3dfx passthrough on qemu for running in a vm, better. QEMU 3Dfx Glide Pass-Through (WHPX/KVM works!!!)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8InhZs1ixZ … rMDSWd0A/videos

Accelerating QEMU CPU on Windows with HAXM like KVM on Linux.
https://www.qemu.org/2017/11/22/haxm-usage-wi … 0virtualization.

Reply 10 of 21, by Gmlb256

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The 3Dfx Glide emulation in PCem is actually a software renderer with a recompiler, so it's not using any hardware graphics acceleration. One thing that it will be missed with many Glide wrappers though are the filtering techniques found on real Voodoo cards. 😉

Reply 11 of 21, by awgamer

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I wouldn't be concerned with it being hardware acceleration but rather the end result which the youtube videos for qemu 3dfx passthrough shows is pretty much complete vs pcem which is still struggling. If you're wanting a vm and run under w9x,xp for nostalgia it's looking good at full speed for the early stuff. For later stuff I'd switch to dgvoodoo as needed, else if you want to continue to contain everything in vms it's then best to switch to linux as host with gpu passthrough, as hosting with windows with passthrough there are roadblocks.

Reply 12 of 21, by Gmlb256

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awgamer wrote on 2021-10-15, 20:13:

I'm not really concerned with it being hardware acceleration but rather the end result which the youtube videos shows is pretty much complete. If you're wanting a vm and run under w9x,xp for nostalgia it's looking good at full speed for the early stuff. For later stuff I'd switch to dgvoodoo as needed, else if you want to continue to contain everything in vms it's then best to switch to linux as host with gpu passthrough, as hosting with windows with passthrough there are roadblocks.

I agree that OP just want to play the game with decent performance where accuracy is not important, I would also do the same thing with my modern computer. 😀

I was just pointing out that it can misrepresent how the things actually were back then.

Reply 13 of 21, by awgamer

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As well, by 2004 with directx 9.0c nearly everything runs fine natively without any additions, then running dgvoodoo is more for the feature enhancements it has or for running in vms because you prefer to compartmentalize and not clutter up the host os, both of which I find appealing. I also get the time capsule angle of period os bundled with games of the time in a vm and accurate emulation.

Reply 14 of 21, by Gmlb256

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awgamer wrote on 2021-10-15, 20:31:

As well, by 2004 with directx 9.0c nearly everything runs fine natively without any additions, then running dgvoodoo is more for the feature enhancements it has or for running in vms because you prefer to compartmentalize and not clutter up the host os, both of which I find appealing. I also get the time capsule angle of period os bundled with games of the time in a vm and accurate emulation.

True, I never needed an specific Windows XP or later (up to Windows 7/8) machine because of this. I also never really got why some people around the Marvin section sticks to older DX versions considering how the API is really structured.

Reply 16 of 21, by Adventure4Life

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Hi guys... I have made a ton of progress here and had some very good results.. so I'll try and go through it. I will most likely do some tutorial videos on my retro game uTube when I am 100% sure I know what I am doing so I will not go through anything in super detail hear, as there is a strong chance I will find better solutions soon... still this is how it is all shaking out now...

It should be noted that I pretty much ONLY reto-game Adventure Games. As in classic point and click or first person stuff myst type stuff or FMV games. The majority only use light resources when concerned with 3D Acceleration. Though many use it and Direct Draw at least. The point of all this was to try and play cool games often forgotten as they do not run in dosBox or ScummVM.


HOST

  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8700 CPU @ 3.20GHz 3.19 GHz
  • RAM : 32GB
  • Platform : Windows 10 (Home)

86Box-32-bd9b6766 + 86BoxManager_1.7.2

Most videos I looked at recommended PCem17. (I'll get to that latter in the post), but when you go to their site there is a message saying...

Sarah Walker wrote:

]14th June 2021
Just a quick note to say that I (Sarah Walker) have decided to call it quits. Thanks to those who sent supportive messages, they're genuinely appreciated. Also thanks to those who have supported me and the project over the last decade or so. If anyone is interested in taking over the project & github repo, please contact me.

So I thought it would be best to get it all working on a active project. So I switched to 86Box, which is still (as far as I know) very active. It is always sad when a project winds down, and I hope someone may pick it up again, but it seemed silly to me to spend ages getting PCem working only for it to never get another update.

Machine Test 1

  • Socket 7 (Single Voltage)
  • [i430HX] Super Micro Super P55T2S
  • Intel Pentium OverDrive MMX : 200
  • Max Ram (768)
  • 3DFX Voodoo3 3000 (Voodoo Graphics : Unchecked)
  • Standard PS/2 Mouse (Config : Wheel)
  • Sound Blaster AWE32
  • MIDI Output : FluidSynth (FatBoy-v0.790.sf2)
  • IDE Controller Duel Channel (Internal Controller)
  • 5GB Raw HDrive
  • 3.5 1.44m Floppy
  • CDROM : ATAPI : 72x

This one seems to work perfectly. There is no sound stuttering during windows loading or the two games I tested (yes that is not a big sample group), dxdiag reported everything ok, no errors, all tests passed fine. Everything but the Voodoo3 was detected, installed and setup automatically.

The BIO needs a little tweaking. You have to run the IDE AutoDetect (or manually set it up) or the CDrive will always be 512megs after install (even if you select large disk support). Also you need to activate the Floppy Drive as well. In addition you need to set the boot order. I used A, CDROM, HDRIVE. Had one issue where if I reboot with a iso loaded into the cdrom and it is not a bootable cd, then the machine will hang on loading and need a reset. Ejecting the CDROM before reboot fixes this. I went into the BIOS and set boot order to A,HDRIVE to stop this from happening.

The version of Windows98se I had was "Windows 98 Second Edition (OEM Full)" from WinWorldpc. It has a bootdisk on the cd and I used it, bypassing the need to a floppy boot.

Everything installed automatically except the Voodoo3. I used "3dfx Voodoo3 3000 Install CD" from oemdrivers. I then also installed Direct X 9.0c

Machine Test 2
I wanted to try a lower spec machine... particularly without using the voodoo3... but I couldn't work out how to get 3D Acceleration to work fully. I was able to get the voodoo2 working if I ticked the box as a 2nd SLI thing, and I tried a few different video cards. S3 types mainly. I could get the 3D Acceleration working on only a few and they would also only do DirectX7... the setup above dose all the way to 9.

Also, the dxdiag tests in the above system all are running 100% with the lowest dip 99%.. all the tests I did with S3 cards, with or without voodoo2 ticked rn arund 50-70%.

If you have a recommended video card setup for 86Box I would appreciate hearing it.

dgVoodoo2
You can download dgVoodoo2 here : http://dege.freeweb.hu/

dgVoodoo2, as I understand it, is a wrapper that allows older games to run in windows without the need for any emulation, basically allowing them to run natively. I was pretty surprised when I was told about this but apparently there are a few other similar projects. As this one was recommended to me and has a dedicated fourm on Vogons I thought I would just use it.

There is not much to say here. I tested it on 5 games. Two of which run kinda in Windows 10, one of which is a steam game and 1 game dose not run at all without a mass headache of tweaking, and 1 steam game. As well as 2 games that I have not seen running ever unless on original hardware.

The games I tested were...

  • Sanitarium (Original Disks, not the Gog Version)
  • Discworld Nior (Original Disks)
  • Quest for Glory 5 (Steam Version)
  • Morpheus (Original Disks)
  • The Crystal Skull (Original Disks)

dgVoodoo2 was pretty interesting. I found that it seemed to work very well. Quest For Glory 5, Sanitatium and the notoriously hard to get running Discworld Nior both just worked pretty mch instantly.

With Morpheus and Crystal Skull I ran into issue. Namely that neither game would run the installer and I couldn't work out what data files to place into a directory to get running. Both worked perfectly (for the few seconds it was loaded up after install) in 86Box.

I couldn't work out a way to copy data from 86Box back to the Guest. You can write to an img on A: but limited to the size of those old disks. My machine was set to 1.44m.

I think that this is a good way to do it, but only for some games. It seems most of the games I am trying are to old. I will try making a VurtualBox win98... not to use, just to run the installer and then copy the installed folders to the guest and try with this thing.

Basically I would say any game you get off Gog or Steam that is not dos, I would use this "patch" but if you are using original disks, you still need a way to run the install or know how to arrange the datafiles on your drive so the game runs.

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Reply 17 of 21, by Gmlb256

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Adventure4Life wrote on 2021-10-18, 07:07:

Basically I would say any game you get off Gog or Steam that is not dos, I would use this "patch" but if you are using original disks, you still need a way to run the install or know how to arrange the datafiles on your drive so the game runs.

A decent amount of DOS games from GOG or Steam are actually wrapped in DOSBox (there are exceptions though), where GOG makes optimizations to make it run well within the emulator on a modern computer.

There is a thread related to running these games from a digital distributor on a real DOS PC: Digital DOS games (GOG, Steam...) Retro PC Compatibility Sheet: We need your input!

Reply 18 of 21, by awgamer

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Since you didn't mention it I'll point out 3dfx passthrough on qemu again(QEMU 3Dfx Glide Pass-Through (WHPX/KVM works!!!) ,) it's a separate deal from dgvoodoo2, a vm like pcem/86box but better performing: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8InhZs1ixZ … rMDSWd0A/videos If 86box is having performance issues and dgvoodoo2 isn't working for you, it's another way to go.

Reply 19 of 21, by Adventure4Life

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I had a look at qemu ... but I couldn't work out how to use it.. it seems like it is a linux thing mainly. It is all command line and I couldn't find a manager for windows 10. All the tutorials I found use a manager in linux.... do you have any tutorial links for window 10?

awgamer wrote on 2021-10-18, 15:32:

Since you didn't mention it I'll point out 3dfx passthrough on qemu again(QEMU 3Dfx Glide Pass-Through (WHPX/KVM works!!!) ,) it's a separate deal from dgvoodoo2, a vm like pcem/86box but better performing: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8InhZs1ixZ … rMDSWd0A/videos If 86box is having performance issues and dgvoodoo2 isn't working for you, it's another way to go.

I am pretty sure that 3D Acceleration is not working at all on windows ... only on the linux versions. Is 3D acceleration different to "pass through"?

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