First post, by Namrok
Sometimes the chase is better than the catch.
I recently found myself scouring archive.org, google, and some weird sketchy chinese ftp search engine for Riva 128 drivers. Specifically the manufacturer drivers for the STB Velocity 128 and the Diamond Viper V330. The shortest path to these drivers is complicated by the fact that STB no longer exists, and while Diamond has a "legacy drivers" page, it appears to be empty/broken. And in both cases, finding the appropriate page at the appropriate time on archive.org just links to a defunct FTP server which is not archived.
All this was started because the latest NVidia reference drivers for the PCI Riva 128 really don't work all that great on a Win95 socket 7 system with only 32 MB of ram. It refuses to allocate, or allow you to allocate, enough system ram to the pci texture heap for GL games to run smoothly. An issue older drivers do not have, although they may introduce other issues of immaturity. Also, every extra panel of the driver options refuses to open in Win95. An issue older versions of NV3 tweak do not have.
So off I go, trawling through more or less 18 months of news on the archived version of rivazone.com, reading the headlines about all the driver releases through 1998 and a bit of 1999. Almost every link was to an FTP server. At one point, actually here on Vogons, someone linked to a seemingly random ftp hosting many old video card drivers. I can only access it intermittently. But I was able to acquire the 0182 drivers for the STB Velocity 128, the 0128 and 0130 drivers for the Diamond Viper V330, and the 368 drivers for the Diamond Viper V550/770.
I found a random CD on archive.org labeled "STB Velocity 128 3D Multimedia Accelerator driver 2.0 (1998)" which purported to have drivers versioned 0196, with dates that appeared newer than the last official release hosted by STB? Those drivers seem to work pretty OK. I also found some drivers with really wonkey versions like 7194 and 9183. I have no clue where to even begin with those. I suspect that first digit represents some sort of OEM marker? Who knows.
At one point microsoft's ftp server hosted WHQL approved Nvidia reference drivers, version 0312 under the cryptic filename "A49338.exe". I eventually found a mirror for microsoft's ftp that still had that file. I haven't tried these drivers yet. But there was a specific Win95 package, so I'm optimistic when I do, they may work better than the last set of generic win9x drivers.
NV3 Tweak was another artifact I had a really difficult time finding. Since it was integrated into Nvidia's later drivers, I guess most people have found no need to keep it. I found version 2.10 on archive.org. But I had to go through archived versions of rivazone.com to find the last release version 2.52. Weirdly enough, it doesn't recognize any of the OpenGL settings in those last STB drivers I mentioned. Oh well.
IDGamma was another piece of software I had a nightmare of a time hunting down. It's basically required to make Quake or Quake 2 look right on anything that's not a Voodoo card. Truthfully I don't remember how I found it the first time. Many sites such as Blues News purport to have mirrors of it, but they are all down. The archived links of the official hosting on rivazone.com or g256.com were uncrawled. I remember having a nightmare of a time actually finding a place that hosted this locally, as opposed to just linking to a place that was dead.
Weirdly enough, retracing my steps and googling idgamma.zip took me right to a page with a local copy. So I guess that was easier this time. I still took the initiative and uploaded a copy to archive.org as well. These sites seem to wink out of existence randomly and arbitrarily.
What sort of wild goose chases have you found yourself going down? There used to be a saying "The internet never forgets", but with so much consolidation, and so many hobbyist or personal fan pages slowly winking out, a lot of the grass roots software that used to be widely distributed is winking out with it. Here's to hoping nothing ever happens to archive.org.
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