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Table Fog & 8-bit Paletted Textures

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Reply 40 of 189, by Joseph_Joestar

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The problem with identifying which games use table fog and palleted textures is that most of the time, those requirements aren't clearly stated anywhere in the readme files or the game's setup menu (Final Fantasy VII being the notable exception).

People who have played such games on a supported card and then later switched to a non-supported card can usually notice when some visual features are missing. Such as with the starry sky in the Thief 2 screenshots posted here. But others who have never played these games on a supported card don't know what to look for since they never knew that something was missing in the first place.

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Reply 41 of 189, by dr.zeissler

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Motoracer1

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Reply 42 of 189, by vorob

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Can someone clarify at what point Radeon cards lost Fog Table support (through their registry tweak).

Can you enlighten me about this issue? I know only one game where fog was a key thing - thief ii and fog works there even on my laptop with ati x1900.

Last edited by vorob on 2021-08-24, 08:07. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 43 of 189, by Kahenraz

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I read somewhere that these features were removed at some point around the 9700 series similar to how NVIDIA dropped them around the GeForce 6 series.

I assume this was because fog could be done with shaders at that point.

Reply 44 of 189, by Joseph_Joestar

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Inspired by some recent discussions on table fog and paletted textures, I decided to do some testing. This was my test system. It's running Windows 98SE with DirectX 9.0c. No unofficial service packs or any third-party hacks were used.

Graphics cards tested:

  • 3DFX Voodoo3 2000, using 3DFX reference drivers v1.07.00
  • Nvidia GeForce2 MX400 using Nvidia reference drivers v7.76
  • ATi Radeon 9000 Pro VIVO using ATi Catalyst drivers v4.3

Games tested:

  • Thief II: The Metal Age - retail CD version with the latest official patch 1.18 applied
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire - retail CD version with the latest official patch 1.1 applied

Thief II Mission 1: Running Interference

Thief2A.jpg
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As you can see (might need to up your screen brightness a bit) the stars in the night sky are visible on the 3DFX and ATi screenshots, but they are missing on the Nvidia screenshot. I'm not sure if paletted textures are used for this effect or not, but the stars don't show up on the GeForce2 MX400.

Thief II Mission 11: Precious Cargo

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It seems that the the fog on this level is rendered using the table fog effect. It displays correctly on the 3DFX and Nvidia screenshots, but it is missing on the ATi screenshot. I then tried using the Rage3D tweak utility to enable table fog (I also tried Z fog and W fog) but nothing helped. The Radeon 9000 could not render the fog correctly here.

Shadows of the Empire Mission 2: Escape from Echo base

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This game appears to use table fog as well. Once again, the fog effect displays correctly on 3DFX and Nvidia screenshots but it is missing on the ATi screenshot. The Radeon 9000 could not render the fog correctly here.

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Reply 45 of 189, by dr.zeissler

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There were ATI tools where you could activate table fog via driver, don't know if this worked.
Beside that, earlier ati-cards do table-fog.

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Reply 46 of 189, by Joseph_Joestar

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2021-08-29, 16:48:

There were ATI tools where you could activate table fog via driver, don't know if this worked.

I tried that using the Rage3D Tweak utility, but I couldn't get table fog to work. Maybe this only works on certain drivers or with specific GPUs, I'm not sure.

If someone can provide instructions on how to enable table fog on my Radeon 9000 Pro, I would definitively like to test it out.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
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Reply 49 of 189, by swaaye

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GeForce 6 doesn't support pallette textures AFAIK.

https://www.khronos.org/registry/OpenGL/exten … ted_texture.txt
http://www.zeckensack.de/glide/readme.htm#reqs

Riva 128 supports it too. Or at least emulates it because it is mentioned in the control panel.

Last edited by swaaye on 2021-08-29, 22:23. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 50 of 189, by The Serpent Rider

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GeForce 6 doesn't support pallette textures AFAIK.

Palettized textures support was removed for all cards with more modern drivers. Or at least I can't force it to work in games like Forsaken (which allow to choose texture format).

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Reply 51 of 189, by Joseph_Joestar

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You guys saw that I was using a GeForce2 MX400 with 7.76 drivers when I made that screenshot, right? That driver version was released in 2001. For the record, I also tried it on a GeForce4 Ti4200 using 45.23 drivers (released in 2003) and got the same result.

Anyhow, the missing stars seem to be something inherent to Nvidia cards, according to TTLG forums. Not sure if it's related to paletted textures, could just be a rendering issue.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
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Reply 54 of 189, by Joseph_Joestar

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Warlord wrote on 2021-08-30, 01:08:

can you try 12.xx drivers and see if the stars are there.

I just tried using 12.41 WHQL certified drivers on my GeForce2 MX400.

Same result as before - no stars in Thief II.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
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PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1

Reply 55 of 189, by vorob

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To make a long story short:

Stars in Thief II on Nvidia cards is an unsolvable thing. Didn't see them on gf2-4-fx and so on. But they perfectly work on my ATI cards. The fog was always working on both companies, at least I've tried gf2, gf4, gf fx, ati m6 (laptop), x700, x1600 and x1900.

GF6 is trash for old games.

Reply 56 of 189, by Joseph_Joestar

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vorob wrote on 2021-08-30, 08:41:

The fog was always working on both companies, at least I've tried gf2, gf4, gf fx, ati m6 (laptop), x700, x1600 and x1900.

From what I've seen on TTLG forums fog only started working correctly on ATi cards after Catalyst drivers 7.11. Before that, you could enable it with some tweaks but possibly only on certain cards and with certain driver versions, and the results were not always great. As shown in the screenshots above, I was unable to turn on table fog even with those tweaks on my Radeon 9000 Pro using Catalyst 4.3 drivers under Windows 98SE.

For reference, Catalyst 7.11 doesn't work on Windows 98SE. It's only available for Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

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Reply 58 of 189, by bloodem

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Warlord wrote on 2021-08-30, 01:08:

Anyways I guess this confirms the only true compatible cards are 3dfx ones.

Very debatable. 😀
A few games that have some rendering issues with GeForce cards (like Incoming, Thief 2, and probably a few others) are not enough to tilt the balance in 3dfx's favor.
I can also list quite a lot of games that look very bad and/or run poorly on earlier Voodoo cards prior to VSA-100 (i.e.: Need for Speed Porsche, MDK2, Expendable). And VSA-100 does not count anyway, because it's much less compatible with earlier titles.
IMO, a GeForce 4 Ti + Voodoo 2 will give you the best of both worlds, if you really want a 'do-it-all' build that is both fast (for games that need it) and very compatible at the same time.

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Reply 59 of 189, by Gmlb256

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bloodem wrote on 2021-08-30, 09:31:
Very debatable. :-) A few games that have some rendering issues with GeForce cards (like Incoming, Thief 2, and probably a few o […]
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Warlord wrote on 2021-08-30, 01:08:

Anyways I guess this confirms the only true compatible cards are 3dfx ones.

Very debatable. 😀
A few games that have some rendering issues with GeForce cards (like Incoming, Thief 2, and probably a few others) are not enough to tilt the balance in 3dfx's favor.
I can also list quite a lot of games that look very bad and/or run poorly on earlier Voodoo cards prior to VSA-100 (i.e.: Need for Speed Porsche, MDK2, Expendable). And VSA-100 does not count anyway, because it's much less compatible with earlier titles.
IMO, a GeForce 4 Ti + Voodoo 2 will give you the best of both worlds, if you really want a 'do-it-all' build that is both fast (for games that need it) and very compatible at the same time.

The only rendering issue I had with Incoming on nVidia cards AFAIK was an ugly in-game HUD that was somehow poorly resized and filtered. I wonder if the stars on Thief II has something to do with a specific texture format and not being supported by nVidia.

As for why late games (especially 2000s) looks ugly on 3Dfx cards except the VSA-100 based ones that's due to the 16-bit color mode (with dithering and filtering used) and the 256x256 texture limitation.

I second the thought of using a GF4 Ti with a Voodoo2 for a fast computer which combines fast performance, good feature support and compatibility with old games when needed.