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Old games at high-res/60 fps

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First post, by swaaye

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I like to try old games at high resolution and see what it takes to get them to 60fps.

KOTOR. If you like 60fps at 1600x1200 then you probably want 8800GTX. The smoke effects in particular eat up loads of fillrate and bandwidth and even a X1950XTX can't hack it, especially with AA enabled. ATI OpenGL is very problematic with the game too so lots of driver version experimentation if you go ATI. Soft shadows rarely available with ATI for some reason.

Deus Ex Invisible War. If you want to run 1600x1200 with this game you again want a lot of power. 6800 Ultra chokes up in places for some reason. Probably 8800 for NV or X1800XT for ATI. Technology is similar to Doom 3 but seems more demanding for some reason. Overdraw problems seem likely to blame.

Anyone else have some examples?

Reply 1 of 23, by derSammler

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Surprisingly demanding? Are you aware that 1600x1200 has the same amout of pixels as Full HD? Rendering 2 million pixels each frame is quite a task for a 3d graphics card, even with older games.

Reply 2 of 23, by swaaye

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Sure. But NV also used to say GF2GTS was meant for your 1600x1200 enjoyment. And I remember people in 2000 trying to play games at 1600x1200 on their fancy 21" monitors. So there's nothing terribly special about the idea.

I suppose it's interesting to see how fillrate demands scale. And with early shader games there is per pixel effect scaling that brought surprisingly bad resolution scaling on contemporary GPUs.

Reply 3 of 23, by silikone

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swaaye wrote:

Sure. But NV also used to say GF2GTS was meant for your 1600x1200 enjoyment.

For running the most rudimentary 3D applications, sure.
It becomes evident that such high pixel counts are very limiting on that thing just by looking at its specs alone.

Last edited by silikone on 2018-04-14, 19:28. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 4 of 23, by The Serpent Rider

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But NV also used to say GF2GTS was meant for your 1600x1200 enjoyment.

Which works with 16-bit color though.

6800 Ultra chokes up in places for some reason.

Deus Ex Invisible War engine was notoriously buggy and meant to be played at 480p (or maybe even less) 30fps on Xbox hardware (GeForce 3.5). So anything less than FX 5800/5900 won't just cut for smooth PC experience. Same thing with Thief: Deadly Shadows, which was actually bundled with some GeForce 6800 cards.

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Reply 5 of 23, by swaaye

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Yes I know GF2 GTS was really meant for 16-bit gaming.

Thief Deadly Shadows seems to run a bit better. I think I saw some benchmarks of it on iXBT. There are also some of DXIW over there, in an article running it on hardware up to X800 IIRC. They must have managed to optimize the engine/renderer in the time since DXIW. There's an interview somewhere where I think Harvey Smith talked about how they were in over the heads with that engine and it obviously didn't turn out very well.

I thought the 5900 Ultra would run DXIW better than it does. I think Doom3 runs better as I remember.

Reply 6 of 23, by The Serpent Rider

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Dungeon Keeper 2. I just don't know how somebody played this thing with period correct hardware (Celeron Mendocino with Riva TNT2 for example).

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Reply 7 of 23, by swaaye

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I haven't played Dungeon Keeper 2 in a long time but I think I do remember it being especially demanding. It's also interesting to get the EMBM working with that game. The lava looks great.

I found the XBit/IXBT benchmarks of DXIW and Thief 3. Had to dig up the thread here and then go to archive.org. X800 seems to do some magic with these games.
https://web.archive.org/web/20160317145440/ht … 2_20.html#sect0
https://web.archive.org/web/20160317145542/ht … -27gpu2_21.html
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Reply 8 of 23, by leileilol

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The "1600x1200 is fake news" here is ridiculous. Even the Riva TNT made 1600x1200 gaming feasible back in 1998, and to be fair 1600x1200 is only 153,600 pixels less than 1920x1080. It certainly was a res to play in when most of the 3d games out then didn't bother with lightmaps.

I thought Dungeon Keeper 2 was framecapped and ran at a fixed rate (as other Bullfrog games post-HiOctane)

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Reply 9 of 23, by F2bnp

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Those Deus Ex IW scores are still unbelievable, Thief 3 runs far better.

Is this thread about GPU demanding games or could it also include CPU limited games? This is how I feel about a lot of the big 3D game releases of the late 90's. Quake 2, QIII, Unreal, Shogo, Blood 2, Sin, Half-Life, all of these supposedly ran on a Pentium 1 and early Pentium 2, but you can simply forget it nowadays. I find that especially with Unreal and Half-Life, all you really needed was a Voodoo2 and you could enjoy these games at 60fps at 640x480 or even 800x600 in many cases, but even a Pentium III 500 won't cut it for a totally smooth experience in Half-Life.

Reply 10 of 23, by clueless1

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I remember pushing for 1600x1200 in my games back in the very late 1990s. I just HAD to after I got my 21" Sony Trinitron. And from what I recall, 1600x1200 with no AA/AF looked way better than 1024x768 with AA/AF and was roughly comparable in performance.

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Reply 11 of 23, by swaaye

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F2bnp wrote:

Those Deus Ex IW scores are still unbelievable, Thief 3 runs far better.

Is this thread about GPU demanding games or could it also include CPU limited games? This is how I feel about a lot of the big 3D game releases of the late 90's. Quake 2, QIII, Unreal, Shogo, Blood 2, Sin, Half-Life, all of these supposedly ran on a Pentium 1 and early Pentium 2, but you can simply forget it nowadays. I find that especially with Unreal and Half-Life, all you really needed was a Voodoo2 and you could enjoy these games at 60fps at 640x480 or even 800x600 in many cases, but even a Pentium III 500 won't cut it for a totally smooth experience in Half-Life.

Yeah. Lithtech, Unreal Engine and Half-Life running A3D 2.0 scale well with more CPU power. An Athlon XP is nice to have. These sorts of realizations really skew old perceptions!

Reply 12 of 23, by The Serpent Rider

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32 godlike bots in UT2004 probably can kill performance even on modern CPU.

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Reply 13 of 23, by Standard Def Steve

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How about Dungeon Siege? I played through it a few years ago on a PIII-1575 w/ 9800 Pro and it often dipped below 30 fps when there was a billion things going on. This was at 1024x768 with all of the visuals maxed. The minimum requirements call for a P2-333 and 8MB video card. 😒

Also, the MMX version of Virtual On: Cyber Troopers needs some serious CPU power. This game has a hidden 60 fps mode. I don't really blame Sega for hiding it; no 1997 machine even comes close to 60. To play in high res mode and sustain 60 through even the most demanding scenes, you need a 1GHz+ P3. I tested this game on several machines:

A P200MMX is only good for low-res @ 15 fps.
1997's best, the P2-300, can do low res @ 30, or high res @ 15.
A P3-550 can do high res @ 30.
A P3-1000EB (FSB133) or Celeron-1400 (FSB100) is necessary for a perfect HR/60fps experience. But man is it gorgeous. Playing it with the twin-stick and 21" CRT is almost like being at the arcade again!

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Reply 14 of 23, by derSammler

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swaaye wrote:

Sure. But NV also used to say GF2GTS was meant for your 1600x1200 enjoyment. And I remember people in 2000 trying to play games at 1600x1200 on their fancy 21" monitors. So there's nothing terribly special about the idea.

Except that you are aiming for 60 fps, which back then was unrealistic. Coincidentally I have a pristine 2001 retro build which has a GF2GTS in it. And games from that time run with 30-40 fps at 800x600 at best when not compromising details. Only older games like Quake II hit 60 fps even at 1024x768.

Reply 15 of 23, by yawetaG

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Standard Def Steve wrote:
Also, the MMX version of Virtual On: Cyber Troopers needs some serious CPU power. This game has a hidden 60 fps mode. I don't re […]
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Also, the MMX version of Virtual On: Cyber Troopers needs some serious CPU power. This game has a hidden 60 fps mode. I don't really blame Sega for hiding it; no 1997 machine even comes close to 60. To play in high res mode and sustain 60 through even the most demanding scenes, you need a 1GHz+ P3. I tested this game on several machines:

A P200MMX is only good for low-res @ 15 fps.
1997's best, the P2-300, can do low res @ 30, or high res @ 15.
A P3-550 can do high res @ 30.
A P3-1000EB (FSB133) or Celeron-1400 (FSB100) is necessary for a perfect HR/60fps experience. But man is it gorgeous. Playing it with the twin-stick and 21" CRT is almost like being at the arcade again!

The 60 fps mode is not hidden, it can be accessed via the options window alright, but the two options involved have stupid, counter-intuitive names and terminology.

I've tried the hidden debug menu option, and never noticed any difference between the debug 60 fps mode and the one accessible via the options window. I've also played the Sega Saturn version, which is locked at 30 fps max., and the difference with the PC version is very noticeable. If you're used to the PC version, the Saturn version is quite unplayable, slow, ugly graphics and slow controls. The PC version is very smooth with little slowdown (except when there are a lot of projectiles on screen), and it runs just fine on my Pentium II machine, on high resolution and 60 fps (but possibly the amount of memory and graphics card in that system help).

Although I will note that the Virtual On CD I have is a later reissue of the game from Sega's Ultra 2000 range of budget rereleases, so perhaps it has tweaks over the original MMX version in a cardboard box or the original with MMX patch.

Reply 16 of 23, by Standard Def Steve

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yawetaG wrote:
The 60 fps mode is not hidden, it can be accessed via the options window alright, but the two options involved have stupid, coun […]
Show full quote
Standard Def Steve wrote:
Also, the MMX version of Virtual On: Cyber Troopers needs some serious CPU power. This game has a hidden 60 fps mode. I don't re […]
Show full quote

Also, the MMX version of Virtual On: Cyber Troopers needs some serious CPU power. This game has a hidden 60 fps mode. I don't really blame Sega for hiding it; no 1997 machine even comes close to 60. To play in high res mode and sustain 60 through even the most demanding scenes, you need a 1GHz+ P3. I tested this game on several machines:

A P200MMX is only good for low-res @ 15 fps.
1997's best, the P2-300, can do low res @ 30, or high res @ 15.
A P3-550 can do high res @ 30.
A P3-1000EB (FSB133) or Celeron-1400 (FSB100) is necessary for a perfect HR/60fps experience. But man is it gorgeous. Playing it with the twin-stick and 21" CRT is almost like being at the arcade again!

The 60 fps mode is not hidden, it can be accessed via the options window alright, but the two options involved have stupid, counter-intuitive names and terminology.

I've tried the hidden debug menu option, and never noticed any difference between the debug 60 fps mode and the one accessible via the options window. I've also played the Sega Saturn version, which is locked at 30 fps max., and the difference with the PC version is very noticeable. If you're used to the PC version, the Saturn version is quite unplayable, slow, ugly graphics and slow controls. The PC version is very smooth with little slowdown (except when there are a lot of projectiles on screen), and it runs just fine on my Pentium II machine, on high resolution and 60 fps (but possibly the amount of memory and graphics card in that system help).

Although I will note that the Virtual On CD I have is a later reissue of the game from Sega's Ultra 2000 range of budget rereleases, so perhaps it has tweaks over the original MMX version in a cardboard box or the original with MMX patch.

I forgot the exact terminology they use, but in the game's settings, "quick motion" runs at 15 fps, and "smooth motion" is 30 fps. I noticed a huge difference between smooth motion and the hidden 60 fps mode.

I'm guessing that you're not seeing a difference because the P2 simply can't do 60 fps in that game. On the P3-550 I tested, there wasn't much of an improvement between smooth motion and 60 fps. But on my 1.4GHz Celeron it's like night and day.

Of course, I'm assuming that your Ultra 2000 rerelease works exactly the same way as the original, and that it's not hardware accelerated in any way. 😀

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Reply 17 of 23, by swaaye

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I've never played Virtual On outside of an arcade. I need to look that up. I wish Sega had ported Scud Race / Sega Super GT.

I've discovered that the last driver for the X1000 Radeons that has all KOTOR effects working is Catalyst 7.11. After that the light bloom stops working. Soft shadows can be enabled on ATI cards by editing the swkotor.ini and adding AllowSoftShadows=1 in the [Graphics Options] section. On the X1800 it works well but causes stuttering if many characters are projecting shadows at once.

Unfortunately Catalyst 7.11 lacks aspect ratio scaling for DVI. That option appeas during the Catalyst 8.x run. I'm using a 1440p LCD and for some reason it doesn't have 1600x1200 as a supported resolution in its EDID. It works fine with a 1600x1200 signal but since it's not in the EDID, problems occur with scaling for some drivers. NV has aspect ratio scaling on like all cards and drivers, and also has custom resolutions which makes solving problems easy.

Reply 18 of 23, by Falcosoft

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swaaye wrote:

Unfortunately Catalyst 7.11 lacks aspect ratio scaling for DVI. That option appeas during the Catalyst 8.x run. I'm using a 1440p LCD and for some reason it doesn't have 1600x1200 as a supported resolution in its EDID. It works fine with a 1600x1200 signal but since it's not in the EDID, problems occur with scaling for some drivers. NV has aspect ratio scaling on like all cards and drivers, and also has custom resolutions which makes solving problems easy.

1. On Windows Vista+ you can override the EDID info provided by your monitor. AFAIK Catalyst 7.11 also has Vista version.
https://www.monitortests.com/forum/Thread-Cus … ion-Utility-CRU

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2. ATI Catalyst has custom resolution support for a very long time. Only the settings has no user interface but actually it's more easy to add/edit custom resolutions than with NVIDIA drivers that often fail to approve adding resolutions without reasonable explanation. You only have to edit 'DALNonStandardModesBCD' in
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video\{GUID of ATI driver}\0000]

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Reply 19 of 23, by swaaye

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Falcosoft wrote:
1. On Windows Vista+ you can override the EDID info provided by your monitor. AFAIK Catalyst 7.11 also has Vista version. https: […]
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1. On Windows Vista+ you can override the EDID info provided by your monitor. AFAIK Catalyst 7.11 also has Vista version.
https://www.monitortests.com/forum/Thread-Cus … ion-Utility-CRU

CRU.jpg

2. ATI Catalyst has custom resolution support for a very long time. Only the settings has no user interface but actually it's more easy to add/edit custom resolutions than with NVIDIA drivers that often fail to approve adding resolutions without reasonable explanation. You only have to edit 'DALNonStandardModesBCD' in
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video\{GUID of ATI driver}\0000]

ati_nsmbcd.jpg

Yeah I am using XP at the moment because I am running a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz which only has XP support. I should experiment with CRU in Win7 though. That should work.

I also came across the ATI Custom Resolution Tool. That must be a homebrew GUI for the registry editing you suggested. But the problem isn't that 1600x1200 is unavailable, but that the GPU just fills 2560x1440 with it instead of aspect ratio scaling it or just sending 1600x1200 directly to the LCD. The NVIDIA custom resolutions allow you to configure both a target display resolution AND what resolution to actually send to the monitor.
https://morrisoft.wordpress.com/category/software/

I actually bought a Startech DVI EDID emulator as suggested on the forum here awhile back. But the X1800 doesn't seem to approve of its various EDID settings. Usually it just gives no signal.

Fortunately there is another option for KOTOR. You can use the old OpenGL ICD from the 7.11 driver (atioglxx.dll) and put it in the game's directory. The game will then load that driver instead. It seems to work with Catalyst 8.12, and then the aspect ratio scaling is available.