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3dfx Voodoo Graphic Card Emulation Coming To DOSBox 156

Posted by timothy
from the but-1996-feels-like-yesterday dept.
KingofGnG writes with this excerpt from King Arthur's Den: "One of the forthcoming versions of the best PC-with-DOS emulator out there should include a very important architectural novelty, ie the software implementation of the historical Voodoo Graphics chipset created by 3dfx Interactive in the Nineties. "Kekko", the programmer working on the project with the aid of the DOSBox crew and the coding-capable VOGONS users, says that his aim is the complete and faithful emulation of SST-1, the first Voodoo chipset marketed in 1996 inside the first 3D graphics accelerated cards on the PC."
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3dfx Voodoo Graphic Card Emulation Coming To DOSBox

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  • by seeker_1us (1203072) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @02:21AM (#33957634)
    Reading TFA it seems like the objective is to simulate the SST1 chip completely in software. The article itself says that:

    Right now, the developers say, the activation of the SST-1 core - which like the original hardware needs a 2D card working simultaneously - turns DOSBox into a useless snail.

    So this seems to be very different from something like, say, GliDos.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @02:24AM (#33957648)

    As per TFA [], the Voodoo emulator is basically lifted from MAME []. Granted, integrating it into DOSBox is important work and all, but I would judge the original code to be worth more than 90% of the effort. Yet Aaron gets no credit in the summary.

  • Re:Carmageddon (Score:3, Informative)

    by iSignedUpJustForThis (1925144) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @04:47AM (#33958254)
    My friend has just released a rebuild of carmageddon using XNA, check it out at []
  • Re:Nice (Score:3, Informative)

    by apn_k (938000) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @05:00AM (#33958300)
    Well if you look around on the vogons dosbox forums: [] , you will find out that you can run Windows 95 in dosbox with some tweaks. In fact, they are using the real voodoo drivers installed in windows 95 for testing the voodoo emulation in dosbox.
  • The S3 ViRGE was the "decelerator" of its time. Had they been used as glorified software renderers expected to do little besides push point-sampled, perspective corrected textures onto polygons, with all geometry calculations handled by the host CPU, they would have been better, but the competition was too steep for anyone to bother writing what would amount to an enhanced software renderer. Visual quality would have been shown up badly using such a scheme, so the native titles for the ViRGE were pretty but terribly slow. From what I recall the Descent II port was a pretty heroic effort.

    The Rendition cards were really very solid by comparison, but the V1000 series took a noticeable speed hit when they were expected to handle on-chip z-buffering. Their fillrate was also around half that of the Voodoo1, but they would still have been price-competitive if RAM prices hadn't fallen through the floor and made the Voodoo Graphics board realistically obtainable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @09:39AM (#33960138)

    They're very hard to find now but Tomb Raider screenshots of the Matrox version looked fantastic in underwater scenes. I owned a Matrox card for a short time and the 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics card I later got didn't come close to looking so good. The colour and shading had an ethereal quality to it when the Voodoo looked a bit rough. I really, really wish DOSBox emulated the PowerVR API so I could play that version of Tomb Raider again.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @10:04AM (#33960518) Journal
    Service Pack 3 was required, but DirectSound worked fine. I can't believe I remember that...
  • by gulikoza (1087283) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @10:41AM (#33960954) Homepage
    If you're talking about my Glide patch for DOSBox then I'll have to correct a few things :)
    First, the patch is fully crossplatform (at least the dosbox part), but you require Glide support (real card or wrapper) on the host system. Patches have been submitted to OpenGlide that make it work in Linux and OS X. The full setup (DOSBox + OpenGlide) has been tested to work on Windows, Linux and OS X including using Glide (and OpenGL through the 3dfx minidriver) in guest Windows9x (yes, I've played Half-Life inside Dosbox, fully accelerated :)).
    Kekko's patch obviously offers true 3Dfx emulation and also works with games that cannot be emulated with a wrapper. But at the moment only has (single threaded) software rendering which is great for testing but unfortunately little use for playing the games.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by FreonTrip (694097) < minus math_god> on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @11:45AM (#33961730)
    There actually were DOS games that could take advantage of Glide. Descent II, Tomb Raider, and Mechwarrior II come to mind. My guess is that the executables were statically linked to a DOS-native implementation of Glide to communicate with whatever 3dfx card was present in the system.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday October 20, 2010 @11:59AM (#33961928) Journal

    This seems like a good place to point out DOS32/a. It's a drop in replacement for DOS/4GW. It was independently developed from Dosbox as a modern alternative to the old dos extenders, but it works quite well with Dosbox. It works with just about everything, and it makes most games better. I pre-emptively swap DOS32/a in when I install anything on dosbox.

  • S3 had nothing to do with it. Intel bought Real3D, took the entirely competent architecture of the Starfighter, and pulled a stupid trick by forcing it to fetch out to AGP memory for texture storage, leaving the user with a large framebuffer and excruciatingly slow texture swapping over the bus. PCI versions of the card obviously couldn't do this, and were frequently better performers because this was properly compensated for in the drivers.

    Subsequent integrated video chips continued along this shambling path, occasionally receiving updates - multitexturing here, S3TC support there, before receiving a minor overhaul somewhere around the i865G, which was allegedly DirectX 7-capable, but too slow to take advantage of most of that featureset. The i915 through GMA 3100 were native DirectX 9 parts, but pokey and prone to driver glitches; the x3100* onward are different DirectX 10+ parts, and then there's Sandy Bridge's integrated video which finally might not cause whimpering pain to all who behold it in operation. I'm STILL not confident in its OpenGL driver for anything besides desktop compositing.

    * Yes, there's a huge friggin' gap between the 3100 and x3100, to the point that you could argue they aren't the same chip in any meaningful way. Alarmingly, this is actually less confusing than the naming schemes for their CPUs now...

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius