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Games Entertainment

Creative ports Glide 44

Taliesin writes "From this ZDNN article: The new technology, dubbed Unified, will allow games written to run on 3dfx graphics accelerators to also run on competing boards made by Creative Technology Ltd. ... Creative's new technology basically acts as a phrase book, allowing Microsoft's DirectX programming interface to understand Glide commands. DirectX, in turn, accesses the accelerated features of Nvidia's TNT family of chips. "
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Creative ports Glide

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have been messing around with unified and trying to find bugs! He was going to use opengl instead of directx but he told me that it would lower cpu cycles if he were to use directx! There are a good bit bit of bugs right now but it's looking good and has potential!
    I have spoken with the creator "michael songy" and I was told that he plans on porting it to linux! He also told me that some of his friends are working on tnt drivers for linux and that they should have them out in june! I was told by another source that nvidia might release the tnt drivers for linux next week during the linux expo!
    I wouldn't be surprised either considering the fact that a guy from nvidia told me that he was not able to say anything except stay tuned and the fact that creative said they will release "their" version of nvidias drivers in june!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have used it with several tnts! It doesn't matter as it shouldn't! You only have to have a CL tnt to download it from their site!
  • Anyone try Unreal with this thing on their TNT? Using the emulated Glide it looks great and it doesn't get choppy as hell like with BOTH direct 3d and opengl. what gives? Is glide that nice?
  • I think it gives glide a chance to stand on it's own merits. I don't know much about the pros and cons of glide vs openGL but if it is quicker to write something with glide instead of openGL and the game will run fine on my TNT card, well then glide has won one battle. It effectively removes the voodoo monopoly on glide.
  • Oops, forgot to mention that being a wrapper, it means that the only thing they borrow from glide is the API. This means that there is no need to get the SDK and therefore no "use this for glide games only" license clause to worry about.
  • My guess would be that this is not an emulator, just a wrapper. It probably wraps around directx to give it the same interface as glide. This is awesome in my mind since glide's edge for forcing users to buy voodoo cards is gone. There should be no legal hassle since it is as legal as writing wrappers around legacy code to give it a different look. Creative is very bold in doing this, I have to start buying more of their products. Think I'll start with the live board when the drivers are done.
  • I am assuming at this point that the performance will be quite different on the TNT. When the OpenGL renderer for Tribes was being designed, one of the main things that held it up was the fact that the engine works by downloading textures to the card when the player even just starts to turn his head around when he is outside.

    The first generation 3Dfx could handle that. The TNT could not. The 3Dfx and TNT have different bottlenecks. Although these bottlenecks still apply for OpenGL games, there is the fact that games written with GLide are not designed for other cards, regardless or not of whether they work with them. This has been like that for all of the past titles, and will most likely be like that for a while in the future, even if GLide is now to catch on as a standard.

    Speaking of standards, Microsoft has no qualms about adding very high-level features to the HEL of Direct3D. I saw some info about DX7 having the ability to stream light through a window and have it radiate through. With features like that and NURBs, it will be the API to fear if cards try to move its features from the HEL to the HAL. Nonstandard features and proprietary. Carmack mentioned something about proprietary NURB APIs being A Bad Thing.
  • It's not irrelevent. Glide runs on Linux, so Glide-related news may be of wide interest even when it's not Linux Glide news -- after all, it may foreshadow future developments under Linux.

    Also, there are a LOT of Linux enthusiasts who boot Windows in order to play games.

    Lastly, Slashdot doesn't pretend to be predominantly a Linux site -- it says "News for Nerds", not "Linux news"! Articles here are about lots and lots of non-Linux topics, including lots of non-computer topics.

    I would be rather sad if, when Microsoft goes out of business, Slashdot refused to run the story because it didn't mention the word Linux anywhere. ;-)

    (I'm being so hypothetical as to be far removed from reality, I know, I know: the story certainly would mention Linux, since that would be the reason for the demise of M$)

  • Proprietary API's. Yummm.

    This has a bad side to it, GLide is a proprietary API, and should not be pushed forward in any way, not even by emulation, in my view. All GLide games should be eradicated. Let's forget them. 3dfx: move on, get a grip, write decent OpenGL drivers and I'll like you, a bit.
  • Not! I have personally used the unified wrapper on an STB velocity 4400 (TNT based also). You only have to have a valid CL TNT Blaster serial# to d/l it.

  • No the problem with the Glide wrappers was
    that the developers used part of the GLIDE-SDK from 3dfx.. afaik it's legal if you don't use
    copyrighted code from 3dfx..
  • As many of you may or may not have noticed, 3DFX is in the midst of purchasing STB and the Voodoo3 series of cards are only available from STB.

    Creative/Diamond and the rest made a LOT of money selling 3DFX based cards and I bet they were less than happy to see 3DFX go exclusive with the Voodoo3 series. Hence both Creative/Diamond will be pushing TNT2 based cards in an effort to

    a) make lots of money
    b) punish 3DFX for shutting them out

    So, what's the ONLY reason not to buy a TNT2 over a Voodoo3? (its certainly not the speed, check out Tom's hardware) The answer is of course Glide. There's a good percentage of games out there which only run on Glide (Unreal was Glide only for a LONG time) and by developing a wrapper which looks like Glide to games but uses D3D (or OpenGL for that matter) I can play all the Glide games I want on my TNT2.

    Will this end up in court, you bet, 3DFX has to protect the part of the market which they have a monopoly on. Who's going to win ... that's for the lawyers to decide ;)
  • by johnus ( 11641 ) on Friday May 14, 1999 @10:15AM (#1892025) Homepage

    Sure, the Glide UnderGround people do this, and they got lawyers sicc'ed on them hard, and it doesn't make any press. But now that Creative does it and its all okay?
    Thats real funny.

    Where are 3dfx's lawyers? Oh yeah, they're all too busy fighting a bunch of college kids that had this idea first to take on another company that can actually fight back...

  • Are you talking about Microsoft "Chrome"? If so, it's hardly a big secret, MS demoed it around about a year ago. My understanding is that it's on hold pending faster CPUs.

  • It's only proprietary if no other company can use it. Now that it's been reverse engineered, you can expect broader implementations, *if* Creative is willing to licence the technology.

    Think about it - almost everything on your PC, from the Centronics parallel port to the BIOS to the SoundBlaster card to the VGA card was "proprietary" at one time.

    (That doesn't mean Glide is the best solution, but neither was Centronics, SoundBlaster, or VGA.)
  • There were a few Glide emulators/wrappers around before. Let's see how 3DFX reacts. The others were sued, and the Glide license protects the API to be used for anything except Glide game.

  • Competition amoung chipsets is good.

    Standardization of drivers is also good.

    But when will we have "Direct X Windows"?
  • It'll be interesting if 3dfx reacts in the same way as it has to individuals producing Glide wrappers... which is to say, by threatening lawsuits. Since CL is one of their partners, I'll bet the lawyers at 3dfx will be kept on a much tighter leash.
  • Well, when the little guys did it, all it takes is a threat from 3DFX. If you're a programmer and you're suddenly faced with the threat of losing thousands of dollars of your own money to lawyers, it's enough to make you back down. Right or Wrong, do you want to gamble everything you have?

    Creative obviously wouldn't have done this unless they had already assessed the situation and decided that they would be able to fight. Or come to a cross-licensing agreement of some kind. Whatever.

    Your rights are proportional to how much money you are willing (or perceived to be willing) to spend in court.

  • I don't believe Slashdot is a "Linux-only" forum. There are plenty of Linux-only articles here, and yet when there is a Windows only article you complain?
  • Ah.. News for nerds.. Nerds also use wind***STOP ....

    "Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.
  • by Cysgod ( 21531 ) on Friday May 14, 1999 @10:20AM (#1892034) Homepage
    It's good that users of other cards will be able to run 3dfx games. There is a risk however that this will encourage game developers to be lazy and just develop for 3dfx and assume that everyone can just patch their way into making it work for them. Making 3dfx a defacto standard. That would be a Bad Thing.

    However the momentum behind OpenGL currently should hopefully fix everything for anyone by providing an open standard that everyone can participate in. That would be a Good Thing. Compatibility is great, but people must more fervently pressure game developers to avoid 3dfx and their proprietary nastyness.

    -- Cysgod
  • The Bad Thing is that Creative will only have it work with their boards (using some sort of internal serial check). So we can now have two vendors instead of one supporting Glide (now that 3dfx makes their own cards). I think that opening this up to other vendors' cards, while not necessarily attractive to the suits at Creative may gain them a lot of respect in the gaming community.
  • No, they weren't sued.
    What happened is they were sent out threatening lawyer letters, saying stop using the 3dfx glide sdk to make these wrappers. Those who didn't use the sdk kept on going, and they still do today.
    Precarious position to be sure, but not sued. I really like the fact that I bought a creative labs tnt more & more everyday. Had no idea they start kicking ass, but its been a nice present.
  • CL & 3dfx *were* partners.
    When 3dfx bought stb, they cut ties w/ almost all video card manufacturers (excepting quantum3D).
    Once STB turned 3dfx they've done some stuff in regards to there old RivaTNT cards that wasn't totally kosher, such as when the much-ballyhooed Detonator drivers came out, saying they were buggy for the STB TnT card. On the other hand, they've been the only other company that NVidia to put out drivers for their old TNT card recently.
  • >Ummm, do you mean OpenGL OR Direct3D ? Or are you implying there is no difference?

    Oh no! I do realize that there is a difference, a very important one.

    OpenGL gets it right, Direct3d Gets it FAST. Both are important for completely different things.

    Having read your other posts, I would agree that I would be horrified if you asked me to code your app in D3D.

    I personally think OpenGL is nice and clean, but it was my first 3d api (first love and all that). It's also nice and portable, along with various and sundry other advantages, but from the point of view of Edios writing Tomb Raider 4, I wouldn't touch OpenGL with a 10 ft pole.

    I've got one of these TNTs, and I'll tell you, under W95 (until NVIDIA gets it's act together) it's got GREAT OpenGL performance, but until all cards can say the same thing, I think we'll live in a world where both Direct3D and OpenGL have their place.

    Just my not-so-humble opinion. :-)

    Happy Service!

  • Q. Is Unified limited to 16-bit color?
    A. Actually, most Glide games are limited to 16-bit color when running in Glide mode. Unified will provide an extension to allow a game to display 24/32-bit color, but the games will need to be modified to take advantage of this feature.

    So now we've got 3dFX's Proprietary API with Proprietary Creative extenstions, which won't run on 3dFX's hardware!

    So, now either
    1) Everybody gives up and uses OpenGL / D3D


    2) We wind up with 15 similar but slightly incompatible APIs.

    Please O Please let it be #1.

    But I must admit, I'm not upset that I already own one of these things. Now if they'd just release the *&*((& specs!
  • has anyone tried using creative's unified driver with any tnts other than cl's?
  • Reminds me of the old Compaq days, immediately following their release of a PC clone.

    I don't think that Creative is going to be in any trouble. They're big enough to have the resources to devote to a clean-room emulator. If Compaq could get their PC BIOS approved by a court, I'm sure that Creative can write an emulator in such an environment so that their collective legal asses aren't left hanging out in the open.

    And let's face it. This is SOP for companies in this volatile market. 3dfx merges with STB to solidify their position. Creative, Diamond, et al. write emulator software to take the wind out of 3dfx's sails, as far as their proprietary interface is concerned.

    Now, if only someone could do a DX6 -> OGL translator!
  • Has anyone successfully downloaded these? The site simply rejects my serial number from my card, and there is no means of emailing for information. Argh!
  • That's great that Creative is developing a wrapper to let people with Creative cards to run Glide based apps, but if nVidia would just release the SPECS on the RivaTNT, they could just have us little developers do that stuff for them, and i'd finally be able to run Quake2 respectably under X. As if having to wait for the windows release of Q3T wasn't insulting enough! Truely, the important thing is for nVidia to release the information so we can make our own drivers and programs for the TNT chipset. All this is just a bandaid.

  • Ummm, do you mean OpenGL OR Direct3D ? Or are you implying there is no difference? The first product out with our VR system is a training tool for surgeons. It is meant to run on pcs, but we certainly aren't interested in a tech (D3D) where the only input msft takes is from established game developers. The Dr who developed the app on top of our engine is horrified by the prospect of having to switch to D3D/DX8 if msft succeeds in eradicating openGL support.
    Basically, D3D is for game developers who are not of John Carmacks level. openGL is for anyone who is really serious about the images they put on the screen (and yes, I do mean realtime images)
  • DX6 to openGL translation is certainly not "impossible", I think scitex has a product out/coming called DirectGL. There are a number of openGL to DX6 translators out there, but this seems to be mostly a msft attempt to bring certain strategic apps into the DX fold, even if they really don't want to be there.
    My own take is that msft has put too many screwball optimizations (used advisedly) into DX6 to satisfy gamers that make the conversion potentially difficult, and certainly inefficient. Why invest all the time and energy into an app to get performance and visual quality, and then pass all your work through a translator? I think this is the central reason that there are such battles over graphics libraries, because efficient use of the library really requires an exclusive commitment to that library. And even in the game development community there is a lot of dissention, our fave is John Carmack, who has given the entire 3D efforts at msft some very good critiques from both technical and business perspectives.
    Bottom line is that computer graphics will remain a crude approximation for years to come, as reality is unfortunately infinitely complex and computers aren't. This kind of squelches translators for anyone trying to push the envelope.
  • Oh yeah, I forgot. Mea culpa slashdot. We are interested in other platforms than Windows. Gee, if you use that light streaming through the window trick, whatever will you do on linux/mesa, mac/opengl, sgi/(open)gl, etc ?
  • Very good. I agree wholeheartedly. I don't think that DX is there yet, as I agree with the fundamentals of John Carmacks arguments. I violently object to Microsofts plan to try and make DX8/Fahrenheight the service for all users. The best world is separate apis for games (speed counts uber alles) and openGL (speed counts, but not at the expense of trashing the visuals). Probably is a common ground between the two at the hardware interface/bit blasting level, but after that they serve different masters
  • by dracosystems ( 50212 ) on Friday May 14, 1999 @05:56PM (#1892048) Homepage
    Hmmm. Our system is being used by a game company to try out a new idea, but it's also already the basis of a commercial app that does surgical training simulation for Drs. One of the main reasons we use openGL is that we can do things "correctly", i.e. the patient model lighting we provide is basically a crude approximation of what the Doc will see when they stick a needle in a real patient, albeit real patients aren't see through.
    John Carmack at id uses openGL to do things we wouldn't dare, such as the lightmaps, as his needs are different than ours, and nobody is going to put dead demons or players on the operating room table. But openGL satisfies us both.
    DX on the other hand has many of these "clever tricks" to do things like streaming light through windows, but places much less thought and emphasis on the general issues of rendering realistic images for a wide variety of tasks. Do you want to be operated on by a Doc who got any of his training on something optimized to do gore and explosions ? And even in the submarket they court, there are some knowledgable people, e.g. Carmack, who still tell them to stuff it.
    What amazes me about the DX product are two specific issues.
    1) The mantra at Microsoft is framerate,framerate,framerate. Good mantra. Unfortunately, they feel this justifies them in adding internal logic to deliberately degrade the geometries they have been given in order to maintain framerate. Thats the deal in their new focus on curves, to maintain framerate, __not to increase visual quality__. Lessee, we have apps for Docs, soldiers, and others who really really really don't need this. And I'm sure id isn't thrilled about having many ducats invested in their artwork, and loosing control over the tradeoffs on responsiveness against visual quality. Hey, we're supposed to know what we are doing. If msft wants to sell tutorial aids, thats fine, but some of us carry high development expenses specifically because we wish to make those decisions ourselves. Hence we tend to like openGL.
    2) MSFT went out and hired Jim Blinn (making obligatory obiesiance now to the great Blinn), and put him in their advanced R&D area (I think). Last summer he talks about the 10 things still undone in CG, and delivers a pretty specific complaint about clever but narrow and unstable tricks used to improve visual realism in a narrow range of applications. He even gently points the finger at 3D games. Does Microsoft seem to pay any attention to him. No! I personally find that disgusting.
    Summarizing, I guess I'm saying that as long as msft puts their efforts into stupid optimizations like this, to paraphrase the cryptogeeks, you can have my openGL libs when you pry them from my cold dead mind. It does seem some daze that msft is willing to go to that length, WGL is apparently doomed now.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"