General Glide wrapper advice required

General discussion about nGlide.
glidenewbie
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General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby glidenewbie » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:29 pm

Hello all, this is my first post here! As my username indicates, I'm a complete newbie to this whole Glide business and have come here seeking some expert guidance, so please be gentle. :)

I just had a hankering to play some old DOS and Windows games from my gloriously misspent youth the other day. Naturally there are all sorts of challenges involved in getting these to run properly on modern systems. It was while doing some research into this that I first came across the concept of Glide wrappers. Now to be honest my folks never could buy me a 3D card back in the day, but these wonderful Glide wrappers seem to promise me the ability to finally enjoy these much-loved games in far better quality than I've ever seen them to date. (Well "far" might be expecting too much, but surely there'll be some improvement otherwise what's the point of these programs, right?)

Turns out there are more Glide wrappers than I know what to do with! This page for example lists quite a few. Unfortunately it seems many of these fine projects have been abandoned or not updated for quite some time (many date back to Win9x or XP at best), so I do not want to take a chance with them.

The ones that still seem to be updated include nGlide of course (latest version 1.04, 4 March 2015), dgVoodoo 2 (2.45, 30 July 2015) and Glidos (1.53b, ? 2014). I'm sure there are more to be found. For now though I want to know:

  1. For old DOS games would Glidos be best? Or one of the other two? Or does it not matter?
  2. For Windows games which one would be preferable between nGlide and dgVoodoo 2? Are there games that work better with one compared to the other? Has anyone even performed such a comparison?
  3. Feature-wise (such as support for different resolutions etc.) is there any significant difference between nGlide and dgVoodoo 2?
  4. nGlide says it supports Glide 2.1, Glide 2.4 and Glide 3.0. dgVoodoo 2 says it supports Glide 2.11, Glide 2.45, Glide 3.1 and Glide 3.1 Napalm. Pardon my ignorance but does this mean dgVoodoo 2 supports later versions of Glide than nGlide does? If so, any reason why nGlide doesn't support those versions too, and will such support be added in the future?
  5. Is it possible to have multiple Glide wrappers installed without resulting in a conflict?
I'll post more questions as they occur to me. :) Please understand that my questions do not imply disrespect towards nGlide in any possible way. As I said, I'm new to all this and simply want impartial advice for the best gaming experience possible. Thank you for reading and any helpful responses.

Gamecollector
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Gamecollector » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:58 pm

4. Glide 3.1 Napalm? Err... Voodoo4/Voodoo5 features? There is 1 trouble. There are NO GLIDE GAMES supporting these features. Demos only. And (maybe) some console emulator plugins.
IIRC nGlide 1.04 supports most (if not all) Voodoo4/5 features.
5. Possible. Most glide games use glide2x.dll/glide3x.dll from the game .exe directory if this dll is present. There are some exceptions but they are few.
As the example my test PC have a real Voodoo2 (glide2x/3x in the %system% directory) and nGlide. If I want to run the game through nGlide - I just copy 2 nGlide .dlls.
Asus P4P800 SE/Pentium4 3.2E/2 Gb DDR400 (3-3-3-8),
Radeon HD3850 Agp (Sapphire), Catalyst 14.4 (XpProSp3).
2 Voodoo2 12 MB (SLI), Win2k drivers 1.02.00 (XpProSp3).

glidenewbie
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby glidenewbie » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:07 pm

Thanks for the reply, Gamecollector.

1. Further research tells me that for Tomb Raider it seems Glidos is required for the high-res textures. For other DOS games I still don't know whether I'll have to choose between nGlide, dgVoodoo 2 and Glidos on a game-by-game basis to obtain the best results? If that's the case and I can't have multiple Glide wrappers simultaneously installed (see #5), then it will be a big problem uninstalling and reinstalling one of these three every time depending on the game to be played. :(

4. I'm just going by the versions mentioned and wondering why 2.11, 2.45 and 3.1 aren't supported by nGlide, and whether support for them is planned. After all if the objective is to have perfect (as far as possible) compatibility then all Glide versions should be supported, at least eventually, right? Or is lack of games the sole criterion? I suppose only Zeus can answer this...

5. So you mean if I want to switch between two Glide wrappers, all I have to do is copy either one's Glide DLLs into the game folder and remove all Glide related DLLs from the System32/SysWOW64 folders?

6. I have one more question for Zeus. I tested nGlide with a few games on the compatibility list and they all ran quite well without any problems, which is awesome. :D This was on a fairly beefy system with a Radeon HD 5830 though. My young cousin likes to play MK4 for some reason (no accounting for personal preference I guess! :roll:) and it works fine using Direct3D on his old but adequate (for him) system with Intel G31 chipset (GMA graphics I believe). Just for fun I tried nGlide. Now I did not really expect it to work on his system and predictably it didn't. However this Intel page (see under "Older Graphics Products") states that the G31 chipset supports DirectX 9.0, OpenGL 1.4 and Shader model 2.0. So why does MK4 not run at all with nGlide installed? The game launches, its window is briefly seen and immediately disappears, but the program keeps running and has to be killed via Task Manager. As far as I could see there was no way to even switch the game back to Direct3D mode and the only way to get it to work again was to uninstall nGlide completely. So is Intel lying about the G31's DirectX 9.0 support? Or is the support just incomplete/buggy? Or could it be some other reason altogether? Has nGlide even been tested with Intel graphics?

Gamecollector
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Gamecollector » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:13 pm

glidenewbie wrote:4. I'm just going by the versions mentioned and wondering why 2.11, 2.45 and 3.1 aren't supported by nGlide, and whether support for them is planned.

To be precise - there are 3 versions of the winglide API. Glide 2.1.1 (glide.dll and sst1init.dll), glide 2.x (glide2x.dll) and glide 3.x (glide3x.dll). The exact subversion isn't matter.
And it looks like there is the full back-compatibility for 3dfx hardware and glide2x/3x versions (well, almost 100%, some games need patches for Voodoo2, few need patches for Voodoo3 and later cads).

5. So you mean if I want to switch between two Glide wrappers, all I have to do is copy either one's Glide DLLs into the game folder and remove all Glide related DLLs from the System32/SysWOW64 folders?

No. Just copy, there is no need to remove anything.
Asus P4P800 SE/Pentium4 3.2E/2 Gb DDR400 (3-3-3-8),
Radeon HD3850 Agp (Sapphire), Catalyst 14.4 (XpProSp3).
2 Voodoo2 12 MB (SLI), Win2k drivers 1.02.00 (XpProSp3).

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Zeus
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Zeus » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:30 pm

glidenewbie wrote:4. I'm just going by the versions mentioned and wondering why 2.11, 2.45 and 3.1 aren't supported by nGlide

They are supported. What you see in nGlide description are versions of Glide API main branches. If you're curious about an exact version of a DLL check its properties.

glidenewbie wrote:So is Intel lying about the G31's DirectX 9.0 support? Or is the support just incomplete/buggy?

The answer to both questions is yes.

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Zeus
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Zeus » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:43 pm

Gamecollector wrote:There are NO GLIDE GAMES supporting these features. Demos only. And (maybe) some console emulator plugins.

Yep. VSA-100 tech demos, Glide64 (N64 plugin) and OpenGL games (3dfxvgl, WickedGL) are the only programs that use them. No Glide games.

Stiletto
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Stiletto » Wed Oct 14, 2015 11:51 pm

Zeus wrote:
Gamecollector wrote:There are NO GLIDE GAMES supporting these features. Demos only. And (maybe) some console emulator plugins.

Yep. VSA-100 tech demos, Glide64 (N64 plugin) and OpenGL games (3dfxvgl, WickedGL) are the only programs that use them. No Glide games.


I would still argue for feature parity if you feel like you start running out of things to do ;)

Stiletto
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Stiletto » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:34 am

glidenewbie, you may like this post in this thread where I go into some of the differences between Glide wrappers:
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=8 ... 93#p391593

We've been collecting all wrappers (not just Glide) for a while now (wonder when I'll find the time to resume that project again?):
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=36412

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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Zeus » Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:25 am

Stiletto wrote:I would still argue for feature parity if you feel like you start running out of things to do ;)

Missed T-Buffer's motion blur, FXT-1 compression and 24bit-Z in the first image? ;)

Rekrul
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Re: General Glide wrapper advice required

Postby Rekrul » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:10 am

glidenewbie wrote:Hello all, this is my first post here! As my username indicates, I'm a complete newbie to this whole Glide business and have come here seeking some expert guidance, so please be gentle. :)


I'm not expert, but I'd like to offer some observations based on my own experiences with Glide wrappers.

glidenewbie wrote:Now to be honest my folks never could buy me a 3D card back in the day, but these wonderful Glide wrappers seem to promise me the ability to finally enjoy these much-loved games in far better quality than I've ever seen them to date. (Well "far" might be expecting too much, but surely there'll be some improvement otherwise what's the point of these programs, right?)


Glide wrappers are mainly meant for programs that only offered Glide as their only accelerated 3D rendering method, or that didn't work properly with other methods like OpenGL or Direct3D.

For example, When I installed Star Trek: Klingon Honor Guard on my old system, it ran slow and didn't render ladders (I got stuck in a room that was supposed to have a ladder and didn't). I added a Glide wrapper, switched to Glide mode and not only were the ladders there, but the game ran much faster.

glidenewbie wrote:Turns out there are more Glide wrappers than I know what to do with!


Forget eVoodoo and psVoodoo. I couldn't get them to work properly at all. dgVoodoo 1.4/1.5 has always worked pretty well for me. I think that's what I used for ST:KHG. Zeckensack's wrapper also works fairly well although it hasn't been updated in a long time.

glidenewbie wrote:For old DOS games would Glidos be best? Or one of the other two? Or does it not matter?


Glidos gives you the ability to add newer textures to Tomb Raider. Beyond that, I don't think it really offers anything more than other wrappers. I've never used it myself, so I can't say how well it works. It should also be noted that there is only one texture set that's complete. All the rest only update a few of the levels each and there aren't any replacement textures for the Unfinished Business add-on levels.

glidenewbie wrote:For Windows games which one would be preferable between nGlide and dgVoodoo 2? Are there games that work better with one compared to the other? Has anyone even performed such a comparison?


I haven't tested dgVoodoo 2 too much, since I still have Windows XP and can't run it, but I've compared the older versions, nGlide and OpenGlide on my installation of Tomb Raider (using the Daum SVN DOSBox). I realize that this isn't the most in-depth test, it's just what I've observed. Also, I realize that Tomb Raider may do things differently than other games.

At first, OpenGlide seemed to work well, but then I noticed that it had some depth rendering problems. Items were visible even though they should have been hidden behind parts of the level. Like medikits on top of pillars being visible from the ground.

dgVoodoo 2.x seemed to work great when I tried it on a friend's system. When using the 'Look' function in Tomb Raider, the game normally occasionally draws white lines around the textures depending on the angle. I'm told that this is how it behaves on real Voodoo graphics cards and it does it with all the other wrappers. While testing dgVoodoo 2.x I didn't see these white lines.

dgVoodoo 1.5 worked pretty well with no depth problems. In the default configuration, there were visible texture seams everywhere and I had to turn off mipmapping to get rid of them. The configuration program has a wide variety of settings that you can tweak. I did notice that the water texture had a slightly more noticeable tile look to it than with other wrappers, but it wasn't horrible.

nGlide seemed to be the best wrapper for my XP system. The water seemed to be more seamless and there were no depth problems.

glidenewbie wrote:1. Further research tells me that for Tomb Raider it seems Glidos is required for the high-res textures. For other DOS games I still don't know whether I'll have to choose between nGlide, dgVoodoo 2 and Glidos on a game-by-game basis to obtain the best results? If that's the case and I can't have multiple Glide wrappers simultaneously installed (see #5), then it will be a big problem uninstalling and reinstalling one of these three every time depending on the game to be played. :(


When you install a Glide wrapper, basically all it does is copy the DLL files to the Windows\System32 directory (or wherever Microsoft decided to move them to on Win7/8/10), put a copy of the configuration program in Program Files and make a shortcut to it. The idea being that when you run a Glide game, it will see the appropriate DLL files on the system, think that you have a Voodoo graphics card and let you use Glide. It's a good idea, but it can cause problems (see below) and it makes switching wrappers kind of a pain in the neck.

Instead, you can just drop the Glide DLL files into the game's directory and it will use them. This also makes it easy to switch Glide wrappers should you want to try out different ones. You just need to replace the existing DLL with the one from the wrapper you want to use.

You can use Universal Extractor to unpack the nGlide setup program and get the individual files. Alternately, you can install nGlide, copy the DLLs and the configuration program to a safe place and then uninstall it.

glidenewbie wrote:As far as I could see there was no way to even switch the game back to Direct3D mode and the only way to get it to work again was to uninstall nGlide completely.


Situations like this are the reason I prefer not to install Glide wrappers. If you just put the DLLs into the game directory, then "uninstalling" them is as simple as just deleting those files.

On my old system, I installed Zeckensack's Glide wrapper for use with a couple games. Some time later, I installed the game Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Every time I tried to start a mission, the game crashed. I finally tried uninstalling the wrapper, and then the game worked perfectly. Ever since then, I've preferred to just put the DLL files into each game's directory as needed.

glidenewbie wrote:So is Intel lying about the G31's DirectX 9.0 support? Or is the support just incomplete/buggy? Or could it be some other reason altogether?


I'll let you in on a little secret: Intel graphics suck. Not only can they not handle a lot of the stuff that a dedicated graphics card can, but they use the main system memory for textures and such.

When I got my current system, it had Intel graphics built in and according to the specs, they should have been decent. The first game I tried running ended up crashing on me. When it finally closed, there was a window on the desktop informing me that the graphic driver had crashed! I made it my first priority to buy a real graphics card (not a super expensive one, just a decent budget Nvidia one). No more driver crashes.

I also wanted to comment on running DOS Glide games...

The best way to run DOS games today is by using DOSBox, which is basically a DOS emulator. In order to run Glide games (like Tomb Raider, Carmageddon, etc), you need a version of DOSBox that's be patched to add Glide support. In my opinion, the best version for this is the Daum SVN version, dated 1/27/2014. I had some problems with the 2015 versions.

DOSBox itself is a Windows program (actually, it's cross-platform, but since you're here and nGlide is a Windows only program, I'll assume that you'll be using the Windows version). It runs DOS games, but the program itself runs in Windows. Which means that using a Glide wrapper for DOSBox is no different than using one for a Windows game. You just drop the DLL files into the DOSBox directory and it uses them.

It should also be noted that not all DOS Glide games will work this way. Some were written with the Glide code "built in" and won't work with the standard DOSBox mode, which passes the calls through to an external library. The Daum SVN version also has built-in Glide emulation, which I think will allow those games to work, however it is much slower than using a Glide wrapper. My 2.4Ghz dual-core system couldn't run Tomb Raider at full speed using the built-in Glide emulation. It runs great with nGlide though.


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