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.
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.