Newer = better for legacy games?

Discussion in '3D Hardware, Software & Output Devices' started by Blakhart, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. Blakhart

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    Ok so what I mean is I play mostly dx6 and dx8 games, the most recent title I play is dx9, and am not impressed with any newer titles, so I could care less re playing crysis or whatever at 100fps. I have a 7900gtx, but am tempted by 8800 ultras. I run at 10x7, vsynched at 100Hz, 2xaa, 8xaf.

    Would the ultra be better/faster than the gtx at legacy texturing, ie, little to no use of shaders?
     
  2. AnarchX

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    You would benefit from angle independent anisotropic filtering and you could use FS-SSAA.

    But you should consider, that some older games did not run with newer drivers or on newer architectures, so you better check your games to this purpose.
     
  3. Davros

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    be aware the 7-8 series has terible image quality on some old games like system shock 2 and theif2
    and crimson skies doesnt work
    ps: i wouldnt ditch a 7900gtx for a 8800 ultra for old games
     
  4. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Yeah the DX10 cards from both NV and ATI often have problems with older games. They don't dither 8/16-bit color at all, leaving loads of banding. And some games don't work right, such as Jedi Knight.

    I'd would definitely stick with a DX9 card for those old games. Probably a NV card too as I know they emulated fog table for a while in their drivers for those old games that used it.
     
  5. Blakhart

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    Thanks for the input, I will likely stay with the 7900.
     
  6. Dio

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    The problem's a simple one: back in the DX5-DX7 days, games weren't written to the DX spec - they were written to the most popular card's interpretation of the DX spec - originally 3Dfx, rapidly moving to nvidia all the way through to R300.

    All the other manufacturers' drivers had to duplicate the driver bugs accordingly (which, certainly in the early days, were considerable). I also suspect that the manufacturers in the lead at the appropriate times had no interest in really remedying this, because it's one of the reasons that S3 and ATI had such bad reputation for compatibility back in the day.

    Microsoft tightened up both the specification and WHQL hugely from DX7 through DX9, culminating in the elimination of caps bits (on the grounds that no bugger tested 'em anyway) which helped eliminate the problem, as did R300.

    I'd have thought any DX9 card would have plenty of inconsistencies (texture sampling rules and ignoring of caps being most prevalent) and several outright failures on DX6-7 games.

    It's a very tough problem to solve.
     
  7. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Yeah Dio, sticking with DX9 cards isn't be best idea either. But the DX10 cards are almost always either trouble/ugly or don't work at all. I've tried G80 and RV670 for old games and they are, as said, ugly or don't work.

    I mess around with a lot of old hardware here because I like to try to set up machines that play DX5-era stuff really well. I've found that Voodoo5 is the absolute best call there is if you want great compatibility and quality (esp with its AA.) I doubt that one could go wrong with any Voodoo card, unless we're talking DOS Glide games that only see Voodoo Graphics. Voodoo5's AA is phenomenal though for image quality.

    GeForce FX is also pretty good as I know it does fog table (at least in Win9x) and its AA and AF are great for 16-bit color depth games. GFFX's problem is that you run into the texel alignment problem occasionally and get ugly text. GFFX also does palletized textures, but I'm unsure on the importance of that because other cards emulate it I believe. Another interesting thing with GFFX is that its DOS VESA support is pretty good. That is not the case with Radeon.
     
    #7 swaaye, Sep 13, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2008
  8. 2008 IQ is unacceptable

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    this topic interests me as much as anything lol.

    i believe riva tuner has an option for table fog emulation. not sure if it works.

    riva tuner has the option for pixel center adj. greyed out. is it in the newest hardware and just disabled in the drivers, or does the hw no longer support it? i've wondered about it for the longest time.

    couldn't they just force int 8 formats for when an app calls for palletized, 565, and 4444 formats? for the frame buffer and textures? i remember voodoo 5 could do that. microsoft probably wouldn't want nvidia and ati to force higher precision formats, but they really shouldn't listen to ms when bw compatibility/iq isn't any good.

    also, games that used the w-buffer may have some issues. couldn't nvidia and ati just force an fp32 z buffer and also have the driver invert the z-values?

    and emulate table fog thru shaders and disable the ms ref rast's fog? i would imagine that would all be easily possible as well.

    fortunately, 32 bit color opengl games run and look better than anything ever before on nvidia's latest. i don't know about ati.

    it would really be nice if i could ditch my x1650 gt iceq. it's a shame i don't have access to a voodoo 5, but nvidia and ati could have the voodoo 5's bw image quality and compatibility if they really cared.
     
  9. Dio

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    You can do this for paletted but IIRC from a very long time ago there are some API issues that can make it not work well. 565 and 4444 should be supported natively on all modern chips, I'd expect.

    float (1-Z) is still not equivalent to W. The problem with W is that it's not a 'screen space' coordinate so you can get into all sorts of messes with having to scan ranges out of the projection matrix & similar.


    I imagine that with shaders and some API patching you could work around almost everything - the only things that aren't highly programmable are depth and blending and apart from the aforementioned issue, they aren't going to cause you big issues.

    The problem is the amount of effort involved - you'd basically have to formally take up appcompat work on every legacy app, which is a massive job. That's not even considering the confusion when many Win95 games from the era won't run struggle on XP, let alone Vista. I can't see any of the big vendors spending the money to take this on.

    I can't see any reason why the community couldn't do it, though: someone could write an open-source usermode D3D 3/5/6/8 -> DX9 / 10 layer - which are standardised, so you've got a fixed target to aim for that would (at least in theory) work on all vendor's rasterisers - and build in a suite of appropriate appcompat hacks enabled on a per-app basis. Stick that DLL in the game directory and Robert's your father's brother. One bloke could probably write the basic layer in a couple of months - building the appcompat database would be a long job though.

    The very best way to do it would be to write a redirecting video driver for one of the virtualisation solutions - so you can use the full capabilities of the hardware 3D in virtualised win9x sessions - and build the app-compat hacks in there. That's a much bigger job, of course.


    As for GL 'just working' - go look at the wailing and gnashing of teeth over GLQuake's release on Steam :).
     
  10. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    There is such a thing for Dark engine games (Thief, Shock 2.) It forces a 32-bit color depth, cleaning up all of the dithering issues, and optional anisotropic filtering. They've even got a widescreen patcher for the games now. Slightly annoying to set this stuff up, but it seems to work fine for me.
    http://www.ttlg.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=153
     
  11. Davros

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    I wish someone would write a little program to export the caps NONPOW2CONDITIONAL
    so we could play crimson skies again
     
  12. I.S.T.

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    It depends on the game. I've run Serious Sam: The First and Second Encounters just fine on my 8500 GT, and those games aren't exactly new. I imagine a DX8 game will be more likely to run fine on newer hardware.

    I got it running at ingame max settings, 16xAF, 16xQ CSAA(Which is based off of MSAA 8X.) and 1024x768. Sometimes I'd run it at 2x2 SSAA.
     
  13. 2008 IQ is unacceptable

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    dx 8.1 games should actually look better on dx10 hardware in vista, or at least that's what i would imagine since they're forced to ps2.0 (fp32) in vista.

    ss the first and 2nd encounters should work perfectly on all recent nvidia cards. all of the opengl games i've tried look better than ever before on the 8800 gt i had that recently died. although i haven't tried gl quake.


    a dx3,5,6-->10 layer will definitely come some our way some day at the hands of someone in the community. i'm sure it will be done with shaders, and with fp64 shader precision and a lot shader horsepower they'll hopefully be emulated pretty well.

    and i definitely agree that it's an effort issue. it's definitely 100% possible with what we have. nvidia and ati could definitely do it if they wanted to, but they just don't care about older games' compatibility, so they're not going to do it.

    after all, dosbox sounds to be better than the native dos hardware. i'm going to donate to it sometime, as soon as i become a user of it. i need to buy some dos games, before i can use it, tho lol.

    but i can guarantee anyone whose interested in making a dx3-6-->10 wrapper that as soon as they start accepting donations, i'll be pouring in money pretty much on a monthly basis out of pure gratitude.
     
  14. Davros

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    Cant see it happening as there is little call for it.
    Now that system shock2 + theif2 have been fixed what games need it ? crimson skies?
    more likely is someone working on the individual games, thats what happened with shock2,theif2 and avp
    I play a lot of dx5,6,7,8 games and they all work fine, xp compatabilty is a bigger problem than older d3d compatability and even thats no biggie
    why do you think we need some sort of wrapper? new cards do older versions of dx extremly well
     
    #14 Davros, Sep 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2008
  15. Dio

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    fp32 is a very limited gain over FP24. It might be better than FP16 if a developer was daft enough to use it for texcoords, but that seems unlikely.

    Yes, neither of those is particularly antiquated.


    It could be done now trivially on any hardware - no fp64 etc. required. A modern integrated chip is about as powerful as any DX7 generation card.
     
  16. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    Is that why it doesn't work? Damn I miss that game, gg!
     
  17. Davros

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    yes ,
    heres the official explaination :
    "The reason for the corruption is because the game doesn't check correctly for the support of Nonpower of two textures. The Forceware driver now have an unlimited support for Nonpow2 textures. That means we don't export the caps NONPOW2CONDITIONAL anymore. However the game misinterprets this as we don't support Pow2 and/or nonpow2 textures."

    didnt humus create dxoveride which overided the back buffer format of d3d
    I recon he could fix this..
    I suggest you and me form an alliance to harrass Humus until he agrees to do it ;)



    No need. old dx games work fine
     
    #17 Davros, Sep 17, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2008
  18. Colourless

    Colourless Monochrome wench
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    It would still be useful though to tune specific parameter for specific games so you can get your modern hardware to work exactly like some ancient thing the game expects.
     
  19. Blakhart

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    Isn't that what all this programability in newer cards can be used for? If the game is strictly legacy texturing, no shaders, why not instruct the card to use its abilities to make a fast legacy texturer?
     
  20. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Business decision. Where to spend money to make the card run the latest games and apps the best because that's what sells hardware. Besides, there are people out there writing wrappers for free for old games anyway to make them work where ATI/NV have stopped caring.
     
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