of the Year 2010
||January 01, 2010
||I am speechless
|STubiDSoft is using Twitter!
||March 09, 2010
||And most likely Facebook, MySpace, Blogster, ....
of the Year 2009 - Ubisoft free
||Oh my... it's getting worse every year
of the Year 2008
||DRMess continued... but also some real hilights!
proudly presents: how to tread your customers...
of the Year 2007
are just humans, too
not for me
have a dream, ah, idea
I patent this tale?
do the benchmark again
on (the framebuffer)
think or not to think...
far, so good... so what?
it heaven or hell?
the ... is going on?
times are a-changing
past and future works...
emus? Yeah, sure...
would Brian Boitano do?
am sure he would kick one @ss or two :)
are best, ah, back again
FPSE deja vu...
of the Pak
a 'Pak' containing one game still a 'Pak'?
me in or pull me out
needs plugins anyway? :)
Are The Best!
we are the most paranoid ;)
bleem me up
the gaming experience???
drives you insane
current video card driver situation
the 3 headed dragon
look at OpenGL/D3D/Glide
tale of the two gfx brothers
a GeForce and V3 in one PC
January 01, 2011 - PC GOTY 2010
My PC Game of the Year 2010:
March 09, 2010 - STubiDSoft is using Twitter!
Hey there! STubiDSoft is using Twitter.
=> We're happy to announce that our new game A$$2 is now ready for playing! DRM servers are up and runnning! Have fun!
sorry that it took two weeks after you have bought the game box before
you could start playing. We had to set up awesome servers. But it's in
your own interest, you know?
=> @ragingmaggie no, it cannot be true that all your friends are already playing A$$2 for two weeks now. DRM servers were started today.
We're happy to say A$$2 is withstanding the efforts to crack it. We see
the rumors but still confirm no valid cracked versions exist.
"no valid cracked version" means that you will not be able to enjoy all
game features with an illegal copy downloaded from pirate sites!
=> @solonely for all the great new game features, please visit our FAQ site: http://support.uk.ubi.com/online-services-platform/ ... illegal copies will just offer the plain game, bah.
=> Apologies to anyone who couldn’t play A$$2 in the last 10 hours. We are investigating this issue. Stay tuned.
=> Seems like our servers are under attack!!! Lot of sign-in attempts. Unbelivable how low some people can sink.
=> Ok, problem fixed.
To offer a great gaming experience we created a new superior DRM server
login logic: now only one gamer can sign in at the same time, therefore
getting the whole bandwith for a perfect game play!!! All other gamers
will be put into a waiting queue automatically, they can enjoy our
breath-taking A$$3 preview video while waiting!
You see, we keep our promises: "signing up for an account will offer exceptional gameplay and services that are not available otherwise."
February 07, 2010 - Game of the Year 2009 - Ubisoft free
I didn't plan to write a "GOTY 2009" tale. Why? Well, there were
around a dozen PC games I bought and played in 2009, but most of them
were "golden oldies". Gaming for cheap. Not because of money
reasons (though I wouldn't have bought some of them if they were still
above 10 Euros). Simply because of "not interested in the game" or "not
interested in the DRM mess" reasons.
Therefore just the following "newly released 2010" games found a home on my hard disk drive:
- Venetica, published (here in Germany) from dtp Entertainment AG
- Divinity II, published (here in Germany) from dtp Entertainment AG as well.
- Dragon Age. Origins, published by Electronic Arts
- Risen, published (here in Germany) by Koch Media GmbH
The game I liked best was "Risen", closely followed by "Dragon Age".
But also the two other games are good ones, i can recommend them
to every adventure-loving PC gamer (if your PC hardware is up to
Ah, and one thing to mention: I've played "Dragon Age" without any downloadable content. No online DRM for me.
Which brings me to ... tada ... Ubisoft.
The only Ubisoft game which could have caught my interest in 2009 was "Anno 1404". But since this was online-DRM infested... no way.
Later on a patch removed this online crap (funny enough: the german
Amazon.de site is calling this a "bug fix"...), but at this time I
didn't care anymore.
And today I stumbled over a link to the Ubisoft site: ONLINE SERVICES PLATFORM Q&A.
Here Ubisoft describes its DRM plans for 2010: they want to turn
every of their PC games into an "online game". That means: No
"offline mode" possibility, to play a game without being online. Save
states are stored on UBIsoft servers. No more game modifications
(MODs). Always doing auto patching. No more game reselling. You are not
even allowed to sell your UBI account .
And the best Q&A from this FAQ is placed at the end:
Why is Ubisoft
forcing their loyal customers to sign up for a Ubisoft account when
they don't want to give their private data and only play single player
We hope that
customers will feel as we do, that signing up for an account will offer
them exceptional gameplay and services that are not available otherwise.
Short answer from me: no "Assassin's
Creed 2" sold to me. No "Settler 7" sold to me. No "online service"
UBIsoft game at all, until they come to their senses (or going out of
business...). You want to sell something to me? Try harder.
23, 2008 - Game of the Year 2008
all, the Losers Of The
Year 2008 (category PC games).
and enjoyed nearly all Bioware games and expansions... but I didn't buy
My significant other had pre-ordered Spore.
We cancelled this order.
I own Crysis, and it worked fine on my PC. Nevertheless I will never
Warhead or Far
Doom 3? Hell, yeah! Dead
Space? No, thanks.
Command & Conquer? Not exactly my piece of cake. I have some
friends who enjoy such RTS games, though. But nobody I know did buy C&C
Red Alert 3.
OK, my reasons not to buy any of those games: online activation
DRM a.k.a. controlling and punishing of customers.
Sure, it's up to EA or Ubisoft or (enter other game publisher here) how
they want to 'protect' their games, but at least I can say that I will
not reward such DRM scam with my money. Ah, and just for the record:
no, I don't 'pirate' the games instead. I simply ignore them.
Theft Auto IV:
Online-Activation combined with a
GfW-Live-Rockstar-Social-Club-installation marathon, otherwise no
savegames possible? In a single player (= offline) game? Conclusion:
money (and nerves) saved by not buying it.
Instead I used my money to buy more books this year (recommendation:
Steven Erikson's 'Malazan
Book of the Fallen' series). And I got me a new e-guitar. And
yeah, some PC games which are compatible with my PC and my self-respect
(= without online activation DRM).
Additional note: due to the DRM mess I do not pre-order
anymore. And I don't do any 'spontaneous' game purchases anymore as
well. I wait until a game is released, do a quick check about the 'copy
protection' (and other problems) in forums, and make my decision. As
another side effect I also got immune to all the hype and advertising
surrounding new games… why should I get excited, if in the
the game is DRM-infested and therefore unacceptable for me?
So, EA (...enter other foolish DRM-game publisher here...), what do you
have at the end of the day? Peoples who want to get your games for free
are still downloading them at release date (= no new customers), and
peoples like me will buy much less games because of your DRM scam (=
loosing old customers). And the ones who are still buying your games
will sooner or later run into your DRM traps, when they cannot install
and play their once expensively bought games anymore (= very unhappy
Congratulations, what a great business plan! Let us increase the stock
options for the genius managers in their crystal towers, harhar!
Some quotes from Olaf Coenen, EA Manager Germany, in a Gamestar
interview: "... all future EA games will have Securom-DRM... DRM works
fine in the music industry... DRM has no real consequences for
customers... customers who are against DRM don't know what they are
saying... nearly nobody will ever need 5 online activations for a game,
so most customers don't feel limited... EA doesn't make unreasonable
demands... we love our customers wholehearted". I am
please give this man an Oscar.
Now back to topic. My Game
Of The Year 2008 is... dumdidumdidum… not a
I love the setting, the side quests, the details. I love how stable it
works on my PC. And I love it that the copy protection just wants to
have the game disk in the drive when I need to change the game
configuration (= never again since day 1). I have spent 50 hours on my
first play-trough, and additional dozens of hours afterwards to play
side quests. Yes, with Fallout 3 I’m a happy
that’s my personal GOTY 2008!
Other (more or less) good games I've played in 2008:
a german RPG, comparable to Neverwinter Nights 2. I liked it better
than NWN2, but that's a matter of taste, I guess. The battles were
sometimes a mess, but the story and the 'feeling' were fine. No
crashes, overall just good entertainment. No online-activation, just a
a game similar to Heroes Of Might and Magic. I played the demo, and I
was hooked and bought the full version. Hehe, to be honest: my SO and I
own all HOMM games, but I never finished either one, I always lost
interest somewhen… of course my SO knows every stone on
HOMM map :). Well, for me KB is superior to HOMM, since it motivates me
to play on and on… most likely because I don’t
have to do
boring city management.
And another nice detail: no need to keep the disk in the drive after
applying the official russian patch 1.6.4 … if you install
'western' patches you will not get this benefit... funny that Russian
customers don’t need any kind of ‘copy
I've played the demo (= first chapter) on my Netbook (1024x600
resolution), and it worked fine and was fun. Yeah, I have not bought
the full version yet, mainly because I want to get the European
(german) retail PC version, and no local store seems to have it right
now. And first I have to check if this disk version is also without DRM.
well, graphics and setting were fine. The side-quests were very
repetive, though, and since the game mainly consists of those, it
became a bit boring overall. No replay value for me, nothing what's
worth exploring. Hey Ubisoft, that would have been a perfect game for
your DRM experiments, would have saved me some money...
- But then, maybe at least this big publisher comes to its senses... at
least Ubisoft dropped the Securom DRM at the end of the year 2008. The
is completely without DRM, even the typical disk check is missing. And
guess what? I've bought this game. And I like it. A solid jump-and-run
with (imho) nice graphics.
And then there were a few fan-made games I have enjoyed in 2008. If you
want to have some free entertainment, I recommend to take a look at the
following games/full conversion mods:
- Zak McCracken 2
- Broken Sword 2.5
And the future?
Most likely the upcoming Bioware RPG (DA: Origins) will not be
compatible with my PC due to DRM restrictions, therefore I will give my
money to some
more respectable, companies.
Or play some fan
mods. Or whatever.
And who knows... maybe
the DRM-publishers will learn in 2009 who is paying their bills.
10, 2008 - Spored
Cens(p)ored, Spored Again
call it "Flash mob", "Angry pirates", "Misleaded".
I call it "lost customers". And rightly so. At least they have lost
the number of UK reviews are growing again, but now the german Amazon
reviews got cens(p)ored as
well... and the american ones seem to be frozen (no
ones allowed), then disappear completely, then appear again.
If you are a Amazon customer, make sure to tell
the Amazon customer service how you feel about that... I did.
12, 2008 - Mass Defect
announced that Mass Effect, Spore and other upcoming EA PC games will
by design. Yeah, shortly after they claimed to reduce
the defects somewhat, but hey, fat chance that I will buy a
game which I can install three times and afterwards throw it into the
So, no more money from me, Mr. Riccitiello.
And, EA, don't forget to blame
"piracy", if the PC games sales are poor.
Mmm.. time to play some of my old PSX games, I think :)
06, 2008 - Game of the Year 2007
personal "game of the year 2007" is.... Eschalon Book I
You don't know this one?
will give you a short overview:
Eschalon Book I is a
so-called "old school ERPG" from Basilisk
It is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh for a fair
(28 US-$, well, that's below 25 Euros including taxes here in
3D graphics. No zillion-dollar-intro-movie. No lip-sync speech
output... heck, no speech output at all :)
Good user interface. Nice story. Solid battle system and game balance.
To sum it up: great
book it beats all other games I've played in 2007, including
Neverwinter Nights 2, Witcher, Bioshock and Crysis.
try it yourself: a demo version
just hope that "Book II" will be developed as well... hey, I
need a GOTY 2008 :)
04, 2006 - Titanic mess
me and my girlfriend love to play coop-action RPGs together... stuff
like the BG:Dark Alliance or the Norrath-Champions series on the PS2...
or coop PC games in our local area network, like Diablo 2 or Sacred.
we eagerly waited for Titan Quest from Iron Lore: we both had
tried the TQ demo on our PCs, and apart from some "smoothness issues"
(stuttering gfx in certain areas on my PC), we liked it, result: I
pre-ordered our copies from Amazon.
The game arrived last friday (2006/06/30), and we were looking forward
to a nice and relaxed gaming weekend. Installing the game was a breeze,
and beside a small disappointment (a quick single player run to the
first cave showed me that the occasional "stuttering slowdown" gfx bugs
from the demo were still not fixed), everything was looking promising.
We started a LAN game, and (after small adjustments to our firewall
settings) we played together... yeah, fun!
Until the first crash to desktop happend on one of our PCs. To make a
long story somewhat shorter: the first crash was not the last one, and
it crashed on both of our PCs... sometimes it took 5 minutes of
gameplay, sometimes we could play over 3 hours. All crashes happend
We tried it in single player mode, we tried to change the gfx options,
we tried to deactivate the sound acceleration, we changed the WinXP
compatibility settings of the game exe. Changing something, starting
the game, playing 'til the next crash, changing again.
Somewhen we decided to stop "playing" (if you want to call it so), and
I looked into the official TQ messageboards. And I found lotsa posts of
crashing issues, similar to the ones we were encountering.
So far, so good. Or not. Because often I could read some replies like
"TQ only crashs if you have a pirated version of the game; you must be
a thief, and you deserve the crashes".
I should have known it! Since every time I start up Titan Quest, there
is some "THQ" logo splash screen... must have been "Th3 Hax0ring
Qr3\/\/" which has cracked the game! Mmm...makes me wonder why this
evil cracking crew has not removed the silly DVD check as well...
prolly to force people to buy this pirated game from their warez-server
"Amazon"!!! Yeah, makes sense!
On second thought: there was a nice booklet inside the game package...
and some skill chart... and a CD key number... I've never heard of a
pirated game that comes along with such "goodies". So... could... it...
be... an original game after all?
But as I had learned from the messageboards: "crashes are for thieves
only". So I searched on. And I found funny support forum statements
like: "if the copy protection of TQ is finding _special_ software on
your PC - the kind which is often used by thieves - it will crash as
well... even if you have an original game DVD".
Typical "thief software tools" are (according to the mods of the
official messageboard) CD burning/ISO mounting tools. Wow... yes, I
have a DVD burner in my PC, and yes, my GF as well... and yes,
surprise, surprise: we also have software installed to burn files on
DVDs. Shocking. Can please someone come and shoot me?
Mmm... so should I de-install all the DVD software, to run Titan Quest?
But what if the copy protection is hating some other software on the PC
as well? Maybe it doesn't like installed Software Development Kits and
JIT debuggers, like the ones I need for coding, for example?
And not to forget: Firefox! OpenOffice! Hey, don't laugh!
We all know that such filthy Open Source software is coded - and used -
mostly by lawless long-haired hippies. It only makes sense that a good
and righteous copy protection would detect such software and make the
But then... what about the user who posted that he formatted his
harddisk, reinstalled Windows (+ newest drivers), installed TQ... and
it's still crashing?!?
Every statistics will easily prove: most thieves are using Microsoft
Windows, of course! Therefore the TQ copy protection prolly has
blacklisted this operating system as well!
Please, dear Iron Lore/THQ support team, consider this:
1) the TQ demo is running without crashes, on both of our PCs (btw, the
same is true for other current popular games like Oblivion, Heroes V,
2) the full TQ game crashes randomly, on both of our PCs (luckily
without destroying our save games yet)
3) both PCs are up-to-date with the latest drivers, service packs and
fixes (PC 1: AMD 3500+, GF6800Ultra, 2 GB Ram, MSI Nforce4 SLI MB; PC
2: AMD 3700+, GF7800GTX, 2 GB Ram, Asus Nforce4 SLI MB). And no, heat
is not an issue, and nothing is overclocked.
So, some minimal logic tells us: either one of the latest
superhyperdupa megathreading optimization (which was most likely added
after the demo release) is the reason for the crashes, or some paranoid
copy protection does not "like" the blood red background color of my
desktop (or whatever), and wants me to change it.
Screams for a patch, eh? Titanic mess.
please: I can live with buggy software (as long as a patch is coming in
the next weeks), but there is no reason to insult me (or other paying
customers) by calling me a criminal.
girlfriend also would be very pleased if you could remove the
occasional multiplayer LAN lags in the hopefully-soon coming
yeah, and I would be pleased if the strange slowdowns on my
GF6800Ultra in some areas could be fixed as well... to quote the TQ
manual (well, roughly translated from the german manual): "The game has
been developed and extensively tested on NVIDIA Geforce 6xxx/7xxx gfx
cards ... on a GF6800 (or better) you can enjoy all special effects
even on high resolutions".
05, 2004 - That's life
A long awaited, new game got released. Great, I had it pre-ordered, so
I went to our local store, put 40+ Euro at the table, and got a DVD
case containing the game. Inside: a game DVD (wow) and one sheet of
paper, no real manual or whatever.
Well, that's life.
During the game install, I was taking a look at the paper. It told me
that at the end of the install I need to connect to the internet, to
create an 'account' and to verify the CD key. Eh? Since I have neither
a fast internet connection nor a flatrate (both are not available where
I am living), I already got a strange feeling.
Ah, that's life.
After installation a 'registration' web site was started in my browser.
Mmm... is that this account creation? Seems more like the typical 'fill
in your data and be prepared to get a lot of useless, unwanted
informations from our favourite spam server' site to me. No, thanx,
You know, that's life.
Starting the installed game, now the real 'account client' was starting
up. And it started to download something. For a while. And a while
more. Until it seemed to hang. Quit it, start it again, download
activity starts again. Repeat that 3 times.
That's life, and life sucks sometimes.
Eventually some other window appeared. I created an account. After
several attempts I was even able to see a list of games, the one I
bought included. After a lotta clicking I made it to enter my CD key
somewhere. Did I mention that this sorry excuse for a manual (sheet of
paper) didn't explain this procedure at all? And should I mention that
after entering the key, I got an obscure error message about a WinSock
Yeah, I should, because that's life.
Nevertheless I proceeded, trying to start the game... but wait, more
stuff needed to get downloaded first. Eh, did I buy a game DVD or what?
Ok, let's make a fast forward: after 4 hours downloading and waiting
the game started up. Well, I've installed a lotta games in the past 23
years, but this was the most horrible, longest and most expensive
installation procedure I have ever seen.
At least it finished while I was still alive.
Mmmm... but 'finished' is the wrong word, I fear. 'Offline mode not
available'. Yeah, I was only able to start the game while being online.
No word of explanation for the reason. Time for some good ole Alex
Harvey Band music... dumdudu... "but now I was framed, I was framed"
New day, new life.
During the next day (being online again to start the game), suddenly
the offline mode became possible. Aha. Better block all internet access
for this game in the future, to keep the offline mode active. Don't
even think about the next reinstall procedure. Ignore the sound
stuttering that happens from time to time, no matter what game options
have been chosen (of course I couldn't resist to go online again the
next days, to see if some auto-update will fix the stuttering... none
did, of course, it made it worse, but hey, the game company
announced that it happens only to a few systems, so what, harhar).
Sure, life goes on.
At least for 30 days or so... as I've read in some forums (and tested
it myself after reading it), the offline mode will not work anymore
after this time span. I would need to go online again, to 'renew' the
Sorry, that's not life.
That's half life.
To be exact, Half Life²
The one and only "Steam powered" game I will ever own.
08, 2004 - I have a dream, ah, idea
M (entering the kitchen): "Hello Dear, I'm home"
W: "Hi Bear, how was your day at work?"
M: "Oh, not bad. I made some progress coding the new application, again
another three lines of code added."
M: "Yeah, the two weeks of research for checking if the new lines have
been already patented are finally paying off. Of course I have to talk
to our patent lawyers tomorrow, hopefully we can patent my lines
W: "So you are full on track meeting the planned deadline?"
M: "Yup, most likely in seven years our customer can get his special
production software, if we can proceed coding on such a speed."
W (looks after her cooking, and starts whistling while stomping
rhythmically with her left food)
M: "Stop this sound!"
W (stops whistling): "Eh? What's up!"
M: "Didn't you read today's news paper, the daily 'Innovative ideas for
a better life (at least for some)' pages? The idea to produce rhythmic
noise to accompany music has been recently patented!"
W (glances at the surveillances camera in the upper left corner of the
kitchen) : "Darn"
M: "We cannot afford to pay another common license fee... we are still
paying for that "Painting like Leonardo" patent issue."
W (getting angry): "Don't blame our 3 year old son again for that! Who
could have known that a simple drawing of a smiling face could be
protected? 'Mona Lisa license fees', hah!"
M: "It doesn't matter for patents if you do know or if you don't!
Somebody had the idea first, and he has the right to collect money for
it! Or to refuse anybody else to use this idea! Anything else would
lead to anarchy!"
W (sighing, taking a look into the cooking pot): "I still would like to
add some salt to this soup, like in the good old days. Sometimes I am
really wishing they wouldn't have legalized the Software patents...
that one started all..."
M (thinking) : "Yeah, then the book writers followed... can you
remember a good sci-fi story? I think I have not seen a good sci-fi
book for a couple of years now... of course, the fees for writing about
the future are extremly high, as far as I know".
W: "And then the artists... and the music industry... food chains...
all had some ideas to protect"
M (shruggs): "And rightly so! A master-cook is spending much time
thinking and trying, to mix the right ingredients to a wonderful meal!"
W (looking down in the pot again): "Too bad that it prevents me from
cooking a good meal as well"
M: "Mmm, ah well, forget about food... let's go early to bed... some
things are still free for all people, ehe" (smiles frivolously)
W: "Ahem... I've heard that the idea for certain body - ahem -
entertainments has been taken as well"
M (smile has vanished for some reason): "WHAT? Who on earth owns the
rights for such? Some game company? A sex shop corporation? WHO?"
W: "...the Catholic church..."
End of story. Nothing more to add. Well, maybe one thing:
Our german chancellor (Gerhard Schröder) made this week a,
well, interesting speech, how wonderful software patents are, and that
good old Europe should jump up the american band wagon to protect our
Well, I am pretty sure that he will not become chancellor anymore when
the next elections are taking place. But to think of the damage he can
do until then, driven by his ignorance (and of course by big companies
which would love to cripple their smaller competition). Oh my...
patents will not encourage invention and innovation... quite the
26, 2003 - Sweet silence
sweet email silence... no complains... no bug reports... no cries for
help. Prolly all of my plugin users are happy. Yeah, nothing to
improve, that's it.
Of course there is a small chance that most emails nowadays not even
reach my public mail address. That most people who try to mail will get
a reply like "box is full, try later". Could be. Mmmm, wassup? I should
check for emails more often? Tooooo laaaaazy, you say?
Well, I check the public "BlackDove@addcom.de" address once per day.
And yeah, it's a _very_ public address (I post it on my site, in
messageboards, etc). So it always was plagued by spam and virus mails.
100 mails each day, and maybe 3 ones out of the 100 are no spam/virus
But that was never a problem to me. I am using a small but fine email
client. Yeah, it has no "ActiveWhatever" features, and no
MS-Internet-Explorer-powered blablabla views, etc. Instead it has an
easy and powerful filter system. Which I find much more useful, I have
Because 97 garbage mails a day, well, that was a few weeks ago... that
was before SoBig.F, harhar. Nowadays I see roughly 250 mails when I
check for mails. Which means: after 250 SoBig.F infected mails, my
public box is full.
Of course my email client will delete most of them already on the
server (did I mention filters?), so it just takes a few seconds to get
rid off them.
But a few minutes later, the public box will be full again. The next
250 virus mails have arrived.
Sidenote: the few mails which are not getting filtered are mostly some
automatic replies from servers which are telling me that my BlackDove
address has tried to send a virus infected mail to them. I consider
such replies as really useless, since virus mails can fake the sender
address easily (and in my case it's even more useless, since I only can
receive but not send mails on my BlackDove account - sending requires a
special dial-up connection, and I never did one, I even cannot
remember/find the needed phone number anymore, ehe). If you ever see a
mail with "BlackDove..." as sender, delete it asap... I haven't send
it, which means: 100% virus.
But eeehhh, whatareyousaying? I should change my public address? What
for? It will be flooded again in short time. So, of course, the only
solution is, was, and ever will be: don't go after the symptoms, go for
the root of troubles.
And since the trouble is not on my system, but on yours (yeah, I mean
especially _yours_), I can lean back and relax and wait until _you_
have fixed it. It's your responsibility, not mine.
Ain't that hard, you know? If you don't like full-grown antivirus
scanner and/or personal firewalls for whatever reasons (yeah, I know,
loosing 0.34556321 frames per second in Counterstrike because of some
security backgrund task is horrible), you can use a simple and small
SoBig.F killer like the Symantec one. A simple 180 KB download
(for the Symantec W32.Sobig.F Removal Tool, a link can be found here: http://download.t-online.de/dl_detailseite3_db.phtml?progid=21067),
run it, done (at least until the next virus mutation will show up,
Mmm... but please don't hurry.
You know, sweet silence... :)
Means more time for me to play the new Gothic2 addon :)
19, 2003 - Let's do the benchmark again
am still getting texture upload speed results from my February
benchmark tale (and if you still want to mail me your results - keep
them coming, no problem), so it seems that to run speed tests is one of
the all-time-favourite joys for us computer game lovers, ehehe.
as you may have noticed in the version readme of my latest hw/accel psx
gpu plugins, I have a new card to play with (ATI Radeon 9700 Pro). In
the readme I have also stated that the overall speed is really good,
but the framebuffer reading seems to be very slow, at least 5 times
slower than with my old Geforce 3. That's very bad for certain psx gpu
effects, when the game engine is reading back the content of the vram
to apply some nice wave/blur/swirl/whatever effects.
to take a closer look at the reading speed, I created a small benchmark
application again (surprise, surprise, ehe).
can download the application here,
for interested coders I've also uploaded the sources.
new benchmark creates a small OpenGL rendering window, and measures the
reading speed of 4 differnet formats (RGB, RGBA, BGR and BGRA), for the
front- and backbuffer. The benchmark is just reading a small 256x256
area (a real psx game would need to read your whole screen size, the
bigger the slower).
I started the test on my girlfriend's Geforce 4200 (I haven't put my
old GF3 into another PC, so I had to hush my girlfriend away from her
PC... a dangerous task, trust me :))
on the GF4 (Athlon 1800XP, Win98 with 32 bit color desktop) I got a
speed of 45 Mpix/s. Then I started up the benchie on my own system
(Athlon 2000XP, Win98, also 32 bit color) and got a result of... 2
Mpix/s! Wowie zowie. That's not even crawling... that's like standing
still. Booted up WinXP on my system (also 32 bit desktop), ran the
application again: 22 Mpix/s. Wowie zowie. 10 times faster. Shit
benchmark? Or shit Win98 drivers? Re-checked it, made sure that no FSAA
was enabled, etc: same results.
check if my benchmark is reliable, I used a psx game which is doing
framebuffer reading in a real gaming enviroment... on my old GF3 I got
at least a 80-120 fps framerate with that game, on the ATI (Win98) I
only got 10-15 FPS maximum (that's why I wrote in the plugin readme
that the framebuffer reading is at least 5 times slower). Now I checked
the game in WinXP... and tada... 40 fps. Still not fully playable (a
NTSC psx game needs 60 fps), but a lotta better than with W98. Seems
that my benchmark is right after all.
what does it mean? Like I've told in my readme, the framebuffer reading
speed is slow on ATI cards. On Win98 horrible slow. On WinXP much
faster, but not nearly as fast as a Geforce card (in fact half the
speed on my test systems). Therefore, since the ATI Catalyst 3.4 driver
seems to be faster and less buggy on WinXP, consider an OS upgrade if
you are still running Win9X/ME (and if you are owning an ATI card, of
and now go and check it yourself... seeing is believing... and have fun
16, 2003 - Idle thoughts
isn't it fun to surf idly through the net? A click here, a laugh there,
and some more infos around the next corner.
Let's see here...
Ah, the german version of Freelancer is delayed another month, now it's
announced for end of may 2003. Funny game companies... do they really
wonder why german kids are stealing the game software from the net? If
games are not available any other way for several months? And it's not
even possible for a german youngster to buy the US version easily (due
to the new german "youth protection" laws). How hard could it be for a
company like Microsoft to develop/release the different language ports
at the same time?
Of course, prolly the company needs the time to include a new CD copy
protection. Protection is important nowadays. To secure the
intellectual property. "Property" like the stuff you can listen to on
most (copy protected!) crappy mainstream Audio-CDs. Ah, no, wrong
wording. I cannot call them "Audio-CDs" anymore, sorry, since their
copy protection stuff is violating so many Audio-CD rules, that only
the dumbest cd players can still play them. Makes me wonder why it's
allowed for a music store to place such protected 'whatevers' among
Ah, yes, because there is a small note printed somewhere on the CD
label. Ok, that's fine. No problem. I don't care for mainstream music
But, ah, Freelancer...
mmm... well, _I_ can wait for the german version.
Microsoft knows what's good for their customers, really.
Wassup, the old german Starlancer version was terribly translated?
Mmm... sure, but see, the MS game hardware is great! I still have my
lovely old MS Force-Feedback joystick. And it's still working fine...
ah, well, it _would_ be working fine. But Microsoft wasn't able to
support it correctly with WinXP. It's too hard for such a small company
like MS to adapt their Sidewinder joystick software to a new, unknown,
yeah utterly strange Operating System... but I can understand that, no
Hey, and MS has a solution for everything:
Freelancer doesn't support any joysticks. No need to feel sad.
Ah, well, under the light of the new 'youth protection' law, at least
when Freelancer will be released here, I can
be sure that innocent children will be protected from its violent
contents. Shooting at other spaceships, shudder. Could be abused to
train children to become cruel starship troopers. Like that American
Army shooter... ehehe, I am wondering how the growing "protect our
children against violence in computer games" movement in the states is
reacting to this game. Ah, prolly the army will simply release a new
game, to calm them down... something like "Sim Baghdad", where you can
destroy the city, build it up again, destroy it, and so on. 'Reach an
high number of corpses, for the love of god and our country'.
And maybe sometimes small advertising text infos while playing the
game, like "boycott products of countries which are against the war."
Like french products. Freedom fries, harhar. Didn't include the phrase
'freedom' the freedom of the ones with a different opinion as well?
Isn't it lonesome on the top?
Ah, or boycott german products. That's fine for me. Btw, my personal
favourite PC game in 2002 was a german production. "Gothic 2". But
better don't buy and play it. It could teach you pacifism, ehehe. Oh,
and the leading producer of Freelancer is a german guy, too? Tststs...
Anyway, Freelancer will be rated with "6 years", I believe. The german
rating system is just, its wisdom outshines the sun at night. Of course
I am not sure why that funny "Rayman 3" jump'n'run is rated "18 years"
in our local game store. But there must be a reason. There's always a
reason. Maybe the german government had no time yet to play and rate
it. All games without official rating will automatically get an "18"
rating. As well as all import games. Sounds for me like burning books,
without ever bothering to read them before.
Saves a lotta time.
For someone, at least.
Screw all others.
At least we and our children are protected.
And spam mails.
Ah, no, sorry, the last point has been smuggled in by one of my lesser
important brain cells. The one which is usually handling questions like
"Who needs TCPA? When will 'the - cough - cough - protection - sheme -
formerly - known - as - Palladium' come and rescue our PCs? Why do I
live in a part of germany where I'll never get an internet flatrate?".
Well, the last question is easy to answer, of course...
because I (and 70% of whole germany) am not worthy in the eyes of the
german telecom. We are unimportant. Sheeps. Of course the german
telecom can make lotta more money without flatrates. Lovely 50 Euro for
full 5 days (120 hours, yeah) each month. And nobody can force them to
change their price politics. Neither the American Army, nor the german
age rating system. So why bother?
Customers are the natural enemies of big companies.
Pay the price, be thankful and smile.
Goddess be blessed that at least I am far older than 18 years.
Damn, I want to play Freelancer, now!
07, 2003 - Final results
some users were not quite satisfied with the last results... "my card
should be much faster, no way that a XXX card beats my YYY one."
Well, calm down.
It's not like we are talking about our cars or the size of certain body
parts. The benchmark only showed two special abilities of your card,
which can be useful for my psx plugin. The results will vary widely,
depending on your drivers, on your system enviroment (like the AGP mode
or if FSAA is enabled/disabled) and prolly even the phase of the moon
will influence the values.
But for clarity I've done a small chart this time, more complete (I got
another bunch of results, thanks to everybody), and more useful if you
really want to look how your own card compares to others.
The first column shows the name of the card. Please note that I have
mixed certain cards together, like GF2 GTS and TI cards. Simple reason:
many users didn't write down the exact card name, so I had to rely on
the (more generic) OpenGL renderer name.
"TexUpload min/std/max" will show you the "Mtex/s" value from the
benchmark output file, section "Texture uploading speed". Only "real"
32 bit texture values were used (R=8 G=8 B=8 A=8... so mostly only the
"Format 3", "Format 6" or "Format 9" does count, especially if you run
the test in 16 bit desktop color depth). The "min" value shows you the
slowest result, the "max" the fastest result, and "std" will be the
value most users reported (of course, if only one result of a special
card has been reported, all three values will be the same).
"FrameTex 16/32" is the best "Mtex/s" value from the "Framebuffer
texture speed (back)/(front)" section, in 16 or 32 color depth. Usually
"Format:14" (the last value) is the best result... the reported color
format (8888, 565, whatever) isn't important here.
Ok, here it comes (NOTE:
formatting lost due to lazy copy & paste :) ah, sue me :)):
Gfx card;TexUpload min;TexUpload std;TexUpload max;FrameTex
Intel810E(16bit); 9; 9; 9; 10; x
Intel-BrookdaleG; 21; 21; 21; x; 4
Kyro2; 19; 19; 19; x; 2
SiS630/730; 25; 25; 25; x; 2
S3SavageMX; 6; 6; 6; 2; x
MatroxG400/450; 7; 7; 7; 2; 2
3dfx V5; 14; 14; 14; 2; 2
Ati R128; 12; 12; 12; 1; 1
Ati Mobility VE; 38; 38; 38; 1; 1
Ati Mobility7500; 44; 44; 44; 54; 34
Ati R7200; 9; 18; 29; 126; 104-137
Ati R7500; 28; 39; 45; 174; 136-196
Ati R8500; 25; 40; 65; 223-328; 177-305
Ati R9000; 23; 50; 74; 146-284; 93-250
Ati R9100; 44; 44; 44; 229; x
Ati R9500Pro; 45; 45; 45; 414; x
Ati R9700 57; 58; 60; 692; 676
Ati R9700Pro; 33; 68; 91; x; 660-712
nV TNT1; 35; 38; 40; 202; 140
nV TNT2PCI; 10; 10; 10; 9; x
nV TNT2M64; 15; 16; 17; x; 44-126
nV GF256; 17; 18; 19; 234; 153
nV GF2-MX400; 20; 35; 51; 259; 60-206
nV GF2-GTS(Ti) 21; 35; 81; 247-315; 166-245
nV GF3-200; 44; 53; 60; 413; 335-350
nV GF3 30; 40; 48; 417; 328-376
nV GF4-MX; 14; 30; 37; 90-430; 84-296
nV GF4200; 31; 43; 58; 500; 383-520
nV GF440-GO; 110; 110; 110; x; 251
nV GF4400; 46; 50; 53; 545; 329
nV GF4600; 49; 60; 138; 590-631; 494-629
nV GF4800; 89; 89; 89; x; 490
You may notice that the 9700Pro cards scored better in texture
uploading speed this time (I got some more results from 9700Pro
owners), as well as the GF4-MX results (which are showing still why I
don't like this type of card very much... prolly I will always hate
such stupid marketing stunts... calling it "GF4Whatever", pfff... well,
ATI pulls the same leg with their 9100 cards).
Some cards I had to sort out from the results: if your card vendor is
listed as "Vendor: Microsoft Corporation" in the output file, it simply
means that you don't have proper OpenGL drivers installed, and you are
using the MS software OpenGL library instead. Needless to say that you
will not get happy with its performance. You should install real gfx
card drivers as soon as possible in that case.
Also note: if you want to use my "Framebuffer textures: gfx card
hardware" plugin option, absolutely turn off FSAA in your display
diver's property. For example a GF2MX, which is scoring 178 MTex/s
without FSAA will go down to 60 MTex/s or even 8 MTex/s (frontbuffer
access), if FSAA is enabled. Ok, the choice is yours (there are not
sooo much psx games using framebuffer textures anyway, so you can
enable FSAA if you like it), but please don't mail me complains about
bad performance with enabled FSAA: there is nothing I can do about it.
Next thing to mention: the packed 4-4-4-4 texture format is horrible
slow on all ATI cards (output file: "Format: 13" in the "Texture
uploading speed" section). That's exactly the format my OGL plugin is
using when you are selecting the "4-4-4-4 texture quality". So, never!
use that one an ATI card, better use the "don't care" quality mode
(output file: "Format: 01") in 16 bit color depth, if you are looking
for speed. Btw, the packed 5-5-5-1 texture format in my plugin (output
file: "Format: 11") seems to be very fast on all cards... if you don't
mind some black areas (with "alpha multipass" enabled), you will get
the best uploading speed in my plugin. Version 1.69 will also offer you
a special "fast mdec" option, which will use the 5-5-5-1 upload speed
(reduced colors with 24 bit mdecs, but if movies are slow on your
system, give it a try).
Talking about V1.69: it will be released within the next days, be a
little bit more patient. In 1.69 you will have the choice between 5
different texture modes:
1. "don't care" - that's "Format 01" in the output file
2. "R4 G4 B4 A4" - that's "Format 13", and as I've said: better don't
use it with ATI cards
3. "R5 G5 B5 A1" - that's "Format 11", fast, but it will cause glitches
due to the single alpha bit
4. "R8 G8 B8 A8" - that's "Format 03"
5. "B8 G8 R8 A8" - that's a new mode, "Format 09" in the output file.
You can use the benchmark application to check out, if the new 32 bit
texture quality mode is faster than the old one on your gfx card
(simply compare your "Format 03" and "Format 09" Mtex/s values), and
use the faster mode in the plugin... the quality will be the same. On
my GF3 card both values are nearly the same (that's why I never thought
about using a different format, ehe), but other cards will have a 5-20%
faster texture uploading with the new mode. Some cards (like the
Radeon8500) will be slower with the new mode, though, so take care.
And keep in mind: a faster texture uploading doesn't mean that the
plugin's overall performance will be lotta faster as well. My texture
caching is quite good, so most times you will not notice any
difference. But of course there are some situations when a fast texture
upload will help (if the game is pushing the cache to its limits, or if
the game is uploading animated textures all the time, for example).
Ok, one last thing: one user, who is owning a Radeon 9500Pro, told me
that with the "22.214.171.12492" drivers (don't ask me if that's a new or
old driver... I don't know the ATI numbering), the reverse subtractive
texture blending test is running fine on his system. So either the bug
has been fixed, or the 9500Pro hardware does the trick... or the user
needs a new pair of glasses, ehehe.
Addendum: Mwarhead pointed to this thread http://www.rage3d.net/board/showthread.php?s=&threadid=33671156
where ATI confirmed that the reverse subtractive blending will work
fine in Cat 3.2 or 3.3. :)
Stay tuned :)
04, 2003 - So far, so good... so what?
100 benchmark results have reached me last week... so first I'd like to
thank all of you who took the time to run the small speed test
application (you can still download it in the 'older tales' section).
Because I think that you would like to see some results yourself, I
made a small overview how good or bad the different cards have scored.
First the 'Framebuffer texture' speed test, which is a indication how
fast my OpenGL gpu's "gfx card framebuffer texture" option (used for
motion blur or swirl effects) and the special "screen smoothing" option
is working: Framebuffer
texture speed test
First some general words about the graphic above: blue bars are the 16
bit color depth mode, green bars are 32 bit (some cards will only have
a blue or green bar, because I only got 16 or 32 bit results for them).
Since the test is a vram -> vram operation, cpu speed or AGP
speed shouldn't matter. Nevertheless the results varied from system to
system, even if the same kind of card was used, I've marked big
differences with dark blue/dark green areas. Such differences are most
likely caused by different VRAM timings, and some times the users
didn't tell me exactly the name of their cards (so, for example "ATI
R8500" will also show the results of 8500LE cards). And the GeForce256
results (marked with *) are most likely wrong... I only got one result
of that type of card, and the values were incredible slow (and since I
owned such a card once, I can assure you that it should score somewhere
between the TNT1 and the GF2 GTS results).
Ok, first of all: Intel, Kyro2 and SiS cards are out of business when
it comes to framebuffer effects, as well as old ATI Rage cards and the
TNT2 PCI one. No mode (out of the 14 tested) was even nearly fast
enough to give a playable speed with framebuffer texture effects. So,
dear users of such cards: turn the "FB Texture" gpu option off, nothing
else can be done about it (well, most likely you should use one of the
D3D gpu plugins anyway).
But what surprised me most: I've seen all kind of complains that ATI
cards are not performing well with framebuffer textures. But the test
results are speaking a different language: at least the 8xxx/9xxx cards
should have a playable speed (>60 psx fps) most times. My guess
is that often some kind of FSAA is enabled, which is a real speed
killer for this type of operation. Also: if you are having speed
troubles, try to lower the gpu resolution, less data has to get moved
that way. Ah, anyway: as you can see GF3 or GF4 cards (GF4 MX: bah!)
have a really good speed, but nothing outshines the Radeon 9700 ones
(no GF FX results have been mailed, would have been interesting,
ehehe)... No Radeon 9500 (pro) results as well, but most likely they
would have been at the same level as the GF3/4 results.
But did the frambuffer texture results help me in improving the OpenGL
gpu, you may ask? Ah, sorry, no... I am already using the texture mode
which prooved to be the fastest, and luckily not only on nVidia cards,
but on ATI cards as well. So, version 1.69 will not have faster
framebuffer textures... tsts, let us move on to the raw texture
uploading speed: Texture
uploading speed test
The raw texture uploading speed is needed on mdec movies and for the
overall performance of the gpu plugin (especially when its texture
cache gets stressed by a game, or when a psx game uploads textures all
the time by itself). The speed is more or less independend of the
window/fullscreen color depth, so I made only one bar for each card
The speed depends heavily on the AGP mode (as you can see... the
difference between a GF4200 with AGP 4X and a GF4800 with AGP8X is
huge... and PCI cards really have an hard time), and how good and
optimized the OpenGL drivers are done. So I think ATI has still some
way to go with the 9700 cards (there should be no reason why 8500 or
9000 cards are performing faster). On the other hand some
8500/9000 cards seemed to be running with AGP1X (or are there PCI
versions as well?), so my advice is: try to check your motherboard's
BIOS and/or gfx card driver settings, otherwise you will waste a good
deal of uploading speed.
At least this tests showed me a chance to improve my gpu's 32 bit
texture speed on some cards (most cards were running fastest with my
current internal texture format, but others will run 5-20% faster with
a different one, so prolly I will do an additional 32 bit texture mode
in the next plugin - as an option, of course).
The mdec speed will be not affected by the new 32 bit texture mode, but
I think I will offer a special "fast mdec" option in the next OpenGL
plugin as well. This one will run the movies only with a reduced (15
bit) color depth, but speed will be noticable better (most likely twice
as fast on slower systems).
Ok, enough words for today, I have some coding to do... :)
22, 2003 - Benchmark fun...
got a lot of nice emails after my last tale, many users with ATI cards
wanted to help me in improving the gfx card compatibility and the speed
of my OpenGL plugin. Of course it would be a real mess if I would mail
special debug/benchmark versions of my plugin to everybody, since the
results would depend heavily on the games used.
I've coded a special benchmark application, and if you are interested
in helping me out, download it, run it, and email me the results (I've
included a readme file with details how to do it). This test is _not_
limited to ATI users, feel free to mail me your
nVidia/Matrox/S3/whatever results as well. The more, the better.
texture speed test application
(89 KByte Zip-File)
application is more of interest for ATI users: the current ATI OpenGL
drivers are buggy when it comes to the reverse subtractive blending
mode (that's why there exists an 'ATI special game fix' in my OpenGL
plugin, which is an hack around the issue). If you want to check out
easily, if ATI was able to fix the bug with a newer driver release,
simply run the application after each driver update. Let us hope... :)
reverse subtractive blending test application
(93 KByte Zip-File)
of course: thanx for your support :)
15, 2003 - W.I.P...
two months have passed since the last update of the hw/accel plugins,
so I have decided to give you some informations what is going on.
First of all, at christmas time I got me a PS2, along with four games.
Yup, finally - I've waited until the prices here germany dropped to a
reasonable level (sorry, Sony, but if I have to pay a lot more for the
same thing as, for example, in the USA, I usually feel cheated... and
whenever I feel that way my briefcase keeps shut).
Needless to say that I spent some time with this new toy. FF10 - good
entertainment as always, Baldur's Gate - multiplayer fun with my
girlfriend, Jak&Daxter - best jump'n'run I've ever played,
Ratchet&Clank - well, not played much yet, had to finish the
other games first, but it's also looking nice.
But nevertheless I also got back to emu coding from time to time, so
here is a small status list of the various projects:
- P.E.Op.S. spu: some people like (or need) speed, others are looking
for improved sound quality. Linuzappz added a 'mono' mode to the spu,
giving a better framerate for low-end systems, while Eric currently
wants to try to add a good sound-enhancing sample interpolation... good
luck, not an easy task :)
- P.E.Op.S. soft gpu: I have spent a few evenings trying to get around
the small texture problems which occur in a few games (sometimes small
garbage lines, sometimes ragged textures). Ah, truth is that the
internal fixed point math is occasionally not precise enough, using
real floats would fix the issues, but the speed drop is so dramatic,
that I prolly have to find another way... we will see.
- P.E.Op.S. cdr: Zydio of Emuitalia reported me a bug with certain PPF3
patch files... the plugin will go into an endless loop on startup with
some patches. Luckily Zydio could give me a PPF3 file showing the
issue, so I was able to fix the bug. Also SaPu, a fellow emu coder,
gave me the sources of his (very good) cdr plugin, to use his functions
in the P.E.Op.S. one, if I see something which improves the plugin...
digging through unknown code is time consuming, though, so I don't know
yet what I can use.
- Translations: Kidd, a girl from sweden, sent me a very nice mail, and
attached the swedish translation of the P.E.Op.S. spu readme. Yup, it's
true, prolly most of you are not interessed in such (personally I don't
know a single swedish word as well), but I have to admit that I really
like this kind of actions... you don't have to be a cool coder or
something, there are a lot of other ways how to contribute to the
emulation scene... some can do translations, or artworks, or simply
trying to help other people in public forums or IRC. Ah, anyway, you
can find Kidd's work in the 'translation' section of my site.
mmm... there was something else, wasn't it? aahhh, yes... OpenGL and
D3D plugins, I remember ;)
Well, there were small fixes and enhancements, most of them I have
already released in the last soft gpu plugin, but my major concern of
the next release is an improved OpenGL compatibility with newer ATI
cards. And that's a very time-consuming work for me, since I don't have
a Radeon card myself. So I have to do special beta plugins and
benchmark/test applications, send it to my ATI beta testers (special
thanx to Lindsey, who proved to be a very patient and exact tester),
wait until I get an answer, try something new, send it to... well,
you've got the idea. I already could fix some issues (no more 'black
screens' on startup in fullscreen mode, for example), and I've got in
contact with the ATI driver coders, who (hopefully) will fix the
'reverse subtractive blending' bug in one of the next ATI driver
releases (we will see... they wanted an easy test application showing
the issue, and because of the informations of Tomoaki Hayasaka, who did
an Linux 'ATI bugfix' wrapper for the zinc plugin, I could easily do
one. But after I've mailed it to the ATI coders, well... there was
silence... either they are busy fixing the bug, or shocked beyond
believe that I really could do such an app... feel free to send a lotta
complaining emails to ATI if the next Catalyst drivers are still buggy,
Why do I care for ATI cards, you may ask. Honestly, I got very
disappointed from the GeforceFX reviews. Yeah, the card seems to be a
little bit faster than the current 9700 Radeon cards, but that's not
very important for me. Yeah, nVidia announced that the FX will be
OpenGL 2.0 compilant (which _is_ important for me), but considering
that we prolly will see the final OGL2 specifications in 2004, that's
not a strong argument as well. What really brings me down is the
reported noise and heat. Is the FX a graphic card, or a (bad) sound
card which doesn't even needs speakers? There is _no_ way that I will
put something like that in my system. Well, prolly I will assemble my
next system in summer, and if nVidia has no reasonable gfx card by
then, I will most likely switch to ATI... the answer, my friends, will
_not_ be blowing (disturbing noises) in the wind, that's all I am sure
20, 2002 - The times are a-changing
December = PSSwitch : PSEmu Pro frontend
1999 April = gpuPeteTNT.dll : PSX gpu plugin (OpenGL)
1999 June = spuPeteMidas.dll : PSX spu plugin (Midas sound library)
1999 November = OGL renderer.ipc : impact gpu plugin (OpenGL)
1999 December = D3D renderer.ipc : impact gpu plugin (D3D)
2000 February = Video.dll : N64 (Nemu, Corn, TRWinGL) renderer (OpenGL
- not released)
2000 May = PCSXGui : PCSX frontend (not released)
2000 May = gpuPeteOpenGL.dll : PSX gpu plugin (OpenGL)
2000 June = gpuPeteD3D.dll : PSX gpu plugin (D3D DX7)
2000 July = gpuPeteDX6D3D.dll : PSX gpu plugin (D3D DX6)
2000 August = gpuPeteSoft.dll : PSX gpu plugin (software, DirectDraw)
2000 September = ePSXeCutor : ePSXe frontend
2000 October = libgpuPeteMesaGL.so : PSX gpu plugin (Mesa3D Linux)
2000 November = gpuPeteSoftD3D.dll : PSX gpu plugin (special D3D soft
gpu - not released)
2001 February = libgpuPeteSoftX.so : PSX gpu plugin (software, Linux)
2001 May = cdrPeteAspi.dll : PSX cdr plugin (aspi/ioctl)
2001 June = AdriActivator : ADRIPSX frontend (not released)
2001 June = spuPeteDSound.dll : PSX spu plugin (DirectSound)
2001 August = libspuPeteOSS.so : PSX spu plugin (Linux OSS)
2001 November = gpuPeopsSoft.dll : PSX P.E.Op.S. gpu plugin (software,
2001 November = libgpuPeopsSoftX.so : PSX P.E.Op.S. gpu plugin
2001 December = D3D renderer.znc : zinc gpu plugin (D3D)
2001 December = OGL renderer.znc : zinc gpu plugin (OpenGL)
2001 December = sound.znc : zinc spu plugin (DirectSound)
2001 December = librendererznc.so : zinc gpu plugin (Mesa3D Linux)
2001 December = libsoundznc.so : zinc spu plugin (OSS Linux)
2002 May = spuPeopsDSound.dll : PSX P.E.Op.S. spu plugin (DirectSound)
2002 May = libspuPeopsOSS.so : PSX P.E.Op.S. spu plugin (OSS Linux)
2002 September = cdrPeops.dll : PSX P.E.Op.S. cdr plugin (aspi/ioctl)
2003 = ??? :)
15, 2002 - Futurama
following tale is dedicated to everybody expecting the impossible,
demanding it nonetheless and ignoring all statements from more
is great, compatibility is 100%... runs all original games, without any
troubles. Just download this file:PS2Emu,
burn it on a CD, and insert the CD into your Playstation2 console. Wait
until the CD spins up, and eject it quickly again. Now you can insert
ANY PS2 game into your PS2 console, and it will play fine! Why did we
choose a PS2 system for emulating a PS2? Weeeeelllll....
BECAUSE NO PC SYSTEM IS POWERFULL ENOUGH NOWADAYS TO EMULATE THE PS2
HARDWARE! DON'T EXPECT A WORKING PS2 EMU ON PC'S FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS!
DID YOU GET THE POINT?
I don't think so, sigh.
Well, for some more in-depth infos visit this page:
(thanx to Ranma for the link on Kazzuya's Messageboard :)
HERE FOR XBOXeMULATOr
didn't work? K(L)ICK
Yup, everybody knows that the XBox is a PC alike system, but hey, that
doesn't mean that coding an XBOX emu is easy and that it will happen in
the near future (or ever). Well, you can follow the discussion on
Slashdot about an (of course fake) XBOX emu, if you want (http://slashdot.org/articles/02/01/12/1529233.shtml),
there are some valid points there (and a lot of lamers who just don't
get it), but the basic point, imho, is:
Why do you want a XBox Emu anyway? Prolly most XBOX games will have PC
ports, and prolly most of them will have advanced features compared to
the XBox version. So go and buy yourself the PC game version instead of
the XBox one, and be happy.
And if you are just here for 'playing free warez games with emus',
please move on, you are visiting the wrong site right now.
Game Cube) AVAILABLE
one is really working... so, close your eyes, please... move your hands
together... move the fingers of your left hand in a clockwise circle...
move the fingers of your right hand in a counter-clockwise direction...
now change the directions... get faster... wiggle you fingers some
more... turn your palms up-side-down... get faster... fingers here,
fingers there, a cloud of fingers... and suddenly: a scream of joy...
YUP, you did it! You have solved Rubik's
Virtual Game Cube the first time! Congrats!
Ahem... now you can open up your eyes again :)
it clear: there are no emulators for the mentioned game consoles
available right now. If you want to play a PS2/XBOX/GAMECUBE game, you
have to buy the proper console, or maybe do a search if a PC port of
that game exists. Looking at the hardware specs and complexity of the
new consoles, it will take a long time until real emulators will show
up. There will be a lotta fakes (bundled with nice virus and trojan
funcs) until that will happen. And, of course, unlike PS1 CDs, no
original console game DVD can be used with your PC DVD drive, so you
will need illegal rips of the games as well. So, please, don't waste
your (and more important: mine or some other emu coder's) time asking
for such an emu.
get real... and have fun :)
24, 2001 - What would Brian Boitano do?
for a small sign of life...Â so I've decided to
update my page with a small FAQC. Q stands for Question, A for my
Answer, and the C marks additional Comments... The C will (maybe) help
you to understand the A better... of course most of it is a bit
exaggerated, but not much, I can assure you :)
BIOS OR DIE!
I choose death
all have to die
sooner or later... that's life :)
the best, you are great... (that goes on over a couple
of lines)... Could you please send me the PSX BIOS file or maybe tell
me a link to it?
what you say... when it comes to the bios, you are on
your own. And if I have to read a dozens of meaningless lines, my
answer will be as short as possible :)
causing big slowdowns"
filtering is causing glitches in 2d backgrounds"
monitor makes beeping sounds if I play at a 3200x2400 resolution"
but I have
no time to look after that issue... yesterday I've
found a terrible bug in my gpus: everytime when I am playing with my
OGL plugin, and I press that small button (labeled "Power") on my
monitor, the screen goes black! Imagine that! I have to find that damn
bug first before I can do anything else, sorry.
option/feature/whatever is causing troubles on your system,
well, don't use it!
of options in your gpu plugins. Can't you make an
easier setup like VGS (or maybe Bleem!... but Bleem! also has too much
the "fast" or
"nice" button. Don't click on anything else! Don't
even look at anything else! Don't read the included info files! Don't
think! Don't live!
don't have to
use all the options, if you don't want to...
but tweaking for speed or quality is fun... why don't you try
"Burning Revenge Of The Iron Sausages" doesn't work.
Fix that in your next version!
whatever you say... mmm, boss? I think we have a
problem here... strange... I haven't received any $$$ from you
not my job to
do emu plugins... it's an hobby. So be happy if
something works, or send me a nice bug description so I can try to look
what is going wrong. But never, NEVER try to command me what I have to
do as long as you don't pay me at all.
please, to everyone who is reading this: make sure you
don't spread any mail worms. The latest SirCam virus is _very_
annoying. Check your system (for example, look at http://www.f-secure.com/v-descs/sircam.shtml )
And, for your information: my mail client is configured to delete any
mails bigger than a certain size. I will not even see (or download)
mails with big attachments. So, also sending me big pictures or save
states is not possible without asking me first!
will you release the next plugin version?
the moon is shining and small fairies are dancing naked around the camp
fire in my garden
comment... the answer above is true :) Well, maybe a small info about
the next release: in the last weeks I was busy to install W9X, W2K and
Linux on my new system (Athlon 1.2C, GeForce3), currently everything is
up and running, all developement tools are ready, I've finished
Anachronox, life is nice, gpu 1.52 is on its way, the linux plugins
will get updated shortly after, a stuttering bug in my spu with w2k has
been fixed, the native w2k ioctrl cdr support in my cdr plugin is
currently slow as hell (3-10 seconds for reading one sector, haha), and
this stupid FAQC is finally done :)
Ok, that's all for now... and don't get discouraged sending me mails...
I try to answer them all (sometimes it will take awhile, though).
14, 2001 - We are best, ah, back again
was the 14th september, 2000... the webmaster of the FPSE
accused all freeware psx emu teams 'stealing' the fpse source code. He
hadn't had any proof, and he never apologized... but of course that
didn't matter, because 'FPSE is the BEST', and therefore all freeware
psx emu fans should go down to their knees and worship him =)
nine months have passed... the FPSE team released version 0.09, and it
showed a nice progress... nothing wrong with that... respect for their
hard work... but sadly enough, no improvements with their attitudes...
a few days ago again a "FPSE:
and MOST COMPATIBLE
PSX emulator!!!" message was posted on their main page... tsts :(
_really_ dislike such an attitude. To be proud of your own work is one
thing, but to spit at other emu teams is another one. So, dear FPSE
team, let me ask you some questions:
How do you measure your superior compatibility? I haven't seen any
impressive fpse compatibility pages... and with my games and demos fpse
has just an 'ok' compatibilty, not even a good one.
- The best psx emu? Have I missed some vote? How many psx emu fans have
you asked about their opinions? Or how do you decide you are the 'best'
psx emu out there? Throw a coin or what?
- Another topic: take FPSE, remove all psx emu plugins which are not
done by the FPSE team, and what do you have? The 'best' and 'most
compatible' NOTHING! Of course that's true for most nowadays freeware
psx emus, but none of the other teams is showing such an attitude.
- My Soft plugin is the BEST and MOST COMPATIBLE of my gpu plugins. But
I don't use it to play any games. You wonder why? Because I want to
have high-res gfx, speed and sometimes even texture filtering. Or
short: enhanced features. The same situation with FPSE: maybe it has an
higher compatibility (something I still doubt), but as long as the
sound is skippy, the mdec colors are wrong and I can't save anytime I
want, I don't have any reason to play games on it... at least not when
there are better choices out there.
- The most important question: isn't it possible to code a good psx emu
without such stupid statements and hypes? I think it is! Hey, just look
at other emu teams... friendly competition is okay, but let your
actions do the talking. Otherwise it just leaves a bad taste... or do
you need the attention so badly?
10, 2001 - Leader of the Pak
has joined #bleespheme
hi Rantee! got my mail?
<Rantee> hi Dee... yeah, nice chicks :)
<Davdle> no, not that one. The one about our next big
product for the DC!
<Rantee> ah, yeah... well, we can't do that "100 games
each pak" thing... but hey, I have an idea: we will do "1 game each
<Rantee> yeah... think about it: instead of selling just
one pak with 100 games, we can sell 100 paks that way !
<Rantee> of course we don't have 100 games up and running
right now... but still, we can sell, mmm... 6 different paks, hey,
that's much better than just one!
<Davdle> good idea! what will be in the first pak?
<Rantee> I thought about MG Solid... it's very popular,
and there are just a few glitches
<Davdle> mmm... there are still glitches? I don't know if
that's a good idea then... there is a PC port of that game, and ppl
will notice that our gfx is not as good as the PC version
<Rantee> MY GFX ROCKS! AND DON'T SAY THAT WORD!
<Davdle> that word? which one? ahh... you mean "PC"?
<Rantee> DON'T SAY IT! I don't want to hear about "PC"
stuff... I don't care about "PC" coding... "PC" coding sucks! "PC"
users suck big time!
<Davdle> well, we have to do something with our PC, eh,
"you know what", version... we promised "free updates for a lifetime",
do you remember?
<Rantee> pfff... but we've never said it would be a man's
lifetime... it was simply the lifetime of a snowball in hell, hehehe :)
<Davdle> mmm... ok, but what game will be in the first DC
pak? hey, maybe FF9, that's a great game, and there is no "you know
what" port of that game yet, so nobody can compare
<Rantee> uh, only the first disc of FF9 is working right
now... mmm... HEY, no problem... I have a new good idea: we will
release a pak for the first disc of that game... the users will have to
buy three more paks for disc 2, 3 and 4 :) that way we can sell even
more paks, hehe
<Davdle> you are great :)
<Rantee> yeah! we will get rich, and the DC users will
has joined #bleespheme
hi masters! did you see, a new version of that freeware psx emu has
been released! it's working great on my PC
<Rantee> DON'T SAY THAT WORD! AAAARRGGHHH
04, 2000 - Plug me in or pull me out
I am sure you have noticed that you can find several dynamic link
libraries on this page... so called "plugins".
what is a plugin? Easy: just a collection of functions an emu (or any
kind of main application, mmm... let us call it EMUAPP for short within
that tale) can use for special tasks (when used by an emu mostly to
emulate special, pc hardware-dependend parts of the emulated system).
EMUAPP loads the plugin library on startup, gets all the function
pointers, and calls the functions as needed. Of course all plugins of
the same kind have to use exactly the same function names, and the
purpose of a function should be the same with each plugin. The
collection of functions the EMUAPP can use is usually called the
but why should an EMUAPP coder use plugins at all? If a plugin just
contains several functions, why not place them inside the EMUAPP
itself? Ahh... let us try to make a list about plugins pros and cons:
why plugin libraries are BAD:
Most times the EMUAPP coder doesn't have the source code of the plugin
libraries, so if his app is crashing inside a plugin function, he can
do nothing at all
If the EMUAPP coder needs a new plugin interface function, all plugins
have to be adjusted, the coder can't add new interface functions
without contacting the plugin coders
Some users are getting confused which plugin they should use, they have
to check out different plugins to find out which one suits them best.
Could be very tiresome :)
why plugin libraries are GOOD (nooo, I am not biased, nana, never):
The EMUAPP coder usually doesn't have the source code of a plugin, so
he can't mess something up which he doesn't understand anyway ;)
If the EMUAPP coder needs a new plugin interface function, he has to
beg for it on his knees in front of the plugin coders (ah, I love that
point... it's just a dream, of course, usually plugin coders do
anything to please EMUAPP coders, tsts) ;)))
ok, let's get more serious:
Better hardware support... The more plugins, the better... The end
users can try many different plugins, and use the ones which will work
best on his system.
The EMUAPP coder can concentrate on more important core stuff. Yeah,
and if he really is thinking that all available plugins are not good
enough for his EMUAPP... well, he can try to code his very own plugins,
of course :)
It's nice comparing different EMUAPPs by using the same plugins... and
if one EMUAPP is 'quitting the scene', hey, there are still others
(same is true for plugin coders as well).
Plugin coders don't need sources of the EMUAPP, so while the EMUAPP
coder improves the main thing, plugins can be improved and tested as
well. There's no big need to coordinate the developement, every coder
can go on his own speed (as long as there are already some different
plugins/apps to choose from).
Different plugin coders have different ideas to get the job done. More
ideas mean better chances for the end users to find something which
More coders stand for more fun and friendly competition. News pages
have more possibilities to report about releases, board posters have
more possibilities to flame, and creators of compatibility lists have
more possibilities to test the same stuff over and over again, hehe
surprise, as you can see, there are much more 'good' points, ehe (you
didn't expect to find something else on my page, right? Of course I
removed most of the really unimportant 'bad' points to get such a nice
if you are able to do some coding, and your cdrom drive doesn't work
with any existing plugin on your W2K system, or your Sewage5 card only
displays colorful garbage (mmm... reminds me to finish my experimental
Savage4 OGL plugin), why not join the fun?
yourself in :)
15, 2000 - We Are The Best!
are the best! Of course we are. We are, we are, we are... Mum, aren't
I didn't want to write such a tale... nope... but sometimes I can't
hold it back. Well, I've thrown some virtual coin if I should write it
(usually I don't like to flame freeware emus), but then I couldn't
resist (hehe, I like my virtual coins... they always are falling on the
side I want them to fall :) So what is it about this time? As you can
see by the topic above, it's about FPSE accusing nearly all other psx
emus for stealing their code... if you haven't noticed it yet, you can
check out the 14th September post on fpse.emuforce.com ...
the tale begin...
the following (not yet on fpse.emuforce.com) posted text were
discovered on ?-Dr.Mock-?s harddisk by our most helpfull Sub8 trojan ;)
2000 (PART 2) by ?-Dr.Mock-?
we make another discoveries... the conspiration against FPSE grows...
PSemu Pro (I know it's dead... let us call for the voodoo priests)...
PSemu Pro was just a FRONTEND for the very early FPSE core. Some years
ago we put our open sources on some AOL account, and they ripped us!
You always wondered what that Dummy.dev file in PSEmu was for? That was
our psx emu core... the lame DuddilityMan just coded some ugly dialog
based frontend. Yeah
All PSX plugins (gpu, spu, pad, cdr - you name it)
Some ppl will tell ya we did some wrapper plugins to use the psx
plugins. THAT's a LIE! As a matter of fact the psx plugins are just
wrappers for our own.. you want proof? we are OPEN SOURCE, so everyone
is stealing from us. It's obvious.
The biggest lame thing: Some .jp company ripped our early sources,
burned them into small chips, put them and some cdr drive in a small
box, and DID SELL them all over the world, calling them PSX console or
whatever... IMAGINE that ! Proof again? look at the psx console gfx...
no hi-res, just like our first self made gpu (yeah, they did some
improvements, but, hey).
Currently me (?-Dr.Mock-?) is even investigating if that infamous book
called 'The Bible' ripped our OPEN SOURCE readme files... stay tuned!
(uh, mummy, we are the best, right?)
LinuX gpu plugin: - ? days (Pete screwed his KDev, ehehehe)
are all the best! But please stop such stupid posts!
ok, sarcasm mode off: I really would like to see a big lettered 'WE ARE
SORRY' post on the fpse page soon... that fog guy didn't make much
friends in the last hours. I really hope it was just one mistake by a
going mad news poster, and the real fpse coders don't feel that way...
well, real coders should just raise one of their eyebrows and move on
(hey, I always loved how Mr.Spock did that)... maybe the fpse team
should hire Mr.Spock for news posting instead of Mr.Fog :) Less
emotions and suspections, more logic and knowledge, please.
17, 2000 - Seany, bleem me up
accessory that enhances the gaming experience?!?
usually I don't care much about statements done by a certain company
who is _selling_ their psx emulator. Such statements are more or less
just marketing issues, of course they want to sell as many pieces of
their software as possible, no matter how good or bad the emu is doing
But an interview with Sean Kauppinen, Communications Director of bleem!
Inc., done by Joe Glass from PCRave really made me want to write this
new tale... and of course it's a sad but true tale...
You can find the full interview at http://www.pcrave.com/articles/85.htm,
here is a quote from it that started my brain to rotate:
do you think about the late PSEmu Pro and Connectix VGS for PC? There's
that goes into creating an emulator and we have a lot of respect for
people who take the time and have the skill to make one. PSEmu Pro
really proved that PCs had reached the point where a PSX emulator could
be a reality. I don't want to discourage anyone's product, but I will
say that bleem!'s hardware mode is the unique feature that we add to
translation: bleem!'s hardware accelerated rendering smokes all other
my, some lines before Sean Kauppinen had to explain why the bleem!
compatibility is so low (and, surprise, surprise, "Many games don't run
on bleem!, which is a result of us creating clean original code", hua,
hua, wow, that's what I call marketing ;) and he wanted to make a point
by telling the world that compatibility doesn't matter because bleem!'s
hardware accelerated emulation of the psx gpu is doing such a superior
job compared to all other psx emus... ahhh.... stop!
I don't want to judge the bleem! core or the bleem! sound emulation,
but when it comes to the gpu I think I can also talk a few words about
it. But first you have to know that I have an original bleem! CD...
yup, I am interessed in psx emulation as an hobby and I don't have a
problem buying software and games. And I bought bleem! because I wanted
to see how good a commercial psx emu can do the job. I've tested it
with some games after I bought it, and, I have to admit, I was not very
impressed by the hw accelerated bleem! D3D mode. Mmm... but maybe I was
wrong? So, after reading that wonderful interview, I decided to search
in my pile of CD's for the bleemie one and to do some more serious
tests with bleem! to refresh my memory and to see for myself why
bleem!'s "hardware accelerated rendering smokes all other PSX
emulators". Ok, and here it comes... recorded (more or less) live
during my testing session (no need to wonder why I was talking to
myself, hey, every cool coder is talking to himself, that's the sign of
a real genius on the edge of madness :)
Pete, where do we want to start... mmm... Spyro would be nice. So, here
comes the original bleem CD, double click, mmm... hope bleem! get past
over the copy protection... ah, yes. OK, now insert Spyro and OK
again... mmm... before we start we better go to the graphic settings...
well, fullscreen should be faster they say, ok, we will check the
800x600 16 bit fullscreen mode, should be faster that way. Let's have a
look at the 3d hardware options, too... yup, use my primary display,
high res, of course, we want an 'enhanced gaming experience', yup, let
us filter polygons, ok, let's try it. Yippie, Spyro is flying in...
mmm... slow, seems bleem! does a FPS limit to match the psx speed,
well, why not. But hey, what's that? Cracks between the textures?
Ieee... and bleem is using a draw method that is similar to Lewpy's
'dim' setting, damn, can't they do a better coloring? The colors are
looking depressing, tststs... Let's check out the settings screen
again. Ahh... enable texel alignment... do it... but no option for
brighter colors... mmm... maybe enable alternate display updates? why
not... ok. Oh yeah, the cracks are gone, but it's still dark... well,
lemme start the game. Oh well, still some texture cracks, well, doing
filtering on psx games aint easy, but hey... why is that dragon moving
so slow and jumpy... maybe my P3 550 and GeForce is too slow? lemme
check the settings again... mmm... let's turn off frame skipping...
ahh... now the dragon isn't so jumpy anymore, now it's just slow... and
sometimes even slower... damn. Can't they do a proper texture caching?
well, Spyro is using many palettized textures, but hey, my OpenGL GPU
makes 60 FPS in that level... and it's looking lotta better, bright
drawn colors and such... Mmm... conclusion: Spyro works, but it is
slow, and the overall look is much too dark... tststs... sorry, no
what we want to try next? Yeah... my all time favourite, 'Breath of
Fire 3'. Should be an easier task for bleem!, not much pal textures
used. Ahh... the mdec intro showing the company logo is coming up..
it's the only mdec in the whole game, so it doesn't matter much...
well, let us begin a new game... mmm... the upper part of the 'Start
game' text is missing, tststs. On we go... damn... character naming
screen is messed up... frame of the text box is screwed and the dancing
character on the right corner is showing wrong textures... not very
promising... start with default name... next config screen is also
messed... continue... the real game begins... ahhh... noooo... crappy
stuff around each character and what's that? A wrong blending of the
text box... that are major bugs... and it doesn't get better while the
game continues... sorry, personally I wouldn't play the game with
bleem! more than 5 minutes... that's not an enhanced gaming experience,
that's a reduced one... no bleem! option seems to be able to repair the
'Guardians Crusade'... bad texture alignment with filtering enabled
showing gaps.... _very_ disturbing resizing effects when you are
entering/leaving houses or talking to NPCs, again wrong transpareny,
completely messed up inventory and character boxes... forget it...
Arms'... let us check if bleem! can handle polylines... yup, mdec...
well, again messed up load/save screen, yawn... selecting 'New Game'...
select a character... waiting for the game screen to appear... the game
uses a palette texture rotating trick to blend in the screen smoothly
from grey to the real colors... [well, 25 minutes later bleem! still
didn't had that screen up (the real psx (and my opengl gpu) needs a few
seconds to do it) and I decided to reset the game and try a different
Ahh.. this time it's faster, just 1 minute to wait... mmm... bad text
boxes again (maybe the bleem! coder can't read and doesn't care about
learning it ;)... and again misaligned textures, the bleem! alignment
option makes things even worse... well, at least I can test
polylines... just go to the Wild Arms config screen, and... yes, wrong!
that's all I wanted to know... well, outside the town the game gets
unplayable slow... enuff
quick check on a last rpg... 'Blaze and Blade'... same old baddies,
like wrong transparency and texture alignment probs, but meanwhile my
expectations are not too high, so I could call it playable... sigh
some jump and run... Crash3... ahh.. a new bug... the superior bleem!
gpu can't do offscreen drawing, so Crashs shadow is just wrong... oh
my, let's move on... there must be some game that works perfectly...
Turismo'... yup... let's test it (I wonder if the bleem! team will pay
my time doing beta tests... mmm... I have some doubts ;) Well...
finally a game without big glitches... a bit dark, of course, and the
rear mirror lines are to slim, but else... yeah, I've found a bleeming
accessory that, mmm, gives you whole new experiences...
let's sum up the baddies I've detected on this simple check: too dark
colors, a bad caching on pal textures causing slowdowns, a wrong
blending mode, problems with opaque textures, no offscreen drawing at
all, bad texture alignment, some more texture caching bugs when the psx
gpu has to update small texture areas, bad FPS limitation/frame
skipping, cutted polylines and lines in general are to thin. I even
don't want to know what I would find if I'd check out more games.
Nearly every psx game will suffer from one or another baddie listed
above, so it's up to you if you can really enjoy a game with em... but:
to call bleem's hw accelerated psx gpu an 'unique feature that we add
to the mix'... well... in a special way that statement is true ;) , but
I think most PSEmu Pro GPU plugins can offer more and better graphic
I don't know (and don't care because I don't have a DC) if the
bleemcast! emu will do a better job... but most thingies I have seen
will need serious fixes or they will show up on the dreamcast as well.
Maybe the bleem! coders can do a texture caching that fits the
dreamcast video card perfectly, but the texture alignment, the color
handing, polylines, etc. are issues that are very basic stuff, the
hardware platform doesn't matter.
Oh, and talking about hardware: I did my tests on a P3 550, GeForce,
Voodoo3, 128 MB, Soundblaster live. Yes, I used only original games and
the original and latest bleem version. And yes, I've tried any bleem!
settings available to get better results. It just didn't help...
And because seeing is believing you can download here some sample pics
from bleem! compared to my OpenGL plugin...
(460 KByte Zip-File)
in a few months surely we all can buy a new version of bleem!... if we
want... personally I think, bleem!'s performance and d3d display would
be nice for a freeware emu... but not for a software you have to pay
02, 2000 - It drives you insane
a game coder you have to use one of the popular 3D APIs (D3D, OpenGL,
Glide) if you want to do fast 3D animations. Of course you can also
create your own 3D engine from the scratch, just using DirectDraw and
some (more or less) genius 3D functions of your own (like 'Outcast' did
it), but you will miss the build-in card hardware features and speed
ups by doing that.
But beware: using a standard API doesn't mean that everything will be
fine... it's up to the card's driver to translate the API calls to
something the video card hardware can handle. Yup, nowadays you never
'talk' directly to the video hardware, you are giving your orders to
some software interface which will call the proper functions of the
card driver which will control the card's output.
Hehe... here in germany exist a simple children party game called
'silent post'... I am sure that the game is known world wide (prolly
with a different name), here's the way to play it: a child is
whispering a sentence or a word (the longer the better) into a second
child's ear, the second child is whispering everything it had
understood to a third child, and so on. The last child in the line has
to speak out loud what was whispered to him... needless to say that the
meaning can change a lot...
Well, and trying to tell the graphic card what it has to do is similar
to that simple game: you are giving the right API commands (of course
the commands are right, us l33t coders never do something wrong ;) and
somewhere in the long line to the hardware something is going the wrong
way... or to say it with Mick's words 'you can't always get what you
Most of the troubles come from the cards drivers, they are mainly
responsible to do the job right. It's in their power to 'correct' card
hardware bugs, to emulate features which does not exist in the card
chipset, to make things fast or slow.
Because of the importance of the drivers you should think that the main
goal of every video card chipset manufacturer has to be to deliver nice
working drivers... well, here's a small list of experiences I've made
with my GeForce and V3 card.
drink AND (drive OR code a video card driver)...
the biggest bug IMHO is the slightly different handling of texture
coordinates on GeForce cards. Depending on the coords you are giving,
there will be small but ugly gaps between textures. That effect will
show up in D3D and OpenGL, luckily I've found a way for my PSEmu plugin
to avoid those gaps, but hey... that's nothing I can respect!
TNT1/2 cards doesn't show such baddies, a sign that nVidia can do it
better. As far as I know the ancient 2.08 detonator drivers also work
without gaps on GeForce cards (of course nobody should use such GeForce
unoptimized drivers nowadays), all later drivers up to the latest
'leaked beta' Detonator 5.13 are doing something wrong. If you have the
PC version of FF8 (like me), you also know what I am talking about. Oh,
btw, a few days ago I've found a GeForce patch for FF8 which 'corrects'
those texture misalignments, well, I can't use it (it's just for the
english PC version, not for my german one), but the point is: as long
as a company has to do special versions/patches for GeForce cards,
there is something going _very_ wrong.
OK, more flames? Let me think... mmm... let us talk about texture
palettes. Both OpenGL and D3D (well, ok, Glide, too) can use textures
with palettes. That simply means that you don't have to store the
complete RGB(A) color value for each texel (texture pixel) inside the
texture (which would be 4 bytes per texel in 32 bit textures or 2 bytes
in 16 bit textures) but just an index value to a palette, which reduces
the texture data amount heavily (and you can do easy color rotating
tricks and such). Well, TNT based card don't have this texture type,
but the GeForce has... in theory. The first GeForce Detonator driver
which I've used (3.53) worked fine with OpenGL pal textures. I was a
bit disappointed that it wasn't possible to use them with D3D, too (the
D3D drivers just told the world: pal textures not available, and/or
crashed), but I hoped that later drivers would take care of that...
well, later drivers did take care of pal textures, but not in fixing it
with D3D but messing it up with OpenGL. Hurray ;( Of course there's
hope: the 5.13 beta drivers have right working OpenGL pal textures
again, so maybe D3D will be fixed in one of the next versions, too.
Oh, do I see some smirking 3DFX faces out in the crowd? No need for
that... OpenGL pal textures were screwed a long time with 3dfx drivers,
ok, the last driver release did fix that, too, but hey, I can show you
a mail I received from a 3DFX driver developer who was asking me how to
use the OpenGL pal texture extension, because he didn't know how to use
it right... sigh...
Well, and if you look unto the Linux Mesa implementation of pal
textures on 3dfx cards... oh my, forget it, it works but it is very
slow (prolly they don't do real pal textures but just converting the
pal data into RGBA textures)... at least they claim it's just an
unsupported extension hack for some Quake game... and they don't want
any money for their work (oh, that reminds me of one thing: if any Mesa
guy is reading this, please check the texture matrix code with Mesa3.1
or bigger... small hint: Mesa 3.0 did it right).
Oh my, this text is getting way too long, let me just do a small list
of some more baddies: 5.13 detonator has troubles with smaller D3D
textures; with any driver version the D3D GeForce performance is low
(at least in fullscreen mode, I wonder why a fullscreen flip is taking
more time than a window blit); noone will ever able to explain me why
the GeForce driver (5.xx) can do OpenGL fullscreen anti-aliasing by
some driver option but not the standard opengl polygon smoothing witout
falling back into pure software mode; with 3dfx opengl the packed_pixel
extensions are very slow (yup, 3dfx, I know the reason, but I still
think if you support such an extension than do it fast or don't do it
at all); glAreTexturesResident doesn't work with the latest 3dfx opengl
drivers (the ancient OpenGL driver beta 2.1 worked fine ,though). And
now, if you want, you can try to think about glitches, baddies and
crashes you have had with PC games caused by driver bugs and don't you
install the latest drivers for your video card as fast as possible?
Small wonder, why...
remember a quote from some game developer: 'it would be better just to
have the hardware specs and maybe a thin software layer for each card
than the current driver mess'. Well, he is right in a way, when there
is no driver involved you don't have to hack around the driver bugs,
you can optimize your engine for chipsets and so on... but if you think
again, that will never happen... the big M (marketing) of any company
will not take any chances... because if their chipset doesn't have
texture compression or fullscreen-antialising or (insert here a nice
sounding effect/feature you can't live without) they still can claim
'we have that, too'... they just do it in software by the driver, no
problem, it will be not fast or bugfree, but hey... it will be better
in the next driver version, sure, just buy the card, everything will be
all right (somewhen
well, all of this is sounding a bit pissed I have to admit, but I still
feel cheated if a card I had to pay for isn't doing the things it
should do and, of course, it's hard sometimes for a coder if he is
getting mails like 'bah, your sh*tty app doesn't work on my supadupa
*** video card' and he has to spent time to do workarounds for it... I
am really curious if the companies next generation of chipsets will
have good drivers from the start. It's a good idea to have high-level
interfaces, so a coder doesn't have to do implement special functions
for every card on the market, but _only_ if all the drivers are working
fine... it is useless otherwise.
I know the world isn't perfect at all, bugs happen, but at least it
would be very nice if the chipset vendors could add some 'what's new
with this driver' readme files when they have to do a driver update and
maybe an _open_ forum for discussing driver things (heh, nVidia?) and
some driver progress status on their web pages. Ahh... dreaming about a
better world, oh, damn, I've forgotten the big M... it will never
happen... they would have to drop their pants by doing it...
05, 2000 - Taming the 3 headed dragon
you have some programming knowledge and you want to start coding 3d
graphics? Oh well, listen to the following small tale...
Someone remembers 'Dragonstrike' from SSI? The very first dragon flight
simulator (Drakan is just some rip-off, you might say), let you fly on
a dragons back and slay your enemies with dragon fire and your looong
mighty lance. Well, in that ancient time (1990), there was no API-hero
in DOS-country, just pure CPU power decided if the 320x200 256 color
graphics would be flying high or crawling on the edge of unplayability.
As time went by, a GLorIous DEfender appeared... and the world changed.
The common people could now enjoy a better, more colorful world under
the protection of Master GLIDE. The country prospered, and even when it
was renamed to winDOwS (yeah, basically still the same old country,
but, hey, that's marketing) the Master brought joy to the hearts of his
gods get angry
secret of GLIDE was strongly protected by the 3DFX gods, so the other
gods had to create their own champions. Some hired the services of Sir
OPEN GaLahad, a warrior from a distant OS-country, but the nearly
omnipotend god of winDOwS-country took some mud and formed a
DIsasteRous protECTor within 3 Days. All three warlords had their own
way of fighting, each one had advantages and faults.
way to go?
every poor knight (coder) has to decide which orders he wants to
obey... and that decision is a hard one, hey, if you want to get the
mana of the common folks, you have to be sure to entertain a big
audience... the bigger the better... _and_ to impress them with magical
effects and speedy action.
GLIDE is a well defined way of fighting. Sure, because of its age it is
not state-of-the-art anymore (very limited texture size, 16 bit color
only) but it is fast and stable, and it is having some nice features
like color keying and palettized textures. Funny enuff, glide is
handled slightly different by the various 3dfx offsprings
(v1,v2,banshee and v3), so you can't be sure that your code is running
without glitches on every 3dfx card. The major drawback: it can only be
used by the followers of the 3DFX gods. And that's a dead end, sorry.
DIRECT3D is the most flexible way... all nowadays gods are supporting
it, so nearly every inhabitant of winDOwS country can try it. It offers
many features... that's its blessing and that's its curse. If a coder
chooses it, he has to be aware that he has to check every feature he
wants to use... and if the feature is not available on special cards,
he has to write some extra code to do it in a different way, if he
don't want to disappoint the users of that type of card (it is all
about mana, remember?). He needs cards from many different gods for
doing speed and glitch tests. Or he uses only the basic D3D features...
of course he has to find out what's a 'basic feature' by himself, he
can only be sure about one thing: the next version of d3d will bring
new (bad?) surprises.
OPENGL is well-known in many OS-countries, so it can be used in
non-winDOwS areas, too. It's easy to use, well-defined and stable. Sad
but true: because of its age, some nice features (like color keying or
more combine modes) are missing. So it can be kinda challenging to code
special effects. Well, some cards are offering extensions to enhance
the limited opengl features. But, like in d3d, that often means
additional work for the coder. Very bad: some popular gxf-gods are
having a terrible ogl-support. So speed can be slow and glitches will
show up, and the coder can do nearly nothing to avoid such problems.
There is just one thing that the common people can do: pray to their
gods for newer ogl-drivers.
what to do if you want to tame the dragon and code some 3d stuff
yourself? (Dark voice from above) 'It depends'... Choose a programming
interface that works fine with your card. There is nothing more
frustrating than searching bugs which are caused by crappy card
drivers. OpenGL is the best starting point in my opinion, it has good
documentations, samples and it's not as confusing as the D3D stuff. Of
course, if you have knowledge in the MS COM interface you can also try
D3D... funny enuff each new directx version seems to get closer to
OpenGL (look at the dx7 texture handling or the vertex arrays). For
Glide... I fear to start with Glide nowadays is just a waste of time.
It was a nice interface for a long time, but I don't think it will live
any longer. Anyway, the basics are the same with every interface (small
wonder, it's all about 3d rendering ;) and it's fun to be creative...
don't fear the dragon, improve your coding skills and tame it...
starting point for all wannabe-graphic-coders is Per
It's still under construction, but it has some useful links and
Software Development Kits for all three APIs. Give it a try... :)
06, 2000 - the tale of the two gfx brothers
upon a time
marches on. Over the years I've used many graphic cards in my various
pcs. The list goes from an old Trident chipset card (ISA 16 bit, 512
KByte), a very interesting Tseng 4000 (1 MByte, using a local bus
system with two 16 bit ISA connectors, only usable in a special
Gigabyte board), Matrox Millenium (PCI, 2 MByte), Matrox Mystique (PCI,
4 MByte), Voodoo1 (PCI, 6 MByte), Voodoo2 (PCI, 12 MByte), RivaTNT
(AGP, 16 MByte SGRam), GeForce (AGP, 32 MByte DDR).
Yeah, starting from the time I got myself the Millenium, I also used
some 3DFX add-on board to get nice D3D and Glide support (well, in the
list above the my old Hercules Monochrome card (ISA 8 bit) is not
listed, but that one was only used as add-on card for debugging output
for awhile, so it doesn't count in my opinion :).
I was always sad that 3dfx didn't do a newer add-on card based on the
V3 chipset, sigh, so my V2 lasted a long time, while other cards came
and went. Why didn't I get myself a single V3, you may ask? Well, I am
a strong believer in 32 bit color modes and I want to have good OpenGL
performance, so only to have a single nowadays voodoo card was not an
option (hopefully the next generation of 3dfx cards will take care of
But now my V2 is gone for good :)
While coding my OpenGL plugins I got in contact with a nice guy from
3dfx, I've reported several issues in the 3dfx V2 OpenGL drivers to
him. Well, luckily he has some influence and is a big fan of emulation,
so the current V2 drivers (V3.02.02) have all the major thingies fixed
(just a correct glAreTexturesResident and a faster support for packed
pixel textures would be nice :P). But, more important, he offered to
send me a free V3 for additional testing (the OpenGL codebases on V2
and V3 are quite different due to the varying memory architectures).
Of course: I couldn't refuse... I asked for a PCI version, though,
because I don't have another pc with AGP, and I don't want to remove my
GeForce from my main pc. And... surprise, surprise... the card arrived
So I had a nice Voodoo3000 PCI card around. My first thought was to
replace the old Mystique in my girlfriends P233 with the V3 one, but,
mmm, my girlfriend isn't a big fan of 3D games (she likes to play old
style strategy stuff), and I don't want to fight with her each time I
want to test some stuff on the V3 ;)
So where to put the card in... it would be a waste to put it in my
backup server or to upgrade the old P100... mmm... the one and only
good place would be in my main pc as second card beside the GeForce
:)... I really liked the idea :)
I scanned the internet for some others ppl experiences with two cards,
but I've found nearly nothing. Well, Lewpy thought it should be
possible, and the best experiences are the ones you make yourself, so I
got to work...
and V3... living in perfect harmony
have to know that I've Win98 (and linux) installed, both OS come with
support for multiple vga cards, and, even better, my monitor (IIyama
Vision Master Pro 17) has two signal ports (BNC and standard D-SUB). My
GeForce was connected with a pass-thru cable to the V2, the V2 was
connected with a BNC cable with my monitor.
First I deinstalled my V2 drivers and replaced the V2 with the V3 card.
I connected the GeForce with the BNC cable to the monitor and used a
standard D-SUB vga cable for connecting the V3 to the monitor. Then I
started my pc. Win98 booted. It detected the V3 and asked for drivers.
I gave the location of the V3 drivers. The desktop came up. No
problems... strange ;) I switched my monitor to the D-SUB signal (can
be done easily in the OSD menu of my monitor). And some information
text appeared, the v3 was working :)
Well, the information text told me I have to enable the dual monitor
support in the Win98 display properties. Switching back to GeForce,
going to the display properties and enabling the desktop enhancement
was easy. Back to the V3, now some win desktop area was shown. Oki,
nice, lets start some glide stuff... mmm... lets try Lewpys glide
gpu... it works great :) Also all D3D games I have with the option to
choose the D3D device are working fine :) But what's up with OpenGL?
Ohh nooo... it falls back to software rendering... damn.
After some time trying all kind of stuff, I've found out that when dual
monitor support is enabled, the MS OpenGL interface falls back to
software... no way around that (at least I have found none). Turning
off the dual support (could be done in the display properties without
rebooting) gives me hw accelerated OpenGL on my GeForce... well, a bit
roundabout compared to my V2, but at least it worked much better than I
have expected. But two things I really wanted to fix: 1) how to
activate the V3 OpenGL? I want to test my code on as many ogl drivers
as possible, even if the v3 opengl is slow compared to the GeForce. And
2) some games supporting glide, but using the primary display for
movies or game menus. It would be very tiresome to switch my monitor
while playing a game. Mmmm....
Luckily my motherboard (ASUS P2B) helped me to solve that issues. I can
select the vga boot sequence between PCI and AGP in the motherboard
BIOS. If I choose AGP, the GeForce will be the primary card, if I
choose PCI the Voodoo3 takes control. Best of it: Win98 behaves
nicely... no 'hey, your vga card has changed, please reinstall drivers'
or something else on startup. The activated card will be the primary
device without troubles.
I have the best of all worlds: Good OpenGL, D3D and Glide support. Most
times I work and play on my GeForce, if I want to play a glide game, I
usually just enable the dual monitor support, start the game and switch
to D-SUB (V3). If I want to test the V3 OpenGL or if some game is
switching between glide and the primary display, I have to reboot and
activate the PCI vga in the BIOS to set the v3 as main card, yeah, a
bit tiresome, but as a coder you usually have to restart your pc very
often, so it doesn't matter that much ;)
No performance hits detected, both cards are working as fast as usual
and stable. After accessing the Win98 display properties, there is some
mouse stuttering a few seconds (dunno what happens, prolly the gfx
cards are talking to each other about some sexy sound cards they have
met in their lives ;), but that's just a minor thing. Also fine: I can
compare the cards performance very well because the surrounding
hardware stays the same.
At the moment I have some troubles to activate the V3 MesaGL/Glide with
linux, but most likely after I solved all the 'missing links' to some
obscure libraries, the world will be just wonderful :)
Some of you may ask what are the real benefits, if you are just a gamer
without the need to have as many cards as possible for testing? Well,
most nowadays games are working well without Glide, but there are still
games optimized for the Glide API (try some Unreal engine based games
like Wheel Of Time, or, another example, Ultima 9 and you will see what
I mean), and some emulators have a very fine Glide support (and I am no
big fan of glide wrappers, sorry). So if you have too much money, and
if your monitor supports two signals (or maybe if you have two monitors
side by side ;), and if your motherboard can handle two cards nicely,
and if you have Win98 (W2k should be working, too), and if you want (or
need) good opengl and glide support, or, to say it more clearly, if you
are a maniac which needs simply the best, give it a try :)