Latest tale:
STubiDSoft is using Twitter!
(March 09, 2010)

Pete's older Fairy Tales

PC Game of the Year 2010 January 01, 2010 I am speechless
STubiDSoft is using Twitter! March 09, 2010 And most likely Facebook, MySpace, Blogster, .... 
Game of the Year 2009 - Ubisoft free February 07, 2010 Oh my... it's getting worse every year
Game of the Year 2008 December 23, 2008 DRMess continued... but also some real hilights!
Spored September 10, 2008 Amazing Amazon Censorship
Mass Defect May 12, 2008 EA proudly presents: how to tread your customers...
Game of the Year 2007 January 06, 2008 Eschalon what?
Titanic mess July 04, 2006 Titans are just humans, too
That's life December 05, 2004 But not for me

I have a dream, ah, idea

July 08, 2004

Can I patent this tale?

Sweet silence

August 26, 2003


Let's do the benchmark again

June 19, 2003

Read on (the framebuffer)

Idle thoughts

April 16, 2003

To think or not to think...

Final results

March 07, 2003

Or Final Fantasy?

So far, so good... so what?

March 04, 2003

Soooo whaaaaat?

Benchmark fun

February 22, 2003

Is it heaven or hell?


February 15, 2003

What the ... is going on?

The times are a-changing

December 20, 2002

Of past and future works...


January 15, 2002

PS2/XBox/GC emus? Yeah, sure...

What would Brian Boitano do?

August 24, 2001

I am sure he would kick one @ss or two :)

We are best, ah, back again

July 14, 2001

Sad FPSE deja vu...

Leader of the Pak

February 10, 2001

Is a 'Pak' containing one game still a 'Pak'?

Plug me in or pull me out

November 04, 2000

Who needs plugins anyway? :)

We Are The Best!

September 15, 2000

And we are the most paranoid ;)

Seany, bleem me up

May 17, 2000

Enhancing the gaming experience???

It drives you insane

April 02, 2000

The current video card driver situation

Taming the 3 headed dragon

March 05, 2000

General look at OpenGL/D3D/Glide

The tale of the two gfx brothers

Feb 06, 2000

Installing a GeForce and V3 in one PC

January 01, 2011 - PC GOTY 2010

My PC Game of the Year 2010:


'nuff said!

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!

=> @custfrust 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.


=> @solonely "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: ... 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 the task).

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 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 games?

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.

December 23, 2008 - Game of the Year 2008

First of all, the Losers Of The Year 2008 (category PC games).

I bought and enjoyed nearly all Bioware games and expansions... but I didn't buy Mass Effect.

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 buy Crysis Warhead or Far Cry 2.

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.

Take Grand 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 ANY game 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 end 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 customers).
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 speechless, please give this man an Oscar.

Now back to topic. My Game Of The Year 2008 is... dumdidumdidum… not a real surprise…

Fallout 3

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 customer… that’s my personal GOTY 2008!

Other (more or less) good games I've played in 2008:

- Drakensang, 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 disk-in-drive check.

- King's Bounty, 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 every 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 protection’ at all, eh?

- World of Goo. 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.

- Assassin's Creed... 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 new Prince Of Persia 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

- Ultima 5 Lazarus

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 other, much 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.

September 10, 2008 - Spored

Spored (USA):

Spored (GER):

Spored, Cens(p)ored, Spored Again (UK):

EA will call it "Flash mob", "Angry pirates", "Misleaded".

I call it "lost customers". And rightly so. At least they have lost me.


P.S.: 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 new 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.

May 12, 2008 - Mass Defect

EA announced that Mass Effect, Spore and other upcoming EA PC games will be defective 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 garbage can.

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 :)

January 06, 2008 - Game of the Year 2007

To make it short: 

My personal "game of the year 2007" is....  Eschalon Book I

Whut? You don't know this one?

Ok, I will give you a short overview:

Eschalon Book I is a so-called "old school ERPG" from Basilisk Games.  It is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh for a fair price (28 US-$, well, that's below 25 Euros including taxes here in germany). 

No fancy 3D graphics. No zillion-dollar-intro-movie. No lip-sync speech output... heck, no speech output at all :)

But: Good user interface. Nice story. Solid battle system and game balance. To sum it up: great gameplay!

In my book it beats all other games I've played in 2007, including Neverwinter Nights 2, Witcher, Bioshock and Crysis.

You can try it yourself: a demo version is available. 

Now I just hope that "Book II" will be developed as well... hey, I need a GOTY 2008 :)

July  04, 2006 - Titanic mess

Sometimes 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.

Therefore 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 randomly.

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 game crash!

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!

Pfff...... seriously....

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, Spellforce 2)
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. 

But 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. 


Dear Iron Lore, 

my girlfriend also would be very pleased if you could remove the occasional multiplayer LAN lags in the hopefully-soon coming patch. 

Ah, 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".

December  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, Vivendi.

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 failure?

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" ...dumdu.

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 account.

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.

July 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."

W: "Great!"

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 ourself."

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 valuable "ideas".

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...

Software patents will not encourage invention and innovation... quite the opposite.

August 26, 2003 - Sweet silence

Aaaahh... 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 "" 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 ones.

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 to admit.

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:, run it, done (at least until the next virus mutation will show up, harhar).

Mmm... but please don't hurry.

You know, sweet silence... :)

Means more time for me to play the new Gothic2 addon :)

June 19, 2003 - Let's do the benchmark again

I 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.

Anyway, 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.

Well, to take a closer look at the reading speed, I created a small benchmark application again (surprise, surprise, ehe).

You can download the application here, for interested coders I've also uploaded the sources.

The 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).

First 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 :))

Ok, 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.

To 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.

So 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 course).

Okay, and now go and check it yourself... seeing is believing... and have fun :)

April 16, 2003 - Idle thoughts

Ah, 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 real Audio-CDs?

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 anyway.

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 problem.
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? Prolly not.
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.

Great idea.
Saves a lotta time.
For someone, at least.
Screw all others.
At least we and our children are protected.
From violence.
And sex.
And rock'n'roll.
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!

March 07, 2003 - Final results

Harhar, 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 16bit;FrameTex 32bit

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 "" 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
where ATI confirmed that the reverse subtractive blending will work fine in Cat 3.2 or 3.3. :)

Stay tuned :)

March 04, 2003 - So far, so good... so what?

Nearly 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 this time.

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... :)

February 22, 2003 - Benchmark fun...

I've 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.

So 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.

Pete's texture speed test application (89 KByte Zip-File)

Another 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... :)

Pete's reverse subtractive blending test application (93 KByte Zip-File)

And of course: thanx for your support :)

February 15, 2003 - W.I.P...

Over 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, ehehe).

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 of :)

December 20, 2002 - The times are a-changing

1998 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 = : PSX gpu plugin (Mesa3D Linux)
2000 November = gpuPeteSoftD3D.dll : PSX gpu plugin (special D3D soft gpu - not released)
2001 February = : 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 = : PSX spu plugin (Linux OSS)
2001 November = gpuPeopsSoft.dll : PSX P.E.Op.S. gpu plugin (software, DirectDraw)
2001 November = : PSX P.E.Op.S. gpu plugin (software, Linux)
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 = : zinc gpu plugin (Mesa3D Linux)
2001 December = : zinc spu plugin (OSS Linux)
2002 May = spuPeopsDSound.dll : PSX P.E.Op.S. spu plugin (DirectSound)
2002 May = : PSX P.E.Op.S. spu plugin (OSS Linux)
2002 September = cdrPeops.dll : PSX P.E.Op.S. cdr plugin (aspi/ioctl)
2003 = ???     :)


January 15, 2002 - Futurama

The following tale is dedicated to everybody expecting the impossible, demanding it nonetheless and ignoring all statements from more experienced ppl...


Speed 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....
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 :)


It didn't work? K(L)ICK HARDER :)

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 (, 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.

VGC (Virtual Game Cube) AVAILABLE 

Ahhhh... that 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 (TM) Virtual Game Cube the first time! Congrats!
Ahem... now you can open up your eyes again :)

Some final words

Just to make 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.

Better get real... and have fun :)

August 24, 2001 - What would Brian Boitano do?

Time for a small sign of life...  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 :)

Okay, let's start:

ok, no problem... I choose death
We all have to die sooner or later... that's life :) 

Q: Your plugins are 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?
Doesn't matter 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 :)

Q: "enabling FSAA is causing big slowdowns" or      "texture filtering is causing glitches in 2d backgrounds" or      "my monitor makes beeping sounds if I play at a 3200x2400 resolution"
Sorry, 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.
C: If some option/feature/whatever is causing troubles on your system, well, don't use it!

Q: There are zillions of options in your gpu plugins. Can't you make an easier setup like VGS (or maybe Bleem!... but Bleem! also has too much options, imho)?
Hit 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!
C: You 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 it? :)

Q: My favourite game "Burning Revenge Of The Iron Sausages" doesn't work. Fix that in your next version!
Yes, boss, sure... whatever you say... mmm, boss? I think we have a problem here... strange... I haven't received any $$$ from you lately...
C: It's 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. 

Q: files for your interest
_none... mail gets deleted ASAP_
C: Damn viruzzz... 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 ) 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!

Q: When will you release the next plugin version?
A: When the moon is shining and small fairies are dancing naked around the camp fire in my garden
C: No 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).

July 14, 2001 - We are best, ah, back again

It 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 =)

Well, 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: the BEST and MOST COMPATIBLE PSX emulator!!!" message was posted on their main page... tsts :(

I _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?

February 10, 2001 - Leader of the Pak

*** Rantee ( has joined #bleespheme

<Davdle> 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 pak"!
<Davdle> ONE????
<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
<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> wow
<Davdle> you are great :)
<Rantee> yeah! we will get rich, and the DC users will worship me!

*** LizardZen ( has joined #bleespheme

<LizardZen> hi masters! did you see, a new version of that freeware psx emu has been released! it's working great on my PC

Have fun :)

November 04, 2000 - Plug me in or pull me out

Well, I am sure you have noticed that you can find several dynamic link libraries on this page... so called "plugins".

But 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).

The 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 "plugin interface".

Yeah, 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:

Reasons 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 :)

Reasons 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) ;)))

Mmm... 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 will work.

- 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 :) 

Ahhh, 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 result ;)

So, 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?

Plug yourself in :)

September 15, 2000 - We Are The Best!

We are the best! Of course we are. We are, we are, we are... Mum, aren't we?!?

Hell, 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 ...

Let the tale begin...

Well, the following (not yet on posted text were discovered on ?-Dr.Mock-?s harddisk by our most helpfull Sub8 trojan ;)


- 14 September 2000 (PART 2) by ?-Dr.Mock-?

WOW... we make another discoveries... the conspiration against FPSE grows...

-1) 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 file in PSEmu was for? That was our psx emu core... the lame DuddilityMan just coded some ugly dialog based frontend. Yeah

-2) 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.

-3) 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).

And now???
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?)

Pete's LinuX gpu plugin: - ? days (Pete screwed his KDev, ehehehe)


You are all the best! But please stop such stupid posts!

Ah, 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.

May 17, 2000 - Seany, bleem me up

An accessory that enhances the gaming experience?!?

Well, 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 its job.
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, here is a quote from it that started my brain to rotate:

"What do you think about the late PSEmu Pro and Connectix VGS for PC? There's a lot 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 the mix.
[editor's translation: bleem!'s hardware accelerated rendering smokes all other PSX emulators]"

Oh 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!

Well, 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 :)

"Oki, 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 enhanced gameplay.

Well, 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 baddies... nonono.

Oki, '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...

'Wild 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 character].
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

Mmm... 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

Ok, 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...

'Gran 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 game!


An accessory that, mmm, gives you whole new experiences...

OK, 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 enhancements.
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...

Bleem's GPU test (460 KByte Zip-File)

Well, 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 for.

April 02, 2000 - It drives you insane

Drivers are necessary!?!

As 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 want'.
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.

Don't drink AND (drive OR code a video card driver)...

Mmm... 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...


I 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 in time).

Final update 

Oh 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...

March 05, 2000 - Taming the 3 headed dragon

The hunt begins 

So 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 followers.

The gods get angry

The 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.

Which way to go? 

Now 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.

Flip the coin

So 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...

A starting point for all wannabe-graphic-coders is Per Löfgren's site:
It's still under construction, but it has some useful links and Software Development Kits for all three APIs. Give it a try... :)

Feb 06, 2000 - the tale of the two gfx brothers

Once upon a time

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 that).
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...

GeForce and V3... living in perfect harmony

You 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.

Happy end 

Finally 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 :)

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