LucasArts Shadows of the Empire Not Working Right on "New" System

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Alan 'A.J.' Franzman, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. I'm in the process of copying my Windows 98 SE installation from an old
    computer to a somewhat newer model, and I find that GLquake (I) looks better
    (fog actually works right) but has a slightly lower framerate, but Shadows of
    the Empire does not work properly. Starting the game, the overlayed yellow
    text "crawl to infinity" does not appear over the star background. Entering
    the first level, the only things visible are the background sky and snow
    textures on flat surfaces, plus the overlays when in first-person view. No
    friendly, enemy, laser, terrain contour, or other 3D models appear. Running
    the Shadows.exe file directly to access the FPS test sequence gives a solid
    bluish-white screen, though the music and blaster sounds can be heard and the
    test terminates normally, giving a somewhat reasonable 37.2 FPS or so. I have
    tried both the original and patch 1.1 SOTE executable files with the same

    1996 vintage Packard Bell PB680 (=Intel Orlando/Tampa) mb w/ MR BIOS,
    PowerLeap adapter, AMD K6-III 400 MHz CPU, Voodoo3 3000, DirectX 9.0c (also
    worked properly under 7, 8.0a, and 9.0a), 128MB RAM

    ASUS A7V400-MX mb, Phoenix BIOS 1009, AMD Sempron 2800+ 2.0 GHz CPU, onboard
    VIA/S3 KM400a UniChrome graphics (drivers and tried),
    DirectX 9.0c, 512MB RAM

    I can't figure out if this problem is in the game software, drivers, hardware,
    mb BIOS settings or what. I'm on the edge of trying the Voodoo3 in the new
    system, but swapping it over will be a bit of a PITA and I don't see how it
    can possibly be any better than the ASUS onbard video - isn't the Voodoo
    several years older?

    Please help.



    Alan "A.J." Franzman

    Email: a.j.franzman [ A T ] verizon [ D O T ] net

    Alan 'A.J.' Franzman, Apr 25, 2005
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  2. Alan 'A.J.' Franzman

    Paul Guest

    Getting games to run is always a trying exercise. It took me
    several hours to get the last game demo I downloaded, to
    run properly. As you observe, the hardest part is the not
    knowing what exactly is busted in your configuration.

    Built-in graphics, like the Unichrome, are not usually leading
    edge designs. Due to the power constraints, the Northbridge
    only has room for a few watts worth of digital circuitry, which
    will not be able to compete with 70 watt high end video cards.

    One problem with the built-in graphics, is you sometimes cannot
    get any concrete info as to exactly what level of hardware
    support is in there. I would expect a built-in to have T&L
    and maybe hardware support for DirectX 7 - and that is likely
    enough for your game.

    One issue with games, is the graphics API used. Games can use
    Glide (3DFX proprietary), D3D (Microsoft), or OpenGL. You will
    find occasional skunkworks efforts, to make translation software,
    like MESA offered to give OpenGL abilities, and I think there
    might also be the odd Glide project around somewhere (openGlide?
    - search on

    If your game was using Glide on the Voodoo3, Glide will not exist
    on your KM400. Only one of the shunkworks projects can add missing

    In the little reading I've done on the subject, it seems D3D is
    supposed to emulate missing functionality, while OpenGL drivers
    declare what functions exist, and then a game can use an alternate
    rendering method if something is missing.

    In terms of drivers, I see 98& and :

    This page explains what you get in the Via chipset drivers 4IN1:

    When you moved the disk from the old computer to the new, did you
    uninstall the old video card software, just before shutting down the
    old PC for the last time ? When moving disks from one machine to
    another, I like to have a scratch disk, so I can clone a backup
    copy, in case of emergencies. Then, if a transition step needs to be
    redone, I have something to work with. Removing the old video
    driver, will result in the new machine booting in some 640x480
    VGA mode, but as soon as your chipset drivers and video driver
    are added, the functionality should improve.

    One thing I'm not sure of, is how the built-in graphics hardware
    looks like to a game. For example, if you plug in a 3D graphics
    card into the AGP slot, the AGP bridge gets used on the Northbridge,
    and there is an AGP GART driver, where the GART translates AGP
    addresses from the video card, into addresses inside main memory.
    The built-in graphics may not go through the same translation
    steps, and since some games seem to know a little too much about
    the hardware underneath, this may prevent certain games from
    running properly, if at all.

    On one of my older computers, I do remember one game demo ending
    up with a lot of graphics distortions, after I upgraded DirectX
    versions, so I could run another game. And Microsoft doesn't
    officially spport downgrading to older versions, so a clean
    install is the only practical answer for that. So much for backward

    This article discusses the state of integrated graphics. While the
    KM400 is not discussed here, it will have similar performance
    characteristics to other built-in graphics solutions. (I cannot
    find a spec for the KM400, that describes its feature set in
    any detail, so this is as close as I can get.)

    As for your Voodoo3 3000, in Google I see mention of both
    PCI slot and AGP slot versions of the card. Apparently, 3DFX
    didn't really use the AGP features that much, so the AGP slot
    was likely only offering a little extra bandwidth for commands
    and data. From a slot perspective, if your card is an AGP
    card, your AGP card will have a slot cut in the edge card,
    indicating operation at 3.3V only. The AGP slot in your
    motherboard has a key for 1.5V only (or universal card) operation.
    A 3.3V card should not plug in there, due to the key preventing
    it. If your Voodoo card is PCI, then there won't be any drama.
    (Don't forget to unplug the computer, before adding or removing
    any hardware - unplugging prevents damage via +5VSB.)

    If gaming is important to you, you could get a low end
    AGP video card, starting at about $50-$60. There is a list
    here, that allows comparison of basic features. To do better
    than your built-in graphics, I would want a card with
    DirectX9 hardware support (something that might come in
    handy if you were to run Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn
    operating system).

    This page lists the characteristics of the cards. If the first
    link is dead, use the archived version. A card better than or
    equal to Radeon 9500 is an option, while in the Nvidia camp,
    an FX5200 or better would work. (I have a FX5200 in one of my
    computers, and it is not a high performance card, by any
    stretch of the imagination. I got it because it is fanless,
    so allows a quiet office PC to be constructed. I've tried
    a couple of old games and it wasn't too bad with those.)
    The DirectX9 cards differ in which version of programmable
    vertex and pixel shaders they use, and the supported version
    is shown at the bottom of this page.

    This article will allow you to rate the actual performance of
    the cards:

    Maybe you could try running DXdiag from Start/Run ? Dxdiag is
    included with DirectX, and has some test buttons you can play
    with. Maybe Sisoft Sandra or Lavalys Everest utilities can
    tell you more about your hardware.

    Paul, Apr 26, 2005
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  3. The only info I can get from the box is that it requires DirectX 5 (included
    on game CD), so it does not appear to be a Glide or OpenGL game.
    If you go into that .zip file and view the file kmviaga.inf, you'll find that
    the actual graphics chipset driver version included in the file is;
    the same one that came with my mobo. is the version of the
    installer package. Confusing, isn't it?
    Actually, I cloned the old 30 GB drive to the new 80 GB drive (in the old
    system). Not an exact clone of course, since the minimum cluster size is quite
    different - 4k on the small one vs. 32k on the big one. Then I swapped the
    drives in the old system and made sure the old system would boot and run
    properly on the new drive. Then I "made my list and checked it twice" for what
    needed to be uninstalled or disabled before moving the bigger drive to the new
    mobo, and I remember the 3dfx stuff was a large part of that. I think I did it
    right, had no problems during the "finding new hardware" stage of setting up
    on the new system. Anyway I still have the list of what I did, could dig it up
    if you think it would be helpful.
    SOTE is pre-AGP; the box says "3D Accelerated PCI Graphics card required".
    I'm sure the game uses DirectX to access graphics functions so this shouldn't
    matter anyway. (?)
    There is a program available online to uninstall it, called "DirectX Scrubber"
    (or "...Cleaner" or something like that), and I've seen a website that has all
    the redistributable DirectX installer executable versions, so going back to an
    earlier version is not such a big problem after all, provided the OS can run
    without it during the changeover. I believe Win98 is safe in that respect,
    possibly WinME too (as the final evolution in that product line).
    My Voodoo3 3K is PCI, the rare version with SGRAM which you probably didn't
    find mentioned as even existing. I remember it usually took me a while to
    find the right BIOS for it every time they updated...
    I'm trying not to spend any more money, but I do like to play the half-dozen
    or so older 3D games that I have now and then. If all else fails I will
    definitely steal the Voodoo3 from the old system (and put back one of the
    older cards that I have, either Savage4 or Voodoo Banshee) before buying a new
    I've done the DXdiag bit already, it finds no problems and all tests work
    Not much help so far, but thanks for trying.


    Alan "A.J." Franzman

    Email: a.j.franzman [ A T ] verizon [ D O T ] net

    Alan 'A.J.' Franzman, Apr 27, 2005
  4. Alan 'A.J.' Franzman

    Paul Guest

    Interesting. You can still get a demo version of the game. (~7MB)

    I tried it, and the yellow text scrolls up the screen just fine
    on my FX5200.

    I notice the game has a setting "force no alpha", and it could
    be the text is using the alpha overlay plane. It is about the only
    coincidence I can think of.

    Using the free Everest Home edition from here,

    this is what is listed for my FX5200 video card. The FX5200 is
    supposed to be only a couple of features short of full DirectX9
    hardware support, and has vertex and pixel shader 2 support (not
    needed for SOTE). Perhaps you'll see some difference between what
    Everest reports for your built-in graphics and this video card.

    It might even be something as simple as color depth (16 versus 32
    bit color), either in your graphics hardware, or in the choices
    the game is making for rendering.

    I don't know if there is a tool that can actually track what calls
    are used by a game or not.

    --------[ DirectX Video ]------------------------------------
    [ Primary Display Driver ]
    DirectDraw Device Properties:
    DirectDraw Driver Name display
    DirectDraw Driver Description Primary Display Driver
    Hardware Driver nv4_disp.dll
    Hardware Description MSI MS-StarForce GeForce FX 5200
    (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200)
    Direct3D Device Properties:
    Available Local Video Memory 127488 KB
    Available Non-Local Video Memory (AGP) 63487 KB
    Rendering Bit Depths 16, 32
    Z-Buffer Bit Depths 16, 24
    Min Texture Size 1 x 1
    Max Texture Size 4096 x 4096
    Vertex Shader Version 2.0
    Pixel Shader Version 2.0

    Direct3D Device Features:
    Additive Texture Blending Supported
    AGP Texturing Supported
    Anisotropic Filtering Supported
    Bilinear Filtering Supported
    Cubic Environment Mapping Supported
    Cubic Filtering Not Supported
    Decal-Alpha Texture Blending Supported
    Decal Texture Blending Supported
    Directional Lights Not Supported
    DirectX Texture Compression Supported
    DirectX Volumetric Texture Compression Not Supported
    Dithering Supported
    Dot3 Texture Blending Supported
    Dynamic Textures Supported
    Edge Antialiasing Supported
    Environmental Bump Mapping Supported
    Environmental Bump Mapping + Luminance Supported
    Factor Alpha Blending Supported
    Geometric Hidden-Surface Removal Not Supported
    Guard Band Supported
    Hardware Scene Rasterization Supported
    Hardware Transform & Lighting Supported
    Legacy Depth Bias Not Supported
    Mipmap LOD Bias Adjustments Supported
    Mipmapped Cube Textures Supported
    Mipmapped Volume Textures Supported
    Modulate-Alpha Texture Blending Supported
    Modulate Texture Blending Supported
    Non-Square Textures Supported
    N-Patches Not Supported
    Perspective Texture Correction Supported
    Point Lights Not Supported
    Point Sampling Supported
    Projective Textures Supported
    Quintic Bezier Curves & B-Splines Not Supported
    Range-Based Fog Supported
    Rectangular & Triangular Patches Not Supported
    Rendering In Windowed Mode Supported
    Scissor Test Not Supported
    Slope-Scale Based Depth Bias Not Supported
    Specular Flat Shading Supported
    Specular Gouraud Shading Supported
    Specular Phong Shading Not Supported
    Spherical Mapping Supported
    Spot Lights Not Supported
    Stencil Buffers Supported
    Sub-Pixel Accuracy Supported
    Table Fog Supported
    Texture Alpha Blending Supported
    Texture Clamping Supported
    Texture Mirroring Supported
    Texture Transparency Supported
    Texture Wrapping Supported
    Triangle Culling Not Supported
    Trilinear Filtering Supported
    Two-Sided Stencil Test Not Supported
    Vertex Alpha Blending Supported
    Vertex Fog Supported
    Vertex Tweening Not Supported
    Volume Textures Supported
    W-Based Fog Supported
    W-Buffering Not Supported
    Z-Based Fog Supported
    Z-Bias Supported
    Z-Test Supported
    --------[ DirectX Video ]------------------------------------

    Paul, Apr 27, 2005
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