Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

If it's not ZDoom, it goes here.

Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby DaMan » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:06 am

X86 video BIOS probably going to stop any GPU from working. PPC Macs needed their own video cards or you had to blind flash them.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Blzut3 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:14 am

That depends on a lot of factors. If the machine can boot without a video card then your standard x86 card should work, you just might not see anything until the kernel driver initializes the card. Given that it's not an AGP system there's not really any reason one couldn't have two video cards either (although no idea how many PCI slots he has). Really hard to say anything for certain short of just trying them and seeing what happens.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby MartinHowe » Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:28 am

Graf Zahl wrote:tmap.s has nothing to do with sc_man_scanner. But it is the only 64 bit assembly file around. You should make sure that in the CMake project you set NO_ASM. A C version of this function exists.

Thanks, that fixed it. Apologies for being such a n00b, I have zero experience with CMake other than compiling other people's projects.

Blzut3 wrote:That depends on a lot of factors. If the machine can boot without a video card then your standard x86 card should work, you just might not see anything until the kernel driver initializes the card. Given that it's not an AGP system there's not really any reason one couldn't have two video cards either (although no idea how many PCI slots he has). Really hard to say anything for certain short of just trying them and seeing what happens.

I have enough PCI slots for three video cards, but will look into that later.

Now that the issue of NO_ASM is solved, I am experiencing a missing library function in libmpg123: mpg123_replace_reader_handle, getting "not declared in this scope" trying to compile src/sound/mpg123_decoder.cpp; ZDoom's CMake doesn't flag it as missing, or anything (not that I know much about CMake). There is a function "int mpg123_replace_reader(mpg123_handle *mh..." in usr/local/lib; does ZDoom require any special version of the library?

EDIT1: Uninstalled the mpg123 as it was hell just trying to build that and ZDoom doesn't strictly need it!

ZDoom now runs but is VERY slow :( At this point it's either due to the way it handles video, it's much slower than chocolate doom, or it's all the internal vm scripts; however, since the raw power of Ev56s is fairly high relative to the Doom engine, I'm not sure which way to turn. But time will tell.

I'm also building Woof! from 31st January 2020 as it's a fairly clean version and is the last to use only autotools instead of CMake. Will report on this later; right now I have to get out of the house and take a walk, or I'll go stir crazy :)

EDIT2: Same problem with Woof! It seems that until I can get some form of hardware acceleration, which the Permedia 2V is supposed to be capable of, I have to export SDL_RENDER_DRIVER=software first; chocolate doom actually asks me to do this which is why it ran at an acceptable speed.

So overall, I now have Chocolate Doom 3.0.1, ZDoom 2.8.1 and Woof! 20200131 working. Yes, they're a bit slow, but I have to remember what it felt like on the old DOS systems. My main issue is that EV56 is streets better than a 386 or 486, so it ought to be faster that a corresponding DOS machine.

I wonder if there's a way to start SDL in single user mode so it doesn't have to share the machine with X and so on? But that's an experiment for another day :)
Last edited by MartinHowe on Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Blzut3 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:00 pm

MartinHowe wrote:ZDoom now runs but is VERY slow :( At this point it's either due to the way it handles video, it's much slower than chocolate doom, or it's all the internal vm scripts; however, since the raw power of Ev56s is fairly high relative to the Doom engine, I'm not sure which way to turn. But time will tell.

Did your set CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE to Release? ZDoom didn't have a whole lot of VM overhead compared to modern GZDoom. I still wouldn't be terribly surprised if ZDoom just is slow, but would be interesting to quantify slow. Record roughly the same demo in Chocolate Doom and ZDoom and then use -timedemo to measure.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby MartinHowe » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:30 pm

Well, subjectively, Chocolate Doom is fastest, then Woof!, then ZDoom. Yes I did compile ZDoom with CMake as a release.
All three of them really need accelerated video, but even Gnome isn't using that despite the card being capable.
Also the sid repository can't be added to my apt as it complains there are no public keys.

Anyway, a big THANKS @Blzut3, as you seem to know so much and have been very helpful; for now though, I'm going to take a couple of days off from this, otherwise I'll get sucked down the rabbit hole and become obsessed :)
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Blzut3 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:13 pm

MartinHowe wrote:Also the sid repository can't be added to my apt as it complains there are no public keys.

Definitely don't just add the sid repo. There are a few packages from sid you might be able to install without blowing up the install, one of which is the kernel. But you should just grab the debs manually and install them. Assuming you have grub or some equivalent, this is basically no risk (unless the install scripts are incompatible) since you can just boot to the old kernel if the new one doesn't work.

Most other packages would depend on libc being updated. You may be able to grab libc6 and libstdc++6 from sid, the dependency chain on them isn't too terrible to resolve manually and if done you could potentially install other sid packages on lenny. But honestly this sounds like the hard way of doing things vs just recompiling programs and building your own compiler.

Now there's a remote possibility that if you grab the net installation iso for sid then you may be able to install a complete sid system. It would definitely be interesting to see what happens, but I'm assuming they dropped the architecture for a reason. So while I'd try it, I also wouldn't expect much.

Edit: Also you did try the software render driver export with ZDoom right? ZDoom can fallback to SDL surfaces, which can be forced with "+vid_forcesurface true". So there's two pure software paths for getting the frame buffer on screen.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby leileilol » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:55 pm

I'm also curious how Nblood/Rednukem would work on there (they're fairly easy to compile as well)


when id had DEC Alphas (on NT4 iirc), they've done much of their map compiling on them (qrad took forever at one point in time). It's also how they handled their experimental (then, new and very novel) Quake2 64 player servers.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby MartinHowe » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:54 am

Well at the moment, I'm going to try and install Gentoo; it relies on chrooting to an extracted tar image, so you can install it from pretty much any live CD or DVD of the same architecture, even an installation of another distro, as long as you can get a command prompt and have access to the downloaded tarball (USB stick, dumped on another HDD in the machine, networking up, etc.,); so e.g., use a root command line (or sudo) to init 1 the machine then download Gentoo's tarball, etc.

Regarding other software, I hadn't thought of doing anything with other games, but as long as they use SDL and have a software mode fallback, they should work on my system. The biggest issue is getting the graphics card properly set up; Permedia 2V is OpenGL 1.3, but I still can't get the blasted X system to accept that it can do it :(

I did get ZDoom to work with a software mode, BTW.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Blzut3 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:26 am

MartinHowe wrote:Regarding other software, I hadn't thought of doing anything with other games, but as long as they use SDL and have a software mode fallback, they should work on my system. The biggest issue is getting the graphics card properly set up; Permedia 2V is OpenGL 1.3, but I still can't get the blasted X system to accept that it can do it :(

Are you sure there's an OpenGL driver for Linux? A quick search suggests that mesa may have had some 3DLabs support but was potentially deleted before Lenny was released. Since then as far as I can tell there's only been X11 2D acceleration.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby MartinHowe » Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:20 am

Well, @Bluzt3, I've decided to take your advice and try nouveau on a more modern card; just bought myself a
PNY Nvidia GeForce 8400GS 512MB PCI OpenGL 3.3 Graphics Card; got it for £60 including shipping (there was a
10% off promotion that effectively neutralised the postage cost); was lucky to find one in the UK, and a seller
with 100% feedback, as similar cards imported from the US normally cost around £150 (including shipping,
taxes, customs, etc.). The only real downer is that I'll have to build nouveau and a kernel myself :(

First time for everything, I guess :|

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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Graf Zahl » Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:18 am

MartinHowe wrote:got it for £60


Ouch! The price for these old cards is truly insane.

I think this is the point where I seriously have to ask how much it is worth to get some obscure vintage computer working.
Please enlighten me, what's the fascination here - I could understand if this was usable for running some old software, but what can this thing actually do...? :?
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby MartinHowe » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:30 pm

@Graf Zahl:

TL;DR: For the Evulz :p

To answer this fully would take a while, as my journey from "7yo kid with copy of Ladybird Books: How it Works: The Computer", through "15yo kid with a copy of the RCA CD 4000 Handbook", via "16yo kid with copy of Steve Morse: The 8086 Architecture plus via college library access to Microprocessor Report subscription", through "30yo bloke with degrees in computer systems and microelectronics" via "visit to toilet to puke after reading description of Itanium architecture and wondering what drugs they were on", to "WTF? Ken Olsen refused to sell Apple AXPs in 1993 for (what became the Powermac line) and brought down DEC in the process", to "Let's do it right with working antiques 30 years later" ... is along and complicated one ... but a great moddable 3D FPS engine on a really good clean microprocessor architecture is what we should have had in the mid 1990s.

But for Ken Olsen's blindness to the incoming asteroid, we should have had AXPs on our desktops years ago, x86-64 would never have happened, Itanium would have been stillborn, John Mashey wouldn't be a raving lunatic, and 8086 would be rotting in the dustbin of history, tormented by worms that don't die and fires that don't go out :twisted:

That's the short version of "why". If I can get this to work, it's essentially the weaker version of Brouwer's axiom (p →◊p) applied to Doom on AXP. The way I see it, it's kinda like you and Raze.

Why spend £560 (so far) on this thing? Well I don't go out boozing a lot like many people my age, I have no partner to spend money on, and because of lockdown, I have a fair amount of money left over that would otherwise have been spent on petrol or train fares for days out. Other people spend £££ (or $$$, or in your case €€€) on vintage magazines, keeping a 60yo Harley on the road, going to rock concerts and getting stoned out of their minds, collecting rare postage stamps, you name it. My father had steel shelves in the living room with freaking 4000+ 78 RPM shellac records! My mother had the rest of the house covered in shelves of collectable and artists dolls, over 400 of the bloody things! My brother, as a young man, spend a fortune on his Morris Minor 1000 that was older than he was (and he isn't even an Aspie unlike the rest of the family :p).

Why, some say there's even a phone app dev somewhere in Europe who spends hours of their free time keeping an ancient FPS game alive and improving it with scripting languages, advanced graphics and better mapping constructs: I mean who the heck would do that when they could be out on the town, going to soccer matches or heavy metal concerts, or making mods for Quake :p :p

People spend spare time and/or money on their hobbies - because they can :mrgreen:
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby leileilol » Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:14 pm

Some kind of endorphin gets released whenever I do <3d game art thing> for a virge, pcx2 or whatever of similar capabilities that modern shadery hardware can't do... (even with all the 'retro aesthetic' filters in the world)

of course it's easier to say 'why' and just point at the nearest smart device dismissively leaning on the quarter century tech jump. * there could be a good car analogy here
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Rachael » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:16 am

Graf Zahl wrote:Please enlighten me, what's the fascination here - I could understand if this was usable for running some old software, but what can this thing actually do...? :?

This might not really answer your question, but it may explain some of my motives for working with Raspberry Pi's, AMD cards, and other things that are not "top standard" in today's technology.

I don't really have much of a desire for older technology, but anything non-x86 I definitely do. It thrills me when something that is of a different architecture and different bits can do the same thing as something more standard (i.e. x86) can. If there was an ARM CPU that was comparable to my current Ryzen 5, you can bet I would be tinkering the everliving fuck out of it. And I do it for the thrill. There's no real gain in it. It's just what I find fun and fascinating.

If it's feasible in the near future I may even build a full system with a Qualcomm processor, someday. I want it as powerful as it can be, and then I want to see what it can do.

I have been watching this thread with some interest. I am very curious what that particular system can do - despite its age. The very fact that it's off the beaten path is enough to pique my interest.
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Re: Vintage computing for fun and [no] profit

Postby Graf Zahl » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:34 am

I was actually mainly asking about the monetary aspect here.
@MartinHowe: Wow £560 is a lot of money to throw after such old stuff. If I could spare that I'd rather invest into a new system that can replace my current 9 year old one... Hopefully later this year.
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