[Techtalk] I want Tux Racer dangit

Alvin Goats agoats at compuserve.com
Mon Nov 11 13:02:02 EST 2002

> Sad tale of woe: all I want is to play Tux Racer. Such a simple want. However 
> I need hardware acceleration enabled. Hmph. God hates me, the fates are 
> against me, and even my cat has attitude because of this.
> video card: Voodoo 3 1000
> OS: RH8 

Knowing which version of XFree86 you're running may help more. While I
don't run RH, I do run Slackware and have had problems with some video
hardware and XFree86.

The first few versions of XFree86 4.x series was totally dysfunctional
for me (an old S3 ViRGE DX, and a Toshiba Tecra 730CDT Laptop). None of
the patches, suggestions, resolutions, color depths worked. I had to use
XFree86 3.3.6.

The latest version in Slackware 8.1 (XFree86 4.2.0) does work. I would
recommend trying the newest release of XFree86 source code and compile
for RedHat. If that doesn't work, try 4.2.0 and finally revert backwards
to 3.3.6 unless the newer versions are critical. 

The alternative is to find a video card that works with the software.
The Voodoo's have had problems that take a while to fix properly. With
the complete XFree86 rewrite from the 3.x series to the 4.x series, a
lot of drivers became "broken" and are being fixed.

Since my S3 ViRGE DX started dieing, I now have a Matrox G200 AGP which
works great. I haven't tried Tux Racer just yet, but plan to! Too much
talk about how much fun it is.

As for Windoze... the resolution and color depth WILL change
automagically and will lie to you about what level you are running: YOU
THINK your're running 1024x768 32bpp, but the game (typically) requires
640x480 256 color or 16bpp to run. Windoze drops resolution and color
depth to support those limitations. With some of the autosyncing
monitors, you can hear the monitor change audio pitch (if you can hear
sound above 15kHz) and do some switching to change resolutions. Some of
the game "startup" screen blanking is the monitor and windoze resyncing
at a different resolution and color depth. 

Color depth is included here because it changes the refresh rate of the
screen. To not have flicker, you have to transfer more information
faster, so you have to have a faster sync rate. This also slows down
motion because of the update speed of the screen. For some of the
"optimized" games, they resort to 16bpp to have something in common with
most monitors, and they pick a resolution that most people have: 800x600
is fairly universal, although 640x480 is always available; higher
resolution are actually more rare due to cost. Remember, they have to
consider the "legacy" monitors that are out there and the cost of memory
in the video card. 

The 16bpp allows for much faster information transfer and will use the
accelerator's chip sets for faster motion still. 3D effects are just a
trick of "motion" and rendering. Rendering speed is reduced for larger
and larger resolutions. A simple example: use povray to ray trace an
object at 640x480 256 color, then at 640x480 16bpp, 640x480 24bpp and
finally at 1024x768 256 color. Time to render goes up with increased
color depth or increased resolution. 

A trick you can try after X is working right: set up a user for you that
has the screen settings set for those games that want a lower resolution
and different color depth. 

Hope this helps some.


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