What supports 8-bit palettized textures?
October 24, 2007 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Do any modern graphics cards still support 8-bit palettized textures? If not, what were the last ones that did?

I'm a PC gamer who sometimes plays older games. I'd noticed that some games from the late 1990's -- console-to-PC ports in particular -- fail to use 3D acceleration on my current system, and instead fall back to Direct3D "software mode". (So much for device-independence...) In some cases this is okay, in others it results in an unacceptably slow framerate. After some research, I'm pretty much convinced that it's all due to "8-bit palettized textures". It seems that both ATI and nVidia dropped support for this feature some years ago, because no new games use it. But these older games rely on it.

So, if I want to be able to play these older games with full hardware acceleration as intended, what video card should I get?
posted by baf to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: According to the OpenGL extension supported cards include:
Intel 810/815.


Microsoft software OpenGL implementation.

Selected NVIDIA GPUs: NV1x (GeForce 256, GeForce2, GeForce4 MX, GeForce4 Go, Quadro, Quadro2), NV2x (GeForce3, GeForce4 Ti, Quadro DCC, Quadro4 XGL), and NV3x (GeForce FX 5xxxx, Quadro FX 1000/2000/3000). NV3 (Riva 128) and NV4 (TNT, TNT2) GPUs and NV4x GPUs do NOT support this functionality (no hardware support).
Future NVIDIA GPU designs will no longer support paletted textures.

S3 ProSavage, Savage 2000.

3Dfx Voodoo3, Voodoo5.

3Dlabs GLINT.
In modern hardware, the same functionality can be achieved by using fragment shaders, but that fact won't help you to run old games.
posted by demiurge at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2007

hmm. i was going to say you should try running them in DosBox, as I have had good luck running older games in it (Woo! Pinball Dreams!). But then I read the question, and realized that you are probably talking about windows games though, so I'm not sure. Maybe if you could find a Virtualized Windows 95/98/Me installation somewhere on the internets, you could get the game(s) to work in that.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2007

Running them in a virtual OS won't change the problem of not having hardware support for a graphics extension.
posted by demiurge at 12:20 PM on October 24, 2007

like i said, i wasn't sure if that sould work or not. The way I understand it, there is some emulation going on behind the scenes (in the case of DosBox, anyway) that allowed old Dos games that accessed the video hardware directly to run on WinXP/Vista/Linux, where such activities are frowned upon.

perhaps a Win95/98/ME install IN a DosBox install is more of what I was thinking...

From their web page:
DOSBox emulates an Intel x86 PC, complete with sound, graphics, mouse, modem, etc., necessary for running many old DOS games that simply cannot be run on modern PCs and operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Linux and FreeBSD. However, it is not restricted to running only games. In theory, any DOS application should run in DOSBox, but the emphasis has been on getting DOS games to run smoothly, which means that communication, networking and printer support are still in early developement.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:04 PM on October 24, 2007

Maybe try a glide wrapper to emulate old 3dfx hardware?
posted by zabuni at 6:21 PM on October 24, 2007

A Glide wrapper might help, if you can find one that works.

With both my current and previous video cards (Geforce4 and Radeon 9600, respectively), I could run the original GLQuake just fine, and that almost certainly uses paletted textures. Of course, it's not a Direct3D app either.
posted by neckro23 at 8:43 PM on October 24, 2007

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