Using Voodoo 2 emulation with PCem / 86Box

I’ve never had a Voodoo card before, I had was the Sierra Screamin’3D Rendition Verite 1000, which came with it’s own drivers that set the whole thing up. As always work got in the way of fun, and I missed out on the whole Direct X thing on Windows 95, as I was busy working on MS SQL on Windows NT, where hardware OpenGL cards were the way to go.

But thanks to emulation we can re-live the pain!

I setup emulation for an Intel Advanced/EV board, with an Intel Pentium Overdrive CPU at 166Mhz (my machine can handle that easily with the new builds!), 32MB of RAM, and a Phoenix S3 Trio32 video card set as Fast VLB/PCI.  After that toogle Voodoo Graphics, set the card model to the Voodoo2 , and bump up the RAM to 4MB, because we live in the future!

Also I should mention, that much like real hardware, it is best to go into the BIOS (F1 to enter BIOS setup) and make some changes, disable the built in audio card, serial and parallel ports.

And make sure the board is set to use the ICU with Windows 95 Plug & Play support.

To go from old, I installed Windows 95 from virtual floppies.  Its the oldest/smallest retail version of Windows 95, so I know if it’ll work here, it’ll work on much newer versions.

For me the S3 card is picked up by Windows on it’s own.  Now for the fun with better graphics.  As a test I’m using Wipeout 2097 / XL for the PC.  Although the game comes with Direct X version 3, I have found that the video emulation has major issues with the updated Direct X v3 drivers.  I did find that the Direct X 7a drivers work fine, along with the last reference  driver for Windows 9x.  Now I know you’ll want to know where to find ancient software like this, and it’s all on this great site

In my case, I found it easier to install Direct X 7, then expand the Voodoo driver, and in the hardware manager, find the ‘unknown’ device, and point it to the voodoo driver, reboot and you should be now set!

You can verify the installation by running dxdiag


One thing of note, is that all 3D accelerated options are “full screen”.  Which I don’t think really matters as by default PCem runs in a window.  If you are multitasking odds are you aren’t trying to multitask with Windows 95….

Wipeout XL

And I have to say, it looks GREAT!

8 thoughts on “Using Voodoo 2 emulation with PCem / 86Box

  1. Do you know if the Voodoo emulation in 86Box is a full software renderer, or does it only upcall/HLE the Glide commands to Direct3D/OpenGL on the host?

    • I honestly don’t know. I didn’t compare 86Box vs PCem, nor did I even really look at the source. About all I can say is that 86Box didn’t compile with GCC 5, and I ended up going to GCC 7. I should have compiled it -O2 -msse -msse2 as I found out that sse2 was required in some bits, but doing -march on my desktop sure didn’t work on this 10 year old laptop I end up using at home…

      From a glance it has a codegen back end, so it looks like it interprets the instructions, so I guess it’s a software renderer….

  2. Have you tried PCem v16? I wish I knew how fast it can be in a 2013 rMBP i7 16GB RAM. I tried it once but I think I did not configure it well, to run Win 98 for some games. It was slow as hell. I am now trying to use a port of qemu for iOS (UTM) and a forked on steroids DOSBox version called DOSBOX-X which is said to have 3Dfx support too. So far on all three I struggle with speed 🙁

  3. I haven’t tried yet.

    I’m on OS X, and I typically just run it through WINE (aka Crossover) as I have little patience for mucking about.

    for ‘speed’ you need 4Ghz something to make it go kinda fast…. Basically if you don’t have a K part i7 you’ll never see it go fast.

  4. No emulator for Pentium 2/Celeron? Back in the day I operated the Celeron-300A which was easily overclockable to an equivalent P2 450Mhz! Coupled with Monster3D Voodoo 2 SLI it was a dream playing games.

    I still have the Voodoo 2 cards slotted in the old casing. The motherboard was changed post-millennium for AMD Athlon XP and it became quite an unstable period for me.

    • First PC other than my father’s green monitor was 166 mjz Pentium with a 2mb graphics card. Man, when I got that 4 MB Monster 3D to play tomb raider and quake on 3dfx hardware; That shit was game changing.

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