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Ditch Directdraw; Triple yer Framerates with MGL

After switchin' ta my new system, a p2 233mHz with an Asus AGP-v3000 RIVA 128 video card an' 64 MB of SDRAM I didn't see much of a framerate improvement fer Outlaws over my old system, a p120 with 16mb ram an' crappy 2mb video card. This kinda ticked me off. One day after an especially low-framerate game where I got killed a lot by feller's whose video didn't slow ta a crawl at crucial moments I decided ta check inta somethin' I remembered from readin' th' Outlaws.txt where they mention alternate "low-resolution MGL drivers." Well, I wuz already playin' in lowres 320x200 so I figgered MGL couldn't be any worse. I wuz right. In fact usin' th' MGL drivers pretty much tripled my framerates! Once I hit a rate of 169 fps! Wish I'd'a known about that when I first got th' game! It's amazin' how much easier things get as yer framerate goes up.

Ta set up th' MGL
drivers you have to copy th' contents of th' MGL directory, located on th' FIRST Outlaws CD in th' "support" directory, into yer Outlaws directory on yer hard drive (wherever you installed th' game). Make sure you've selected "view all files" in windows explorer: there should be seven files to copy. Dump 'em in, then go to yer Outlaws video config; "MGL (Full Screen)" should now be listed. Select it an' then select 320x200 resolution (I got about 20-25 fps in 800x600, but that's not really good fer multiplay).

I get higher framerates on average with MGL than I did on my old system with a Righteous Voodoo 3dfx card.

Start Outlaws an' get into a game, single or multiplayer. Type "OLFPS" (without th' quotes) ta see yer framerate in th' top left corner of yer screen. Compare this with whatever ya got with th' DirectDraw drivers (you kin always switch back an' forth ta check, although you'll have ta restart Outlaws each time). I'd test on a bad fps level, like "Thud Tower." Th' central tower is really harsh on framerates, an' pointin' yer view at it makes fer a pretty good "real world" test of yer framerates. Hopefully you'll do better with MGL; I average between 50 an' 100 fps, dependin' on th' level.

I've only encountered two downsides ta MGL, besides th' fact that it may not be better on slow systems. First, it takes a few seconds ta task switch out of th' game with ALT-TAB. An' second, th' screen seems a bit darker so ya may hafta adjust yer gamma in th' options screen. Neither of these are really a big deal though. Once again, we've seen that Microsoft software (ie DirectDraw) is crappy compared to proprietary systems (ie MGL). I get higher framerates on average with MGL than I did on my old system with a Righteous Voodoo 3dfx card, although at a crappier resolution. But when ya get right down to it, it's speed not looks that counts. MGL rules!

I have it on good authority that MGL works by openin' up a full-screen DOS "box" without actually loading DOS, an' then runs that box in VESA graphics mode. Sounds weird but hey it works pretty darned well. If yer havin' trouble with th' MGL video mode, like as not it's 'cause yer video card's driver don't support VESA like all good cards should. For instance, it's unlikely that MGL will work on any card in Windows NT or XP, since these operating systems don't offer true DOS support to begin with.

Further investigation has revealed that MGL is a graphics library created by Scitech. Fer those innerested in more about MGL, check out Scitech's MGL page.


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