Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Discuss Drakan: Order of the Flame with fellow players and post any technical problems here where an 'unofficial' support team will try and help you. Gameplay help questions can go here too.

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UCyborg
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Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:02 pm

In addition to AiO Patch, the following may be obtained to improve the experience:

dgVoodoo2
dgVoodoo started as a wrapper around Glide API, which some old games used at the time instead of Direct3D or OpenGL, allowing them to be played on modern hardware, which don't support Glide. The author also developed a wrapper around ancient DirectDraw/Direct3D interfaces. It uses Direct3D 11 as a wrapping output and requires DirectX 10.1 capable graphics card to work and of course Windows Vista or newer.

I've tried it with Drakan and noticed significantly improved performance (at least doubled, depending on the scene). My specs:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 920 @ 3,00 Ghz (overclocked from 2,8 GHz)
RAM: 4 GB
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
GPU driver version: 347.26 iCafe
OS: Windows 8.1

FPS dipping in the 40s is now much rarer occurrence, while it was quite common before. FPS will still drop when there is too much polygons, but just for the record, some random complex scene that rendered at 15 FPS before now renders at 30 FPS, this was also with Fog Distance set to 200% and everything else maxed at resolution 1920x1080.

It also improves compatibility with Desktop Window Manager, which is responsible for compositing desktop using graphics card and can't be turned off since Windows 8. DWM/DirectDraw is a problematic combination on Windows 8; most obvious issue game not going full-screen and running with poor performance. When that is resolved with Microsoft's own compatibility fix, alt-tabbing is painfully slow. Another problem is the game window freezing (Vista+ with enabled DWM, dedicated server/windowed mode), which used to require another compatibility fix, now fixed in my patch.
Windows 10's DWM plays nicer with games using DirectDraw than Windows 8's though. Recommended minimum Windows 10 version is 1809.

WARNING: dgVoodoo2 is better suited for newer hardware with good DirectX 11 support. Fast video memory access must be enabled to avoid some severe performance penalties (lens flares, debug messages).

You can install it by dropping contents of MS folder into Drakan installation directory (only DDraw.dll and D3DImm.dll are needed). Use included configuration utility to remove the watermark and enable Fast video memory access (DirectX tab).

Creative ALchemy
Primary purpose of ALchemy is to restore 3D sound and EAX effects in old games. 3D sound already works out-of-the-box on modern systems (at least for surround sound setups) since Drakan isn't picky about software/hardware sound buffers. EAX is proprietary effect library by Creative that was historically only available through their sound card drivers via DirectSound API and only when sound hardware acceleration was supported and enabled. DirectSound only supports hardware acceleration on supported hardware on Windows XP and earlier.

Today, we get these effects by employing alternative implementations of DirectSound. Creative ALchemy is one of them and is usually included with Creative's sound cards' drivers. It's also part of Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3, which is a pure software package intended to add some features of their sound cards to a system equipped with plain onboard audio. To enable ALchemy for Drakan, ALchemy application must be launched and Drakan manually added to the game list. Default settings should be fine.

DSOAL
DSOAL is another implementation of DirectSound library, which uses OpenAL Soft as a backend. OpenAL Soft has its own effects library so it sounds a bit different than ALchemy, which uses Creative's effects. Generally, Creative sounds more echoey.

DSOAL is also free to download and doesn't have any usage restrictions, you don't have to buy anything to be able to use it. To enable it, its files must usually be placed in the game's folder where its executable is located. For certain games (not Drakan), some manual modifications of Windows registry are also required for the game to pick it up.
Last edited by UCyborg on Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:41 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby Arokhs Twin » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:36 pm

Excellent - works great (I used the Virtual Glide Direct X version). I can now play it on Windows 10 in full screen without any graphical glitches.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:44 pm

The only strange thing with dgVoodoo is, game responds to keyboard input when minimized. :? I wonder if it happens only on my PC. I remember when I still had Radeon 4890, one driver version killed the mouse in Battlefield 3. :lol:

I'm also wondering about ALchemy. In the old days, I had Windows XP machine with sound card with EAX support, but I didn't give much thought to the whole EAX thing. Not even sure if I left it on or turned it off. But playing with ALchemy now, when it comes to Drakan, EAX and 3D sounds kind of weak. It seems to significantly reduce the volume, Arokh is much less audible, hell, even menus sound strange. Currently, I have Mafia installed which also supports EAX. It's completely opposite in that game, effects are powerful and the volume of sounds isn't reduced.

The question is, is it the game that was always like this or ALchemy? Drakan isn't officially supported, so it might be that.
Last edited by UCyborg on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby Arokhs Twin » Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:53 pm

Now that you mention it the game did sound odd' with Alchemy enabled. Ill give it one more go this weekend as I had to update my soundblaster driver when I upgraded to Windows 10 due to no subwoofer / bass in the audio.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:17 pm

So I've read about the special Wine version called Wine Staging, containing experimental patches, EAX support among other things. Wanted to hear how Drakan would sound when run via Wine. Turned out the game didn't detect EAX, even though I've enabled it. Same with Mafia.
Last edited by UCyborg on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby Arokhs Twin » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:58 pm

I tried the game with the latest sound driver and all seems OK with EAX. It's now playable on Windows 8 / 8.1 /10
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:16 pm

Well I'll be damned! Installing the real sound card driver worked for me too. This was the first time I've noticed a difference between generic sound driver and specialized one. Thought they were more about adding some special features like equalizers than anything else. Drakan sounds much better with ALchemy now. My sound card is nothing special, onboard VIA VT1708B.
Last edited by UCyborg on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"When a human being takes his life in depression, this is a natural death of spiritual causes. The modern barbarity of 'saving' the suicidal is based on a hair-raising misapprehension of the nature of existence." - Peter Wessel Zapffe

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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:58 am

Still, it could be a matter of different volume levels. Default music volume of 59% for example seems to make more sense when 3D sound buffers and EAX are enabled, if not, it seems better to have lower global volume and higher music volume, but when enabling 3D and EAX, the opposite must be done to even things out, at least according to my own experience. Plus the fact that the different drivers make the same global volume percentage (then one you set Windows) sound different.
Last edited by UCyborg on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby AXE » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:34 pm

I did not understand how to get this to run, where to put its folder, dll files etc. Could someone write a step by step for it. I have tried all the compatabilities with no luck.

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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby Arokhs Twin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:54 pm

I unzipped all the files into the Drakan folder, ran the configuration utility and set a few options which Ill list below:-

Config folder - same folder as the Drakan game files
On Glide tab:-
3DFX card - Voodoo Banshee (onboard RAM 16Mb)
Resolution unforced
Memsize per TMU 4096Kb
On DirectX tab:-
Videocard - DGVoodoo Virtual 3D card from drop down menu
VRAM - 128Mb
Resolution - unforced.
Passthrough unticked.

All other options at default.

When you run Drakan engine options you should have the DGvoodoo Virtual graphics card in the drop down box from available render devices.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:31 pm

You just open the zip file, go into MS folder and put DLL files that are in there into Drakan directory. Then you can run the game and you should see dgVoodoo watermark in the lower-right corner. If you want to get rid of the watermark, open the included configuration utility (dgVoodooSetup.exe), go to DirectX tab and disable dgVoodoo Watermark option.

Version 2.45 of dgVoodoo seems to have a strange bug. When you tab out of the game, all opened application windows shrink and move to upper-left corner. So if alt-tabbing is important, it might be better idea to stick to 2.44 for a while. Also, Drakan isn't coded to slow down or stop rendering while it's minimized so it will still waste some CPU and GPU.

PS: Glide tab is only applicable to Glide games, Drakan is a DirectX game.
"When a human being takes his life in depression, this is a natural death of spiritual causes. The modern barbarity of 'saving' the suicidal is based on a hair-raising misapprehension of the nature of existence." - Peter Wessel Zapffe

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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby Arokhs Twin » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:42 pm

I used to play the game with a 3DFX voodoo 2 on my Windows 98 PC when it first came out so I thought it used glide but yes it is Direct X only. The DGvoodoo software works a treat.
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby AXE » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:05 am

I gave up, could not get it to show my video. I have been having issues with win10 concerning other games, Trainz-A New Era being my fav. As win10 kept giving me issues with compatability etc, I removed it and have gone back to win7. As I was over the 30 day trial my backup restore files were deleted, thanks Microsoft. Fortunately I have my disc's 8)

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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby Ginko » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:40 pm

Waw, I had a problem with getting the game to run full-screen on Windows 10 but this fixed it right away.
Thanks for the tip, this website and forum has greatly helped me to run Drakan on a modern PC! :D
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Re: Improving Drakan performance, compatibility and audio

Postby UCyborg » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:51 pm

Yeah, Microsoft seems to complicate things related to older games with every new Windows version. Good thing people take their time to develop working solutions.
"When a human being takes his life in depression, this is a natural death of spiritual causes. The modern barbarity of 'saving' the suicidal is based on a hair-raising misapprehension of the nature of existence." - Peter Wessel Zapffe


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