Mechwarrior 2 custom software renderer?

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I.S. Baby
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:04 pm

Mechwarrior 2 custom software renderer?

Post by FuriousFingers »

I have always wanted to play Mechwarrior 2, but I didn’t own the right computer back then. Interestingly now when I try to play this on dosbox (via Boxer) on a macbook, the framerate isn’t buttery smooth at 1024x768 - the frame rate fluctuates between 35-52 fps on the very first mission. This is after a lot of dosbox config experiments, and turning off a few things from MW2 rendering.

So now I’m actually playing this game for the first time (!), and I’ve enjoyed the first few missions.

Then the graphics geek in me started wondering if its possible to play this game with an enhanced look and with better performance. I especially like the style of the software rendered versions of Mechwarrior 2 — the dusk/dawn is so pretty :P — so an enhanced software renderer look is what I’m after, rather than the looks of the HW accelerated version.

A few key issues I find with the software renderer are:
  • Subpar performance with dosbox - emulating software rendering is going to be slow
  • Lots of artifacts — cracks between polygons, the renderer doesn’t seem to use sub-pixel precision, geometry is wobbly on camera movement, polygon and line aliasing etc.
  • Fixed set of resolutions
So a few questions:
  • Is it possible to get the software rendering look on a HW accelerated version by patching some resources / turning off features i- game? If this is possible then an approach might be to override/intercept a HW renderer like glide to enhance the rendering to get the desired look.
  • Has anyone reverse engineered how the MW2 software renderer works? Which DLL does what / what is the internal SW renderer interface? Any documentation on how the scene is represented in memory?

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