Celestia & Graphics cards. Your Participation Needed!

General discussion about Celestia that doesn't fit into other forums.
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Don. Edwards
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Celestia & Graphics cards. Your Participation Needed!

Post #1by Don. Edwards » 10.05.2005, 01:15

As of late I have been getting allot of email and a few PM asking me why and how to get my and or other textures to work in Celestia. Most of the problems have been driver related, while the others have been the lack of the users knowledge of how to add or change an entry on the solarsys.ssc.
What I want to do today is to start a database of tested video cards and there compatibility with Celestia and its more advanced feature set. There are 2 reasons for this.
#1. To have a working knowledge base of what truly works and what features to expect.
#2. To help with questions that come my way or to others that we have a database that they can check to see if there card can in fact work.

This database does need to have certain cut off points. Mainly I do not want to here about any Nvidia GeForce cards as they are all 100% fully supported. I would like to here from users that are using older cards like the venerable ATi Rage, Rage Pro, and newer ATi cards. From the S3 camp I would like to here from any Verge, Savage, and the newer Delta Chrome cards. Basicly I want to here from anyone using what we might think of as Exotic cards out there. Here is a list I realy want to here about.

ATI
SIS
S3
Matrox
3D labs
Trident
Chips & Technology
Any other I might have missed. I didn't list any Nvidia TNT cards as there limitations are also well known.

This will probably be a large undertaking. But I feel we really need this information if we as a growing community want to help each other. This database then could be added as part of a compatibility list for Celestia. I know there is a basic list but as newer cards come on the market it is important to keep up with what will and won?€™t be working.
This also helps in the trouble shooting area. As a repair tech I am always thinking of ways that streamline the way to troubleshoot a problem. We in the industry have databases that tell us of certain compatibility issues with certain software and hardware and we can then find a fix if there is one. This is basically the same thing but for the Celestia community in general.
Information can be posted here in this thread. Please do not email or PM with infomation as this will end up giving me duplicate info. All I want is the make of your video card and what features you can get to work with it. When posting the data make sure no one else has already posted about your paticulair video card. An example would be and entry for an ATI Radeon 9200. If it is listed already than do not repeat the entry unless you have contradictory information about a feature working or not working on the card. This will cut down on me having to read over the same card information time after time.
Features that need to mentioned are if spec lighting is working, The maximum size cloud texture that can be used and moving. If you can use a bumpmap or a normalmap, Etc?€¦

Thanks for your time and interest in participating.

Don. Edwards
I am officially a retired member.
I might answer a PM or a post if its relevant to something.

Ah, never say never!!
Past texture releases, Hmm let me think about it

Thanks for your understanding.

BlindedByTheLight
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Post #2by BlindedByTheLight » 10.05.2005, 01:58

Glad to help!

I am using a ATI Radeon 8500 with Celestia 1.32 (Mac OS X 10.3.9)

Spec Lighting - works
Bumpmap/Normalmap - does not work (multi-colored error)
Maximum Cloud Size In Motion - undetermined

When I switch to Celestia 1.4pre6:

Spec Lighting - still works
Bumpmap/Normalmap - starts working
Maximum Cloud Size In Motion - still undetermined

I will re-edit this post with new information as I read what other info others are posting.

One question for clarification... you say that NVIDIA drivers are 100% supported... but doesn't that still depend on the platform's drivers?
Steven Binder, Mac OS X 10.4.10

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Post #3by The Singing Badger » 10.05.2005, 02:17

This is a very good idea.

ATI Radeon 7000 with Celestia pre1.4.6 (Win XP)

Specularity - doesn't work :(
Bumpmaps - don't work at all :(
Ring shadows - don't work :(
More than two light sources - doesn't work :(

Everything else is great ! :)

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Don. Edwards
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Post #4by Don. Edwards » 10.05.2005, 03:13

Thanks, this is a great start.

Don. Edwards
I am officially a retired member.
I might answer a PM or a post if its relevant to something.

Ah, never say never!!
Past texture releases, Hmm let me think about it

Thanks for your understanding.

Commander David
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Post #5by Commander David » 10.05.2005, 06:33

Hi,

i`m using

ATI Radeon 9500 non Pro; newest Catalyst-Driver and Celestia 1.4pre6

Spec Lighting - don`t work by using OpenGL 2.0 renderer
Bumpmap/Normalmap - works
Cloud Size In Motion - 2k (above 2k i must set CloudSpeed to 0 an it works)
Ring shadows - work
More than 2 lightsources - work
Celestia on my System:
AMD Barton 2800+@3000+
1024 MB DDR-RAM
ATI Radeon 9500 non Pro 128MB
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Post #6by The Singing Badger » 10.05.2005, 13:16

Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics Controllers Driver, using Celestia 1.4.0pre6 with Win XP

Spec Lighting - works :)
Bumpmap/Normalmap - doesn't work, :( I get the 'multicoloured' effect (anyone know if there's a patch for this?!)
Ring shadows - works :)

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Post #7by t00fri » 10.05.2005, 19:36

Don,

while I think your idea of a graphics card data base is simply great, I am convinced that it would be paramount to request more detailed/precise info from people. The best would probably be to prepare some standardized form to fill.

Let me give you a "hot" example: ATI 9200 SE (got it in my office machine). For that card, a specification of the OS and the respective driver version used is crucial! The latest XP drivers work quite satisfactorily, while Linux is really "complicated" : until quite recently, the native ATI driver (fglrx) would crash badly with Celestia, while the drm-kernel module coming with the most recent xorg X-server does quite a decent job!

So you see only a very detailed unravelling of the card's "boundary conditions" will end up in helpful info to others...

Good luck,

Bye Fridger

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Post #8by brunetto_64 » 10.05.2005, 19:57

I Have this:

Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc.
Renderer: RADEON 9100 DDR x86/SSE
Version: 1.3.4776 Win2000 Release
Max simultaneous textures: 6
Max texture size: 2048
Supported Extensions:

GL_ARB_multitexture
GL_EXT_texture_env_add
GL_EXT_compiled_vertex_array
GL_S3_s3tc
GL_ARB_occlusion_query
GL_ARB_point_parameters
GL_ARB_texture_border_clamp
GL_ARB_texture_compression
GL_ARB_texture_cube_map
GL_ARB_texture_env_add
GL_ARB_texture_env_combine
GL_ARB_texture_env_crossbar
GL_ARB_texture_env_dot3
GL_ARB_texture_mirrored_repeat
GL_ARB_transpose_matrix
GL_ARB_vertex_blend
GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object
GL_ARB_vertex_program
GL_ARB_window_pos
GL_ATI_element_array
GL_ATI_envmap_bumpmap
GL_ATI_fragment_shader
GL_ATI_map_object_buffer
GL_ATI_texture_env_combine3
GL_ATI_texture_mirror_once
GL_ATI_vertex_array_object
GL_ATI_vertex_attrib_array_object
GL_ATI_vertex_streams
GL_ATIX_texture_env_combine3
GL_ATIX_texture_env_route
GL_ATIX_vertex_shader_output_point_size
GL_EXT_abgr
GL_EXT_bgra
GL_EXT_blend_color
GL_EXT_blend_func_separate
GL_EXT_blend_minmax
GL_EXT_blend_subtract
GL_EXT_clip_volume_hint
GL_EXT_draw_range_elements
GL_EXT_fog_coord
GL_EXT_multi_draw_arrays
GL_EXT_packed_pixels
GL_EXT_point_parameters
GL_EXT_rescale_normal
GL_EXT_secondary_color
GL_EXT_separate_specular_color
GL_EXT_stencil_wrap
GL_EXT_texgen_reflection
GL_EXT_texture3D
GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc
GL_EXT_texture_cube_map
GL_EXT_texture_edge_clamp
GL_EXT_texture_env_combine
GL_EXT_texture_env_dot3
GL_EXT_texture_filter_anisotropic
GL_EXT_texture_lod_bias
GL_EXT_texture_mirror_clamp
GL_EXT_texture_object
GL_EXT_texture_rectangle
GL_EXT_vertex_array
GL_EXT_vertex_shader
GL_HP_occlusion_test
GL_NV_texgen_reflection
GL_NV_blend_square
GL_NV_occlusion_query
GL_SGI_color_matrix
GL_SGIS_texture_edge_clamp
GL_SGIS_texture_border_clamp
GL_SGIS_texture_lod
GL_SGIS_generate_mipmap
GL_SGIS_multitexture
GL_SUN_multi_draw_arrays
GL_WIN_swap_hint
WGL_EXT_extensions_string
WGL_EXT_swap_control

My OS is Win 2000 pro s.p.4, and 384 Mb ram
and I have Celestia 1.4.0 pre6

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Don. Edwards
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Post #9by Don. Edwards » 10.05.2005, 20:08

Fridger,
While I and many others might find the Linux info interesting or even OSX, I have to approach this in the real world demographics here. 90% of Celestia users are Windows users and that is the platform I deal with on a day to day basis. The only time I work on anything Linux is when a customer may come to me for and upgrade for there hardware. I and most computer repair techs look at dealing with Linux like gas stations. You have the full service isle and the self serve isle. Windows unfortunately is the full service isle while Linux is the self service isle. I have worked on many more Macs than I have Linux machines. Not to say I haven?€™t played with Linux in the past. I recently tried a few distroes. Mainly trying them as an inexpensive alternative on the sale of older remanufactured computers instead of charging $100 to add Windows to a $200 or $300 machine. This of course has been met with resistance from my consumers so I always end up tacking the cost of Windows right back to the machine. A real pity because a few of the versions I have tried are very nice alternatives for the basic computer user.
But if the Linux users want add what is and is not working with there cards that is ok.
Also I am taking this information in the terms most computer users can handle. Lets face it, allot of computer users do not even want to know how the things work, only that they work. I am trying to build a simple database of what we know works for the most part. I do not need long list printouts of all the video drivers on there machine. I simply want the video card they use and what Celestia features they can get working on it. A very simple task really that doesn?€™t need to become a major project. If it is done the way it is going I will have a fairly accurate list of cards fairly soon.

Don. Edwards
I am officially a retired member.
I might answer a PM or a post if its relevant to something.

Ah, never say never!!
Past texture releases, Hmm let me think about it

Thanks for your understanding.

julesstoop
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Post #10by julesstoop » 10.05.2005, 20:19

Hmm..
Don, Fridger's proposal doesn't exclude your idea, does it?
Working with a standardized form still seems like a viable idea and why shouldn't you - while you are at it - include datafields for operating system and version? Seems like a small amount of an extra effort and a lot of pleasure for those who are interested.
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Post #11by BlindedByTheLight » 10.05.2005, 20:43

and why shouldn't you - while you are at it - include datafields for operating system and version? Seems like a small amount of an extra effort and a lot of pleasure for those who are interested.


I would also like to point out, even if one is interested solely in the real-world demographic of 90% being Windows users (though with the iPod halo effect going the way it is don't be surprised if that number drops to 89% by the end of the year!) you STILL would need a datafield for operating systems to EXCLUDE the other OS's you are not interested in. After all, if I say I have an ATI 9000 and my normal maps aren't working it would behoove you to know that that is only a Linux or Mac OS X problem.
Steven Binder, Mac OS X 10.4.10

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Post #12by t00fri » 10.05.2005, 20:48

Don. Edwards wrote:Fridger,
While I and many others might find the Linux info interesting or even OSX, I have to approach this in the real world demographics here. 90% of Celestia users are Windows users and that is the platform I deal with on a day to day basis. The only time I work on anything Linux is when a customer may come to me for and upgrade for there hardware. I and most computer repair techs look at dealing with Linux like gas stations. You have the full service isle and the self serve isle. Windows unfortunately is the full service isle while Linux is the self service isle. I have worked on many more Macs than I have Linux machines. Not to say I haven?€™t played with Linux in the past. I recently tried a few distroes. Mainly trying them as an inexpensive alternative on the sale of older remanufactured computers instead of charging $100 to add Windows to a $200 or $300 machine. This of course has been met with resistance from my consumers so I always end up tacking the cost of Windows right back to the machine. A real pity because a few of the versions I have tried are very nice alternatives for the basic computer user.
But if the Linux users want add what is and is not working with there cards that is ok.
Also I am taking this information in the terms most computer users can handle. Lets face it, allot of computer users do not even want to know how the things work, only that they work. I am trying to build a simple database of what we know works for the most part. I do not need long list printouts of all the video drivers on there machine. I simply want the video card they use and what Celestia features they can get working on it. A very simple task really that doesn?€™t need to become a major project. If it is done the way it is going I will have a fairly accurate list of cards fairly soon.

Don. Edwards


Don,

while I see your point, you might recall that Celestia was conceived and realized as a multi platform application, including Linux and OS X. We have never weighted our efforts to develop Celestia-Linux by the ratio of Linux users/Windows users ;-)

Actually, Celestia's developers spent many hours of their spare time to realize Celestia beyond Windows. You might be surprised about the actual number of Linux users of Celestia. Celestia is part of all major Linux distributions worldwide since quite a while.

My Lab has ~6000 PC's on site, with /all/ scientists using exclusively Linux. These people naturally tend to have also a 'faible' for Celestia...While Windows is far leading in the Home PC sector, in the professional server domain, the proportions are significantly shifted towards Linux. Judging from this forum may be misleading.

Bye Fridger

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Post #13by Don. Edwards » 11.05.2005, 00:41

Well on second thought I think I will just KILL this here and now. I simply am not knowledgeable enough to make and maintain an html form for this. And the point is a valid one about the Operating System issue. I was simply trying to create a simple faq sheet that could be included or referred to b myself and others when questions about video card compatibility came up. I have been taking a great deal of time as of late dealing with questions on these matters, time that I would or should be spending on other projects. It just the natural born problem solver in me that got this idea in the first place.

Now for what was said by BlindedByTheLight about the halo effect of the iPod. I really do not care if Apple is able to take Microsoft?€™s market share down to 75%. It has been proven time and time again that even with Apple using the G5 CPUs in there machines they do not perform on par with AMD Athlon 64 CPUs. A great deal of 3D software does not work as well on the Mac, including Celestia and many main stream games. That is because Apple just does not keep up with proper driver updates. If they would turn over writing of all video drivers directly to Nvidia and ATI I think then the Mac as a platform might really have a chance to take some of the wind out of Microsoft?€™s sails.
Now I am not a die hard PC user. I have owned several Macs in the past. But Apple has a way of using the bait and switch scheme and I have gotten stung by them in the past. The greatest example is when I bought my first G3. Apple promised to everyone that this machine would be 100% compatible with the new OS X when it came out. That was a bold faced lie. I and many joined and ill fated law suit over this because Apple refused to write drivers that would fully support our built in graphics cards. No they wanted us to go and blow another $3000 grand and buy a Blue&White G3 instead. That is just six months after I bought my Biege G3. So you see I come from the school of once bitten twice shy. Apple does allot of really cool things but I do not care for there closed hardware platform. It doesn?€™t perform as it should; the reputation for customer service is getting very bad marks.
For me to buy a Mac that can perform at the level my present PC I would have to spend $2000 or more. Why should I. I like to build my own computers. It?€™s cheaper and if something goes wrong I know exactly who to blame. . They are fully customized for my use, they perform at the level I expect or better most of the time. The Operating system may be full of security holes but there are very good third party applications that can fix that and many of them are freeware and they work better than what Symantec and the other big companies make. Your computer is what you make of it. I could go on and on about this. Apple is good but I feel I build a better machine than they do and I give better support. Lets here it for the little computer shops that stick there nose up at the likes of Dell and HP and Apple.

Don. Edwards
I am officially a retired member.
I might answer a PM or a post if its relevant to something.

Ah, never say never!!
Past texture releases, Hmm let me think about it

Thanks for your understanding.

BlindedByTheLight
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Post #14by BlindedByTheLight » 11.05.2005, 01:16

Now for what was said by BlindedByTheLight about the halo effect of the iPod.

So, then, shall I take your comment to mean that you didn't get my sarcasm directed at the iPod's "halo effect" in saying it would plunge Microsoft's market share from 90% all the way down to a whopping 89%? :D

I really do not care if Apple is able to take Microsoft?€™s market share down to 75%.


The issue doesn't seem to be what the market share is or who makes a better mouse trap (though it seems you have strong feelings on the subject)... but isn't the issue about who actually are the users of Celestia? Which makes me wonder, does anyone have any good statistics/sense of who the users are? Given this is such a niche program - with a strong leaning toward the science community - how likely is it that its users fall along mainstream computer-user demographics of MS dominance? I have been getting the sense there are a lot more Linux users than one might suspect, actually. Also, I know of a lot of schools that are using Celestia (my nephew's AND nieces) and they are all on Macs (which has a greater representation in the educational world). Has anyone ever gotten any reliable numbers? Maybe from the versions downloaded off the web? That would be a good indicator I would think... and I am just curious.

Also (and this is NOT any attempt to start the age-old, waste-of-time, silly OS wars)... I've just found it kinda amusing how, in its infancy, Macs were panned as computers that were toys good for nothing but playing games... and, as of late (though probably rightly so), they are often getting panned as computers that are good for everything BUT games. I guess, like SR, it all depends on your POV. Ironic, if not amusing... :)

(and bummer about the beige G3 issue... did you win the lawsuit?)
Steven Binder, Mac OS X 10.4.10

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Post #15by julesstoop » 11.05.2005, 04:59

Just for information:
Celestia is being used by the largest Apple dealer in Amsterdam as one of the applications on their showroom machines for people to play with. I've yet to find another computer shop in the Netherlands who do this.
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Post #16by The Singing Badger » 11.05.2005, 16:43

Oh for god's sake, Celestians!! Don had a great idea here for a very useful project here, and now we're bogging down in a stupid 'my operating system is better than yours' debate. :x

Fridger is entirely correct that some kind of standardised form would be very useful here. Why don't we try to design such a form together?

Below, I have listed some things that ought to belong in such a form. No doubt I've missed out a lot. So what I'd like you all to do is point out the things that are missing, and I will edit each suggestion into this post. Once we've finished designing the form we can figure out the easiest way to get people to submit the information. This would be collabarative and productive. Which is good.

So, here's a very basic starting point for the form. I may have the terminology wrong; please tell me if so.

Your System
What is your operating system? (i.e. Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc. - please give the release type - e.g. Windows 95, Windows XP, etc.)
What graphics card/chip/onboard controller are you using?
What drivers are you using?
Which version of Celestia are you using?

What Can Your System Do?
Can you see specular effects?
Can youb see atmospheric haze effects?
Do bumpmaps work?
What is the maximum texture size for meshes (as opposed to simple planetary spheres)?
Can you use virtual textures?
What is the maximum texture size for a moving cloudmap?
Can you see ring shadows? (e.g. the shadow of the rings on the globe of Saturn)
In Celestia 1.4.x, can you see the effects of two light sources (i.e. in binary star systems)?
In Celestia 1.4.x, can you see the effects of more than two light sources (i.e. in multiple star systems)?

OK, so if you want to help, just say what else needs to go in this form.
Last edited by The Singing Badger on 14.05.2005, 18:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post #17by BlindedByTheLight » 11.05.2005, 17:38

Oh for god's sake, Celestians!! Don had a great idea here for a very useful project here, and now we're bogging down in a stupid 'my operating system is better than yours' debate.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad reality :) but, if I'm not mistaken (though I often am), I had made a joke MAKING FUN of people who get into OS wars (halo effect... 90% down to 89%)... and Julestoop was simply answering a legitimate question I posed about who are the users of Celestia.

OK, so if you want to help, just say what else needs to go in this form. If you would prefer to keep arguing about operating systems, please create a new thread in which to do so.


I would also like to point out that the so-called "argument" about operating systems was, in actuality, mostly a discussion about the RELEVANCE of operating system information in such a form. Which, if I'm not mistaken, means THIS is the exact thread such a discussion should be in. No one, even Don with his tale of bad tech support, was making platform judgements (okay, well he was... a little). But he was mostly discussing RELEVANCE. Which is, well... relevant.

In any case, thanks for the form - it's a good way to get this going.
Last edited by BlindedByTheLight on 11.05.2005, 19:58, edited 5 times in total.
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Post #18by t00fri » 11.05.2005, 17:47

Some further thoughts:

We could consider taking some workload off Don's "shoulders" by depositing the jointly designed (and filled in forms) into the Motherlode! That's the right place for a central "data base" isn't it?

I am sure Harry or someone else could write a simple read-out/search script in a very short time. Then everyone interested could just search the data base for his favoured brand of graphics card. In case of remaining problems, Don or someone else of us experienced guys could try to help...

Bye Fridger


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