in comparison to the HW mode, yes, the graphic quality is very diffrent.
I didn't get to try the patching from nt cpmàtible, but im gonns try to play it on XP (I have a Ti200 GF3) but alredy on the Config, It's on soft mode, Is there a way to force HW mode, without the Nvidia Patch?
I am having the same problem, because my card will not support 8-bit palleted textures in the config test. I have a ATI card and if you do happen to find a patch or crack or whatever that can bybass this so that i may use my vid card, please feel free to share Please note that the only cards that support this 8-bit palleted texture mode are the late 3DFX cards and about four other cards that came out about five years ago (stated in the txt file that came with FF7).
I personally think that whoever is responsible for the 3DHardware config (squaresoft or eidos) should make a revised edition so that people with newer cards i.e people with cards made after 1998, should be able to play the game as it was intended. Not in the eye sore software render mode.
In win2k, with SP2 and the new *updated* apppatch, I can get the config program to pass 8 bit software textures. That's with a Neomagic 2mb card on a p2 266. I've played *through* the game on the laptop with win98se, but since I have a 6.4gig drive and have Win2k/Mandrake 8.1 dual, I have no room to be doing Mickey Mouse stuff with msft.
There's a couple of patches out, one's Cyrix and the other is some kind of vid card patch. I use the latter one, but I've never looked closely at it. FF7 was made with Voodoo in mind, and in my experience with desktops, Ati Rage Pro and Voodoo2 never mix.
I think you may have better luck if you upgrade to XP, since I've heard a lot of people can play it default (no patch; no service pack; load and go). But since XP has had that huge security bug since it's inception, I'm kinda' getting mixed feelins'...
actually, most of the newest vid-cards with the latests drivers actually support 8-bit palleted textures (GeForce3 does) and I understand that the radeons and the one before it (rage fury if im not mistaken) alredy had the 8bit paletted texture support. Regardless of that, my config (WinXP and a GF3Ti200) default to soft mode and can't run if I install the TNT or 128ZX patch. Does anybody know how to hack this bi**h of a game (though I love it) to work in 3d Hardware mode, 'cause once you've seen it in 3d mode, the soft just really hurts. (PD: I haven't tried the game in 98 with the Ti200 but My guess is that it must work like charm... But still, I cant revert mi rig to 98 now. I'm addicted to the stability of both the os itself and its networking