3dfx Glide Coming to Linux with Support for Modern GPUs

(Image credit: 3dfx/reddit.com/user/xSTRAIGHTEDGE420x/)

A developer has implemented 3dfx's Glide application programming interface into Mesa's Gallium3D driver stack for modern GPUs. The implementation allows users to play games that rely on Glide under Linux to run on modern hardware. 

Link Mauve, an independent hobbyist developer, created Grover, a Glide API implementation front-end for Mesa'sGallium3D using the Rust programming language, reports Phoronix. Mesa's Gallium 3D driver stack includes open-source drivers for modern AMD's Radeon and Intel's Gen or Xe hardware, which essentially means it will be possible to play old Glide-based games on up-to-date GPUs. However, there are some caveats.

Since Glide was generally used for Windows games and the developer did not have access to any Glide-based game for Linux, he used code samples and the 1997 game Pandemonium to test his implementation. For this very same reason, he could not implement the windowing system, which is an important feature as hardly anyone wants to run a late 1990s game on a large modern display in full-screen mode. Given limited testing, Mauve considers Grover a work in progress.

Because most Glide games were developed for Windows, playing them under Linux requires the use of Grover within the Wine/Proton compatibility layer, which has its perks. 

When it comes to playing old Windows video games that do not run on contemporary PCs, it is possible to build a system using outdated components that have drivers for Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Sourcing properly working GeForce or Radeon graphics cards from the early 2000s is tricky, but obtaining a 3dfx Voodoo board to play games that exclusively use the proprietary Glide API (e.g., Unreal, Unreal Tournament) from the late 1990s is much harder. 

Given all the complexities and costs associated with procuring old hardware, as well as getting it up and running, various Linux emulations look like a viable option. However, if you want to get the same experience from late 1990s games (and therefore ultimate reminiscence), nothing beats buying an outdated graphics card and supporting hardware to go along with a 4:3 aspect ratio monitor.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • ravewulf
    Or, if you're on Windows (not sure about Linux), you can use dgVoodoo 2 to convert the Glide API calls to Direct3D