RSC Logo
FacebookThreadsBlueskyTwitterHive SocialMastodonYouTubeTiktokTwitchRedditGoogle NewsApple NewsSubscribe via WordPressFlipboardRSS FeedeBay   Search RSC#OnThisDay in sim racingStatistics
  Race Sim Central includes an index of 45,389 items.
Submit news: tim@racesimcentral.net.
RSC won't run ads that affect browsing by overlaying what you're actually trying to see. You can support RSC and make this all seem worthwhile by donating via PayPal, Patreon, or YouTube Membership.

IndyCar Racing II: The Rendition Experience

Tim Wheatley - Oct 6, 2021       21 Comments
Tim Wheatley - Oct 6, 2021
    21 Comments

Rendition video cards were something I was vaguely aware of around the time it was active, but I never had one myself. Until this past year I had only ever seen IndyCar Racing II in software rendering, usually upscaled in DOSBOX; DOSBOX being the recommended way to run the software today because it runs smoothly and allows you to bind a modern steering wheel and pedals to the emulated DOS environment.

What is Rendition?

Rendition is a type of hardware graphics rendering used in video games much like 3DFX Glide, OpenGL and DirectX. The main benefit of Rendition over software SVGA (640×480 pixels) is that the graphics card reduces aliasing (visible pixel edges) to give the impression it’s running at a much higher resolution, and generally allows higher graphics settings due to load being taken off the CPU.

The image below shows a direct comparison between the software 320×200 (displayed at 320×240), software 640×480 (SVGA), Rendition 640×480 and Elkhart Lake HQ version; The HQ version of the track being one produced by Papyrus specifically for Rendition.

As you can see the lines are much more defined with Rendition (bottom-left) over SVGA (top-right) even though the resolution is the same. The main difference comes from the Rendition-exclusive high quality (HQ) track (bottom-right) which upgrades the sky, trackside models and textures.

The Hardware

Rendition v1000 video cards from 1996 were the first PC graphics cards with a programmable core used to render 3D graphics and usually shipped with a copy of IndyCar Racing II. Sierra, the software publisher, even released their own v1000 Rendition GPU bundle under the Screamin’ 3D name. The v1000 had 4MB EDO DRAM and unfortunately soon struggled to compete with other hardware options for most games.

The 1997 v2100 and v2200 chips were essentially an upgrade to the v1000, which is why IndyCar Racing II can be easily patched to run on them. The only v2100 GPU produced was the Diamond Multimedia Stealth II S220 PCI with 4MB SGRAM, and is the one you’ll most likely see today on eBay. The v2200 had a higher clock speed than the v2100 and the larger number of manufacturers selling it all offered slightly different options like AGP or PCI connectivity, 4MB or 8MB SGRAM and even hardware accelerated DVD playback. However, Diamond Multimedia released a BIOS flash update for their v2100 which gave it v2200 clock speeds and basically negates the need to find a v2200 specifically for ICR2.

All Rendition cards appear to have been passively cooled with no heatsinks or fans, but in my experience would benefit from some additional airflow. The Diamond S220 tested in an enclosed environment will lockup and require a system reset after about an hour of gameplay without adequate heat removal.

The Software

The Rendition version of IndyCar Racing II is actually pretty hard to find because it only ever appears to have been sold bundled with the GPU. CART Racing Rendition (the IndyCar Racing II re-release) is your best option and can be easily turned into a Rendition ICR2 complete with Rendition HQ tracks by copying over the cars, main.dat, gameopts.cfg from ICR2 and putting and then running the indycar.exe from this Rendition patch in your Rendition CART directory. CART Racing Rendition is found in the DOS then REND folder on most versions of the CART Racing CD.

Obviously apart from transparent smoke and dust, the main visual difference between Software SVGA and Rendition is the anti-aliasing (smoothing of pixels). Not every track in ICR2 is available in Rendition-exclusive high quality (HQ), so in many cases the AA improvement on cars, trackside models and textures is all you get. The image below gives a direct anti-aliasing comparison using an imported Indianapolis Motor Speedway from IndyCar Racing (1993) showing software 320×200 (displayed at 320×240) in ICR1, software 320×200 (displayed at 320×240) in ICR2, software 640×480 (SVGA) in ICR2 and Rendition 640×480.

The Problems

IndyCar Racing II is hard-coded to run on v1000 chips. If you have a v2x00 you will need to patch the ICR2 exe or it simply won’t run and will lockup your system.

Both v1000 and v2x00 GPUs have a number of visual issues such as the sky textures not working in the rear chase camera, but by default v1000 is the most visually clean and basically requires no work to get running. The v1000 does suffer more with performance issues due to the lower clock speed though, so I would still recommend a v2x00 overall.

There are some v2x00-exclusive visual bugs such as broken mirrors in the cockpit and a missing texture on the dash (see images below – left). The solution for this is to replace the Speedy3D file in the ICR2 folder with this one from a later game, being aware that while this fixes those issues it does make the track surface model triangles visible as green or yellow lines (see images below – right). I generally drive in the cockpit with the v2x00 cockpit bugs fixed, but watch replays with them un-fixed because there is no cockpit view in replay mode anyway.

The last major problem is that if you restart your system after you patch your Speedy3D file to fix those v2x00 bugs IndyCar Racing II will no longer function. You’ve got to remember that you’re dealing with a programmable GPU core and the restart effectively makes it forget what it’s doing. Every time you want to start ICR2 with the v2x00 bugs fixed you need to start it with the un-fixed version first, using the original Speedy3D file, then fix them and run it again. I use a couple of .bat files to delete whatever version is there and copy in the v1000 or v2x00 Speedy3D file depending which one I want, you can download that here.

How It Looks

The video below the screenshots should serve to become the go-to reference for how something looked in IndyCar Racing II on a Rendition video card. It includes footage of everything that looked different and you can jump to anything you want using the timestamps.

00:00 Rendition Intro
01:16 Garage (Car Aliasing)
02:31 Cockpit and pit crew
02:40 Transparent F-screens, dirt and smoke
02:58 Crashes, sparks, transparent smoke
05:09 Australia
06:38 Cleveland
07:40 Detroit
08:55 Elkhart Lake HQ
10:39 Laguna Seca HQ
11:46 Long Beach
12:42 Loudon
13:28 Michigan HQ
14:37 Mid-Ohio
15:49 Milwaukee
16:33 Nazareth
17:12 Phoenix HQ
17:52 Portland HQ
18:51 Toronto
19:50 Vancouver
20:47 Michigan HQ AI Racing
22:34 Elkhart Lake HQ AI Racing
31:28 ICR2 Rendition Credits

View on YouTube

How I’m Running It

I’m using a modern PC with Windows 10 Pro hosting a Hyper-V Virtual Machine. Hyper-V supports PCI passthrough which means the VM can take full control over a device, including GPUs, in the host machine. A PCI-E to PCI adapter allows me to plug the Diamond Multimedia Stealth II S220 PCI that I own into a PCI-E slot. The GPU was not detected by the VM until I got the Windows 10 host machine to accept installing the Microsoft Basic Display Driver so it could output video within Windows 10.

It would be infinitely easier (and what I am going to do when I can) to buy an old PC from eBay with a suitable slot and run ICR2 natively. I would recommend Windows 98 SE as that will allow you to run every Rendition title both within the OS and after exiting to DOS. The highest specification fully-compatible machine from the time to give you best performance would probably be a Pentium 4.

Be aware that whether you are using a VM via hardware output or a compatible real PC your monitor/capture device will need to support 480p when ICR2 is running and 300p @ 70fps within DOS before the simulation is launched.

Loading new replies...

Is there anywhere I can get hold of a copy of Indy Car Racing II : The Rendition Experience?

Nothing on ebay, short of prying a copying out of someone's cold dead hands.

I'm working on a Rendition Verité wrapper (already supports all 13 Windows games). I'd like to add support for Speedy 3D/DOS, but find ICR2 is impossibly difficult.

My wrapper can be seen in action here:

,
here:

and here:

Reply Like

And here's a bugfixed version of SODA's menu:

Reply Like

@sharangad Very cool!! You probably want to look for CART Racing, which will usually have a DOS folder and within that, a REND folder. That is the re-release of IndyCar Racing II when IndyCar and CART split... So they had to rebrand it.

The ICR2/CART rend version will only work without issues on the v1, but you can switch out files as the article described for a v2 Rendition card. This does cause other issues though, so a wrapper would be amazing. The DOS+Rend version won't run in Windows (even in a DOS window on Win95) at all. So I hope you can figure something out :)

Reply Like

This would be amazing, @sharangad! Please keep us posted on how we can support your efforts.

Reply Like

Cheers for your kind word guys and the link and instructions!

The official RReady wrapper thread is here:

https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=95721

There's a watermarked but fully functional and time unlimited version on that thread.

There's also a watermark free paid version for $9.99 on the WIndows Store (RReady Renditon Verité), if anyone's interested. If there're taker please try the free version first (called an alpha) to see if it works on your system. The two versions are identical except for the launcher which doesn't have an auto-downloader for demos and stuff because of store rules on bundleware. Download links to Rendition specific game binaries and demos are supplied with the paid version (again identical to the free version) but you have to download and unzip them yourself. Steam and the Epic store refused to carry it so I'm stuck with Microsoft.

DOS support is already under investigation. vQuake 1 doesn't appear to be a dynamic overlay based app so the actual API calls are visible. vHexen II has rendering issues with a few things and that's the priority at the moment.

Rest assured, I'm definitely going to add DOS support to RReady. For DOS based apps RReady's going to report itself as a V1000. For WIndows currently it's a V2000. DOSBox Staging will be used at first. The existing launcher will get a new tab for DOS apps and updated with a custom build of DOS Box staging .

Once again, cheers guys!

Reply Like

@sharangad Thank you so much for this project. The small but passionate community of ICR2 players have been wishing for a Rendition wrapper for many years.

I have an old PC that has a Rendition V2100 4 MB card which isn't fully compatible with the game and requires some tinkering to run. It would be great that your wrapper could work like a V1000.

One thing I have noticed when I played ICR2 using my Rendition card is that the game will crash with an out-of-memory error if I am trying to load a particularly large track (e.g. that ones that are converted from a newer Papyrus game or scratch built with a higher level of complexity and file sizes compared to the default tracks). I wonder if your wrapper can simulate the Rendition card having higher amount of memory.

I am also curious if you think the game could potentially be played at high resolution than 640x480. I know the UI and some textures like the cockpit are hard coded to fit 640x480 so I wonder if those would get stretched to fit the screen.

But honestly, I would just love to see it running in a wrapper with the original specs. That would be incredible already. Thank you so much for your efforts.

Reply Like

RReady emulates a V2200 with 128 MB of RAM and yes it can upscale already (for Windows apps). The RAM limit can be pushed out further but a few of the Windows apps don't run right with too much VRAM. Most of my videos are at 4k/UDH (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCucgSfuk0etI9t9-mKAA05g)

You can try out the a watermarked and free version of the wrapper here:
RReady Fully Tested Releae( November 6 2023)
https://1drv.ms/u/s!As-dKk-N73dSlmIfZk1e2zquKYDk?e=FdXAcS
MD5: 6e75dda5f5dde0d5577383b7bc90480f
- Fixes VH2 texture corruption issues.
- Adds MSAA as the default vQuake 2/vHexen II AA mode. This is a stopgap measure until a full implementation of Rendition's proprietary Quake specific AA is fully implemented.

(This release is live on the Windows store as well without a watermark)

It doesn't support Speedy3d/DOS apps (yet). That's what I'm furiously trying to fix.

Reply Like

The full discussion on vogons can be found here:
https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=95721

Reply Like

Are you planning to release it as a non-Windows store version? I don't mind paying.

Reply Like

F1 2021 PC Review
Previous Article

F1 2021 PC Review

Jul 12, 2021
An Overdue Introduction to Shawn Nash
Next Article

An Overdue Introduction to Shawn Nash

Oct 7, 2021
Support RSC by using these links:
YouTube Membership
Patreon Support
MOZA Racing
Humble Store
PayPal Donate
Fanatec
Amazon
Buy Games from RSC
Sim-Lab
iRacing
YouTube Membership
Patreon Support
MOZA Racing
Humble Store
PayPal Donate
Fanatec
Amazon
Buy Games from RSC
Sim-Lab
iRacing

Race Sim Central © 1999 - 2024

Back from the ashes since July, 2019. First created in 2001 with the merger of Legends Central (founded 1999) and simracing.dk.

A site by a sort of sim racer, for sim racers, about racing sims. News and information on both modern and historic sim racing software titles.

All products and licenses property of their respective owners. Some links on this Web site pay RSC a commission or credit. Advertising does not equal endorsement.

FacebookThreadsBlueskyTwitterHive SocialMastodonYouTubeTiktokTwitchRedditGoogle NewsApple NewsSubscribe via WordPressFlipboardRSS FeedeBay

Race Sim Central © 1999 - 2024