• Enraged
  • Embarrased
  • Drunk
  • Down
  • Depressed
  • Crying
  • Crazy
  • Cool
  • Cocky
  • Bemused
  • Awesome
  • Annoyed
  • Angry
  • Amused
  • Friendly
  • Geeky
  • Godly
  • Happy
  • Hateful
  • Hungry
  • Innocent
  • Meh
  • Piratey
  • Poorly
  • Sad
  • Secret
  • Shy
  • Sneaky
  • Tired
  • Wtf
  • Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
    Results 1 to 10 of 24

    Thread: Building a 3DO Blaster PC.

    1. #1
      darkjedi's Avatar
      darkjedi is offline
      is it is dark. You are likely to
      be eaten by a Grue
       
      Awesome
       

      Join Date
      Jul 2007
      State
      Tasmania
      Posts
      453
      Mentioned
      18 Post(s)
      Quoted
      127 Post(s)
      Australia

      Building a 3DO Blaster PC.

      A bunch of years ago I found one of these bad boys tucked away in a tipshop here in Hobart: A Creative 3DO Blaster.
      3DO_Blaster_2.png

      If you've never seen one before, the story roughly goes like this. At some office party, an Engineer type at Creative Labs said "Hey, I love the 3DO! We should totally shrink it to fit on a full-sized ISA Card, make it only work with a single CD-ROM and sell it for more than a standalone 3DO System!". Some coked-up executive smashed off his face greenlit the hell out of it, and a little while later the 3DO Blaster was born.

      Dodgy origin stories aside, this thing was an utter behemoth of a card back in the day. Proclaimed by PC Magazines as "3DO comes to your 486!", it was seen as a way to get the power of console gaming on your home PC like the Amstrad Mega-PC (or super-sexy Terradrive) before it. What they didn't account for was the fact this card retailed for $600+ on launch, required a specific CD-ROM (a Creative CR563) to work, and needed specific types of video cards in order to get setup properly. As you can probably imagine it was a horrific failure, and was subsequently buried. (for a slightly more serious origin story, my write-up about it over on Ausretrogamer a couple of years back is a good place to start!)

      Anyhow... So after finally locating the correct CD-ROM from someone local late 2017, I decided it was time I actually built a system around it to see what it was all about.
      DSIRT3qVwAAbZzy.jpg

      A friend gave me an old PII-333mhz he had in the shed, which was perfect as the board had two ISA slots on it & a rather nice Voodoo2:
      DI3umrGVYAAAivc.jpgDI3uIUuV4AA8gz1.jpg

      Had to park it for a while owing to a heap of factors, the least of which the system froze on BIOS tests and I didn't have a suitable IDE HDD for it. Skip forward to post Christmas when I had the Creative CD-ROM I needed, an IDE HDD, and a heap of time on my hands, decided it was time to dive in. First port of call was sorting out the freezing on POST. This was pretty easy - dodgy RAM sticks. Found a spare stick of PC133 in a G3 Mac I had here, got it running with 96MB of RAM quite nicely, followed by getting a fresh install of MS-DOS 6.22 running:
      DSC_QYXVwAIjJfH.jpgDSC_QYWUEAAqSZ5.jpgDSDJSHcVQAE7RGc.jpg

      What I had kinda blocked from memory was the joys of configuing config.sys & autoexec.bat. I still remember some of the tricks (LH/Devicehigh all the things! Get rid of crap Windows 3.11 puts there!), but was still a stark reminder to how good we've got it these days!
      DSDR3EgVoAE53Qq.jpgDSDR3EeUEAAfNgv.jpg

      Another fun exercise - Installing Windows 3.11! Managed to screw up the video settings initially, but a quick reboot and we were back in business. Installed nice & easily off CD-ROM too, which sped things up rather considerably.
      DSIY_dwVwAEyoV3.jpgDSIY_d4VQAIeK2x.jpgDSIZFWlVAAAWUMR.jpg

      Next step: Getting the Vibra 16 (aka. Sound Blaster 16 with a slightly different sound processor on it) to run. Except I hit that ole chestnut in "NOT ENOUGH CONVENTIONAL MEMORY AVAILABLE".
      DSIb6zeUEAEO3qU.jpg

      Had to disable/re-arrange a bunch of stuff to free up memory and got the Vibra installed happily. Popped this rather amusing description of "Plug & Play" though, although Plug & Pray is more like it.
      DSIj3ceVAAITY3s.jpg

      This done, was time to quickly test it with help from Wolf3d. Whilst I don't have any speakers for it yet, sound & everything worked an absolute treat. At this point, all that was left to do was get the 3DO Blaster out and get it all installed...

    2. #2
      mckie1's Avatar
      mckie1 is offline
      This user has no status.
       
      ----
       

      Join Date
      May 2010
      State
      Melbourne
      Posts
      1,154
      Mentioned
      44 Post(s)
      Quoted
      224 Post(s)
      Australia

      Building a 3DO Blaster PC.

      Cool as. Keep going!

      We have started a pentium 100 based project for some retro gaming.

      Have a look at philscomputerlab on YT for some great vids but more importantly, links to files. Especially autoexec and config sys options.

      Looking forward to next part

    3. #3
      darkjedi's Avatar
      darkjedi is offline
      is it is dark. You are likely to
      be eaten by a Grue
       
      Awesome
       

      Join Date
      Jul 2007
      State
      Tasmania
      Posts
      453
      Mentioned
      18 Post(s)
      Quoted
      127 Post(s)
      Australia

      All this led me up to the weekend of New Years when I finally took the plunge and got the 3DO Blaster out and ready to install. Quick size comparison in case you were curious:

      DSN4A_1VAAA1PIR.jpgDSN7UM0UQAAjkAw.jpg
      (I didn't have a banana to use)

      As I mentioned before, it's a full length ISA card and needs quite a bit of space inside the case to install properly. Thankfully this case has the card holders at the other end to sit full length cards in securely. We're talking old VESA video card level of insanity here!
      DSN7xWiUQAAEIxd.jpg

      Although it was at this point I hit my first major SNAFU. Clearly I should've read the manual at least once in the 6-7 years I owned this thing, because if I had've I would have realised I needed a video card with a VGA feature connector on it to hook up to the 3DO Blaster. Back in the days of ISA & even later on with PCI, the BUS speeds weren't quick enough to push the data from Video Card to expansion card - so you could hook a ribbon cable up from the video card > Expansion card and get a direct pipe between them to ensure data flowed really quick. Cool concept, not widely used, and a bigger prick to deal with now as my AGP Card definitely doesn't have a connector on it.
      DSOHTdVUMAEeaZl.jpg

      Pushing on, next step was to install the CD-ROM and connect it to the 3DO Blaster, at which point I could then install the drivers for both off the floppy disk. Pretty straightforward you'd think? Yeah nah. Floppy disk was corrupt (yay bit rot!), and the only source on the internet I could find was offline (because let's be fair, Creative have well & truly washed their hands of this thing). At least the floppy disk looks nice and carries the same design aesthetics all Creative products did in the 90s:
      DSQDjdSUQAUqQM-.jpg

      Got angry at this point, swore a bit, then spent a while posting on a heap of different retrogaming & DOS gaming sites in an attempt to track down the drivers. Got nowhere, so I ditched this and moved on to fixing a BBC Micro PSU I had here instead, and hoped the driver site came back online...

      - - - Updated - - -

      So after getting annoyed and doing other things, at some point early New Years morning my wishes were answered: The driver site had come back online, and with it access to the 3DO Blaster & CD-ROM drivers! Also attaching here for posterity's sake, because the more copies of this in the wild the better!!!
      3do_blaster.zip

      Looks somewhat weird having the Creative 2x CD-ROM in a PII system sitting right under a DVD-ROM, but hey.. why not?
      LKF876ul.jpg

      Attempts to copy the drivers to a floppy for that authentic feel (plus I didn't want to waste a blank CD burning 700kb) all failed, as it turns out I have no good floppy disks here. After about 30 minutes of faffing about, I just gave in and burnt the lot to a CD (and copied on the installer for Epic Pinball while I was at it, because it's awesome). Fired up Windows 3.11 and started the 3DO Blaster installation. Because we're in the wonderful world of DOS/Windows 3.11, it means IRQ and port funtimes! I had a few tense moments of checking each port to see if the setup could detect the card, especially as best I know this one has never been used before. Thankfully the last port did it:
      DSctLNeVwAUu6-T.jpgDSctLNaVoAE2PKV.jpg

      Software installed + necessary changes to the autoexec.bat/config.sys made, was time for the final reboot to see if the rotten thing actually worked. After rebooting, the fact the relevant CD-ROM & 3DO Blaster .sys files loaded were a positive sign:
      HEQg0ful.jpg

      All that was left to do was fire up Windows 3.11, then test to see if the 3DO Player would actually detect the card. the 3DO Blaster works by running all of the console's processing etc on the card itself, including the joypad connector. So in a way, the 3DO Player acts like a Steam Link or similar "Streaming game" service - you're just seeing a zero latency stream of the 3DO game you chose to play. Which is good, as there's no way in hell a 386 or 486 could've handled the processing required to play these things!

      Once Windows was loaded, fired up the Player and was greeted with a purple screen + the 2x CD-ROM being accessed/checked:
      DScwPaWUIAEIMVD.jpg

      Without the VGA feature connector & a suitable graphics card, I can't get video out happening. I know the card & CD-ROM work though, which is a positive sign!

      Next steps:

      1. Find a suitable PCI or AGP graphics card that has the VGA feature connector port on it
      2. Build a VGA feature connector cable
      3. Get another CD-ROM > Sound Card audio cable to run from the 2x drive to the 3DO Blaster (to carry game music etc)


      #1 will be the hardest by a long shot. Have a few leads that I hope come to fruition though.
      #2 & #3 are dead easy. VGA feature connector cables are 20 (or 26.. I don't remember) pin ribbon cables. CD Audio leads are still pretty easy to find - I'll just go raid an eWaste bin somewhere

      That's all for now. Pretty excited to get this far, and cannot wait until I can finally get the thing fully operational. Watch this space (or me over on Twitter. either/or!)

      - - - Updated - - -

      One other thing I did tonight though, was add in another 256MB of RAM to bring it to 352MB in total. Utterly useless for MS-DOS (although in theory I could make a fully bitchin' RAM drive), but eventually plan to dual-boot this with a Win95 or 98 install and it'll help heaps.
      DShk4POU8AAfhsN.jpg

    4. #4
      Koops's Avatar
      Koops is offline
      This user has no status.
       
      Tired
       

      Join Date
      Sep 2006
      State
      Melbourne
      Posts
      1,321
      Mentioned
      49 Post(s)
      Quoted
      493 Post(s)
      Australia
      Oh wow!

      I had one of these back in the day. It was a bit of a stupid impulse buy at the time.

      The first time I saw NASCAR running on it wow.

      The main issue was that not many games supported it, something I didn't realise beforehand.

      I have a feeling I took it back to the shop and got a refund a few days later .


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    5. #5
      darkjedi's Avatar
      darkjedi is offline
      is it is dark. You are likely to
      be eaten by a Grue
       
      Awesome
       

      Join Date
      Jul 2007
      State
      Tasmania
      Posts
      453
      Mentioned
      18 Post(s)
      Quoted
      127 Post(s)
      Australia

      Quote Originally Posted by Koops View Post
      Oh wow!

      I had one of these back in the day. It was a bit of a stupid impulse buy at the time.

      The first time I saw NASCAR running on it wow.

      The main issue was that not many games supported it, something I didn't realise beforehand.
      You might be thinking of the 3D Blaster, which was a 3DFX chipset based video card Creative released around the same timeframe (and funnily enough, is what made me nearly pass this up until I did a double take). This thing is a 3DO console, but on a giant PC card - it supports all released 3DO games quite happily (outside of lightgun ones anyway)

    6. #6
      mckie1's Avatar
      mckie1 is offline
      This user has no status.
       
      ----
       

      Join Date
      May 2010
      State
      Melbourne
      Posts
      1,154
      Mentioned
      44 Post(s)
      Quoted
      224 Post(s)
      Australia
      Would one of the voodoo 2 cards work as they have the ribbon cable connection for sli?

      3DO is a cool console and congrats to the efforts you are going to to get this bad boy working

    7. #7
      Koops's Avatar
      Koops is offline
      This user has no status.
       
      Tired
       

      Join Date
      Sep 2006
      State
      Melbourne
      Posts
      1,321
      Mentioned
      49 Post(s)
      Quoted
      493 Post(s)
      Australia
      Ahh your right missed that extra "o".




      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    8. #8
      darkjedi's Avatar
      darkjedi is offline
      is it is dark. You are likely to
      be eaten by a Grue
       
      Awesome
       

      Join Date
      Jul 2007
      State
      Tasmania
      Posts
      453
      Mentioned
      18 Post(s)
      Quoted
      127 Post(s)
      Australia

      Quote Originally Posted by mckie1 View Post
      Would one of the voodoo 2 cards work as they have the ribbon cable connection for sli?

      3DO is a cool console and congrats to the efforts you are going to to get this bad boy working


      I did think about that, as I suspect it's exactly that (a feature connector given a different name). I'd have to go look up the pinout to be certain though.

      - - - Updated - - -

      And that's a negative Ghost Rider. 3DFX SLI is 34 pin. VGA Feature connectors are 26 pin (or edge connector-style).

    9. #9
      mckie1's Avatar
      mckie1 is offline
      This user has no status.
       
      ----
       

      Join Date
      May 2010
      State
      Melbourne
      Posts
      1,154
      Mentioned
      44 Post(s)
      Quoted
      224 Post(s)
      Australia
      Quote Originally Posted by darkjedi View Post
      I did think about that, as I suspect it's exactly that (a feature connector given a different name). I'd have to go look up the pinout to be certain though.

      - - - Updated - - -

      And that's a negative Ghost Rider. 3DFX SLI is 34 pin. VGA Feature connectors are 26 pin (or edge connector-style).
      Worth a try

      Good luck and definitely check out vogons.org and philscomputerlab. May have info/help there

      Cheers and looking forward to next update.

    10. #10
      jabsy is offline
      is tormenting barras whenever
      possible
       
      ----
       

      Join Date
      Dec 2008
      State
      Darwin
      Posts
      174
      Mentioned
      0 Post(s)
      Quoted
      14 Post(s)
      Australia
      I used to have a few of those video cards in the olden days, I can check for you. They may have been ISA tho...

      I definitely have millions of the CD Audio cables if you need any of them.
      Husbands don't annoy their wives the way wives annoy their husbands for fear of missing out on sex, hence the need for sheds and man caves.

    Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

    Thread Information

    Users Browsing this Thread

    There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Tags for this Thread

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •