Step by step installation guide for 3dfx (pre-DRI)

This is a step by step installation guide provided to help you in updating/upgrading your Linux system for using 3dfx hardware. Please check first whether updates to your distribution are available from the provider. It presumes that you are using a glibc-2.1 system, and that you have some version of X11R6 already installed. The example instructions are given for RedHat 6.1. If you are not using a Redhat system, please check for explanations and suggestions.

This document is meant to be used in connection with the official 3dfx driver pages found at Please read the document corresponding to your card there first, especially if you are using a glibc-2.0 installation. If you are using a Voodoo Rush, please ignore this document and move on to The drivers listed on replace the older ones on, or, so pelase do not try to use files from these other locations.

If you intend to use the XFree86-4/DRI, please ignore this document, and rely on the documentation provided by 3dfx. Currently, our games are not tested against DRI drivers.

Step 1: Get X server

If you are using a Voodoo Graphics or Voodoo2, please skip this step, as your current X server will do just fine. You will have to have your distribution's XFree86/X11 packages installed though, as our games as well as the Mesa versions we test require X11.

Please check what version of XFree86_SVGA you are using. On a RedHat system, you can do something like

rpm -q -a | grep XFree86_SVGA
If you are not using XFree86 3.3.5 yet, or if you are using an early version of XFree86 3.3.5, please check and (for glibc-2.1) obtain the files
Please ignore the XFree86_SVGA-3.3.3 distributions also available there. You might want to check for more recent releases for your distribution, but you have to make sure that 3dfx related bug fixes have been included there. Users have reported that some distribution's XFree86-3.3.5 and XFree86-3.3.6 binaries do not work correctly with certain games. If you are in doubt, inquire with the provider of your distribution.

Step 2: Install X server

If you are using a Voodoo Graphics or Voodoo2, please skip this step, as your current X server will do just fine.

It is possible that there is a more recent X server for your system. It is also possible that the version numbering on your system is not compatible with the version number used in the RPM file. For example, if you use

rpm -Uvh XFree86-SVGA-3.3.5-4.i386.rpm
on a RedHat 6.1 system, it will report that the new server is older than the one already installed. You will have to install the new server using
rpm -Uvh --force  XFree86-SVGA-3.3.5-4.i386.rpm
Next, please install the other RPM file. If you do not want to change your general X11 configuration, you may wish to omit it.
rpm -Uvh XFree86-XF86Setup-3.3.5-4.i386.rpm
You should ensure that your X11 configuration contains mode lines for the resolution you wish to run your game at. It is always recommended that you include at least 640x480, as this is a common default for many games.

Step 3: Get Glide

Please check whether there is a Glide already installed on your system. You could use e.g.

rpm -q -a | grep Glide
/sbin/ldconfig -v | grep glide

Next, please proceed to and move to the proper page for your graphics card. If you are using a Voodoo3 or Banshee (all these for glibc-2.1), get the

files. For a Voodoo2, get
and for a Voodoo Graphics, get
The SDK is optional, but will be required if you want to compile a new Mesa library. Please ignore the Glide3 distribution, as we do not test our games against Glide3/DRI drivers yet.

Step 4: Install Glide

First, please install the support for /dev/3dfx on your system. Without this device, you will have to be root to access your 3dfx hardware. You can (as root) compile and install the necessary files using

rpm --rebuild Device3Dfx-2.3-5.src.rpm 
/sbin/insmod 3dfx
/sbin/lsmod | grep 3dfx
ls -l /dev/3dfx
The second and third command make sure that the module is loaded by the kernel. The last command should give you something like
crw-rw-rw-   1 root     root     107,   0 Oct  7 01:36 /dev/3dfx
Please make sure to check the owner and permissions. You might also want to check your /etc/conf.modules file for a line like:
alias char-major-107 3dfx
Now that you have the 3dfx device, you can move on to installing Glide itself. Please use
rpm -Uvh Glide_V3-2.60-16.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh Glide_V2-2.53-6.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh Glide_VG-2.46-5.i386.rpm
depending on which version of Glide you downloaded. If you had other versions of Glide installed (e.g. when upgrading from a Voodoo2 to a Voodoo3), please make sure to remove them first (using e.g rpm -e Glide_V2) before installing a different set of Glide binaries.

If you had an older version of Glide and/or /dev/3dfx installed, you might want to shutdown and reboot your system now. Once your system is updated, please use

/sbin/ldconfig -v | grep glide
to check. The latter will give you a blue test screen if your Glide installation worked. If this test fails, then your system is not properly installed. If this test only works for you as root, then chances are your permissions on /dev/3dfx are wrong, or /dev/3dfx does not exist. It is also possible that the system can't find the Glide libaries.

Step 5: Test OpenGL install

Most if not all games do not use Glide directly. One exception is the current version of Linux Myth II (if you are only interested in this game, you can ignore the rest of this document). Usually, Loki games use a version of Mesa compiled for use with Glide, which offers us the OpenGL API and maps it to Glide function calls. Some games come with a local copy of the Mesa DLL for some cards, others rely on your system to provide a recent GL library. Unfortunately many distributions do not come with a recent Mesa library, and most do not install hardware support.

Please do the following

rpm -q -a | grep GL
rpm -q -a | grep Mesa
ldconfig -v | grep GL
to find out whether there is an OpenGL library on your system. Unless you are using a program that requires an older version of GL, it is best to remove any Mesa 2.6, 3.0 or 3.1beta releases from your system, and update (see below).

For some games, you can specify the OpenGL library directly. In some cases (Quake3), this is not possible if you are running as root. Please try:

quake3 +set r_glDriver <DLL name>
heretic2 +set vid_ref glx +set gldriver <DLL name>
hg2 -o <DLL name>
sof +set gl_driver <DLL name>
with the chosen DLL being in the appropriate place (in the same directory as the quake3 binary, in ./gl_drivers/ relative to the heretic2 binary, or specified with an absolute path in the case of hg2 and sof).

If the game works for you, the following steps are optional. Unless you are having problems with your current install, you should not proceed. However, given the speed at which Mesa for Linux currently changes, you might have a good reason to upgrade your installation with a more recent version of Mesa (see next step).

Step 6: Installing Mesa

Mesa depends on Glide, and it also offers optimizations for various CPU types. We do not provide binary packages of Mesa, as this is better left to the provider of your distribution. See for information on obtaining Mesa.

First, you need to install the Glide SDK, as Mesa requires the proper headers for compilation.

rpm -Uvh Glide_SDK-2.2-16.i386.rpm 

Next, go into the directory in which you unpacked Mesa, and do

more docs/INSTALL
make -f Makefile.X11 linux-386-opt-glide
If you have a Voodoo 2 or newer card, you may use a target of linux-386-opt-V2-glide instead.

Assuming the build completes, you will have a set of new libraries in lib/.

You can also test the library by using one of the demos, e.g.

cd demos
export MESA_GLX_FX=fullscreen
(or use setenv MESA_GLX_FX fullscreen if you are not using bash). This should give you a fullscreen demo of rotating gears in three colors, and some console output like
174 frames in 5.012 seconds = 34.7167 FPS
If you want to try the new library with the game, you can go up into the Mesa directory and copy the new library, and then try it directly (e.g. for Quake3, Heretic2, or SoF):
cp lib/ /usr/local/games/quake3/
quake3 +set r_glDriver

cp lib/ /usr/local/games/HereticII/gl_drivers/
heretic2 +set vid_ref glx +set gldriver

cp lib/ /usr/local/games/hg2
hg2 -o /usr/local/games/hg2/

cp lib/ /usr/local/games/SoF/
sof +set gl_driver /usr/local/games/SoF/

To install the new Mesa as library as your system-wide GL, you should remove all Mesa libraries installed by your Linux distribution first. Then, in the Mesa directory do (as root):

cd lib
cp -a * /usr/local/lib
ldconfig -v | grep GL

You may also choose to install the Mesa headers. Consult the INSTALL documentation for information on how to do this.

Step 7: Alternatives

For the Voodoo3 and Banshee (but not for the Voodoo Graphics, Voodoo2, or Voodoo Rush), the current drivers will eventully become obsolete, to be replaced by XFree86 v4 DRI support. DRI packages are available from

If you want to try the DRI, the latest code is always available from This is in source form only. You have to check it out and build it yourself.

Step 8: Troubleshooting

If by any means possible, please check the game output to the console for messages like Can't find or access Banshee/V3 board. If your game runs at only a few frames per second, or even slower, then you might be using a software-only Mesa, or Mesa can't access your hardware. If you are experiencing trouble, please retry as root. If you are running the game as root, please try as regular user. If a game locks up on you and you only get a black screen, please consult the FAQ for this game at as others problems (e.g. use of the audio device) might actually cause this problem. Please look for the output of GL_VERSION, GL_RENDERER and GL_VENDOR on the console. Our games usually tell you which path the library was loaded from.

If all fails, please contact and provide details.