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POD

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POD - Planet of Death is a race game of extra class. On 16 futuristic courses the driver has to demonstrate his skill. This is not so easy, for he has to master extreme jumps and difficult tracks. Although the game was published already in 1997, it makes a lot of fun even nowadays. The reason for this is the genial graphic and the very good drive behaviour of the racing cars.

While designing the raceways, the designers let their phantasy free run. Since the races happen on planet Io, the physical rules of earth seem to play no role. The sky shines often with the craziest colours, the landscape remembers at surrealistic pictures of Salvador Dali.

Ubisoft achieved with POD the big hit. Intel buyed 2,6 million pieces of the title in advance, because it was optimized especially for MMX processors. These POD versions were enclosed computers of Dell and other manufacturers. The OEM versions, however, contained only 10 to 12 tracks and were also slightly restricted in comparison to the retail version.

Ubisoft offered the owners of POD the chance, to download new cars and tracks for free from its website. A network modus increased the fun of the game additionally. Up to eight persons could play against each other via network, Internet or modem connection.

At the end of 1997, Ubisoft issued an expansion with the title “Back to Hell”. This add-on offered 19 tracks which were for the most part obtainable from Ubisoft’s website (except Beach, Hellway and Night). The CD contained also 15 new cars. The tracks of “Back to Hell” were even stranger than those of the original game. One track lead on a long sand beach to medieval castles. Another through a giant cemetery with dusky gravestones.

Late in 1997, Ubisoft issued also “POD Gold”. This version had instead of 16 now 32 tracks. The number of the cars had doubled as well. It was now 16 instead of 8.

POD was one of the first games that were optimized for graphics cards of 3dfx. Firstly, this pertained only the Voodoo1. Later Ubisoft published patches for the Voodoo2 and also a Direct3D-Patch. However, especially the latter is not up to date anymore. On some graphics cards it may happen that all textures are missing.

To bypass this problem, there are three different possibilities:

  1. Buy POD Gold of the company Good old Games (GOG), download and play it. This new version of 2011 is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7! However, the maximum resolution is limited to 640x480 (800x600 with PodHacks).
  2. Download nGlide and install it! nGlide is a free glide wrapper. With its help you can play many old games. For further information regard nGlide - Compatibility list.
  3. Download dgVoodoo and copy it into the installation folder of POD (see below)! dgVoodoo is a glide wrapper as well. But its handling is a bit more complicated.

If you want to use nGlide together with POD you have to pay attention to a few things:

  • in order to install POD with 3dfx Glide support, a glide driver has to be in C:\Windows\System32 (C:\Windows\SysWow64 in 64 bit version of Windows 7)!
  • install POD in compatibility mode for Windows 95 (see below)!
  • install  3dfx-Patch and Forcefeedback-Patch (if necessary, see below)!
  • copy POD_P4AMD_Patcher or PodHacks into the POD folder and execute it (see below)!
  • set  'Vertical synchronization' Option to 'On' in nGlide configurator
  • if you encounter a grSstWinOpen error, delete ir32_32.dll and ir41_32.dll files from Windows System32 (or SysWow64) directory

Here is the method to play the original retail version (full version) of POD from the year 1997 with dgVoodoo (users of graphics cards of AMD/Ati should regard the hints below that):

  1. Unpack the glide driver for the Voodoo1 into the System32 folder of Windows XP (e.g. in C:\Windows\System32). If you play POD in the 64 bit version of Windows 7, you have to copy them in the SysWow64 folder (e.g. in C:\Windows\SysWow64). With the help of the glide driver for the Voodoo1, you can install POD with 3dfx support. Hint: The glide.dll and the sst1init.dll can later be deleted.
  2. In Windows you have to click the setup.exe of the POD CD-ROM with your right mouse button and choose the compatibility mode for Windows 95 in “Properties”!
  3. Install POD with the option “Middle installation for MMX with 3Dfx” or ”Large installation for MMX with 3Dfx”! The middle installation needs 81 MB on your harddrive, the large installation 198 MB. To see all options, click during installation first the “Change” button, and then click the “Show all” button.
  4. It is possible that the installation fails with the notice that a video driver could not be installed (e.g. “Failed to make 1st IV41 registry entry”). In this case you should install POD once again. This time, click on the button “Test software...” and disable the test “Indeo VFW”!
  5. After POD has been successfully installed, reboot your PC and install the 3dfx-Patch for POD (not necessary for POD Gold)! If it does not work, simply start the “UsePatch.exe" again or click it with your right mouse button and choose  the compatibility mode for Windows 95 in “Properties”. Owners of AMD-CPUs should after this install the Forcefeedback-Patch!
  6. Create a shortcut for the podx3dfx.exe (or the wpod3dfx.exe) that is now in the POD directory on the desktop. The old shortcut can be deleted. Hint: You can play POD without the shortcut, too. Simply double click the podx3dfx.exe (or wpod3dfx.exe) later.
  7. Copy all files of dgVoodoo 1.50 Beta2 in the installation folder of POD (e.g. c:\Ubisoft\POD2_0). With the help of the dgVoodooSetup.exe you can configure options of dgVoodoo. You can increase  the game resolution to 1024x768 or more in the menu “Glide” in “Resolution” ! Important: In Windows it is possible that you have to click the dgVoodooSetup.exe with your right mouse button and choose  the compatibility mode for Windows 95 in “Properties”!
  8. Reduce the colour depth of your graphics card from 32 Bit to 16 Bit! If you try to start POD in 32-Bit mode, you get the warning: “POD cannot run in Win95 8/24/32 bits graphic mode”. Hint: It isn’t necessary to use the 16-Bit mode, if you apply the POD_P4AMD_Patcher or PodHacks!
  9. To prevent that the racing cars are too fast in POD, you should activate the vertical synchronization (vsync) of the graphics card!
  10. If you have an up to date processor, execute POD_P4AMD_Patcher or PodHacks! They should be for simplicity reasons in the installation folder of POD before started.
  11. Start POD with the shortcut on the desktop (or by double clicking the podx3dfx.exe resp. wpod3dfx.exe).

Owners of the OEM-Version of POD must proceed a little bit different:

  1. In Windows you have to click the setup.exe of the POD CD-ROM with your right mouse button and choose the compatibility mode for Windows 95 in “Properties”!
  2. Install POD with the option “Middle installation for MMX” or ”Large installation for MMX”! The middle installation needs 82 MB on your harddrive, the large installation 199 MB. To see all options, click during installation first the “Change” button, and then click the “Show all” button.
  3. It is possible that the installation fails with the notice that a video driver could not be installed (e.g. “Failed to make 1st IV41 registry entry”). In this case you should install POD once again. This time, click on the button “Test software...” and disable the test “Indeo VFW”!
  4. After POD has been successfully installed, reboot your PC and patch POD with the 10x21E.exe to the retail version! Start the 10x21E.exe, let the files be unpacked to C:\PODPATCH and execute from there the UsePatch.exe.
  5. Now install the 3dfx-Patch for POD twice! Owners of AMD-CPUs should after this install the Forcefeedback-Patch!
  6. Create a shortcut for the podx3dfx.exe (or the wpod3dfx.exe) that is now in the POD directory on the desktop. The old shortcut can be deleted. Hint: You can play POD without the shortcut, too. Simply double click the podx3dfx.exe (or wpod3dfx.exe) later.
  7. Copy the files of dgVoodoo 1.50 Beta2 into the installation folder of POD (see above).
  8. Reduce the colour of your graphics card from 32 Bit to 16 Bit! Hint: It isn’t necessary to use the 16-Bit mode, if you apply the POD_P4AMD_Patcher or PodHacks!
  9. To prevent that the racing cars are too fast in POD, you should activate the vertical synchronization (vsync) of the graphics card (see above).
  10. If you have an up to date processor, you have to execute POD_P4AMD_Patcher or PodHacks! They should be for simplicity reasons in the installation folder of POD before started.
  11. Start POD with the shortcut on the desktop (or by double clicking the podx3dfx.exe resp. wpod3dfx.exe).

Now you can play POD on a current system - hopefully :-))

Important hints for owners of graphics cards of AMD/Ati:

  1. Copy all files of dgVoodoo 1.31 into the installation folder of POD!
  2. Run dgVoodooSetup.exe from there! Use “Windowed mode” in Global and “Emulate W-buffering” in Glide!
  3. Copy PodHacks into the installation folder of POD! Run it and make sure that "Prohibit confining the Cursor to the window area" is activated!

Tip: According to the graphics card and driver you have, AMD/Ati cards can also work with more current versions of dgVoodoo. In these cases, however, one should choose as Renderer API “Direct3D9” in dgVoodooSetup.

Here are the dgVoodoo settings of my system (Nvidia graphics card):

On big hard drives it is possible that you can’t install POD. This is likely, if the hard drive has several partitions (c:, d:, e: etc.) and if you try to install the game in d: or e:. It may happen that the message appears that there is too little storage space. In this case you should install POD in drive c:!

POD was developed at a time, when the Pentium 233 MX was the king of the CPU creation. On current systems the game is therefore much too fast. To avoid this, there is (as mentioned before) the possibility to activate the vertical syncronization of the graphics card. But you can also slow down POD in another way: By he installation of the Game Service 2-Patches (GS2). This consists actually on two patches - the GS2-Patch and the GS2-POD-Patch. Through the latter, POD will also be patched to the last current version (2.2.9.0).

The Game Service 2 was originally intended, to play against other POD fans on the servers of Ubisoft. However, Ubisoft offers presently no more possibility to play POD online. This is only possible for new titles like Rainbow Six 3, Far Cry, Ghost Recon or Splinter Cell. Because the two GS2-Patches make POD noticeably sluggish, you should only install them, if you really need them.

If you want to add new tracks and cars to your existing POD installation, you must use the CDPatcher (version 2). You can find the Readme here. If you want to use the CDPatcher.exe in Windows XP, it is important that you click it with your right mouse button and choose  the compatibility mode for Windows 95 in “Properties”. For a proper install of new tracks and cars you should orientate yourself on following scheme:

In this example, CDPatcher.exe is in the folder “cdpatcher”. This folder must have two sub folders named “circuits” and “voitures”. In the sub folder “circuits” come the folders with new tracks (e.g. Azthec and Iceberg), in  “voitures” come the folders with the new cars (e.g. Akura and Fuego).

Important: If you already have installed POD on your computer and you wish to install it new, you should remove it completely before! Reason: The uninstall program of POD removes the game not completely. If there remains something of the old POD on the system, this can lead to a failure in the new installation! Therefore:

  1. Uninstall POD with the uninstall program
  2. Remove manually  the installation folder of POD (e.g. c:\Ubisoft\POD)
  3. Remove manually the Ubisoft folder in the windows directory (e.g. c:\Windows\Ubisoft)

Hint: If dgVoodoo is only replaced by a new version, a new installation is not necessary, of course.

Links:

Here are the cheat codes for POD. If you want to deactivate them during the game, simply type them again:

CRASH

Collision Control

MAP

Map

MAP + F9

Enhanced map

LABEL

Shows the names of opponents

RETRO

Rear-view mirror

GARAG

Fixes the damages

MIRROR

Enables Reverse button on track selection (type this on the main menu)

HOLIGAN

Chaos mode

ROCKET

400 points instead of 300 in the car menu (type this there)

VALAY

Car will be indestructible (type this in the options menu)

DURAL

Car looks different

SCRSHOTS

Screenshots are possible with Alt + F12

Hint: Since the screenshot function of POD uses a special format (RAW), it is better to use dgVoodoo for screenshots. If you want do this, activate in the dgVoodoo setup “Screen capturing on”! In order to make pictures of the game, press the “Pause” button (Windows XP) respectively the “Scroll Lock” button (Windows 98). Besides, dgVoodoo saves the  screenshots in the tmp folder of the partition where the game was installed (usually drive c:)!

Tips:

  • With the F2 key, you can change the view during the race!
  • It’s quite annoying, to permanently type “mirror”, if you want to race a track in the opposite way. But there is a trick to get the “Reverse” button: Open the Ubi.ini (normally located in C:\WINDOWS\UBISOFT) and make following entry in the [POD2_0] section:
    Tonneau=167 132 18 130 195 61 13 119 226 125

Credits:

Some of the above mentioned information were taken from the old POD Underground Website of RedLine.

I would like to thank Dege, the author of dgVoodoo, for the patch who makes it possible to see also the textures on the racing cars.

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Last update on 05/02/14.