Wrappers

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A wrapper is a reimplementation of a library, where the goal is to substitute the original API with a better-supported interface. It works as a drop-in replacement for the original library, since a lot of software usually bundled it as-is without any fine-tuning. Wrappers are most common for proprietary interfaces that are either abandoned or otherwise platform-specific.

90's APIs[edit]

During the 90s, many PC game developers chose to use 3Dfx's Glide API for their Voodoo graphics cards. These developers didn't anticipate that 3Dfx would run out of money trying to compete with NVIDIA's offering, and in 2000 NVIDIA bought them for their IP assets (presumably to improve their own cards). Despite the API getting an open source release in 2003, neither NVIDIA or ATI adopted support for Glide in their own drivers, meaning a wrapper is now needed to play these games with hardware acceleration. Or, if we're lucky, the game gets ported or reimplemented to use other APIs instead.

Even games using older versions of DirectDraw or Direct3D can benefit from wrappers, since those interfaces may not even work properly on newer systems. Wrappers can even enable various overrides and enhancements, such as ReShade.

Name OS Latest Version Translates Into FOSS Active Recommended
nGlide Windows 2.10 Glide Vulkan, Direct3D 9
dgVoodoo 2 Windows 2.75.1 Glide, DirectX 1-9 Direct3D 11, Direct3D 12
WineD3D Windows Linux macOS 6.0.2 (Linux, macOS)
6.22 (Windows)
DirectX 1-11 Vulkan, OpenGL
DXGL Windows 0.5.19 DirectX 1-7 OpenGL TBD
Glidos Windows 1.53b Glide (DOS) ? TBD
OpenGlide Windows 0.09 Alpha Glide OpenGL
psVoodoo Windows 0.13 Glide Direct3D 9

Comparisons[edit]

nGlide
Currently the best Glide wrapper, supporting all three public versions (2.11, 2.60 and 3.10) but it's closed-source. It originally only used Direct3D 9 until Vulkan output was added in 2.0, allowing it to work under Linux using Wine 2.10.0 and newer.[1] nGlide also supports high resolution modes. See the compatibility list.
dgVoodoo 2
Targets Glide 2.11, 2.45, 3.10, 3.1 Napalm, all versions of DirectDraw and Direct3D up to version 7, Direct3D 8.1, and Direct3D 9. Outputs Direct3D 11 with different device types as wrapping output such as hardware or software rendering.
WineD3D
Wine's internal wrapper for Direct3D 1-11 that targets OpenGL. It works pretty well for running older Direct3D games, though it does not come with a Glide implementation of its own. A custom build incorporating Vulkan support is available for Windows here.
DXGL
Reimplements DirectDraw using OpenGL. It is considered alpha software despite many applications working.

2000's and later APIs[edit]

Modern Windows games will likely need one of these wrappers to work on other platforms. Usually these are not separate downloads, and will come packaged into compatibility layers like Proton, Wine, or CrossOver.

Name OS Latest Version Translates Into FOSS Active Recommended
DXVK Linux 1.9 Direct3D 9-11 Vulkan
vkd3d Linux 1.2 Direct3D 12 Vulkan
WineD3D Windows Linux macOS 6.0.2 (Linux, macOS)
6.22 (Windows)
Direct3D 1-11 OpenGL
MoltenVK macOS iOS 1.2.182 Vulkan Metal
Gallium Nine Linux v0.8 Direct3D 9 Gallium ~ WIP
Zink Linux git OpenGL Vulkan TBD
d3d8to9 Windows git Direct3D 8 Direct3D 9

Comparisons[edit]

DXVK
Was originally designed to accelerate support for Direct3D 11 games running under Wine since a native implementation seemed unlikely. Today it is bundled into Proton. Later merged D9VK to add Direct3D 9 and 10 support.
WineD3D
Wine's internal wrapper for Direct3D 1-11 that targets OpenGL. For newer APIs it has more bugs than DXVK. A custom build incorporating Vulkan support is available for Windows here.
MoltenVK
Developed by the Brenwill Workshop under the Khronos Group, it reimplements Vulkan for Metal. Emulators like Dolphin and DuckStation use MoltenVK instead of a native Metal renderer to support Apple devices.
vkd3d
A work-in-progress Direct3D 12 to Vulkan wrapper created by Valve.
Gallium Nine
An implementation of the Direct3D 9 library on top of the Gallium driver for Linux. By using calls native to Linux, applications running under Wine run "at near-native speeds" according to the maintainers. The caveat is that this only works on Mesa, not NVIDIA's proprietary driver.
Zink
A "just-in-case" implementation of OpenGL on top of Vulkan first introduced in 2018 by Collabora for the Mesa driver.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]