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Playing POD Gold on Windows 10 (2018)
By svfn
A guide on how to fix POD Gold issues (GOG / CD version), get it running on Windows 10, and add new cars / tracks.

The GOG version runs right out of the box but in 640x480 resolution and some glaring issues. If you just want to run the game quickly, juse use nGlide and Podhacks, the rest are optional tweaks.

You may also want to use this guide if:
  • You want to increase the resolution and visual quality of Pod Gold.
  • You want to install addon cars & tracks.
  • You want to fix stuttering sound, and other issues.
 
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Where to get the game
1. Buy Pod Gold on GOG[www.gog.com].
- After installation, don't launch it yet, go to its game folder and rename glide2x.dll to something else like glide2x_backup.dll so that Pod no longer uses it.

2. Use a CD version of Pod Gold, or mounted ISO
- You need to install nGlide first, then launch setup and choose 3dfx + MMX Large installation option. You may also need to enable compatibility mode for Windows 95 for the installer if it does not run.
Files
nGlide[www.zeus-software.com]
nGlide is a 3Dfx Voodoo Glide wrapper that we will be using instead of GOG's default wrapper. This will let you upscale the game resolution to your monitor resolution.
nicode's Podhacks[www.gog.com] (optional)
This is a community fix by nicode and fixes a lot of issues, although not all.
FIX.MEG - download[drive.google.com] (optional)
use the FIX.MEG sound file from the retail version for better car engine sound, the cars in Gold version sound like lawn mowers.
CDPatcher package[ray.syroot.com] (optional, 105MB)
This is an updated version of CDPatcher by RayKoopa, let's you install additional tracks and cars. The package includes 57 tracks and 49 cars.
podmini.ISO - download here[drive.google.com]
(only for CD version)
A small ~1MB file to mount (for playing without CD and without using Podhacks).

Note: Windows Defender or other AV may detect Podhacks or CDPatcher as a false positive, add an exception to allow these.
nGlide
Run the nGlide configurator (Start Menu > Programs > nGlide > nGlide configurator), and apply these settings:
  • Screen resolution: By desktop.

  • Aspect ratio: Preserve original (Pod was originally designed for 4:3 monitors / aspect ratio), otherwise the image will be stretched and distorted.

  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz, although POD boasted 80fps with a 3Dfx card, you can try if the cars are not running too fast.

  • Vertical synchronization: Default (On), this option removes the screen tearing that can occur on some computers.

  • Gamma: Default or reduce if it feels too bright.

  • 3Dfx logo: Off (this just adds a 3Dfx logo splash screen before the game menu).
Alternate car engine sounds (optional)
If you prefer a different sound for the cars, the default one in POD Gold sound like lawn mowers.

1. Open your game folder and go to DATA\BINARY\RESSON.
2. If you want, make a backup of your current FIX.MEG file by renaming it to FIX_BACKUP.MEG
3. Replace the FIX.MEG file with the one from the Files section of this guide.
Podhacks fix
Podhacks is a great fix by nicode that solves many of Pod Gold issues on Windows 10, but some of the issues still can't be fixed so it is up to you if you want to use it. I would recommend it if you don't need to use Restart Race option, or if you are using GOG version.

Podhacks Documentation: http://svn.nicode.net/podhacks/bin/PodHacks.txt
GOG thread: https://www.gog.com/forum/pod/planet_of_death_hooks_podhacks/post1

Using Podhacks:
1. Save the PodHacks.exe in the game's directory and run it from there. (Windows Defender or other AV may detect Podhacks as a false positive, add an exception to allow these)

2. Enable or disable Podhacks by ticking or unticking the POD binary/binaries.



3. To update the automatically generated PodHacks.dll you only have to run PodHacks.exe once.

Podhacks Settings:
GOG version: I would recommend ticking everything except "Redirect CD File access" and set Redirect CD Audio's Wave-out to your default playback device.



CD version: Enable everything, tick "Redirect CD File access to application directory" to play without CD, and Redirect CD Audio's Wave-out to your default playback device.

800x600 DisplayMode ubi.ini fix (optional)
This is different from nGlide's screen resolution. Normally, 3Dfx Pod runs at 640x480, but you can force it to run at 800x600, which is the highest the game can be forced to render at. Then nGlide upscales it to your desktop resolution.

The UI and text appears smaller on 800x600 DisplayMode (right):



To do this for GOG version, open ubi.ini (with notepad) that is located in your POD GOLD\UBISOFT folder, then add DisplayMode=6 under [POD2_0].

To do this for the CD version, open ubi.ini (with notepad) that is located in C:\Windows\UbiSoft, then add DisplayMode=6 under [POD2_0].

Some issues:
  • Do not use ALT + F7 to change resolution after enabling this, because you can't get back 800x600 unless you edit your ubi.ini with DisplayMode=6 again.

  • If using Podhacks, make sure "Redirect Windows directory" option is ticked and a Ubisoft directory is in your game folder with ubi.ini in it. GOG version already has Ubisoft directory by default, but for CD version you have to copy your Ubisoft directory from C:\Windows\Ubisoft.



  • If not using Podhacks, enable compatibilty mode for PODX3Dfx.exe (set to Windows XP SP3), and it will be able to detect DisplayMode=6 in your ubi.ini

Using CDPatcher to install extra cars & tracks
Unzip cdpatcher.zip to a folder, it does not need to be in the game folder. There is a Circuits folder containing the extra tracks, and Voitures containing the extra cars. Run CDPatcher.exe.

Only for these with GoG.com version, you have to create a %windir%\UbiSoft\ubi.ini to use the CDPatcher:
(replace "C:\GOG Games\POD GOLD" with your installation path and don't forget the trailing backslash)
[SYSTEM] ATI 3D Card=0 S3D Card=0 MMX=1 [OSD] Directory=C:\GOG Games\POD GOLD\UBISOFT\OSD\ [POD2_0] Configuration=13 Directory=C:\GOG Games\POD GOLD\ Language=English ShortCutDesktopName=/dev/null ShortCutDirectory=/dev/null



Found Data shows all the extra tracks/cars in the Circuits/Voitures folders and Installed Data is what you have currently installed.

Display Selected shows a preview thumbnail of the track/car.



To install a new track/car, select it under Found Data, and click Prepare Installation, then click Install Data>>.

To remove an installed track/car, select it under Installed Data, and click <<Remove Data.

Click Load New Car in game, select the car to be replaced, choose the car and click replace.


Known Bugs (according to wormholewizards):
- Too many extra cars (>38) can make Load New Car button crash the game.
- Do not use Reset button on Load New Car if you have more than 8 extra cars, it will make duplicate of your existing base car and make the game crash.
Game Music
  • GOG version already comes with music as "Track02.mp3" in the game folder and should play by default.

  • As for CD version, it should play if you keep your POD CD in the optical drive.

  • For mounted ISO of Pod Gold, you will need to use Podhacks to redirect CD Audio to "Track02.mp3" in the game folder. And copy the file "Track02.mp3" over from a GOG installation.

  • Alternately, you can just play the music track (or your own music) with an external player like foobar2000. Here is an MP3/CUE version of the POD soundtrack[www.thebasingers.com], thanks to Clint.
Other Issues
  • Restart race with CTRL + Y may crash the game if using Podhacks. Without using Podhacks, restart race never crashes the game.

  • To play without Podhacks, you have to tick "Reduced Color Mode: 16-bit", under Compatibilty tab of PODX3Dfx.exe Properties. Because Podhacks already does this for you.



  • Without Podhacks, sound stuttering issue can be fixed by setting CPU affinity to 1 core: create a shortcut of PODX3Dfx.exe, open Properties, in the Shortcut tab add this at the front of Target, without removing any of the current text which points to your game exe:
    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /C START "" /affinity 1
    then click Advanced and tick Run as administrator for the shortcut. Always launch using the shortcut.

    Alternatively, you can use DXWnd[sourceforge.net]to fix the sound stuttering issue: After enabling Options > Expert Mode, add PODX3Dfx.exe in DXWnd, then under the game's Compat. tab, tick both "Block Process Priority Class" and "Set single core process affinity".

  • Reverse Mode (If not using Podhacks): add this to the [POD2_0] section in your Ubisoft/ubi.ini to enable a big red Reverse button in the Tracks selection screen (for reversed track mode):
    Tonneau=-2 -2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Multiplayer
POD multiplayer is still playable with the help of Hamachi + DxWnd. Although due to POD's netcode, cars (AI and other players) tend to teleport around when in a multiplayer race.

To set up a multiplayer game, please refer to the guide here:
http://syroot.com/playing-pod-online-in-2018/

Other Possible Graphical Enchancements
The steps are mostly for Nvidia Control Panel (with Nvidia cards), though AMD may have similar options too.
1. You can force Anisotropic Filtering to 16x for Pod Gold via your graphics card control panel, and use antialiasing too. Try 2x, 4x or 8x and see which works for you.
2. For Nvidia cards, change the scaling mode to GPU. This will allow nGlide to scale the game resolution properly on widescreen monitors so it does not appears stretched/distorted.
3. You can use a higher 4:3 custom resolution for nGlide (for example 1600 x 1200 even though your native monitor resolution is not 4:3). To make nGlide scale this correctly, create a custom resolution in Nvidia Control Panel (Display > Change Resolution > Customize), but keep your native resolution selected.

Then in nGlide's Screen Resolution dropdown options, select the same custom resolution as you chose previously. This is with scaling mode set to GPU like previously mentioned (#2).

Here is how screenshots look like with the chosen custom 1600 x 1200 resolution (captured with Shadowplay), and it will capture without the black bars.

4. Reshade version 3 seems to work, with nGlide, I have mostly used it for playing around with SMAA and Vibrance.
Function Keys
F1: Help index menu (only in the menus)
F2: View 1 (outside view) / View 2 (inside view) / View 3 (outside view)
F3: Tachometer
F4: Miles per hour
F5: Radar
F6: Damage status
F7: Exact positions
F8: Overall time / intermediary times in Time Attack mode

Ctrl + Y : Restart
Ctrl + E : Look at another vehicle, It is also possible to press a number to look at another car. The number corresponds to its rank.

Ctrl + F: Zoom forward
Ctrl + V: Zoom back
Ctrl + G: Raise camera view
Ctrl + B: Lower camera view

- and +: Reduce and enlarge the size of the screen
Alt + Enter: Full screen
Alt + F5: Letter Box
Alt + F7: Change resolution
Alt + F8: Activate sky / deactivate sky
Alt + F9: Activate background / deactivate background
Ctrl+T : Automatic visibility (Pentium version), Reduce the visibility to allow greater fluidity.

Other commands / Cheats:
map (during gameplay): show map, F9: enhanced map
label (during gameplay): show player names on cars
night (during gameplay): headlights
mirror (during gameplay: reload game to activate): Mirror Mode
retro (during gameplay): view Cars from Behind

metro (after opening intro): Small cars with large wheels
valay (on Options menu): Change Difficulty/Damage Level
rocket (on Car Settings screen): Exit screen and reenter for 100 additional attribute points.
dural (on Settings screen, Single Player Mode): unlock super car
speedster (on Track Selection screen): Unlock Extra Tracks

crash (during gameplay): Disable Collisions
holigan (during gameplay): All Cars Damaged
garage (during gameplay): Restore Damage to your Car
bonzai or raster (during race) Frame Rate (Shift + Ctrl + R), Build Code (Shift + Ctrl + S)
Links

Credits
Thanks to Nico for Podhacks, RayKoopa for CDPatcher package and various fixes, Photek for some missing info.