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Pixel and Vertex Shading (Page 1/9)

Posted: February 25, 2001
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen


Its that time of the year again. Its the time when manufacturers begin showing off new and wonderful things to improve our lives. This year though, our lives will be improved in a fun and exciting way we have never before seen!

Actually, we have seen the technology, but we havent seen it in front of our eyes on our own computer systems. This is what Ill be writing about today -- technology that enhances our enjoyment of using our PCs.

Ground Breaking Black Magic

Back in the early days of personal computing, when our games side scrolled, beeped and thrilled us with MIDI sound, we were all shaken at the new types of games that were coming out. At the time when 2D ruled the scenes, games like Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, and a handful of others started appearing on the shelves of computer stores everywhere and forecasted a technology that was being stirred, mixed, summoned and soon to be unleashed.

Soon after, in the memorable year of 1995, the witchdoctors at 3dfx Interactive brewed up the most amazing computer graphics that ever appeared on the personal computer. 3dfx has unleashed their spell on every video gamer out there. Whether you were a PC gamer, a console gamer, or a handheld cultural statement, the power of Voodoo 3D was in the process of changing your lives forever.

Let the Games Begin

3dfxs technology became the centerpiece of every PC gamer out there and every gamer wanted their hands on it. All the great manufacturers of yore jumped onto the Voodoo bandwagon and began producing a mountain of video cards based on 3dfxs technology. Im talking about cherished companies like Diamond Multimedia with its legendary Monster3D card, Canopus, and STB just to name a few. All these companies along with some of the ones that are still in existence today, helped fuel the Voodoo brew and revolutionized gaming.

Games started coming out from developers everywhere with support for 3dfx graphics and these games played like no others before them. Silky smooth graphics, fully interactive environments, polygons everywhere, bilinear filtering here, mipmapping over there, games poured out like raging river and gamers everywhere embraced 3D.

True 3D

While older games like Doom 2 were called 3D, they werent real 3D. These older games wrapped sprites onto frames placed on grids and generated their graphics that way, making the game seem 3D. It wasnt until Quake came along and decided to change everything.

Games were now on an x, y, and z system and they werent looking back, ever. Besides 3dfx, everyone else was jumping on for the ride too! Long time players like ATI, Matrox and S3 started producing cards that had compelling feature sets but none of them succeeded quite as well as 3dfx. 3dfx definitely had it made and everyone else was left standing in the dust trying to figure what to do next.

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