In the Forums...
Posted: October 29, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
Enter the Direct3D/OpenGL settings tab by right clicking the desktop. Choose Properties, then Settings, then Advanced, then there should be a 3dfx/Voodoo5 tab in which you'll find these settings.
Weíre going to take you through the driver feature set from beginning to end, so let us start with the first few options that the drivers have to offer.
Alpha blending is the ability to give an image, or pixel at the smallest level, an attribute that will determine whether the image will appear solid (opaque), invisible (transparent), or semi-transparent. When used in conjunction with polygons, this method can be used to create glass, water, or anything else that is virtually 'see-through'. The more alpha-blends you have in a game, the slower the game will run. It takes a lot of processing to do translucency. Youíll see alpha blending in things like smoke, flares, lighting, fog.
The choices are Automatic (default), smoother, and sharper. The smoother the alpha blends, the more alpha blending that occurs and youíll have a more gradient and smooth affect on your visuals. Using smoother alpha blends will affect speed but not by any noticeable amount. I personally would leave it at automatic so the card can determine what effects require smooth blends and what effects require sharp blends. For FPS games, I would choose an option of sharp for good visuals and fast performance at the same time.
For 3D Filter Quality, you have three options: Normal, Automatic, or High. Using this option, the display image can be filtered by averaging pixel values. By using this overlay filter, the image quality for full-screen 3D applications can be improved. Selecting the High option will average more pixels than the Normal option, resulting in a smoother but blurrier image, while the Normal option averages fewer pixels for a sharper image.
Automatic - Select this option to allow your system's software to use video filtering as needed.
Normal - Select this option to use the 4x1 linear filter.
High - Select this option to use the 2x2 box filter for a sharper video image.
The higher you go, the slower the frame rate. But again, speed is not reduced significantly. I would leave the option as Normal for consistent speed while maintaining high quality imaging.
Z-Buffering Optimization will optimize calculations to the z-buffer. This buffer determines which parts in render are seen by the viewer and will take out the parts that are not. Enabling this features will enable the card to use optimized z-buffer extensions (much like how SSE speeds certain multimedia things up) and should increase performance. Leave this option enabled. Only disable optimization if you have weird anomalies in your games.
Anti-Aliasing is what everyone is talking about. It takes out jaggies and sparklies from your image. Jaggies are staircase-like formations on edges of objects on screen, particularly diagnols. And sparkles come from poorly aligned texture seams. You have these options:
Single Chip Only: No Anti-Aliasing will be used: Will use one VSA-100 chip. Best for compability.
Fastest Performance: No Anti-Aliasing will be used: Will use both VSA-100 chips for best performance! Totally recommended if you want speed above all else.
2 Sample: Good quality AA: I donít recommend playing above 1024x768 as your frame rates really drop with this setting. Here, the best resolution to play at would be 800x600 and I recommend this for non FPS type games but you can also play 800x600 and 640x480 in FPS games.
4 Sample: Excellent quality AA: Donít even bother playing FPS games with these, youíll be the one who is fragged instead of fragging. This option is great for other slow-paced games. A good game that comes to mind is Myth and Myth 2. Great games for looks.
Letís move on to the OpenGL options.