also reminded us that FSAA will be an "out of
the box" feature immediately available to all
users and developers for that matter.
T-Buffer Effects (Motion Blur, Depth of Field,
Soft Shadows and Reflections) all have to be
supported at the game developer level.
However, the beauty of the VSA-100 architecture is
that the T-Buffer allows the game developer to
implement these features very easily. In the
end, 3dfx is targeting a new level of immersion
for the end user and exponentially higher quality
end product results for the Game Developer.
The essence of all these features is to bring
gaming to a more realistic level. Having
experienced the effect these features have first
hand, there is no denying the impact...it was
superior to anything we have seen to date.
Peter cued our big bad friend PT to launch the
demo... Marco and I were jockeying for
position as to who could get closest to the
20" inch Sony Monitor they had set up for our
viewing pleasure. This was exciting stuff.
PT was running a the
Voodoo 5 in special "road-ready" Pentium
733 with 128MB of RAM. The
first thing PT launched was Quake 3 Arena... what
was a total surprise was the fact that PT fired up
a version of Quake 3 that had been modified to
support the Motion Blur effect! Peter told
us that this took an Engineer at 3dfx no more than
a few days to do and was very easy to
accomplish. He also pointed out that it was
done by an Engineer, not an artist, so even though
the effect was impressive, the possibility is
there for an even greater improvement.
are motion blur shots taken by 3dfx. These
are not the actual in game shots from our demo but
the effect was exactly the same. These are
large JPEG images with little or no compression,
so if you are bandwidth deprived, be prepared to
wait during download.
us when we tell you, that these picture don't even
come close to doing the live experience
justice. The effect was VERY cool during
game play. Marco and I were extremely
impressed. A while back, AGN
interviewed a few webmasters about their
thoughts on the T-Buffer effects. Marco gave
an answer that we feel provides a good analogy as
to why screenshots really DO NOT do Motion Blur
justice. Pop a tape in your VCR of any movie
with some high speed action and pause it as
something is flying by your screen. Do that
and you'll see what we're talking about!
next demonstration PT launched into was FSAA.
Our slack-jaw look widened. PT was showing
us Microprose's Falcon 4, only this time the
horizon was defined and crisp. There were no
jagged lines anywhere including the surrounding
scenery, the plane and even the pilot
within. Also equally impressive was the
total lack of "swimming textures".
This is an especially annoying thing for most
folks. Ever watch a textured object go by in
a game and as it moves across the screen and
changes its angle to your viewing position; all
the while those beautiful textures are undulating
all over the object? How unnatural,
right? Believe it or not, your eyes get used
to this garbage! Once PT hit the FSAA toggle
button, all the texture swimming stopped in its
tracks. It was fantastic and we will never
look at a game without FSAA the same way
again. Damn 3dfx for ruining things on
us! They better release Voodoo 5 soon!
then broke into FSAA demonstrations on various
games such as Homeworld, Lucas Arts' Pod Racer,
etc. Some demos were running at 800X600 and
some at 1024X768. The Kittyhawk demo in
particular was very impressive, it was two 15,000
poly models of an airplane spinning on each side
of the screen. One had 4xFSAA enabled and
the other didn't. Both were running at 1024x768.
The difference was amazing, even at a fairly high
resolution, the aliased plane would have fine
lines vanishing as it spun around, something we're
all used to seeing but hardly pay any attention
to. When you see the same exact model anti-aliased
the "texture popping" disappears, which
is again something that has to be seen to be
appreciated. Peter Wicher was very specific
about the fact that 3dfx does not advocate
dropping resolution just because you are running
FSAA. They are targeting their product to
support FSAA with 32 Bit Color and 1024X768
resolution, with a silky smooth frame rate.
are a couple FSAA screen shots to illustrate the
are uncompressed TGAs and are zipped up for
smaller file size and easier downloading .
The reason we are not posting JPEG shots or
thumbnails of these, is because image compression
and image size reduction introduce a fair amount
of distortion into a given scene. These
files are 500+K and 2MB+ in size, respectively.
Original TGAs of Incoming with and without 4X FSAA
- NO FSAA ( click image )
With 4X FSAA ( click image )
Original TGAs of World War II Fighters with and
without 4X FSAA
War II Fighters - NO FSAA ( click image )
War II Fighters - With 4X FSAA ( click image )
really experience FSAA , you need to see it live
on a platform with excellent frame rate. The
Voodoo5 delivered this and it was damned
a look here, if you would like a refresher on Soft
Shadows and Soft Reflections.
we have a winner?
visit with Brian and the gang sure was exciting
and really opened our eyes to what the future
holds for 3dfx.
The Voodoo 5 impressed us as a product that will
live up to the hype and marketing that has
surrounded this new technology for almost the past
year. FSAA on the Voodoo 5 was so good we
can never go back to non FSAA supported games and
be truly satisfied. Motion Blur was more
than just a bell or whistle. It was a real
improvement in our level of immersion and sense of
speed. 3dfx surely has a winner on their
hands with Voodoo 5. We can't wait to get
our hands on review product!
thanks to Brian Burke, Peter Wicher and PT Barnum,
of 3dfx, for their time and hospitality during our
visit with them in NY. We really appreciated
the "open door" environment they have
created within their company and their on line
us your feedback and fire off your questions to
In the Hot Hardware Conference Room!