3dfx touts T-buffer for next-generation games
Advanced 3D technology to offer movie-standard special effects
3D graphics specialist 3dfx unwrapped new technology on Friday which it promised would bring a new level of photorealism to computer games and graphics applications. Dubbed T-buffer, the technology essentially adds a stack of optical effects which developers will be able to incorporate into their software to make rendered scenes seem more real. Top of the list is full-scene anti-aliasing, which smooths the hard edges of 3D polygons for a more photo-like look. At the moment, all 3D graphics cards anti-alias individual textures, but fail to tidy up the jagged lines where one texture crosses another. T-buffer's full-scene anti-aliasing eliminates these 'jaggies', even on titles developed without such smoothing in mind. T-buffer also adds motion blur, depth of field, and soft shadow and reflection effects. All these tricks are produced by generating multiple frames of a given scene and then realigning and combining them to create the final frame. This filtering process is only be applied to the relevant areas of the frame, allowing framerates to be kept higher rather than lower, 3dfx said. Demonstrating the technology to Maximum PC magazine, 3dfx used four Voodoo 2 boards in SLI mode, but company co-founder Scott Sellers promised T-buffer would be built into 3dfx's next generation of graphics processor, the Voodoo 4, due before the end of the year and which will bring full 32-bit rendering to 3dfx-based products for the first time. That said, he didn't specify how many cards would be needed to enable T-buffer's features. ® Screenshots showing T-buffer in action can be found here
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