Going back to Cali
3dfx's Brian Burke is currently making his way around the nation showing off the Voodoo 5 to all the major websites. This week Brian is visiting the SF Bay Area. We had already seen the Voodoo 5 demo at GDC
, but we decided to go down to 3dfx's corporate headquarters to see if there are any new developments.
Brian, Peter Wicher, and P.T. Barnum walked us through the Voodoo 5 demos. We had already seen many of the FSAA game demos, but this time P.T. demonstrated 3dfx's full-scene anti-aliasing with Relic's Homeworld. As many of you already know, Homeworld has huge number of complex ships, and is one of those games in desperate need of anti-aliasing. In the normal game, players are bombarded with jagged edges and shimmering pixels everywhere. At 640x480, the game looks incredible with FSAA enabled. The shimmering and jagged edges simply disappear.
Da Plane! Da Plane!
Peter then showed us 3dfx's "Kitty Hawk" demo. The demo really shows the strength of anti-aliasing. Even at 1024x768, you still see pixels disappear and reappear as the biplane rotates around without FSAA. T&L won't stop pixels from shimmering, but anti-aliasing will. We mentioned to Peter NVIDIA's stance that FSAA should be the last development in the 3D pipeline, but Peter pointed out that SGI and Sun went after anti-aliasing first.
3dfx gave us three 8MB movies of the plane demo: movie1.mpg, movie2.mpg, movie3.mpg. You can really see the shimmering in these movies.
I was particularly interested in seeing the depth-of-field effect since I missed the original Rocket Burger demo at the T-buffer conference. I really like FSAA, but I'm still not particularly impressed with the depth-of-field effect yet. The blurring of the out-of-focus image doesn't look diffused enough because you can still see the edges where the blur effect ends. Motion blur still looks interesting, but all the examples we've seen have been exaggerated. We can't wait to see more subtle motion blur effects.
Brian told us that the Voodoo 5 AGP card being demonstrated was close to production speed, but not quite there yet. That means no benchmarks. Cards are still scheduled to hit store shelves in mid to late April. Brian did give us a couple never before seen screenshots comparing 2X and 4X FSAA.