A tribute to 3dfx: Eight years out of business
Today eight years ago the Internet was shocked by an announcement: 3dfx Interactive, producer of the legendary Voodoo graphics card, is closing down. On this anniversary we take a look at the history of 3dfx.
December 15, 2000 has been a bad day for the graphics card market and thousands of fans. "The end of an era” or something similar could be read on almost any news site and we a t PCGH had been quite surprised, too. In the first issue of our print magazine we had a Voodoo5 6000 lead article, but only four issues later we had to announce the end of 3dfx on the cover. At this point we want to recapitulate what made 3dfx the company it has been and what reasons lead to the end. Many details won't be mentioned because otherwise this article would be a never-ending story. For the interested among you we offer several other articles on the last page.
3dfx: Who, what, why?
Our young readers might know about the concerned company from hearsay only, because eight years are quite some time. De facto 3dfx has been dead for longer than it has been alive: The lifetime of the 3D pioneer lasted only six years, from 1994 to 2000. 3Dfx's story of success (with a capital D initially; pronounced like 3D effects) didn't begin before 1996 though. With the introduction of the Voodoo Graphics (Codename SST-1) the small company became market leader over night. This wasn't caused because a good product was sold for low prices. No, it started a downright revolution: With the first Voodoo, a 3D accelerator that was intended to work alongside the back then common 2D cards, 3dfx paved the way for modern graphics cards. For the first time it was possible to accelerate polygonal designed game environments with a dedicated chip and to interpolate the once blocky textures bilinear. With a Voodoo a Pentium 133 became a fast gaming system that even outclassed the most expensive Pentium 200 in optimized games.
Due to "Glide”, an API exclusively invented for the Voodoo, the cards became accepted and supported by the game developers. Existing titles were upgraded with "3dfx Patches” because of which they didn't just run faster, but also were displayed in a new, filtered appearance. With Gex 3D and Pandemonium 2 two games were published that would even start without a 3dfx card. Just imagine the uproar if today a game would be published for which a Radeon is compulsory - unthinkable. This was possible only because the competitors back then - Nvidia, Ati, Matrox, S3 and the others - couldn't offer anything as powerful as the Voodoo Graphics.
- 13dfx obituary: Introduction
- 23dfx obituary: Nvidia, the beginning of the end'
- 33dfx obituary: About STB, GeForce256 and Voodoo5
- 43dfx obituary: Future since 2001 and Conclusion
- 53dfx obituary: Original statement of a 3dfx founder from December 15, 2000
- 63dfx obituary: Original 3dfx commercials
- 73dfx obituary: Related articles
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