All Hail Glide!

Remember the first time you were blown away by 3D graphics? I don’t mean sitting in a theatre watching The Last Starfighter, but on a computer or console at home. Yea, Starglider and Virus were awesome, but for me the first time I was floored by 3D was seeing Wipeout for the first time on a Playstation, back in ’96. There’s a second time, but no third, really. The second time was after slipping a 3dfx Vooodoo graphics card into the PCI slot of my 225MHz AMD K6-based PC. Smoother, perspective-correct 3D at four times the res of the PSX. Insane fine.

There were a number of APIs out there used to work Voodoo-support into a game, like Direct3D or OpenGL – but games that looked the best, without fail, used Glide. As Wikipedia tells it,

    Glide is based on the basic geometry and “world view” of OpenGL. OpenGL is a very large library with about 250 calls in the API, many of which are of limited use. Glide was an effort to select those features that were truly useful for gaming, leaving the rest out. The result was an API that was small enough to be implemented entirely in hardware. That hardware was 3dfx’s own Voodoo cards. This led to several odd limitations in Glide — for instance, it only supported 16-bit color.

I still do a bit of Glide gaming on my 700MHz P3 Windows 98SE box (used primarily for retro emulation) which sports an AGP Voodoo3 3000. (I’m a Rune nut.) So it was with no small degree of happiness that I happened to stumble upon an article this morning detailing the Best 3dfx Glide Games. Whether or not you dabbled in Voodoo in your distant past, have a look – good stuff, to be sure.

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