ECTS: T-Buffer from 3dfx on show

Voodoo guru from 3dfx promises much with T-Buffer technology.

Perhaps best-known for its breakthrough Voodoo 3D graphics cards, games hardware specialist 3dfx has chosen ECTS as the forum to unveil its latest and greatest 3D goodies.

Although the company is unusually coy about the nuts and bolts underlying its much-heralded T-Buffer technology, the stand proudly demonstrated the cinematic effects to a throng of youthful visitors hard-pushed to gain entry into any 18-cert showing.

The company claims T-Buffer will "bridge the realism gap" that currently exists between film/photography and computer graphics. Gary Tarolli, 3dfx chief technical officer said that leap in realism was necessary in order to appease a consumer audience "no longer satisfied with sharp, jagged polygon edges and unrealistic motion effects".

At the same time Tarolli conceded that pricing had to be as realistic as graphical output if his vision of real-time, interactive 3D applications was to be realised.

Until now, such rendering and motion capabilities have remained the realm of the professional developer, but with T-Buffer 3dfx hopes to bring features such as real-time Full-Scene Spatial Anti-Aliasing, real-time motion blur and Depth of Field to consumer fingertips.

A further announcement witnessed the unveiling of the company's new Voodoo3 3500 TV card, a PC entertainment system combining 3D and 2D graphics, TV tuner and multimedia centre. Based on the company's ubiquitous Voodoo3 graphics accelerator technology, the card is aimed at the gaming hardcore with £199 to spare.

The TV element provides support for MPEG 2, DVD, cable TV, and a high-resolution display. 3dfx said the blurring of lines between gaming and video/audio entertainment, plus huge high-street retail backing in the US, had prompted the development.

Finally, prices are being slashed on Voodoo3 2000 and 3000 boards. The ever-popular cards are now just £79 and £129 respectively.

Take me to the GameTech ECTS coverage for in depth technical news from the show. For news on the games, go to GameSpot's official coverage.