Microsoft is trying a second way to make workstation-class 3D graphics a reality on PCs: hardware. While its Direct3D has become a key API for software developers, the new strategy could be a quantum leap in graphics performance.
The firm yesterday showed off Talisman, a chip project that could lead to 70 frames-per-second 3D by the end of 1997, winning rave reviews from experts. Rather than using today's polygon rendering, image layers are compressed and sent directly to the screen, obviating the huge computational requirements that make graphics workstations so expensive. Microsoft says it will partner with silicon makers, licensing its core technology.
However, Talisman is not yet a reality. It was shown in a series of technology papers at the Siggraph computer graphics conference in New Orleans, and the only demonstration was a simulation.