Now, with the 3D Blaster, even more realism will be added to incredible Flight Unlimited, an air-stunt flight sim by Looking Glass Technologies.
3D video looks like it'll be the next big battleground in gaming peripherals. Thanks to Windows 95's support of 3D- accelerator cards and the growing interest on the part of game designers in exploring fully realized 3D worlds, video card manufacturers are almost universally scrambling to get the best 3D acceleration solutions to market.
Now Creative Labs is weighing in with its new 3D Blaster, a 3D-accelerated video card aimed squarely at the gaming public. The new card will support Criterion Software's RenderWare device driver - an important part of the 3D Blaster strategy. Since more than 500 developers support RenderWare developers, the 3D Blaster will enjoy plenty of software support.
The heart of the 3D Blaster will be the GLINT 3D processor chip - a scaled down, "gaming" version of 3Dlabs' GLINT 300SX, used for CAD, modeling, animation and games authoring. The GLINT 3D supports accelerated texture-mapping and has the ability to manipulate the polygons that lie beneath the textures. This should result in visual quality and performance that will give even 32-bit game consoles a run for their money.
The GLINT 3D provides faster graphics by handling these video functions itself, rather than drawing on your PCs CPU. This should translate directly into improved game performance, and will also accelerate non-gaming applications like the next-generation VRML 3D internet browsers.
The 3D graphics of Bullfrog's Magic Carpet were simply stunning. We can't wait to see what Magic Carpet Plus will look like with the 3D Blaster powering it.
Whereas many games today run at 32Ox2OQ resolutions with 256 colors, the 3D Blaster will accelerate games running at resolutions as high as 640x480 and 65,536 colors to twice their non-accelerated speed. It will also be fully Plug-n-Play compatible with Windows 95, assuring easy installation.
For you techies out there, the 3D Blaster will feature double- buffered graphics, Z buffering, alpha transparency, hardware fogging, and texture anti-aliasing. If you don't understand all that, don't worry. Neither do we. But it sure sounds good.
How many games will support the 3D Blaster directly? Over 200 developers have already signed on, among them Electronic Arts/Bullfrog, Interplay, Mindscape, Papyrus, Looking Glass, and Ocean. Les Edgar, managing director at Bullfrog, said, "Creative Labs has a long history as an industry leader in bringing sound technology to the gaming experience, and we believe that 3D Blaster will continue that tradition of innovation." With more than 15 million Sound Blaster audio products in homes all over the world, Creative Labs has become a well- known and trusted name in gaming peripherals.
The first 3D Blasters will be designed for VESA Local Bus computers as Creative Labs aims for the over 20 million 486-based systems in use today; a PCI versions will be available in early ‘96 for Pentium-based systems. The $349 card should be on store shelves as you read this (around mid-November 1995), and will be packaged with six full games:
EA/Bullfrog's Magic Carpet Plus, Mindscape's Cybersied and Azrael's Tear, Papyrus' NASCAR, PF Magic's Ballz Out!, and Looking Glass' Flight Unlimited. These titles will take full advantage of the 3D Blaster API, and should be impressive examples of the new 3D technology.
With so many 3D-accelerator cards poised to hit the market, it's going to be interesting to see which becomes the market leader - and which offers the best performance. One thing's for certain, though: Whether its the best or not, a lot of folks are going to buy the new Creative Labs card just because they're familiar with the Blaster name, made famous by Creative Labs' Sound Blaster line.