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Game Maker Editable file as of version 7. Microsoft Help Compiler for Windows – HC. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. This article possibly contains original research. This article needs additional citations for verification. The company’s flagship product was the Voodoo Graphics, an add-in card that accelerated 3D graphics.
The success of the company’s products led to renewed interest in 3D gaming, and by the second half of the 1990s, products combining a 2D output with reasonable 3D performance were appearing. This was accelerated by the introduction of Microsoft’s Direct3D, which provided a single high-performance API that could be implemented on these cards, seriously eroding the value of Glide. 3dfx rapidly declined in the late 1990s and was acquired by Nvidia mid-December 2000, mostly for intellectual property rights. The acquisition was accounted for as a purchase by Nvidia and was complete in the first quarter of NVIDIA’s fiscal year 2002.
3dfx ceased supporting their products from 15 February 2001. 3dfx gained initial fame in the arcade market. The first arcade machine that 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics hardware was used in was ICE Home Run Derby, a game released in 1996. Towards the end of 1996, the cost of EDO DRAM dropped significantly and 3Dfx was able to enter the consumer PC hardware market with aggressive pricing compared to the few previous 3D graphics solutions for computers. The Voodoo’s primary competition was from PowerVR and Rendition. PowerVR produced a similar 3D-only add-on card with capable 3D support, although it was not comparable to Voodoo Graphics in either image quality or performance. 3Dfx saw intense competition in the market from cards that offered the combination of 2D and 3D acceleration.
Originally developed for arcade games that included non-Intel architectures, Glide was created to handle error prone tasks like chip initialization for the programmer, but implemented nothing more than what the Voodoo hardware was directly capable of. The advantage of an abstraction layer is that game developers save programming effort and gain flexibility by writing their 3D rendering code once, for a single API, and the abstraction layer allows it to run on hardware from multiple manufacturers. This advantage is still in place today. While there were many games that used Glide, the killer application for Voodoo Graphics was the MiniGL driver developed to allow hardware acceleration of the game Quake by id Software. MiniGL implemented only the subset of OpenGL used by Quake.
By 2000, the improved performance of Direct3D and OpenGL on the average personal computer, coupled with the huge variety of new 3D cards on the market, the widespread support of these standard APIs by the game developer community and the closure of 3dfx, made Glide obsolete. In August 1997, 3dfx released the Voodoo Rush chipset, combining a Voodoo chip with a 2D chip that lay on the same circuit board, eliminating the need for a separate VGA card. The Rush had the same specifications as Voodoo Graphics, but did not perform as well because the Rush chipset had to share memory bandwidth with the CRTC of the 2D chip. Furthermore, the Rush chipset was not directly present on the PCI bus but had to be programmed through linked registers of the 2D chip.
A rare third version was produced which featured a Cirrus Logic 2D chip. This version fixed the PCI bus collisions and memory interface problems. Some manufacturers bundled a PC version of Atari Games’ racing game San Francisco Rush, the arcade version of which used four Voodoo Graphics cards working in parallel. Sales of the Voodoo Rush cards were very poor, and the cards were discontinued within a year.