|Game and Hardware News: August 31st, 1999
S3(R) Incorporated has announced its next-generation graphics platform, the Savage2000(TM) accelerator. Savage2000 delivers a fill rate of 700+ MegaTexels/second, twice the speed of today's slower single pixel/dual texture architectures.
S3 also announced that Diamond Multimedia will produce the first Savage2000-based retail add-in card. Scheduled to be available on retail shelves for Christmas, Diamond's soon to be announced Savage2000 card will deliver a superior sub-$250 solution for end-users seeking stunning 2D, 3D, DTV and DVD performance.
Meeting the needs of the retail add-in card market, as well as the performance segment of the OEM PC market, Savage2000 is available in two configurations: the Savage2000 and the Savage2000+. With 128-bit memory support and up to a 150MHz engine clock, the Savage 2000 is targeted at high-performance OEM systems, while the Savage2000+ -- with 128-bit memory support (up to 200MHz) and up to a 200MHz engine clock -- is targeted at potential retail add-in card designs ranging from $169-249.
64MB Memory Support
In addition to high-performance cores, both configurations provide up to 64MB of memory, a 350MHz RAMDAC, DVI-compliant digital flat panel technology, advanced TV-out support and complete AGP 4X technology for optimal performance.
64MB of memory greatly increases the flexibility and performance of its 3D engine and allows for the usage of resolutions up to 1600x1200 triple buffered with 32-bit per pixel color depth and a 32-bit Z-buffer, while still maintaining 32MB of memory for textures. Savage2000's 64MB support also allows for full-scene anti-aliasing at higher resolutions. Savage2000 implements several industry-first 3D technologies including:
Dual Pixel/Dual Texture Pipeline
Implementing an innovative single clock, four texel architecture, Savage2000 delivers a fill rate of 700+ MegaTexels/second, twice the speed of today's slower single pixel/dual texture architectures.
"For the next 6 to 9 months, multi-texturing fill rate will remain the key to kick-ass game performance," said John Heap, director of product development for Rage Software PLC., developers of the award-winning Expendable title. "Definitely, this is the feature that a winning 3D accelerator must have!"
Unique QuadTexture(TM) Engine
With the ability to composite four textures in a single cycle, Savage2000's QuadTexture engine enables developers to use complex visual effects, such as shadows, reflections, bump, noisy environment and simulation, for the first time without a loss in performance.
Off-loading the geometry calculation stage of the 3D pipeline from the CPU, S3's first-generation transform and lighting engine (S3TL) will enable the development of future OpenGL and DirectX 7 games that deliver 4-10X the polygon and lighting complexity of today's fastest PC applications. Delivering up to 8 dynamic hardware lights at 3X the performance of today's CPUs, S3TL also enables real-time load balancing between Savage2000 and the host CPU.
The T&L engine frees up valuable processor cycles that developers can use to further enhance other aspects of their applications such as artificial intelligence, audio, collision detection and physics. To push the development of these future games, S3 has an aggressive ISV program underway designed to match S3's existing texture compression technology (S3TC) with S3TL for the most realistic game play ever seen on the PC platform.
Best of Class DTV/DVD Playback
Savage2000 is a complete DTV/DVD solution that delivers a level of performance equivalent to stand-alone consumer devices. Highlights of Savage2000's superior video engine include:
Sampling now, Savage2000 is expected to be in mass production in October of this year. End-users should be able to purchase Diamond Multimedia's Savage2000-based add-in cards during the fourth quarter of this year and Savage2000-based systems in the first quarter of 2000.
Falcon 4 ---> F15 !!
F15 will be Microprose next major flight simulation product, a stand alone game that will be completely connectable in the Falcon 4 world.
As a stand alone product, F15 will likely have an enhanced graphics engine in comparison to F4. In fact, this will almost certainly be necessary since F15 will take advantage of DirectX7 and the onboard T&L engines that will be common on graphics boards in the year 2000.
The obvious question is: If F15 uses an enhanced or even completely NEW graphics engine, how will it connect to F4?
Novalogic's continual upgrades to Novaworld and their simulation series is a good example of how this could be done. Most likely F4 itself would be patched or ported to the new engine. The result? You guessed it.. this is probably Falcon 5.0 and not 4.0.
F15 will be set in the Bosnian theatre. If you have both this product and Falcon 4 (or maybe 5), you will be able to fly F16s in either that theater or in Korea.
F15 will of course feature front seat/back seat multiplayer. This was by far the most demanded and neglected feature of JANE'S F15. The front seat/back seat coop missions will add an entirely new dimension to gameplay by adding two humans to a single aircraft, not to mention a vast change in work load for the pilot!
Will we fly both the C model air dominance fighter and the E "Strike Eagle?" This was the other hotly demanded feature by F15 fans, so my guess is that yes, we will be flying both. We can also hope to see the more powerful F100-PW-229 engines, like those in the Israeli F-15I. These low bypass turbofan engines are each capable of developing approximately 29,000 pounds of thrust, 20% more power than the earlier engines. (Click HERE for more on the F15 Eagle.)
Why the Change?
Apparently the survey posted on Microprose' falcon4.com a few months ago played a large part in this decision. Adversary aircraft weren't popular with F4 fans. So why go with the F15 as opposed to the F/A 18 Super Hornet?
Most likely there are a number of reasons. First, both Digital Integration and JANE'S Combat Simulations are bringing out excellent F/A 18 offerings this fall. And second, the addition of the F18 would virtually necessitate the addition of naval operations to the F4 universe. It could be that the team has enough challenges on their hands already.
Finally, the addition of the F15 will showcase the incredible ground war in the F4 world. And mud moving fans will finally have their dream world, a complete modeling of the F15, even including front seat/back seat coop.
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Last Updated August 31st, 1999