Intel Blog: How 3dfx was Built on a Simulator

In the early 1990s, “PC graphics” was almost an oxymoron. If you wanted to do real graphics, you bought a “real machine”, most likely a Silicon Graphics workstation. At the PC price-point, fast hardware-accelerated 3D graphics wasn’t doable… until it suddenly was, thanks to Moore’s law. 3dfx was the first company to create fast 3D graphics for PC gamers.  To get off the ground and get funded, 3dfx had to prove that their ideas were workable – and that proof came in the shape of a simulator.  They used the simulator to demo their ideas, try out different design points, develop software pre-silicon, and validate the silicon once it arrived.  Read the full story on my Intel blog, “How Simulation Started a Billion-Dollar Company”, found at the Intel Developer Zone blogs.

Off-Topic: Voxel Graphics at Legoland

Legoland is full of cool and interesting Lego models, built from millions and millions of Lego bricks. The creations don’t have too much in common with the standard Lego kits sold in stores. Rather, they are advanced uses of Lego bricks that look like something from the real world — especially at a distance. Up close, they are very blocky and not as smooth and polished as regular Lego models.

Essentially, they are voxel graphic representations that must be very hard to plan and execute.  The standard single-stud 1×1 Lego brick is their smallest unit, or maybe its 1/3 height flat version. Here are some examples that I photographed in Legoland during my visit this Summer.

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