Video Card 3D Acceleration
-As we talked about before with Direct Draw also comes into play with 3D acceleration. The guys that make those high end games know that it must be tailored along with Windows and in a way to throw information on screen. The idea of 3D is not a simple one. The math involved is not your typical consumer math. Math is not my strong subject as is, but the math is good for your processor onboard. Another thing to consider about 3D is the CPU that is in your computer. You really want a good processor not only on the Video Board but the motherboard also. We need a processor that can render all the 3D objects such as triangles to make an object on screen.
-Many things have to happen just on the CPU end of 3D acceleration. As I just said we need a CPU to handle the task. At this time Pentium is probably the best for this operation with AMD right behind it with its "3D NOW!" technology. I mentioned in CPU's that the AMD processors work just fine for these operations especially when equipped with an AGP Video Card. Now what happens in the system when running a graphic intensive 3D game? The primary steps are geometry, transform, and rendering all of which is handled by both the system CPU and the video card processor. Here are the steps in a better perspective. All steps in 3D are handled in scenes. As you read on we are simply making a scene. Just imagine how complex these scenes can be on high end games. You really need a good system to make this stuff happen.
-The Geometry, well we all know what a triangle looks like, right? Well your CPU has the job of determining were the triangle have to be placed to make an object on screen. This is usually done over a wire frame as seen in Auto CAD programs.
-Transform, now we have to put these triangles together. Your CPU will put a model of this image together in system memory on a wire frame. Not only this but we have to figure out the lighting of the triangles while in memory. This usually occurs on your systems CPU and not on the Video card processor.
-Render, now after taking information out of memory it is most likely sent to the Video Cards processor. When information hits the graphic board processor we will put those Bit Map images over our triangles thus making an image in 3D.
-This is just a basic example of course. In some of those steps especially after the transform you can see were the Double buffering comes into play under Direct Draw. Now lets look at some more steps that can come into play with 3D operations. This is added to the basic steps above to make for a better scene.
-Filter, this is Bi-linear and Tri-linear filtering. This is done by smoothing over those blocky bitmaps. Textures will seem more streamline and realistic. If you play Quake II you know what I mean. If you have played Quake I you are also a witness to the blocky square looking graphics.
-Double Buffering, as we discussed earlier. We need to display a scene and work on one at the same time. This will give you a streamline appearance. If your buffering is out of whack you will know it soon.
-Flat Shading, this is similar to the filters above. We are taking those triangle with color and more or less bleeding them together. This really adds more to the realism rather than a red block here and a blue block next to it.
-Mipmapping, this is overlooked but very important in game play. Let say your walking inside a scene towards dog, you want the dog to be bigger than what you seen it a mile away if you are standing right in front of it. This is mipmapping. Textures are basically swapped while moving to ad more realism to the scene. Cool huh!?
-Atmosphere, if your dog in the scene above is smoking a cigarette we also want to see the hazy smoke. This is were the atmosphere can come into play. On flight simulators you will see haze or fog while flying this is another example of atmosphere.
-Lighting, this effect will light up the dog so you can see it or even make his cigarette flare a little. Your dog may even show the light intensify on his snout along with the haze over him, this is were lighting comes in.
-Z-Buffering, this comes down to objects that are obscured by another. We don't want to draw that part of the scene until it is moved. This is another way of improving performance.
-There is such a intense amount of work that has to be done. Of course there is so many factors involved from the software level to the hardware. Now lets look at what these little guys have to work on such as the monitor. Take a peek at monitors for more!!
Installing a Video Card
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