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Apple and S-MOS Systems Announce PIX 3D Accelerator for QuickDraw 3D


S-MOS Systems, Inc. and Apple Computer, Inc. announced that the S-MOS PIX 3D Rendering Engine now supports Apple's QuickDraw 3D RAVE API for Macintosh and will soon support RAVE for Microsoft Windows platforms.

RAVE-based games and applications on either platform will benefit from speed increases of more than 100 percent over non-accelerated rendering through PIX-based acceleration. Both companies are working aggressively with game developers to include RAVE support for their Macintosh and Windows 3D titles.

PIX is a very low-cost, high performance (66 million pixels/second) 3D rendering chip for PCI-based Macintosh and PC graphics boards. PIX offers improvements in polygon setup and rasterization, perspective correction, visibility determination and texture-map address calculation and has a bus mastering PCI interface compatible with any 2D display.

RAVE is the foundation technology used in QuickDraw 3D, Apple's award-winning, comprehensive 3D graphics architecture for MacOS, Windows 95 and Windows NT. RAVE has been shipping for 32-bit Windows platforms since April, 1996 and enables high-performance 3D graphics in a wide range of games and application software. Specifically, RAVE is an optimized Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) which allows programmers to code directly to 3D hardware for maximum performance and also provides specific, optimized functionality for software rendering and texture mapping. RAVE enables developers to write highly-optimized, extremely fast 3D software for all major personal computer platforms.

PIX also offers triangle rendering, clipping, per pixel fog and depth cues, 16-bit z-visibility per pixel and 2048 by 2048 maximum image. Architectural innovations enable POX to use systems memory for texture map and frame buffer storage, creating support for up to 128MB of texture maps.

RAVE allows developers to maintain differentiation in software while maintaining fine control of 3D hardware and existing high-performance rendering engines. Software developers get plug-and-play 3D acceleration, regardless of whether they use QuickDraw 3D or simply the RAVE API.

"We are very pleased that S-MOS has implemented RAVE support for both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows with the PIX accelerator," said Sean J. Safreed, QuickDraw 3D product manager for Apple Computer, Inc. "We firmly believe that the combination of RAVE with direct hardware acceleration such as PIX provides is the best solution for 3D game developers seeking the best performance and maximum flexibility with their titles."

Game developers using Apple's API have been pleased to note that PIX's support for RAVE makes the migration from one platform to the other much simpler, as relatively little porting is necessary. What's more, both RAVE and PIX were designed to effortlessly accommodate large, detailed textures, allowing game developers to allocate up to 16MB of texture in a game.

"Bungie is very excited about S-MOS' support of RAVE. Our most recent game, Weekend Warrior, was built from the ground up for 3D accelerators like PIX. We have seen some excellent from rate on PIX with Weekend Warrior, and given our high polygon counts and use of demanding 3D features, this says great things about the chip," said Eric Klein, Director of New Business Development at Bungie Software Products Corporation.

"I took a retail shipping version of HAVOC E4, stuck a PIX card in my Mac, and loved seeing it up and running," said Jon Chait, President and CEO of Reality Bytes, Inc. "Even with an early driver I could see the potential of the chip. OEMs and consumers are going to like the price/quality performance. When Reality Bytes' products like HAVOC and DARK VENGENCE take advantage of PIX's capabilities, the gamer is the big winner."

"Game titles using RAVE will be greatly enhanced by PIX acceleration, with marked improvements in frame rate, high resolution texture maps, gouraud shading and alpha-channel transparency," said Tom Endicott, S-MOS vice president of sales and marketing.


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