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Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson
20 Years of Military Flight Simulations on the PC by Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson.

Flight sim guru Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson chronicles the first 30 years of computer flight sims, the software, hardware, people and the culture.

The Growth Years: 1990-1996

3DFX

In 1996 3dfx released a dedicated 3d accelerator, and suddenly the graphical complexity of games leapt forward a generation. Up to this time memory on video boards was strictly framebuffer memory, with VGA boards sporting 512K of memory. There was no acceleration of texture rendering in 3d games, with the host processor doing all the work.

3DFX released their first "Voodoo" board with 2 MB of framebuffer memory, and 2 MB of texture memory. The additional framebuffer memory paved the way for higher color depths at higher resolutions, and the texture memory stored the surface images that are applied to the polygons that make up objects in games.

16 bit color and 3d acceleration had arrived for the PC. Not long afterward, EF 2000v.2 was released with 3dfx support. The difference was stunning, and there was no going back.

Pure 3d-2 Box

Read on: Combatsim.com founded

This article is ©2001 Leonard Hjalmarson and Thrustmaster ® and hosted with permission in the Flight Sim Museum. Unauthorised reproduction is forbidden.