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Beyond 3D

Beyond 3D is one of the most technical Web sites on the web for 3D graphics. While other Web sites are known for their news items, the boys at Beyond 3D tend to post in-depth articles. Rather than cut and paste a news release, they analyze the materials provided by all sides of the technology issue and offer up their opinions on it. What they lack in quantity they make up for in quality.

Beyond 3D is run, in part, by Dave Barron, an 18 year-old high school senior. Sounds to me like Dave is “over” the whole high school scene. He manages to maintain a B average even though he only goes to school for 2 hours a day. He spends the rest of his time on a work release program…. I mean cooperative education program. His co-op time is split between working at SKJ Corporation and a technical school. Not too bad for a guy from Memphis. No, not the cool town in Tennessee, the podunk town in Michigan.

Check his views on, FXT1™ texture compression, the 3dfx t-buffer, and the series on the Voodoo3’s 22-bit color, but don’t miss their T & L interview with 3dfx CTO Scott Sellers or their reviews of the 3500TV and 3000 AGP.

Let’s learn a little more about Doogie Hoswer, I mean Dave Barron.

Tell me about how Beyond3D got started?

Well if you wanted to know everything, I’d have to take you back about 2 years, but I won’t do that because most of this answer will probably be boring enough (though I’ll try and not make it so). A few of us had been doing a Web site for some time and we noticed that the direction we were taking it really didn’t allow it to take off. So we decided that they (Alastair and Luke) would go off more into the software direction (something they favored) and I’d go off into hardware (my preference), splitting into two sites. Well being as one man can’t do a site alone, I started talking to a select few to see if they’d be interested in doing the site with me. Those same few are those that work on B3D today (Kristof, Marco and Bjorn). From there, we just basically jumped into the game. We honestly didn’t have much of a direction at the time, but we knew we wanted to do something different. I think over the first month or two we started to figure out where we wanted to go with things and what our approach should be. It isn’t really something we sat down and decided, it just happened. We each started doing little things here and there and it all just fit together eventually. Well if you’re wondering what we felt about our direction, let me give you a basic idea.

If you look around the net you’ll see a lot of articles and reviews that look really interesting, but they are often very inaccurate. People are either out to promote a certain company (usually meaning they’re trying to bash another), or they just don’t really understand the technology they are talking about. Others like to report rumors (that usually end up being completely false). And some are just in it for the money. Its a race for hits so they try to have everything first. Now being first means being fast… and when you are fast you make mistakes and lets be honest, how can you judge a product if you had it 1 or 2 days in your “lab” (think stability and compatibility)? Even more, there seems to be a standard way of doing reviews: talk about company, talk about the installation, list the specifications, show Quake2 (or 3) benchmarks and show 3Dmark scores (not too many tests since benchmarking takes time…), compare those with some older product and rave about how the new one is 1 or 2 fps faster or slower and use that to hype or bash the new product. At the end you add a complete random number as the score (scores are not very useful… wait 1 or 2 months and the score has become invalid anyway, but we do them anyways because people want them).

Well we basically have the policy of not doing these things and not following marketing hype. We make certain (or as certain as possible) that we have an understanding of a technology before we talk about it, and sometimes this takes many hours of research (something that many times honestly isn’t very fun). This is really essential considering the dozens of times I’ve seen 10 different sites post completely inaccurate information about either a product or a technology. So what we try and do is let the reader understand the technology as completely as possible and let them understand why things are certain ways. Overall, we think this is a lot better than saying “this is better than this… the end.” With something like that, the reader has no idea of why things are better. They are blindly following what the reviewer says, and they personally might feel differently if they used the product. If they understand the technology though, they’ll understand why things are the way they are and it will help them at looking into products themselves and understand what is best for them. This is because what is best for me, might not be best for you. So we try to say “In our opinion, this is better than this, and here is why.” We think adding the “why” really is an important part.

You’re are what, 17. Have you ever had any trouble with computer companies taking you seriously because you are so young?

Well I actually just turned 18 yesterday (Editor’s note: this went live on Nov. 15th so his birthday is the 14th). Yes though, it has been a problem on a couple of occasions. Usually I try not to tell them my age though, and that seems to help. Eventually, they find out, which is fine. I don’t have a problem with people knowing my age, but I don’t think my age effects my ability to do what I do. I will say that a few haven’t seen it that way and it has really gotten to me. I really hate it when people are that ignorant and I’ve been known to blow my top a few times (ask Kristof, he knows specifics). Well now I just need to turn 21 (I don’t need to say why, do I?).

Who would your dream date be with and where would you go?

Hrmm… a tough one. Who comes up with these questions anyways? Well if I had to choose, I’d either have to go with Britany Spears (Editor’s note: Britany Spears…ahhhh, how cute. Wait a minute, isn’t that against the law?) or Jennifer Lopez. As for where, well certainly a very nice restaurant (at least to start), and it would have to be something with an ocean view and a boardwalk. Nothing beats a walk by the ocean on a date. Of course if I went out with Britany, my friend Kevin would murder me because he is completely in love with her. Any chance of you guys setting it up?? (Editor’s note: Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a$20,000 fine and up to two years in jail.)

Beyond3D has kind of an international flare? Are you the only American working on this site and how did you hook-up with Kristof Beets?

Yeah, isn’t that the truth. We’ve got a guy in Sweden (Bjorn), a Dutch guy (Marco) and Kristof who is from Belgium. As for me, as you said, I’m from the USA.

How Kristof and I got together (well we aren’t “together…” (I wouldn’t want people to think things) is really kind of interesting. Well, maybe not. What happened is that I’d known Marco for a while and was actually hosting a site of his. When I spoke with Marco about Beyond 3D, he was interested but hadn’t yet decided. He suggested that I talk with Kristof and see if he was interest. So I did, Kristof was, and well the rest, as they say, is history.

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