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Interview with Bryan Speece

Bryan Speece, 3dfx's director of Macintosh business development (aka 3dfx Mac daddy) Chats About Voodoo and the Mac.

What do you like about the Mac?

The Mac's just insanely great. There's a reason it has so many legions of loyal followers --and you can count me among them. Power Macs using the new G4 with the integrated Velocity Engine are really high performance. Who wouldn't like that? That's what were all about at 3dfx... high performance graphics solutions. Apple's been continually increasing their commitment to make the Mac a great gaming platform. Need I say more?

Are there things that could make the Mac an even better gaming machine?

Always. 3D games tax every aspect of the Mac's architecture. So the faster the machine, the more realistic the experience can become. The G4 processor in the new PowerMac is really fast, particularly when the Velocity Engine is utilized by the developer in key areas of the code. To benefit, faster bandwidth throughout the whole architecture is critical. Apple's use of AGP on these new machines indicates they anticipated this. Still, our Voodoo products are capable of generating the incredible performance of 100 billion operations per second --and we're not planning on stopping any time soon. The overall Mac architecture will have to keep improving as well, enabling users to experience the most enjoyable gameplays in the future. And at 3dfx we strive to provide the fastest, most realistic, immersive gameplay possible.

What is 3dfx's commitment to the Mac in the future?

That's simple. Bringing the fastest, highest performance graphics controllers that Mac users have ever seen. Same as we've always done on the Mac and other CPU's. Voodoo 2 on the Mac was the fastest. Voodoo 2 SLI even faster. The new king, Voodoo 3, is now easily the highest performance graphics solution. The Mac is growing as a game platform. And anywhere there's gaming going on there's a market for 3dfx's superior performance. That's not to say that other Macintosh segments won't also be the beneficiary. Design, Publishing and Authoring professionals won't mind having blazing 2D performance available to them in their work along with the ability to blast away at their favorite game when they finish.

Is 3dfx going to release their own Mac products?

We haven't announced that, but we don't rule it out either. What we're going to do is make sure that our technology is available to Mac users in reasonable timeframes and at fair market prices. We don't see Mac users as second class citizens; we think they want and deserve the same levels of performance available to users of other platforms. That's really what we're dedicated to. We need to continually reassess whether we do that by going directly to the end-user with our own retail product or by selling our components to Mac specialists. In the end, 3dfx is going to assure users that they will benefit from high performance graphics on their Macs --and that's what really matters.

How important is it to developers to have Voodoo available on the Mac?

Well, titles exist on a platform in relation to a particular platform's ability to host them. In other words, developers clearly understand the nature and capabilities of the hardware they're writing to. 3D games tax the hardware to its absolute limit. So raising any platform's graphics performance impacts the willingness of developers to bring their newest, most sophisticated titles to that platform. Obviously graphics is only one factor --but an important one.

In addition, our own Glide API is supported by a lot of the Mac games that are currently available, and it's supported to the tune of hundreds of titles on Windows hardware. With the availability of our controllers for the Mac, these titles are candidates for porting.

What can you tell us about products beyond Voodoo 3 for the Mac?

As you know, we haven't made too many comments about our future Mac products. In general, we've said that we think that realistic, immersive gameplay depends upon performance issues like framerate and fill-rate, and that improving visual fidelity is also important --here we've gone on record with the benefits our T-Buffer technology will provide. Do you want to see all of your games get an instant dose of reality improvement? Try full scene Anti-aliasing :-)

In the future I think users will continue to see 3dfx-based graphics solutions as being the very best, and we're going to enjoy bringing them to the Mac.

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