Fan-Made 3dfx Driver Allows Widescreen Gaming
(Photo: Dolenc090 on YouTube)The name 3dfx certainly warms a lot of, um, mature gamers’ hearts. For a lot of us, the Voodoo 2 was our first actual 3D graphics card. And it was glorious. Even though we were gaming at 800 x 600, we loved it. Going from software rendering to hardware rendering for the first time was absolutely incredible. For the younger readers, it was similar to going from a hard drive to an SSD for the first time. The difference in performance left us speechless. Since then a lot of hobbyists have recreated a similar retro gaming environment to bask in the nostalgia. The only problem is to truly experience old school gaming, you need a CRT monitor. Those are very hard to find, and until now, 3dfx drivers didn’t support widescreen displays like we use today. Now a 3dfx forum user has uploaded a new driver that allows widescreen gaming, finally.
It’s called the 3dfx Wide Driver, and if you’re into this sort of thing you have to grab it now. It will only be hosted on the forum for 15 days, so don’t hesitate. It might be moved to a more permanent home, eventually. According to Hothardware, a user named Dolenc at 3dfxzone modified the driver, and posted it for download. It will allow for widescreen display usage both in the Windows desktop and in gaming. It supports Direct3D, OpenGL, and even Glide games, but Glide might not always work perfectly. Note this is Windows 98 and Me we are talking about here. You can try it on Windows XP but nothing is promised. OpenGL and Direct3D games should work as expected, but Glide games have some limitations. The aspect ratio 16:9 has a maximum resolution of 1600 x 900. For 21:9 it will max out at 1920×800.
The driver allows support for 16:9, 16:10, and 21:9 aspect ratios. The driver-maker uploaded a video (above) showing 1080p gameplay in several ancient (but much-loved) titles. They include the original Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life: Opposing Force, and several others. As you can see in the video gameplay is smooth and seemingly with a very good frame rate. He’s using a Voodoo 5 5500 though, which is the most powerful GPU 3dfx ever released, and also its last. It sported two VSA-100 chips and 64MB of 166Mhz SDRAM. One interesting note is the VSA-100 was built on a 250nm process.
After the 5500’s release the company folded, with the IP eventually being purchased by Nvidia in 2001. Its fabled Voodoo 5 6000 with its quad-chip VSA-100 design was never released. However, it remains a much sought-after collector’s item even to this day. At one point there was an “announcement” that a group of people were going to bring the company back to life and launch the Voodoo 5 6000, but that never came to pass.