New 3dfx VSA-100-based AAlchemy Provides Scalable Graphics Options for Heavy Metal Systems for Visual Simulation and Training Applications
San Jose, CA, November 15, 1999 - Quantum3D Inc., the leader in PC-based interactive 3D visual computing systems, today unveiled detailed specifications for AAlchemy-- the company's new family of advanced realtime 3D graphics subsystems that exploits the revolutionary scalability of the newly announced 3dfx® VSA-100 graphics chip technology. AAlchemy can be configured to deliver sustained fill rate performance with full-scene, sub-pixel anti-aliasing that scales from 140 Megapixels-per-second to more than 1 Gigapixel-per-second per channel.
AAlchemy is a uniquely scalable graphics subsystem family for Quantum3D's Heavy Metal line of PC-based image generators. Each AAlchemy graphics subsystem or channel consists of one, two or four modules or boards, equipped with four or eight chips and their associated memory complement of either 32MB or 64MB per chip. A key benefit of AAlchemy's scalable design is that it enables developers and integrators to configure their Heavy Metal system's graphics capabilities to match the performance level, image quality, and price point of their target application. Quantum3D customers can significantly enhance system capabilities within the same system architecture and without requiring changes to their application or database software.
"AAlchemy's performance, open architecture, and unprecedented scalability offer the most advanced PC-based graphics capabilities to date," said Dr. Dutch Guckenberger, Chief Scientist of SDS International, Inc. "AAlchemy demonstrates Quantum3D's continued commitment to providing industry leading technology and unmatched value."
Unmatched Graphics Performance
AAlchemy's enhanced rendering and texture mapping capabilities deliver watershed image quality without compromising performance. The subsystem supports 32-bit-per-pixel RGBA rendering with a dedicated 8-bit alpha channel along with 24-bit-per-pixel integer or floating point representation and 8 bit stencil buffer, that combine to provide enhanced dynamic range for Z calculations in the far perspective. AAlchemy supports 1280 x 1024 and higher resolutions, essential for visual acuity in training applications; new true color (32-bit-per-pixel RGBA), compressed texture formats including the recently introduced 3dfx FXT1; and high-resolution texture mapping up to 2048 x 2048 texels per texture map. AAlchemy also takes advantage of the VSA-100's T-Buffer technology, developed by 3dfx and Quantum3D, to deliver new special effects such as depth-of-field and motion blur.
AAlchemy employs a Quantum3D-designed "private-bus" architecture that minimizes system bus and memory contention by interconnecting each of the chips on the module. This capability, coupled with AAlchemy's extensive use of Intel SSE optimization and its support for the new FXT1 texture compression algorithm from 3dfx, enables peak polygon rates of up to 10 million textured triangles per second and peak texture download rates of up to 528 Megatexels per second.
"AAlchemy is the first low cost system that has the image quality, fill rate, polygon throughput rates and texture processing capacity needed to address demanding imagery-based, geo-specific simulation and training applications, such as mission rehearsal and realtime battlefield management," said Rick Bess, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Quantum3D. "AAlchemy's scalability and open architecture ensure that integrators can develop, maintain, and enhance training applications and databases cost-effectively. Our customers will deliver effective, timely commercial and military training systems for wide scale deployment, with greater capabilities than before, all within the constraints of today's budgets."
AAlchemy Family Builds on Quantum3D Value-Added Heritage
AAlchemy builds on the legacy of Quantum3D-developed technologies that add industry-specific features to low-cost PC graphics chipsets and PC-based systems. These technologies meet the demanding requirements of advanced visual simulation and training applications by implementing essential visual performance and simulation features not supported directly by the chipsets themselves. Foremost among these patent-pending technologies, first developed for Quantum3D's Mercury advanced realtime 3D graphics subsystem, is pixel off-set, full-scene anti-aliasing that improves image quality by eliminating both polygonal aliasing and moiré pattern artifacts in repeating textures. Similar to Mercury and Obsidian®, AAlchemy will also support SwapLock and SyncLock inter-channel synchronization capabilities for multi-channel, wide field-of-view applications, and high-precision, buffered, digital "pixel-port" used for implementing advanced "post-rendering" or "post-processing" capabilities. Key capabilities that could be supported via post-processing include, distortion correction, night vision, infrared sensor simulation, and calligraphic lights.
Heavy Metal GX+ AAlchemy is an open architecture, PC-based, scalable, single or multiple channel system, combining the most advanced industry standard components with Quantum3D's value-added, patent-pending technologies. Heavy Metal GX+ AAlchemy is backwards compatible with Heavy Metal GX+ Mercury and supports industry standard PC operating systems, including Microsoft® Windows NT®, Windows 2000 and Red Hat® Linux®. Heavy Metal GX+ AAlchemy will support popular 3D graphics APIs including 3dfx Glide®, OpenGL®, Microsoft Direct3D and SimGL-- Quantum3D's subset of OpenGL optimized for visual simulation and training applications. AAlchemy's API compatibility will enable the system to support leading realtime 3D scene management software including Soft Reality SoftVR, CG2 Vtree, MultiGen-Paradigm Vega, Lockheed Martin SE/View, Thomson Training and Simulation SPACE Magic, Reality2 Tiepolo, and Quantum3D OpenGVS.
AAlchemy systems may be ordered now through the Quantum3D Mercury Rising Program, which provides qualified customers purchasing Heavy Metal Mercury systems with "built-in" upgrades to select AAlchemy subsystem models. NAFTA prices for single channel Heavy Metal GX+ AAlchemy systems begin at $9,999. Complete pricing, availability and model information is available from Quantum3D or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About SDS International
SDS International is a leading provider of advanced integration services to the military and commercial visual simulation and training industry. Along with Quantum3D and Terrex, Inc., SDS is developing advanced, geo-specific, imagery-based training solutions for the USAF and US Navy.
Quantum3D, Inc., headquartered in San Jose, California, develops and markets integrated, open architecture interactive 3D visual computing systems, realtime 3D graphics subsystems, and related system software, that combine to deliver sustained realtime frame rates, superior graphics image quality, and unprecedented value. Quantum3D delivers complete 3D visual computing solutions for the visual simulation and training market and the out-of-home entertainment markets, and is the exclusive supplier of 3dfx graphics technology into those markets. In addition, Quantum3D creates and distributes realtime 3D development software tools and products, enabling developers to fully optimize their applications to benefit from the company's visual computing systems.
Quantum3D, Heavy Metal, Mercury, AAlchemy, SimGL, and OpenGVS are trademarks of Quantum3D. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.