3D Nostalgia: Best 3dfx Glide Games

By on May 28, 2013, 1:36 AM

The year was 1998. It was Christmas time and I had just received my very first computer, an AMD K6-2 running at 333 MHz. Little did I know, from that day forward, my life would be changed forever. Just a few months after owning my computer, I added a Diamond Monster II 3D graphics card based on the 3dfx Voodoo 2 chipset. It was an absolute screamer and took my gaming experience to a whole new level.

Having a specialized API could be arguably said was both the highlight and the downfall for 3dfx. The Glide API when used in conjunction with Voodoo hardware optimized the overall gaming experience and for the few short years that Glide reigned supreme, several games based its 3d implementation in this proprietary API.

If you are old enough, odds are you owned a 3dfx card and played some of these games. Let us take you a trip down memory lane and remember some of the best games ever that used Glide.

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User Comments: 57

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

I was too poor to afford a 3d graphics card. I played more civilization, but great memories none the less.

Arris Arris said:

Had a Voodoo 3 and played all of those games at some point or other. Was a great card, although think my next was a Nvidia TNT2 Mach 64 and never saw anything worthwhile from 3DFX after that. Shame as they really were there at the start of decent discrete graphics cards.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

You guys forgot about the most important one of them all. The one that made gamers put a 3DFX Voodoo I card in their PCs to begin with.

GLQuake and GLQuakeWorld. Those games were the driving force for 3DFX!

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I remember playing most of these games on my Pentium 4 90Mhz PC but I just used the built in graphics chip. I never new much about discreet cards those days.

money said:

You guys forgot about the most important one of them all. The one that made gamers put a 3DFX Voodoo I card in their PCs to begin with.

Exactly, but it's Unreal that they forgot about - Unreal was the Quake killer.

2 people like this | Guest said:

U must mean Pentium I 90 MHz if I remember correctly. Then came mmx with mmx enabled games like POD

3 people like this |
Staff
Steve Steve said:

Wow I played all of those games back in the day and I am sure they looked more realistic than that

Need for Speed II: Special Edition - OMG look at the graphics, I use to think the cars looked so amazing.

I think around that time I was using a 16MB Banshee but honestly I can't really recall.

Puiu Puiu said:

So many good games.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

My first video card upgrade like a lot of users was a TNT2. I kind of miss those early days and all the exciting new hardware we'd see in the magazines of the time. The graphics seemed amazing, and each new game would look better than the last.

NimbusTLD said:

Diablo II is hardware accelerated?

I remember upgrading from a Voodoo1 to a Voodoo2 because of FFVII What a difference it made!

Guest said:

I remember going to a more well off family than mine and playing their computer some of these games and (looking back foolishly) thinking "Wow! Graphics won't get better than this."

Guest said:

Oh, and the audible "click" when the card kicked in....snif....they don't make them like they used to...

2 people like this | Kushan Kushan said:

I hate that I know this, but that screenshot of Tomb Raider 2 is actually from Tomb Raider 1.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Amd K6-2 500Mhz, Voodoo 3 and Rainbow Six, had them then and still do today.

A gamer since the days of pong, seeing the graphics evolve has been interesting.

Hope I live long enough to experience the holodeck.

Thinh I'll go play some Red Storm Rising on my Commodore 64, now that was a game.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Completely forgot about Unreal 1, looked fantastic and was made for 3dfx Glide.

1 person liked this | TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Ah, the days of 4mb of video RAM.. Remember being super excited to be able to play Need for Speed II

Dukenukemx Dukenukemx said:

Am I the only one who misses Descent games? Pretty sure Descent 3 has Glide support.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I remember the running GLQuake and Tomb Raider after installing my Orchid Righteous 3D 3dfx card and sitting speechless for an afternoon. I think it was the single most significant upgrade to a PC I've performed in 20+ years. I salute the 3DFX team for what they did for the gaming industry; I don't think it's been repeated since.

Guest said:

Omg what a blast down memory lane. Reminds me of weekend long LAN parties playing Tribes, Quake2 and Jedi Knight, with my voodoo and then the banshee.

Guest said:

Unreal was the most incredible graphics I had seen. The water/reflective effect was stunning.

Guest said:

Isn't that a picture from the original Diablo instead of Diablo 2?

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I miss my Voodoo 2 Black Magic... it definitely changed the world of gaming for me, but I was pretty upset about the lack of 32-bit graphics with Glide. I would fall back to my ASUS TNT 3400 whenever the performance was similar just for the color depth. Tribes is what I really used my Voodoo 2 for. Unreal was great with it as well.

Guest said:

When I got my first computer I got to play Quake 2 in Software mode only (you know, the ungodly mass of pixels) then I bought a Voodoo 3 3000 PCI and was able to enable Glide

My jaw seriously drop....I think its the biggest graphic quality jump I've ever seen in the industry of videogames, the only thing that comes close was when we were super used to 2d gaming and I saw the just released Super Mario 64 in a shop, jaw dropped again

Guest said:

I can't believe you don't have Tribes on your list. I went from an ATI 3D Rage II to a Voodoo 3 2000 and wow, what a difference.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Another vote for Unreal needing to be on the list. The graphics combined with the animations were absolutely jaw dropping for that time. Loved me some MechWarrior - played a ton of that.

Interestingly enough, I bought a couple of classic games from GOG over the weekend during their sale. And I've come to the conclusion that revisiting old games you once had a blast with is not a great idea. They just don't hold their age well. After playing games like Bioshock: Infinite, Far Cry 3 and StarCraft II, then switching to Unreal II The Awakening or Fallout 2 - it's just not fair. For me, I think it's best to leave those great games in the memory banks as great games. Back then...

Guest said:

Hmm, I don't remember if Starwars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II was a 3DFX Glide game, but it's definitely one of my faves from back then.

Good times.

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

Am I the only one who misses Descent games? Pretty sure Descent 3 has Glide support.

It did but now you can play Descent and Descent 2 using the Descent Rebirth open source project. They can be downloaded at www.dxx-rebirth.com if you're interested.

Geforcepat Geforcepat said:

The Pic under tomb raider is actually from The 1st tomb raider not 2.

Demigod001 said:

Deus ex was a glide game as well and looked and ran better on my voodoo 3 3k than my geforce 2 gts

Guest said:

Seeing this makes me take a stroll down memory lane. My first graphics card was a 3Dfx Voodoo 3 2000 PCI replacing a 2MB Diamond 2D videocard. Seeing GL Quake, Quake II and Unreal and for the first time after that upgrade set me down a path of PC gaming that hasn't ended 15 years later.

- 3Dfx Voodoo 3 2000 PCI

- Nvidia GeForce 2 GTX

(Poor college student that couldn't upgrade for years)

- Nvidia GeForce 6800 Vanilla

- Nvidia GeForce 7800 GT

- Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX (What a crappy purchase. I held off on the 8800 GTX for years and thought this would be a huge upgrade only to find out it was very incremental and the 280 would be released only months after my purchase)

- Nvidia GeForce GTX 570

psycros psycros said:

Biggest jump in video quality I ever witnessed was GL Quake. Oddly, OpenGL seemed to work better on a TNT2. DirectX couldn't hold a candle to OpenGL it back in the day and some say it still doesn't. Oh, and I have to disagree with Tom about revisiting the old games. For some of us its like a time machine. I actually prefer the late 90's/early 2000's render quality to what came later because it feels more immersive. Maybe its because those lower res visuals engage the imagination more..I'm not sure, honestly. It seems like the more real they try to make things look the more fake it *feels*, if that makes any sense. Skyrim, for example, actually looks *worse* to me than Oblivion. You start seeing unnecessary stylization creeping in as the graphic resources increase; everything tends to look more cartoony. I wonder if I'm the only one who feels this way..

JC713 JC713 said:

I remember playing most of these games on my Pentium 4 90Mhz PC but I just used the built in graphics chip. I never new much about discreet cards those days.

Same!

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Drakan : Order of the Flame, Speedbusters, Quake II & III, Unreal, HalfLife....Alien Verses Predator, DethKarz, Re-Volt, and sooo many I can't remember! I still have an original Voodoo3 3000 AGP NIB!, part of my collection. Loved the Riva TNT2 Vs Voodoo days. I did enjoy my Viper V770 although it wasn't as powerful as it should have been.

OPenGL and Direct3D were ok but the Glide driver smashed everything for awhile. While there were exceptions, if it didn't run on 3Dfx, I didn't want it!

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Quake, quake 2, mech warrior 2, carmageddon, pod, mdk. All very cool early glide games. Or at least OpenGL.

Guest said:

Unreal and Half-Life

Guest said:

I think for me the era of the 3Dfx cards was when I most enjoyed gaming. It was also the time I was LAN gaming a lot with friends and we had some great times with some awesome games.

Particular standouts for me were Carmageddon and GLQuake & Quake II. Lost many, many hours on those especially Carmageddon. I used to love the little 3Dfx logo that span up when you launched a game.

Nothing like seeing the 3Dfx logo sprawled across the screen just as you launch a glide compatible game.

Lots of people who are say 35+ (like me) who remember the 3dfx days. I had a pair of 8MB Voodoo2's running Everquest I back in the day, that was some fun stuff. The crazy menagerie of external cables though was a PITA. Lots of guys rolling old school retro machines for old school gaming. Fun stuffs if you have the time and can acquire the right old hardware.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Wow I played all of those games back in the day and I am sure they looked more realistic than that

Need for Speed II: Special Edition - OMG look at the graphics, I use to think the cars looked so amazing.

I think around that time I was using a 16MB Banshee but honestly I can't really recall.

I remember the original NFS: High Stakes, which was also a good game. There was a track with a UFO and a bunch of other crazy crap. I remember the car selection music, it was used at that first bar years later in Mass Effect 2. I also had a Banshee 16MB PCi, then later upgraded to a Radeon SDR, then a Voodoo3 3000 PCi. Rainbox Six was a game I invested half a lifetime on. Anyone remember mplayer? :p

Fernando GC Fernando GC said:

Good Lord... in my mind these games looked amazing, and now even "Faster Than Light" looks cooler. Great Read and good memories.

Emexrulsier said:

You forgot to add Screamer Rally much better 3dfx game then that NFS tosh. Also Many people didn't regard Resident Evil as the first horror it was Alone in the Dark!

von kain von kain said:

The Pic under tomb raider is actually from The 1st tomb raider not 2.

You are wrong its from Tomb Raider 2 second stage Venice.

Guest said:

Oh yeah everyone forgets about Unreal. It was better than Quake 2 by miles. Which is strange as it came bundled with Voodoo cards all the time.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

You are wrong its from Tomb Raider 2 second stage Venice.

Actually, we updated the screenshot. @Kushan and @Geforcepat were right

Guest said:

Please add Nude Raider. That was the bomb patch.

dikbozo said:

Last fall, gog.com released Carmageddon Max Pack for sale. I purchased it based on my many happy memories of stress relief. I was eager to get hurry along and install it. I did. The display was as old school as it gets. I dug around Gog's forums and discovered a lovely little application called nGlide. I tried it based on what I has read. It worked. I had the non-pixelated goodness. I had groovy. I was in full on ped killin' mode! My desktop handled this with ease of course. I had to go down the slope to my laptop.

An AMD e-350 with its integrated video. How would it fare? I slammed in. Bot iy up. The software version ran well enough and looked as expected. It worked. Good enough. On to the 'hardware' mode. Well, it looked better. It ran about the same. OK. nGlide. Install and boot. Hmmm. Too bad. It looked great and ran like something lumpy dropping out of the back end of a goose. Too bad but then again 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

I can't speak for the others but for certain Carmageddon is available and works with nGlide under Windows 7 64 bit with NO compatibility layer. I may have to try Quake II again.

1 person liked this | QuaZulu QuaZulu said:

I agree. Enjoyed the heck out of Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn back in the day. Got it on GOG recently and had a hard time with he blockiness. Now, if someone could do a decent remake...

dikbozo said:

I agree. Enjoyed the heck out of Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn back in the day. Got it on GOG recently and had a hard time with he blockiness. Now, if someone could do a decent remake...

I recall something about that on the forums at Gog. IIRC there are a couple of mods that will allow for better graphics. I found a couple there for Stronghold and Freespace. I do seem to recall something specific about Baldur's Gate. Perhaps I will have the time and f so will get back to you.

Guest said:

Another one for Unreal ...!

Quake and Unreal where THE games to play with your new voodoo.

The 3Dfx Voodoo was also the last card where I was truly impressed. Following cards did not distinguish themselves as impressive as Voodoo cards did ... they only got faster, higher resolution, added smoothing, but in the end going from a heavily pixelated 2D to a stunning 3D; that really made an impression. Oh did anyone forget about the fact that you could combine 2 cards? :)

Boilerhog146 Boilerhog146 said:

Muhaaahahaha! memorys galore.,my first pc an ibm aptiva e3n with a k6-2 266/300 bought a radeon 32 meg ali in wonder for 90 bucks a year later in a pawn shop. my ms force feed back stick had mechwarrior 3 bundled.started wasting life away.but I started the Boilermaker apprenticeship the same year, so some time wasn't wasted away.great stuff.

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

When I saw Mech Warrior's screenshot I thought it was Starsiege.

Man, that game was amazing.

I am proud to own some of the games on this list, even though I never owned a real graphics card (3dfx) in the past.

Guest said:

My first video card was a Voodoo 3. (I still have it in storage.)

Funny story: About 6 years ago, the video card in my PC died (an ATI Radeon). I didn't have another PCIe card & no built-in video, and I absolutely had to use my computer for something (probably check email), so I dug out my old 128MB PCI Voodoo 3 and plugged it into my XP machine.

Damn if it didn't work! It was dog slow, I couldn't run above 1024x768 and it didn't support DirectX, but XP included Voodoo drivers on the install CD so I could use it.

I used my PC like that for about a week (even watched TV in a 640x480 window). Amazing piece of hardware.

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