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S3 Compresses Nintendo

by Billy Berghammer - September 30, 1999, 7:30 am PDT
Source: Gaming Age

Some interesting information on S3 graphics compression, which will be used for the Dolphin.

Special thanks to Gary Moore for the story. The fine folks over at Gaming Age got the goods about Nintendo working with S3 on graphics compression. Check it.

Nintendo and S3 Incorporated today announced a partnership to employ S3's industry-leading graphics technology on Nintendo's next home video game console, code-named 'Dolphin.'

Dolphin is the first home video game console in the world to embed S3's advanced texture compression technology right onto the graphics chip. The results will include elimination of blurriness, blockiness and monotonous repetition of the same elements on screen. Furthermore, S3 will help to make indistinguishable the lines that separate art from photography, fantasy from reality.

"In just the past few years, the graphic improvement in video games has been stunning. S3 will be a major force in accelerating the performance we'll achieve on Dolphin," explained Howard Lincoln, Chairman, Nintendo of America Inc. "With their unique graphics compression technology, developers will be able to provide players with more complex and colorful graphics. Coupled with our previously announced strategic agreements with companies like IBM, Matsushita, ArtX and MoSys, incorporation of S3 technology will make Dolphin a console without equal."

"Our agreements with companies like Nintendo, Intel and Microsoft show we're an emerging leader in the push to define video game and PC technology," said Andrew Wolfe, Chief Technology Officer, S3 Incorporated. "A high-performance, highly efficient application that is simple for developers to program for, S3TC should enable a wealth of unparalleled content for Nintendo's Dolphin console. This is another example of S3 expanding its technology presence into new markets."

Using S3's texture compression technology allows Dolphin developers to compress texture data to one-sixth its normal size while maintaining or improving the image quality of the original artwork. Larger and more detailed textures will now require less memory and reduced load time.

S3TC decompression technology is incorporated right onto Dolphin's graphics chip, being designed for Nintendo by ArtX, Inc. This chip will then decompress the textures 'automatically' allowing dramatic improvement in graphics performance without increasing programming complexity. Consequently, pictures on screen boast new levels of detail and variety, allowing new depictions of both realism and fantasy.

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