Browse Definitions:
Definition

3D gaming

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

3D gaming is interactive computer entertainment that is graphically presented in the three dimensions of height, width and depth; the addition of depth to 2D gaming enabled the exploration of virtual worlds with more realistic representation.

The first true 3D games were developed from wire frame models. The 3D models, which had no shading, were made from vertices and lines and could be seen through. Elite was the first of this new generation of video games, in 1984. Flat-shaded 3D polygons with 16 colors arrived with Bethesda's Terminator in 1990. The game’s graphics were visually inferior to competing 2D graphics of the time. Nonethless, 3D representation pushed the current hardware – 286- and 386-based computers -- and thus were an impressive achievement within their limitations.

In 1992, iD Software released Wolfenstein 3D. Although it is termed 2.5D or pseudo 3D, Wolfenstein launched iD’s reign as the premier graphics engine makers. John Carmack, who later left iD to work on Oculus Rift, was the programmer.

The major breakthrough in 3D gaming came with Quake, iD software’s first true 3D game. Quake featured full-color textured models and particle effects along with sound by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. While playable without additional hardware, Quake’s performance was significantly enhanced by 3D-accelerated video cards and daughterboards from S3 Graphics and later by 3dfx’s Voodoo video card, which emerged as the standard for some time.

After the release of Quake, the field of 3D gaming developed rapidly. Games gained increasing fidelity, and additional features were added with the creation and development of GPUs (graphics processing units). Today, a single-character model may feature tens of hundreds of thousand polygons and scenes in games can have tens of millions. Models are surfaced by color, specular glow and reflective maps that, along with bump, normal or displacement maps, define their colors and reaction to environmental light.

The recent development of virtual reality headsets and associated systems is expected to lead to similar expansions in VR gaming.

See a video about the history of 3D gaming:

This was last updated in March 2016

Continue Reading About 3D gaming

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining ...

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • unified storage (multiprotocol storage)

    Unified storage -- sometimes called network unified storage or multiprotocol storage -- is a storage system that runs and manages...

  • I/O virtualization (IOV)

    I/O virtualization (IOV), or input/output virtualization, is technology that uses software to abstract upper-layer protocols from...

  • non-volatile memory (NVM)

    Non-volatile memory (NVMe) is a semiconductor technology that does not require a continuous power supply to retain the data or ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close