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   HardwareCentral / Reports Jun 18, 2003 - 04:36 EST

The Truth About S3TC

Jeffrey Tseng

What is S3TC? Simply put, S3TC (S3 Texture Compression) is a technology that S3 developed to compress textures in 3d games. Though S3TC has been around for a while now, it's definitely worth another look.

It's one thing to see screen shots of Unreal utilizing S3TC, but it's a completely different story actually seeing S3TC in action. When I first heard about S3TC and saw the screen shots, it didn't seem that impressive, I took it as just another marketing ploy. However, after the guys at S3 showed me S3TC in action at Comdex, I have to say, I was truly impressed. The textures of the Unreal demo levels that they had constructed were extremely clean and crisp. On the level where photographs were placed on the walls, the photographs did not look like the “fuzzy” textures that we are used to seeing in 3D games. Instead, the textures looked like actual photographs. Even moving right up to the wall did not show any signs of “fuzziness”.

After seeing the Unreal level demos, it's easy to see why Microsoft included S3TC in DirectX 6.0 and why Id's Quake Arena will natively support it. S3TC is a great technology that is a definite next step in 3D gaming.

What are the benefits of using S3TC?

Next: Higher Resolution Textures »

Skip Ahead

1 Introduction
2 Higher Resolution Textures
3 More Benefits
4 S3 Texture Compression Algorithm
5 Image Quality
6 Implementation, Support, and The Future of S3TC

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