Playing Need For Speed 2, I noticed a very high performance on Intel P233 MMX without 3-D display card. However, playing Need For Speed 3 and writing my own Direct3D applications I had to use 320x240x16 resolutions to get *normal* frame rate.
Later, I noticed that NFS2 doesn't use Direct3D API at all. Instead, it uses it's own 3-D engine and DirectDraw to blit. NFS3 and my applications use Direct3D and so the performance is *very* low. The big question is, why did Microsoft say that Direct3D is a world-top performance??? I know that in order to get a high performance, I need a 3-D card, but not all players (and for them I develop my game) have a superb 3-D card at home! This entire topic confuses many graphics developers under Win32...
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