Secret Agent Man
There's something cool about covert intelligence agents and clandestine ventures. Secret agents have to combine intelligence, resourcefulness, and style. Who wouldn't want to be Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible?
Who knows how Solid Snake came up with his inventive "cardboard box" trick in Metal Gear Solid? Of course, you certainly cannot forget James Bond with his cars, his gadgets, and his women. In the recent weeks, FiringSquad had a chance to play secret agent too! The purpose of our mission wasn't to ferret out moles within our organization, save the world, or even order martinis, shaken-not-stirred. We wanted to know the answer to a gamer's question: What the heck was the NV2?
After a few "little birdies" flew in our window, we were able to piece together a detailed account of NVIDIA NV2, the chip that predated the RIVA 128. This is the chip that Sega originally commissioned for its next-generation console, the Dreamcast. The NV2 is the chip that was NVIDIA's greatest fiasco.
In our History of NVIDIA
article we hypothesized that Sega started a relationship with NVIDIA only after having spent some time porting games over to the NV1. This was a mistake -the connection traces further back than that.
To begin our story, we need to go all the way back to the Sega Saturn. The Saturn used a Sega-developed graphics chip that was considered by most of the world to be dreadful. The geometric primitive was a four-vertex polygon (not three). As a result, triangles on the Saturn had to be represented by a degenerate quad with two vertices existing at the same location.
Developers hated quads and wanted something better, namely triangles. With the Sony PlayStation handily killing the Sega Saturn at retail, Sega decided that it needed to partner with a company with 3D graphics experience for its next-generation console.