3D Graphics Board

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3D Graphics Board,
a 3D graphics projection of a 3D model of a chessboard and the pieces of a chess position to the two dimensional surface of a computer display, either as fullscreen or board window of a chess GUI, or printer. For simplicity, some programs or 3D capable GUIs combine vector graphics for drawing the board with raster graphics for drawing the pieces. A perspective center projection applies for the board, where farther square trapezoids are scaled smaller, while a orthographic projection applies for the pieces, i.e. drawing fixed sized piece-bitmaps with 3D-effect. More sophisticated implementations use 3D vector graphics in the wire-frame model for the projection, and 2D raster graphics in the rendered display, and feature a variable camera's position, angle of view, field of view, may rotate the object around various axis, apply ray tracing with one or more light sources for photorealistic shading with shadow and reflection effects, and perform more or less sophisticated animations of piece movements.

A full perspective projected 3D board requires additional hardware and software resources, such as sophisticated graphic cards with GPUs and 3D graphic libraries or frameworks like OpenGL or Direct3D as subset of the DirectX collection.


Despite the more challenging task for the GUI or graphics programmer and progress to simulate the view on a real chessboard, the 3D Board is usually harder to grasp for a human chess player than good 2D Boards. Pieces and specially pawns are often partly covered by pieces in front, and movement of head and eyes of the chess player lack the same visual feedback as looking on a real chess board. Therefor 3D Boards are often featured in mass market products and some programs where authors are interested in 3D graphics programming. The really sophisticated 3D boards of Chessmaster and Fritz are eye catchers and rich of features, but rarely used for serious playing.

Screenshots & Images

Early 3D Boards

Colossus Chess 4 C64 3D.png
Colossus Chess 4.0 3D chessboard [2] Cyrus II 3D screen [3]



Chessmaster XI - House of Staunton chess sets [4]



ChessPartner 6, 3D pieces [5]



KnightCap's 3D Board [6] [7]



Nemeton3D 1.51 with its 3D Graphics Board [8]

Uragano 3D


Uragano 3D board [9]

See also


Forum Posts

External Links


Artistic rendering
Rendering equation
Non-photorealistic rendering


3D Graphics API and Frameworks

Mesa (computer graphics)
Lightweight Java Game Library


Blender 3D: MemoBook - Wikibooks


3D Chess


Fritz GUI


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