In November of 1996 David Silva (aka Jack Frost) created 3DGaming.com to provide quality and easy to read information and about the emerging 3D graphic and gaming markets. The problem he was trying to solve is the lack of quick, accurate, and simple to understand information on the cutting edge 3D graphics technology. Most of the gaming and PC sites were just regurgitation the marketing hype from the various graphic's card vendors.
One of the biggest problems in the early days was that most game enthusiasts didn't even know what 3D was. Many thought that Doom was 3D because you navigated a "3D" maze and creatures had side views. Some saw the difference that true 3D games like Quake and Descent provided, but most didn't have the hardware to make these 3D games appear in better than 360x240 resolution which limited their appeal. While there were some graphic cards that could do 3D entering the market they often required proprietary APIs that used competing standards to render the 3D image. It was often hard to compare two cards. The reality was that even if a reviewer was lucky enough to have two cards they usually did not do a side by side comparisons- and few were doing any real-world testing.
Most performance reviews were based benchmark tests were David knew to be very unreliable. Graphics card companies were notorious for tweaking their software to the test. Who could blame them? The bench mark tests were available to the companies who knew that high scores were a must to increase sells. Every time the benchmark was changed the companies would change their drivers to increase their scores. Some companies like Diamond Multimedia and later Nvidia became masters at this. With a limited number of real games to test against the benchmark scores unfortunately ruled the day. Besides the scores not always equating to real world performance, the other problem was that image quality was another problem.
As the growing base of 3D games increased 3dgaming.com stepped up to help fill the gap and build a community. David Silva wrote most of the technical and editorial articles at first. Chris Silva setup a PERL based forum that soon took over the site. Chris had to heavily modify the original script to speed up the performance, and reduce the CPU requirements to handle the increasing traffic. David lent a hand to customize the HTML and CSS so that we could quickly update the look and feel of the forum. A new review form was added so that users could not only post comments in the forum, but write full reviews with screenshots.
From this beginning 3DGaming became one of the first social networks using a combination of custom forums. Nick Del Grande, Chris Angelini, and others from the community quickly joined 3DGaming as regular contributors and editors and by December 1997 we were getting 50k unique hits a day! This early social network was far from what we now see as web 2.0, but the idea of creating a website that was built on the community was firmly implanted.