Buy one processor, get 48 free!
As well as an ARM processor, the Raspberry Pi’s system on a chip (SoC) also contains 48 extra processors optimised for the calculations involved in 3d graphics.
As an example of how to use these processors on the Raspberry Pi, Peter de Rivaz (an old and revoltingly clever friend of ours, who has been doing Raspberry Pi development work in his spare time) has written a charityware 3d physics puzzler, using them to draw dynamic clouds, shadows, water reflections, and lots and lots of penguins.
Visit penguinspuzzle.appspot.com for instructions on installing this game on the Raspian “wheezy” OS, or to play a WebGL version in your browser if you haven’t got a Pi yet.
The source code is freely available on github if you want to have a go at writing your own 3d game. If you do, let us know about it – we’d love to see what you come up with!