The MMORPG game The Secret World has been out for a bit and I’ve decided to give it a try in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision (thanks to Craylon for sending in a Buddy key). If you remember back in March we’ve learned that the game will have stereoscopic 3D support with 3D Vision (or so does Funcom Chief Technology Officer Rui Casais say near the end of the video interview), so I’ve had high expectations when I’ve started downloading the game (a real torture to download those 14+ GB of game data online, took half a day and I do have a fast Internet connection). Finally running the game for the first time I’ve noticed that there is no 3D Vision profile for it in the official 301.42 WHQL drivers, though even without one the game looked and work quite well in stereo 3D mode. I’ve updated to the latest beta 304.79 driver to see if there will be a difference and a profile for it, to my surprise there was a 3D Vision profile with a rating of “Not recommended”!
The game still did look Ok in stereo 3D mode, there were no serious issues in graphics or effects rendering (reflections in glass for example could be a bit of an issue in S3D). The unpleasant things in stereo 3D were some HUD elements rendered in 2D that don’t look nice when placed over stereo 3D objects in the game, the mouse cursor is also not rendered in stereo 3D and that can be a bit more problematic. There are also some other issues like character bars that are rendered in stereo 3D mode, however their depth info seems to be a bit off from what it should be considering the level of depth of the character they should be attached to. The level of convergence you get by default may not be the best one for your personal preferences and the good thing is that is not locked, so you can actually play with it. Hopefully Funcom will do something to fix these in a future patch for the game…
Now, a bit about the game, I personally liked the storyline, the gameplay and the graphics, although you can really stress your high-end PC with it if you push for the best level of quality with tessellation and use extra filtering like FXAA (or TXAA if you have a Kepler-based GPU) and then on top of that add stereoscopic 3D rendering. Hoever even with tessellation enabled I’ve noticed that in closeups some of the models of the game characters may get a bit blocky. The character creation menu at the start is quite limited in character customization for example (you need to buy option packs for some extras), and you may need some time to get used to properly controlling your character’s movements along with the camera movement in the game.
What you should be well aware of before deciding if you want to play this game or not is the fact that like other popular MMORPG games when you purchase The Secret World you’ll be getting 30 days of gametime and then you need to pay subscription fees (there is an option to get The Grand Master Pack and get a Life-time Subscription for the game which may not sound that bad if you plan to spend more than a year playing the game). After the first 30 days of playtime each additional month will cost you either $14.99, €14.99 or £11.49 depending in what region you live in with longer subscription cycles yield discounts to the monthly fee. I’m personally not a big fan of this business model, though it is quite profitable for the companies making the games if they manage to get a large enough user base. And here I’m wondering when the subscription model will be moved from the monthly fee to the actual time you spend playing, much like how some of the Cloud-based services are working… I’m daydreaming right. If you’ve tried The Secret World or are already playing it actively you are welcome to share your feedback from the game n the comments below.
The indie game Limbo is something that offers an interesting and very different atmosphere than what we’re used to with most games – it is a dark shadowy puzzle game offering really unique experience, though not everyone may like it. This indie game is definitely something very different from the rest and you should take a look at it if you still haven’t tried it as it has been available for a while now (there is a free demo version available). The game offers supports stereoscopic 3D, though due to the way the game world is presented the 3D effect isn’t that strong as with some other S3D games, though it is still nice.
Originally made available only as a digital download, now Limbo’s developer has released a Special Hard Cover Edition of the game that includes a copy of the game on optical media, along with some extras. You also get a standalone soundtrack by Martin Stig Andersen, seven original art cards, a boy sticker, and a pair of anaglyph 3D glasses along with a free Steam gift key. You can get Limbo Special Hard Cover Edition for $19.99 USD in USA or for 19.99 EUR in Europe, and it still also available as digital download for less than that, but you won’t get the extras this way.
Now, originally the game supports stereoscopic 3D mode with anaglyph 3D output for Red-Cyan glasses, thus such a pair is included in the Special Hard Cover Edition, but you can also play the game with 3D Vision. There is an official Limbo 3D Vision profile available and Nvidia has rated the experience in stereo 3D mode as Excellent. To enable the built-in anaglyph stereoscopic 3D support int he game Limbo you need to press at the same time the following key combination: “SHIFT + 3 + D” and to get back to 2D mode you need to press “SHIFT + 2 + D” on the keyboard. Enabling stereo 3D mode using 3D Vision happens the traditional way – either by pressing the button on the IR emitter (if you have it) or with the “CTRL + T” key combination. To get an idea on what to expect from the stereo 3D mode in the game Limbo, I’ve recorded a short video using 3D Vision with low to moderate depth levels and shared it on YouTube (the clip embedded above). As I’ve said don’t expect too much form the stereo 3D in the game, but it works well and may add an extra level of immersion in this really strange and weird puzzle adventure ahead of you.
If you like Indie games then you might want to check out the game Roller Coaster Rampage, a fast paced competitive roller-coaster simulator with destructive environments and with stereoscopic 3D support. The interesting thing about this game is that it allows you to build your own tracks in real time as you ride them, and this can be a bit tricky if you try to defy the rules of gravity or to run the tracks through some solid objects, but it is also what adds some extra fun when building some extreme rides. The game does come with very decent graphics, but don’t expect too much in the form of very fine details or way too advanced effects, that however does not make it less fun and thanks to the really good native stereoscopic 3D support it is actually something worth playing for a while.
I’ve mentioned native stereoscopic 3D support and the game does support output using 3D Vision as well as Side by Side output, and though you might read that it supports Above/Below mode somewhere it is apparently not present in the latest update. There is no yet an official 3D Vision profile for the game available, but it also doesn’t need one as it works really well even without one, and since the game uses native stereoscopic 3D rendering you have to rely on the in-game menu to tweak the depth and convergence levels as the default 3D Vision keys for that will not work. There are no apparent issues in the stereoscopic 3D rendering and both 3D Vision and Side by Side outputs work very well, though you might want to play a bit with the settings to get the best results. And if you think that you’ll have to go to the main menu of the game to tweak the 3D settings as you don’t have the sliders for Convergence and Eye Separation in the options while playing the game, you should know that you have keys that can be used for these adjustments (9 and 0 for Eye separation and – and = for Convergence).
I’ve noticed some issues with the initialization of the full screen mode on the main screen of the game, though that did not prevent it from working properly in stereoscopic 3D mode and another a bit annoying thing was a strange D3D error showing when exiting the game or switching with ALT – TAB, hopefully these will soon be fixed with an update. Also some options for AA filtering would be nice, although you can force some Anti-Aliasing through the graphics drivers’ control panel to make the game graphics smoother removing all those annoying jaggies as there are quite a lot of objects in the game that could benefit from AA. And where is the option to show the speed in km/h instead of mph?
Roller Coaster Rampage is available on Steam for $9.99 USD or 6.99 Euro, unfortunately there is no demo available that you can try before you decide to buy the game. But if you like Indie games that offer simple and fun gameplay experience and with nice stereoscopic 3D effect on top, then you probably will not be disappointed by Roller Coaster Rampage.