Shattered Horizon is a multiplayer first-person shooter PC game where players fight in zero gravity on different levels in space and of course this is the first game that is coming from Futuremark Games Studio (3DMark anyone?). There is still not much info made available for the game, because it is just exited from closed beta status and not many people had access to it, but there is a lot of interest and big expectations from everyone for this title. The game is expected to be released by the end of this year (and Futuremark seems to be right on track for that), although there is still no official release date announced, but enough with that, lets talk a bit abut the game and its 3D Vision compatibility. Here is some first hand information about the game, but mostly focused on its 3D Vision compatibility and you should have in mind that in the final version of the game things might be different. Now I’ve been participating in the closed beta that just finished in the last few days and finally I’m able to share freely an overview of the game based on the final beta version and how things progressed since the earlier versions of the game, but still nobody is allowed to publish screenshots from the game as they were not from the final version of the game! So no images from me either, but still an overview of how things are looking so far… in text only ;)
And here is the first official trailer with in-game footage to give you a bit of an idea on what to expect from this space FPS game, but enough with the introduction, lets talk about the game and what to expect from it in S3D…
In the first betas the game was not very optimized so it was quite heavy on the video card and the system as well, but in each of the updates things were becoming better and better, including the improvement of the options menu for tweaking up the graphics settings. So pretty much in the final beta build 7 things were looking very good, although there was still something to be desired, but this should hopefully be fixed and improved up to the final version of the game. At first there were also some issues related to people using Nvidia SLI setups with two or more video cards, but this was fixed, so you can expect that playing in high resolution with maximum detail level the game will be quite demanding on your hardware now even SLI setups should be Ok in the final game (don’t know about Crossfire as I do not have such system available). Anyway I’ve had some issues with running the game (the earlier betas) on a test Dell XPS 1730 laptop with dual GeForce 9800M GT in SLI…
As for playing in stereoscopic 3D, you should be aware that by default there is no profile from Nvidia intended for Shattered Horizon in the latest 3D Vision drivers, so the beta works with the default S3D settings. And if you run the game things look pretty much Ok at first look besides your gun that is very close and looks “out of focus”, so a bit of convergence adjustment is needed, but more about that in a minute. After a more closer inspection you can see a problem in the right frame – the gun is teared and looks doubled on the image only your right eye sees, but is Ok on the one for the left eye. After a bit of playing with the convergence level you can get much better results, showing your gun as it should normally be seen without the “out of focus” effect and the doubling in the right frame. The objects that are more far still look quite good and “deeper” in the screen, as this optimization is for depth stereoscopic effect and not for pop-out effect when viewing in Stereo 3D, which is the best for Shattered Horizon and for most other FPS games. Of course there are still some visual problems and objects that look a bit weird when viewed in stereoscopic 3D mode. I’ve prepared a REG file with the needed settings for the custom convergence level for the beta that should also work for the final game (maybe just renaming the executable), but this is just in case if Nvidia does not have a profile ready by then. By importing the Reg file (link below) in the registry of your OS you just need to run the game and it will start with these custom convergence settings applied, providing you with the best possible S3D result so far.
Now, as of be beta build 7 and with the custom convergence adjustment not everything is still perfect, you can notice that some lights in a bit of a distance from you are misplaced in the frame shown for the right eye when playing in S3D mode. Also sometimes the distant dust (it should be dust and not smoke in space, right?) also is misplaced in the frame that is rendered for the right eye in stereoscopic 3D mode, but it is better than in earlier betas and in the final game we can also hope to have these fixed in order to have the game to perform great when player with Geforce 3D Vision.
October 20th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech
Good news from Acer too, as the company should release by the end of this month their Acer Aspire 5738D 3D laptop, which is supposedly the first Acer mobile computer with Stereoscopic 3D support. Unfortunately, unlike the good news from Asus preparing a gaming laptop with 120Hz display, Acer has decided to go on another road. Acer Aspire 5738D 3D is going to feature a specially polarized screen (additional pixel polarization filter) and will use external passively polarized glasses in order to achieve the stereoscopic 3D effect for the viewer. The drawback is that although more affordable, this technology has a limitation because you get only half of the resolution per eye due to the way the stereo image is being created – even lines for the left eye and odd lines for the right eye. Nevertheless the stereoscopic 3D effect is still there and is still very nice, so considering the expected very affordable price for the Acer Aspire 5738D 3D and the expected availability by the end of this month (October) things definitely will be interesting.
The Aspire 5738D comes pre-installed with the Acer 3D software bundle, which includes the TriDef 3-D Experience software, 2 pairs of 3D polarizer glasses (one Oakley style and one clip-on) and a selection of 2D and 3D demo content for testing this functionality. Thanks to the Tri-Def software you’ll be able to watch 3D photos and movies in stereoscopic 3D, but also play some game in stereoscopic 3D too. The Tri-Def software also allows you to convert in real time normal 2D movies into stereoscopic 3D video, but you cannot expect to get the same results as with true movie shot in 3D. As for the games, there are some requirements that you should have in mind as the TriDef ignition software has its limitations. There are that you can play only DirectX 9 games so far, but the good thing is that you are not limited on the video card type – the software is ATI and Nvidia compatible.
As soon as I’m able to get my hands on one of these Acer Aspire 5738D 3D laptops I’ll be doing some tests and continue this topic, because so far I also haven’t been able to try the TriDef software in person on compatible hardware…
October 20th, 2009 · 7 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision
It seems that Asus will be the first company to offer a laptop with a 120Hz screen that will be compatible with Nvidia’s GeForce 3D Vision solution and this is expected to hit the stores but the end of November this year. The laptop will be Asus G51J (the exact model is G51J-SZ028V), a limited edition from the Republic of Gamers series and thus targeted for gamers of course and as expected with an adequate mobile video card – GeForce GTX 260M with 1GB of video memory. Besides the built-in 120Hz display, the laptop will also come bundled with the 3D Vision shutter glasses, so you’ll be ready to start playing in stereoscopic 3D right from the start.
The specs of the system include an Intel Core i7 720QM CPU (quad core at 1,6 GHz per core with Turbo Boost), 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz memory, up to 640GB (dual 320GB HDDs in RAID), combo Blu-ray reader and DVD writer and with Windows 7 Home Premium OS. The display is 15,6″ with a resolution of 1920×1080 (Full HD) with a LED backlight, 120Hz and 3D Vision compatible as I already mentioned. There are also 2x 2W built-in Altec Lansing speakers, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Intel WiFi Link 5100 Wireless, Gigabit LAN, ExpressCard slot, 8-in-1 flash card reader, 2Mp web camera, eSATA, DSUB-15 analog and HDMI digital video ports for external monitor. The weight of the laptop is about 3,5 kg with a 6-cell battery. As for the price you could expect it to be quite high, but still this will be the first mobile 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D solution so it might be worth investing in it if you have the money that is… ;)