Lately everyone is talking about James Cameron’s upcoming movie called Avatar and of course the game that is supposed to come out a bit earlier than the movie. If you ask why, well the answer is very simple – stereoscopic 3D support in the game and the movie being available in 3D in 3D cinemas, so we are going to get the full S3D treatment. And we just got ourselves a Demo of Avatar the Game so if you haven’t tried it out yet, you better do so – the full game is expected to be officially available on 1st of December, so there is still some time to enjoy the demo.
The good news is that the demo of the game and of course the game itself features a very wide array of stereoscopic 3D technologies supported and not just Nvidia’s 3D Vision, including even iZ3D’s drivers. So all the supported modes are as follows: Full Checkerboard, Sensio, RealD, Line Interlaced, Side by Side, nVidia 3D Vision, iZ3D and Dual head. My focus will again be on the 3D Vision, as for the moment I was able to try it only with that, but I’ll also try to test the game with other stereoscopic 3D setups I can.
Now a lot of people with 3D Vision are having trouble running the game and are reporting issues, even I had problems making things work the way the normally do when using 3D Vision. This is something related to the way that Ubisoft has developed the game’s S3D support – they do communicate with Nvidia’s stereoscopic 3D drivers directly through the game engine. This is actually what creates the problem with the game crashing sometimes when you try to run it with 3D Vision enabled all the time, of course Nvidia are aware of the issue and should release and updated 3D Vision driver probably by the end of this week to resolve the issues. Now there is a little trick you need to do in order to have things working right from the start and to get rid of possible issues running the game with 3D Vision…
1. Go to the Nvidia Control Panel, Stereoscopic 3D and enable the “Hide stereoscopic 3D effect when game starts” option (if you haven’t already). This will allow you to avoid the crash you are getting at the start when you try to run the game with 3D Vision enabled.
2. If you completely disable the 3D Vision from the control panel you won’t see the mode present in the list of S3D options inside the game menu, but the game will also start, avoiding the crash when you have it with Stereoscopic 3D mode enabled. So you need to have it enabled, but hidden when the game starts!
3. Run the game, go to the Options menu, Display and Enable 3D, choosing nVidia 3D Vision in the list if 3D formats. This will activate the 3D Vision and you don’t have to press the button on the IR emitter to activate it, although it was set to be disabled when the game starts.
4. As an alternative to step 3, you can skip the activation from the in-game menu of the 3D mode and use the button on the IR emitter or CTRL + T. This basically does the same thing as activating the mode from the in-game Options, just be sure that nVidia 3D Vision option is being selected in the Options menu as a 3D format, otherwise you might happen to have two different 3D modes activated at the same time and this might lead to significant performance drop and visual problems.
The game certainly does look very nice in stereoscopic 3D mode with good level of detail and effects with nice pop-out of the screen too, although it could’ve been even better, as usual. From what I saw in the demo I was not too impressed in terms of gameplay, besides it being quite short, but you should already be prepared not to expect that much from a game that is based on a movie (here the latest Batman game was one of the very few exclusions). Anyway the game is fun, the atmosphere is nice and the stereoscopic 3D effects are definitely worth it… and of course no significant issues with objects being displayed in S3D as it is expected especially from this title. Of course if you increase the depth level too much you’ll start seeing some ghosting, but that is normal and to be expected, also some problems with objects placement on the screen when trying to change the convergence level arise, so better skip that too. BTW even the crosshair is rendered in 3D with depth, so nobody can complain about that this time. ;)
However, there is something you should have in mind – there is a significant performance drop when the stereoscopic 3D mode is enabled. Now we all know that this mode introduces some additional load on the video card, but what can you say when you play the game in normal 2D mode with lets say 64 frames per second and as soon as you activate the stereoscopic 3D mode the framerate drops to just 19 frames per second. So this is quite serious performance drop and on a high end PC with a quad core Intel Core i5 and GTX 275 VGA it is a lot (playing with maximum detail level), but lets hope that when Nvidia releases the updated profile for the game with the new 195.55 3D Vision driver things here will improve. So expect more from me on the topic as soon as the new driver update is available, maybe even later today… ;)