3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Mafia II Demo is Now Available, Works Great in Stereo 3D Mode

August 10th, 2010 · 18 Comments · Stereo 3D Games


Today the demo of the anticipated Mafia 2 game was made available to the general public with the full game becoming available a bit later this month – August 24th in North America and 27th in Europe. Mafia II takes advantage of Nvidia’s PhysX technology and is going to be a 3D Vision Ready title, working well also with triple monitor 3D Vision Surround setups. What you need to we bell aware of is the fact that the game is quite demanding in terms of graphic power needed if you want to play it with maximum detail level and PhysX set to high, let alone in stereo 3D mode on top of that. The recommended to have GPU is a GTX 260 without using PhysX and 3D Vision and for more you better have a Fermi-based video card ready and SLI with at least 460s would be good to have in order to crank up the PhysX level and play in stereo 3D mode with comfortable framerates. For 3D Vision Surround Nvidia recommends you to have GTX 480 in SLI and an optional dedicated for PhysX graphics card which may be a bit overkill just for a single game, but Mafia II might as well turn out to be “the game” that is worth upgrading your PC for. I’m not yet sure how well it will work on ATI-based GPUs, but then again there you will miss the additional details provided by the PhysX support along with most likely no stereo 3D mode support, although you might still have some options for that.

The demo for the game is available on Steam and it includes support for bot PhysX (off, medium and high modes) as well as 3D Vision, so it can give you an idea on what to expect from the full game when it comes out. There is also a heavy benchmark mode that can show you a bit disappointing framerates even on hig-end configurations, because there is a lot of physical calculations going on in the scenes rendered in the benchmark and with PhysX set to high you’ll be out for a surprise, especially if you test in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision even on GTX 480. Anyway, you better try the demo yourself, it is available now, than to just read impressions from it, just be prepared that you might finally need an upgrade for your PC to fully enjoy the game. Below you’ll also find some screenshots in stereo 3D mode that I’ve took inside the demo of Mafia 2, they are in 1680×1050 resolution, with maximum details, AA on (2x SSAA only) and PhysX set to High, so you can get an idea on what to expect. You may notice a bit of ghosting in specific scenes (it is a monitor-related issue, and not the game being responsible), but in overall the game looks great in stereo 3D as expected from a 3D Vision Ready title.

Download Mafia II stereoscopic 3D screenshots…

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When to Expect a Solution Based on ATI’s Open Stereo 3D Initiative

July 26th, 2010 · 9 Comments · Other S3D Tech


ATI has been talking about their upcoming stereoscopic 3D support utilizing 120Hz LCD monitors and active shutter glasses for quite some time already, and although we expected a complete working solution as early as this summer, things did not work out so well. So now, according to an interview with ATI made by Digital Versus we are going to wait a few more months (second half of the year), but we should see the complete working solution before the end of the year, maybe just in time for Christmas.

Now when talking about openness, ATI is open to supporting different standards and hardware, along with middleware software, but in the end you will most likely be required to have an AMD/ATI-based video card in order to use one such solution. This is of course normal, as ATI will want to sell you their hardware as well as Nvidia does, to use when watching any kind of stereo 3D content. So although ATI in general seems to be more open, the end results seems to be not that different than what Nvidia is doing with their 3D Vision product. You can say that a really open approach is what companies like iZ3D and DDD are doing with their drivers/software that do support multiple stereoscopic 3D solutions and work on all video cards, no matter if they are based on ATI or Nvidia GPUs. What we actually need are standards that will allow interoperability and the users will not have to think now do I have a compatible video card for that solution, or will this 3D monitor work for me or not, or what shutter glasses should I get.

And example that I’ve been seeing a lot lately of not having good interoperability that is confusing the users and making them wonder why is the fact that they cannot use their 3D-capable monitors and 3D DLP projectors to display 3D content from their PlayStation 3 console. The reason for that being that the PS3 sends the stereo 3D signal to a 3D capable display according to the HDMI 1.4(a) stereo 3D specifications and not a single one of the 120Hz 3D LCD monitors is capable of understanding and displaying 3D content sent this way. Of course you need to buy a 3D HDTV to play stereo 3D games from your PS3 console, but then again you’ll also have to buy a 120Hz 3D LCD monitor for your PC, as you will currently also have trouble connecting and using your new 3D HDTV to your PC. So being an early adopter has its advantages, but also comes with a lot of disadvantages and trying to cover more things and work with more partners like ATI does not only means bigger delays, but might as well mean more problems.

If you take a look at how much time the 3D Vision has been available on the market already and how Nvidia is having trouble to convince the hardware and software manufacturers to work on products that support it, not to mention that for more than a year and a half the software and hardware support is still far from being perfect. Now imagine what will be the situation when ATI’s complete stereoscopic 3D solution finally becomes available… I expect a lot of issues to be present at first and it will take some time for all of these to be fixed, and that is something that everyone of the early adopters of 3D Vision is well aware of. Now the 3D Vision already has a lot of users, has a larger community and this also helps a lot in reporting problem and improving the S3D support of the product. But ATI will need some time before reaching the critical mass of users that will have all the needed hardware and software and users that are willing to experiment, test and report issues, even make optimizations and workarounds for better experience etc.

So although I’m eagerly expecting to see what will ATI offer at the end as their complete stereo 3D ecosystem using shutter glasses (I’m a 3D enthusiast after all), I’m not trying to lie myself that it will be a problem free solution, perfect from the start and much better than what 3D Vision currently offers. Yes, it might be better in some aspects, but I don’t think that it will be that different in terms of overall experience for the users. And finally getting some competition between ATI and Nvidia in the stereo 3D area too may help in faster and better development of the software and hardware needed for that, and let us just hope that ATI will be as active as Nvidia in pushing both software and hardware companies into adding stereo 3D support in their products or releasing new stereo 3D-capable products. After all this can only benefit us, the end users that just want better and more affordable solutions for enjoying stereoscopic 3D content of all kinds, isn’t that right? Not to mention that we do need more stereoscopic 3D content available and in that area things are still moving a bit slowly, especially regarding 3D photo and 3D video, as the situation with games is better. However we also need both ATI and Nvidia to work more closely with the game developers in order for the upcoming games to have better stereoscopic 3D support and thus less or no issues in S3D mode at all, so that playing these will be much more fun… ;)

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Maingear Builds a 3D Vision Surround Simulator for Nvidia

June 25th, 2010 · 2 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision


A video demonstrating an interesting project done by Maingear for Nvidia – a 3D Vision Surround racing simulator setup using a water cooled PC with two Fermi cards, 3x 120Hz monitors and a seat with “vibration” (they’ve probably used some parts of the system already done for a previous project with a single display). Looks quite nice, kind of Pimp My Ride MTV style, but I would’ve liked a bit more technical details too and also to see some footage of the building process, maybe some trouble they’ve had and how they overcame them etc. We can of course all drool over the system or start building our own version, and I’m almost ready with the water cooled computer… finally… :P

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