The new Windows 8 OS from Microsoft has been officially out for a few days already and you can get it and upgrade to it or get it with the purchase of a new PC. The big question is if you should do it now, wait for some time before going for Windows 8 or not even think about upgrade for the time being or at all. You can say that the most worked on part of the new OS is the new interface designed for mobile devices such as tablets or computers with touch screen interface, but that can also be considered as the biggest drawback for the users of traditional computers that are used to things like the Start button and programs menu as are missing it. Sure there are other improvements as well and changes that are considered “for the better” for the user, but do all users think they can actually benefit from them. Actually the overall user impressions from the new Windows 8 seem to be more negative than positive, even though people are saying that the new OS works faster and is smoother compared to Windows 7.
And here comes another important question, does Windows 8 work well for stereoscopic 3D use, something that probably a lot of people that are into stereo 3D are asking about. There have been some changes in the video driver model used in Windows 8 and the makers of graphics processors have already implemented and released drivers supporting this, however there might be trouble with other drivers for different hardware, though drivers for Windows 7 might still work if they are digitally signed. There might be some issues for a while with games using different DRM solutions or cheat protection algorithms, preventing you from running certain games, but hopefully these will soon be resolved. Another thing that you might have trouble with if going for the new Windows 8 are all those workaround solutions and tricks that you might’ve used successfully under Windows 7 for making different older or not officially supported 3D hardware working.
My advice for now is not to be in a hurry to go for Windows 8, or at least not as the sole OS you have on your computer. If you want to check it out and try migrating to Windows 8 slowly, then you better start with it installed as a second OS, or even in a virtual machine, as you might have trouble making all your hardware work, trouble with some of the software you are used to working with, or you may not like the new concept at all and decide to skip it and wait for the next major OS release, or at least for some updates or tools to make the transition easier. I already have Windows 8 as a second OS installed, more out of curiosity an to try it out and test various things, including stereoscopic 3D support as well. If you’ve already installed Windows 8 and have tried it, you might’ve faced some issues and here you can share your trouble making things work properly in stereoscopic 3D mode, so that we can find a solution that will work in Windows 8.
I’ll start with one very useful tool that I’ve found out about, a tool that actually makes Windows 8 useable for me, it is called Windows 7 Explorer for Windows 8 (Ex7ForW8) and what it does is to replace the new Windows 8 shell with the one from Windows 7, bringing you back the Start button and menu from Windows 7 into Windows 8. You need to have an installation copy of Windows 7 as the software needs to copy the Explorer.exe executable file from it (it is not included with the installer) and you can easily revert back to the standard Windows 8 shell should you decide to do that as some point. Feel free to share not only your problems, but also some other interesting things that you’ve found out to be useful for you in Windows 8 in the comments below.
A few days ago EA and Crytek have officially announced the upcoming game Crysis 3 scheduled for release in the spring next year and today they have released the first official gameplay trailer (embedded above). What they’ve forgot to confirm however is if Crysis 3 will support stereoscopic 3D mode as Crysis 2 does and if it does will there also be a full dual rendering and not only their 2D+Depth approach they currently use. The game Crysis 3 will be based on the CryEngine 3 and that engine does have native stereoscopic 3D support, so it will be plain stupid not to have the support available in the game, especially after the good feedback of the stereo 3D support in Crysis 2. Not to mention how the CryEngine’s stereoscopic 3D support is being advertised as a zero implementation solution with the game developer not having to do anything special to have S3D implemented in his title based on the engine. However we still don’t have any official confirmation about Crysis 3 having stereoscopic 3D support…
Now, we all know why Crysis has developed the 2D+Depth approach in CryEngine 3 or as they call it Screen Space Re-Projection Stereo (SSRS), all in order to ensure they can offer a decent stereoscopic 3D experience not only to PC gamers, but also to PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers willing to play in stereo 3D as well. Using the SSRS solution you get just a little performance loss when playing in stereoscopic 3D mode as opposed to the more serious performance hit that a full dual rendering introduces, but the later also does provide a more spectacular and realistic volume experience. And since we did not get full dual rendering stereo 3D mode in Crysis 2 via an update, a lot of gamers are hoping this will be introduced in Crysis 3, at least for PC gamers that can always upgrade their hardware to handle the extra performance requirements. As adding this opposed to the 2D+Depth approach is not possible for consoles where you’ll have to sacrifice details in order to ensure full dual camera rendering in order to fit in the performance capabilities of the PS3 or Xbox 360. Considering that Crysis 3 is scheduled for the spring 2013 or in about a year from now there is quite a lot of time for Crytek to add additional stereoscopic 3D rendering modes, but it is not yet know if they will indeed do that or not. Meanwhile they have started taking pre-orders of Crysis 3 Hunter Edition already that includes some extra bonuses for the most eager gamers.
Ubisoft has announced that the PC version of the game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will be available in stores and for digital download on June 12th and that it will be supporting stereoscopic 3D. The most interesting thing here however is the fact that it is not the usual stereo 3D support announcement that we see coming with Nvidia’s 3D vision Ready game titles, or the more rare AMD HD3D nativr support announcements, this time it is “TriDef stereoscopic support”. Now, that does not mean that you will not be able to play the game in stereo 3D mode using other 3D-capable solutions such as 3D Vision or AMD HD3D, or even with iZ3D, it just means that the game will be optimized for best results when using DDD’s TriDef 3D software.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier PC version features:
– PC high standard visuals (DX11 renderer, new high-quality assets, new post process effects, multi-monitor solutions support, TriDef stereoscopic support).
– DirectX11 enhanced: tessellation (for soft 3D models), compute shaders-based realistic lighting (for global illumination), volumetric fog.
– Online widget: Party, Friends and Ghost Feed functionality can be accessed at any moment from any screen
– Extended party functionality: simplified and more flexible invitation system
– Party text chat
– Uplay Friends system
– Fully customizable controls for the localized keyboards
The stereoscopic 3D support however is just one of the extra features that Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will support as it will be a DX11 game title and will also offer multi-monitor solutions support (supposedly will look good in stereo 3D multi-monitor setups as well). The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console versions of the game are scheduled to be released on May 22nd in North America and there is no word about stereoscopic 3D support in them, so they will most likely not have S3D support.