Blades of Time is a new hack and slash type action-adventure game developed by Gaijin Entertainment, the same company that has made the game X-Blades, and the two games actually share way too many similarities, although they are not really related officially in the form of a sequel/prequel. Considering how good X-Blades looks in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision I was eager to see will Blades of Time also have a good stereo 3D compatibility. The game offers detailed environments, a lot of effects and fast action which makes it a great candidate for a nice experience in stereoscopic 3D mode, and even though it has not be designed to be a stereo 3D title it actually does quite Ok.
Blades of Time does not yet have a 3D Vision profile, but even without one the default settings work Ok, you may do a tiny bit of convergence adjustment as a fine tuning and then you can start pushing the depth really high. With that said though, there are some issues in stereo 3D mode that you should be aware of, like the problem with the shadows not properly rendered in S3D, but you can disable them from the Options menu. The other problematic thing is related to the text being displayed on the screen when in stereo 3D mode, the same goes for some other HUD elements as well as the crosshair when shooting with a gun. Other than that, the item icons also render in 2D, but that s a minor thing. If you plan to push for the maximum depth for the normal more distant view you may have to be aware that when using the compass and in other closeup modes you may have trouble in stereo 3D mode, but even with moderate depth level the things look quite well when rendered in stereoscopic 3D mode. So Blades of Time might not be the greatest title of all time or a very special game, but it could be a fun thing to play for a while and waste some time, and doing it in stereoscopic 3D mode makes it even better. Hopefully the developer of the game will pay some attention to the stereoscopic 3D gamers and release an update addressing the issues in S3D mode and meanwhile there is a demo of the game that you can download and try before deciding if you want to get the full game or not…
If you are an owner of Acer Aspire 3D AS-5738DG laptop you should know that this mobile computer uses DDD’s TriDef software to provide Stereoscopic 3D support for pictures, video and games, but since it is using a Horizontal Interlaced mode to create the stereoscopic 3D effect you can also use other software. This made me try the Aspire 3D laptop with iZ3D’s driver instead of the bundled TriDef software just to be sure and to check if there will be any significant difference when using one or the other software. You should know that both TriDef Igniton and iZ3D Driver still do not support DirectX 10, although both are working on adding this support and we should have it pretty soon, and as for DX11 it is still too early.
When you install the iZ3D driver you need to setup it to use Interlaced, Horizontal (optimized) mode in order to have it working as it should with the Aspire 3D laptop. You can as well use the normal Horizontal mode, but the Optimized version is supposed to provide a little bit of improvement by doing some minimal vertical anti-aliasing as opposed to just skipping the unneeded lines in normal mode, although the difference it is hardly visible and there seems not to be any significant difference in terms of performance.
The next step was to try a game that is not completely problem free when played in stereoscopic 3D mode and to measure the performance difference by using both programs to see if any of them is better. The game I choose was X-Blades, because it looks quite good in S3D mode and is not too heavy so the Radeon 4570 video card in the Acer laptop could handle it. But at the same time X-Blades also has an issue when HDR is enabled and you try to play in stereoscopic 3D mode that becomes apparent when you move the camera with the mouse around your character. It turned out that the weird “wash out” effect is present with HDR enabled on both iZ3D and TriDef Ignition and then again the performance I got from both solutions was pretty close to each other. When playing X-Blades in normal mode, at maximum details, with no AA at 1368×768 resolution I get average of about 40 fps, but when switching to stereoscopic 3D mode with the help of iZ3D or TriDef Ignition the framerate on both goes to an average of 24 frames per second. There is just a slight difference if you turn the Autofocus function of the iZ3D driver On, resulting in about 2-3 fps drop. Have in mind that these results were achieved with PowerPlay disabled for getting the top performance from the laptop as I described here Optimizing your Aspire 3D Laptop for Best Performance in S3D Mode. The end result from the comparison between the programs that allow you to turn a normal 3D game into a stereoscopic 3D game is that they perform pretty much on par with each other in terms of quality, performance and even features. Of course each of these solutions has its own small advantages, but if you’ve bought an Acer Aspire 3D laptop there is no reason for you to additionally buy a license for iZ3D Driver as you won’t get a significant improvement at this moment. When iZ3D Driver version 2.0 comes out things might get improved, but also don’t forget that DDD’s TriDef is also being updated quite frequently and you can upgrade your Acer Aspire 3D laptop with latest TriDef software for free.