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A little bit about DirectX 11, Tessellation and Stereoscopic 3D

January 20th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech

You have probably already seen the Unigine Heaven benchmark that is one of the first demos of actual game engines supporting DX11 and Tesselation (the Unigine game engine is also Stereo 3D ready), and if you haven’t you should take a look at the video above. Have in mind that the scene in the video looks like that only when running on DX11-capable hardware and with active Tessellation (only on Radeon HD 5xxx series video cards at the moment and will be supported on the upcoming GF100 “Fermi”). What you should take a not at is the level of detail that the Tessellation can add to objects in the virtual world you are playing in, for example: the rocks on the road, the walls of the buildings, the rooftops even the dragon statue looks much better and with a lot of additional detail. And when talking about stereoscopic 3D having also support for tessellation and actually using it in a game will add a lot more detail to objects making them even more realistic… by changing for example the flat rocky road to a one with uneven and bumpy rocks that actually have different depth are are much more like the real thing. You should consider the fact that with tessellation used right the 3D objects using it will not only look better on a 2D screen, but they will actually feel more real when you are viewing them with a 3D screen. This all means that tessellation is something that you should look for in upcoming games especially if you plan to play them with some sort of a stereoscopic 3D setup, but don’t be too glad and in a hurry about that…

I’ve already mentioned that at the moment only the latest ATI GPUs do have hardware support for DirectX 11 and Tessellation, but then again ATI still does not have official stereoscopic 3D support on their own. This does not mean you cannot use some sort of a stereoscopic 3D setup with an ATI hardware, but you need to also rely on additional software to support the respective technology. At the moment such software (universal by the way, working on both ATI and Nvidia hardware) is the iZ3D Driver and DDD TriDef, but there is another catch with these two. Actually more like two catches, the first – both software solutions still do not have good support or such support at all for active shutter glasses, and the second – they still do not even support DirectX 10, let alone DX 11. There is information however that both companies are working on adding DX10 support for Stereoscopic 3D and there were some promises to bring it out in January this year, but we are still waiting and the month is almost over. And then again we’ll probaly need at least a few more months until DirectX 11 support can be introduced – just enough time for more games that do actually take advantage start appearing and more mainstream and affordable hardware from both big names in the consumer VGA market.

You can say that Nvidia has a somewhat better position at this moment because their 3D Vision already does support stereoscopic 3D gaming with DirectX 10 and there is no DX11 yet, just because the company still does not have GPUs that support it on the market. A lot of people are waiting for the first such cards based on the “Fermi” architecture for quite some time already and the GF100 series are due to be out in the market most likely in the beginning of March. It would be quite interesting if Nvidia does introduce DirectX 11 support for 3D Vision too at that time as this will give them even stronger position in the S3D field, just because they don’t have to rely on external software solution they can afford to do that, but it does not mean they will. Still we’ll also need some good games that do take advantage of DX11 features and can use Tessellation to do things like the ones we see in the Unigine demo above and that could take some more time as we all played the same “game” not too long ago DX10.

But no matter how long we’ll have to wait for things to happen if you are into stereoscopic 3D gaming, then you should be looking forward to DX 11 hardware and software that does take advantage of Tessellation to make the game world much more realistic and appealing. I just hope that we are going to have games that do look like the demo in the video above and of course are normally playable even in stereoscopic 3D mode…

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