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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Modifying All 3D Vision Control Key Combinations as You Need

July 25th, 2010 · 5 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

There was a question over at the Nvidia 3D Vision forum on how you can change the default key combination for taking stereoscopic 3D screenshots (Alt + F1) to something like Alt + Z or any other key combination that is more comfortable to use or is not used by a certain game or application and here is the detailed explanation. Now, through the Nvidia stereoscopic 3D control panel there are settings that allow you to change some advanced key combinations as you see fit, but not all of them are there and the screenshot key combination is most certainly not there either. So we are back to some Registry modification to do what we need, but before that we actually need to know how the key combinations are defined as values in the registry and thus it is learning time again… ;)

The location for the Stereo 3D settings in the Registry

For 32-bit OS:

For 64-bit OS:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\Stereo3D\

Inside the registry there the keys are represented by a number in Hexadecimal format, for example the 0470 value for the SaveStereoImage as you see on the screenshot above (the Alt + F1 representation). We don’t need the value in the brackets after that (the decimal number), because we are going to use the Hex values here, so when modifying a value int the registry make sure that Hexadecimal is selected as the type of data you are entering. So the first part of the number – the digits 04 represent the modifier key pressed in this case it is ALT, but the value can represent any of the following: ALT, CTRL, SHIFT and the WIN key or a combination between the multiple of these keys pressed. In the table above you can see what are all 16 possible combinations between these keys that you can use, with 00 meaning that none of these keys is pressed and 0F that all four are pressed…

The second table is a bit bigger and it represents the different possible virtual keys that you can use along with the four mentioned already modifier keys. The second table has 256 possibilities, but not all of them are listed in the table as not all of them are being used or available on a standard keyboard or are even not even used anymore. Using this table you can get the second part of the number you need to enter as a value in the registry to modify a key combination for a specific command. The value 70 here represents the F1 key and you can get that number by looking at the table and when you find the key you need first writhe the number on the left (7) and then the one at the top (0) and this way you get the value 70 for F1. If you need the value for the F12 key following the same method you get 7 on the left and B at the top, so the Hex value for the F12 key is 7B and if you want to get the ALT + F12 key combination you get 04 for the ALT modifier and 7B for F12 and the resulting value is 047B that you need to set in the registry.

Notice that there are some cells in the table with different colors than white, these colors all represent some specific and here is what every color means. The yellow color shows the combinations that you can use with the three standard mouse buttons and yes, you can also use the mouse for key combinations and not just the keyboard. The red color represents the system control keys, the green color is for the keys on the Numpad and the blue color is for any multimedia keys that you might or might not have on your keyboard, the rest is in white and it represents the most standard keys that you can use like the letters, numbers etc.

So happy modifying with your newly acquired knowledge, just don’t forget to make a backup of the default settings in that Stereo3D registry key as otherwise if you mess something up you might have to reinstall the 3D Vision driver to restore them to their defaults. Also have in mind that there are some values with keys applied to them that are currently not being used and are depreciated remains from the older Nvidia stereo 3D drivers, so modifying these is pointless.

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How to Get Better Quality Stereoscopic 3D Screenshots with 3D Vision

May 26th, 2010 · 2 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

I’m sure that a lot of you that do save stereoscopic 3D screenshots from games they play are not very happy with the level of quality they get in the saved JPS files (JPEGs in Side by Side format). The reason for that is the fact that Nvidia set the default level of quality to 50%, probably in order to have smaller files, but I’m sure that for 99% of the people it is the quality that matters more than the file size, right? Anyway, the good news is that the level of quality can be adjusted from within the Registry, so you can increase it if you wish to and let me tell you how this can be easily done. You need to run Regedit and navigate to the following place in the registry depending on your OS and then just change the value of SnapShotQuality to the desired level of quality.

For 32-bit Windows:

For 64-bit Windows:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\Stereo3D]

The value is represented in percents in decimal numbers, so when you change it you need to enter decimal and not HEX values (HEX is still Ok if you input the right value, because 50 in HEX is equal to the number 80 in decimal!). So the default value you’ll see is 50 in decimal meaning 50 percent quality which gives a smaller file, but a lot of visual artifacts due to the compression of the image, so you definitely need to increase that value. Have in mind that 99 is the maximum value you need to enter in order to get the highest quality level, if you input 100 or more you’ll actually get 75 as a quality level instead, so be careful that you input 99 in decimal as maximum number to get the highest possible quality!

I did some comparisons of screenshots done in stereo 3D with different quality levels in order to see the difference in file size and also to check a few important things and verify some of the limitations that you may face when using the built-in stereo screenshot capture functionality in the 3D Vision driver invoked by presing the ALT + F1 key combination. As you can see in the image above with quality level 1 you get a really small file, but the quality is so bad that it is practically useless, at the default quality level of 50 you still get quite small file, with a decent quality, but not good enough as there are quite a lot of visual artifacts due to the compression. I’ve found out that the default setting for good ratio between quality and file size should actually be set to around 80 as then you have very little and hard to see compression artifacts and the file size is still quite small. This is probably the best option if you want to directly share the stereo 3D screenshots you make with other people over the internet without having to edit them in any way. If you don’t care about the file size you can directly go to 99 (the maximum quality level) to get the best visual quality, although with over 3 times the file size of the screenshots at quality level of 80, but then again you can edit these and compress them if needed later on to share online.

I would also want to direct your attention to the naming convention of the screenshots that get saved under your User account in the Documents folder in a specially named NVStereoscopic3D.IMG folder. For the example above I’ve used the built-in stereo 3D test application in the 3D Vision driver and the name of the file is as follows: nvsttest01_50.jps. The first part of the file name “nvsttest” represent the executable name of the application you took the screenshot in, after that comes the number 01 that represents the number of the screenshot from that application, then a separator “_” and the number 50 which is the quality level of the screenshot. I’m directing your attention to this naming convention as it is directly related to some limitations you’ll be facing when taking screenshots due to the fact that both numbers are fixed at only two digits. This means that you can save up to 99 stereo 3D screenshots form a certain application, then you need to move the screenshots from the default folder for the software to start from 01 again, otherwise if you leave them you just won’t get any more screenshots saved! The same also applies to the quality level and that is the reason why you cannot set 100 as a quality level for example and the 99 is the maximum number you can set for optimum quality.

So it seems that Nvidia can work a bit more in adjusting these settings to better values, like 80 as the default quality level for example and allowing you to save more than 99 screenshots per application…

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