3D Vision Blog

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

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Driver Updates for Nvidia 3D Vision, DDD TriDef 3D and iZ3D Driver

March 8th, 2011 · 10 Comments · General 3D News

When talking about gaming in stereo 3D mode there are pretty much three driver solutions that are available at the moment, allowing the conversion of 3D games into stereoscopic 3D ones and these are Nvidia’s 3D Vision, DDD’s TriDef 3D and the iZ3D Driver. All of these solutions rely on predefined profiles on per application basis in order to provide good default settings, so that when the user runs a game he can start enjoying it immediately in stereo 3D mode, without having to do some tweaking and adjustment. Making it user friendly is required in order to have normal gamers playing in stereo 3D mode and not just enthusiasts, and the solution with the profiles seems as a great idea to ensure that. There is however a drawback to this approach that is common to all three solutions, you actually need the developer to release frequent updates with new profiles for game titles before or at the exact time new games are released. And we well know that this is not an easy task, because you have to have professionals playing games and creating these profiles, but how is each of these companies doing with that task? One approach to kind of ease the task is to also allow the users to create their own profiles for games, but that is not working that well and is not always possible or easy, especially for novice users… sharing these user-generated profiles among users can also be problem.

Nvidia is the most frequent with updates for their stereoscopic 3D drivers, but then again it is the biggest company among the three and has a lot of resources devoted to improving their 3D Vision technology. Although being limited only to Nvidia GPUs this technology works very well, because the company also develops their own video cards and drivers that are optimized to all work together. But even Nvidia is late at times with the release of profiles for new games and this is something that gamers playing in stereo 3D mode are not happy about. The latest WHQL driver Nvidia has released was from January 18th, but the latest beta driver is from March 2nd and usually there are more releases in between. The user options for generating profiles are very limited at the moment and even the sharing between users is harder as the settings are saved in the registry, and in different places for 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems, so Nvidia needs to improve things here a bit as well to engage the big 3D Vision user community to actually help. Still Nvidia’s solution is probably the most user friendly and easy to use by people totally new to stereo 3D gaming or stereoscopic 3D multimedia on a PC, unless of course you try to do something that is not officially supported.

DDD is on the second place in terms of frequent updates, although their latest TriDef 3D release is from last year and more specifically December 23rd which is already about two months and a half ago. The TriDef 3D software currently has less game profiles available and there are even some user generated game profiles included in the official release. The profiles here are a bit more advanced with more user controllable options, so a good profile created by the users and shared in a dedicated official forum can be included in the next release. The TriDef 3D also has some extra features such as auto focus support, the virtual 3D mode etc. The problem here however is that the driver does not support that many 3D output options, although it is a universal driver, meaning that it is not tied to a specific brand of GPUs, like in the case with 3D Vision for example, but instead works on all graphic processors… with higher performance hit at times. So the thing that is probably holding back DDD from getting more popular is their smaller community and the fact that being more advanced and with more options it is more confusing for the novice users.

iZ3D is the least active in terms of driver updates and that is starting to be a problem, especially after the company stopped producing their own 3D monitor hardware with the idea of focusing more on the software, but that apparently is not yet happening, or we are not seeing it materialized at least. The latest driver released by iZ3D was made available on October 23rd and that is four and a half months ago with not even a newer beta version getting released. Before releasing their last driver, the time between the previous official releases was also quite long, but at least there were a few beta releases meanwhile. At the same time the also universal in terms of GPU support driver from iZ3D is also quite advanced with more control for user generated profiles and probably a bigger and more enthusiastic community of users, although not as big as with 3D Vision. The iZ3D driver is also the most flexible one in terms of supported different stereoscopic 3D output methods of all three, so it is the preferred solution for enthusiasts going the 3D DIY way and these are usually the most advanced users. However they probably support the least number of games with available profiles and the lack of more frequent updates does not help at all to keep users happy, but this is also probably why the community is more active around this solution.

Up until now the focus above with the updates was set on game profiles, however more frequent updates also mean new features, fixed bugs, added support for new compatible 3D products and so on. For example when talking about DirectX 9 games all three solutions are pretty much on the same good level, but if we move to games using the more recent DirectX 10 or 11, then Nvidia gets way ahead as the other two solutions still have some problems with these. Nvidia’s solution is only limited to the company’s shutter glasses and compatible 3D monitors, projectors and HDTVs, but the number of these is already quite big, so you still have a lot of options, although they all use the same technology. The two other solutions support multiple 3D display technologies, so they don’t only work with shutter glasses, but also with autostereoscopic displays, passive polarized solutions etc., their support on the most popular recently shutter-based solutions however is still lacking a bit, so they need to do some catching up. What is common to all three solutions is that they are not too user friendly for novice users, neither they give too much options for the more advanced users to be able to take full control. Nvidia’s 3D Vision solution is probably the easiest for use by novice users, but it is also the most constrained for more advanced users, that want to get out of the boundaries set by Nvidia… and the thing here is that in order to make it more user friendly the company had to be more restrictive. The most advanced in terms of user controllable features and options and profile creation is probably DDD’s TriDef, although the iZ3D is very close as well, but they both seem too hard and confusing when a total novice to stereo 3D gaming tries to use them at first. There are a lot of things that still need to be done and all three companies should still further develop their products a lot, taking into account what users want and need, but also actively using the feedback from their user communities and actually helping them help further develop the specific stereo 3D solution… something that is not happening that much at the moment. And more frequent driver updates including even just new profiles for games won’t hurt anyway, would they, they will just make more gamers happy being able to play in stereo 3D mode without having to become S3D gurus themselves… ;)

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Preparing to Test the Intel Sandy Bridge Platform For S3D Gaming

February 19th, 2011 · 7 Comments · General 3D News

Those of you that follow the blog should remember the 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D test system with water cooling that I’ve built. In the meantime I’ve been upgrading the test PC a bit by bit, but since it is based on a bit older platform already I decided to do some testing with the recently announced Intel Sandy Bridge platform. The 3D test computer currently used an Asus P55 Sabertooth motherboard together with an Intel Core i5 750 processor overclocked to run at 4 GHz 24/7, together with dual GeForce GTX 580 video cards in SLI setup. So I’ve got two more recent high-end motherboards from Asus for testing that are based on the new platform and use the P67 chipset – Asus P67 Sabertooth and the P67 Maximus IV Extreme and an Intel Core i5 2500K processor with unlocked multiplier (for overclocking of course). The goal of this test is to reach five gigahertz by overclocking the processor and measure the performance of the new Intel Sandy Bridge platform versus the older one that I’m currently using. As you can expect the tests would be related to gaming in stereo 3D mode and comparing the framerates with both platforms and the different motherboards to see if the upgrade is worth it or not.

With all of the above said, I should also mention that currently upgrading to a Sandy Bridge platform may not be the best choice, considering that not long ago Intel has officially announced a bug in the chipset that can potentially cause SATA 2 performance degradation over time. As a result of that announcement there was a big recall of potentially affected motherboards, but that is not something that can stop an enthusiast, especially when there is still some time before the motherboards using the revised chipset can be available on the market again. So even if you get an Intel Sandy Bridge motherboard now, you can avoid using the affected SATA 2 ports and get it replaced when the revised versions become available on the market in march/april. But as an enthusiast I’m not willing to wait for a few months for the revised chipsets, so I prefer to get the platform now and test it and if needs replacing the warranty can cover that when the revised models are available later this year. So stay tuned for some results of the tests soon… ;)

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User Fix For The Stereo 3D Crosshair in Battlefield: Bad Company 2

August 6th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Stereo 3D Games

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is an official 3D Vision Ready game title which in theory means that the game should play perfectly fine in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision and look great on top of that. However the road that the game needed to go through was a bit long and hard, there was a day 1 patch to address some issues in stereo 3D mode and after that a few more patches that improved the stereo 3D experience making the game better…

However for a bit over a month now there has actually been a regression in that since the latest update version 553292 that as been out for over a month already actually brought back some issues when the you play the game in stereo 3D mode. Mainly the issue of the crosshair being rendered in 2D mode again, although with earlier patches it was working perfectly fine being rendered in stereo 3D mode. And since this is a quite serious problem for a lot of users playing in stereo 3D mode (and something you will not expect from a 3D Vision Ready title), the fact that it is not being addressed with a proper patch in a timely manner is actually very strange. The good thing is that there is a working workaround that fixes the problem by replacing one of the game files with a version from a previous patch that brings back the crosshair rendering in stereo 3D mode.

You need to download the file package.mft from the link below and replace the currently present file in the folder where you installed the game under \Dist\win32 for example if you installed the game in the default folder it should be C:\Program Files (x86)\Battlefield Bad Company 2\Dist\win32) and that is it, you are ready to go. The file is from the game patch version 529843 and you can thank the user metti from the Nvidia forums for discovering this fix and sharing it with us, so you should try it out now while waiting for the game developers to address the issue with a new patch. Have in mind that this is for single player mode, and although it will work in multiplayer too it may create some issues in multiplayer mode!

Download the package.mft file you need to replace to fix the crosshair in BFBC2…

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