Fallout 3D

Fallout 3D

Jun 1, 2010

I think the biggest dream of me as a gamer is to immerse in game as real as the reality itself. Virtual reality where you can do whatever the game allow you to do. There were many attempts to create it, many movies to set the target of the expected quality. Today virtual reality systems are still part of sci-fi world. But realtime rendering engines are getting better from year to year. Reflections, shadows, radiocity, blooms, physics, liquids, lights – it’s all looks pretty good right now. Best of all that games went into the 3D rendering direction. This means that even though you are rendering only a mono 2D image in the end, there is still a full 3D world on the other side.

NVidia got it right, and created 3D Vision kit. When using it, NVidia video card renders two images instead of one. Combined with the shutter glasses tech and some 120Hz monitor this gives you stereo gaming experience in it’s full HD glory. There are hundreds of games supported out of the box.

NVidia maintains list of the supported games.  It gets longer every day. Now this article is about my experience of playing Fallout 3 in stereo.

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It’s cool. It’s immersive. It strikes me to the brain. Fallout 3 is a very atmospheric game. Lots of details, lots of sounds. Very realistic render. Changing daylight. Moving clouds, and sometimes there are no clouds at all. Metrostations, ghouls, mutants and humans. And the radioactive water.

I was playing it on Acer GD245HQ monitor. Haven’t noticed any problems with the shutter glasses. Yes, it kills the brightness for some extend, but then again eyes are able to adopt and to extract details anyway. It’s a good idea to have a controlled light in the room. I had to turn off all the other light in the room because it produced flickering when glasses on. Even a daylight is not a problem, unless the sun is shining directly to the screen.

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Gaming with 3D Vision is still in an early adopter stage. This means that it works, works pretty good, but some adjustments are needed here and there. Games are still rarely developed bearing stereo mode in mind. This again introduces different challenges for NVidia driver to render the depth of every object correctly. And it’s doing the job very good.

The feeling is that instead of a flat screen you get a window to another world. Every object is placed behind the screen. Indicators are placed on the screen. Aiming mark is also placed on the screen depth. I had to turn it off fairly quickly. You sort of have to use your eyes in a different way. Usually you’d just fix them on the screen and play for 12 hours straight. Now the eyes have to move, focusing on different objects on a different depth. The movement is not that big, considering the relative size of the monitor. Then again if you intend to play on a bigger screen with a projector, your eyes will have to do more work. Is it good or bad? In my opinion it’s both. Good thing – you have to move your eyes maintaining their internal muscles. Bad thing – playing 12 hours straight will kill you.

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Couple of useful keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl-T toggles stereo mode on and off. 3D Vision is usually activated automatically when the supported game is starting. There are moments when you don’t want it. Hit Ctrl-T.

Alt-F1 takes stereo screenshot. It is placed in a separate folder, located here (Win7): C:\Users\UserName\Documents\NVStereoscopic3D.IMG

From time to time stereo enthusiasts would come up with a different settings patches and hints for more comfortable playing. Here is one patch for stereo fallout: http://3dvision-blog.com/user-fix-for-the-water-and-sky-issues-in-fallout-3-in-stereo-3d-mode/

And here are some hints on how to improve stereo screenshots quality: http://3dvision-blog.com/how-to-get-better-quality-stereoscopic-3d-screenshots-with-3d-vision/

Sometimes camera movements are not playing safe in game. But it’s fine since everything is pushed behind the screen. This might be a disappointment for those who associates 3D with the objects flying out of the screen. Problem is that this effect requires an IMAX sized screen. Won’t work at home.

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Check out this Flickr gallery. This is a bunch of stereo screenshots I made from the main campaign, and from the Mothership Zeta. One thing I found out is that stereo screenshots doesn’t work at all in anaglyph. So, side-by-side it is. You can download full size images and watch them with NVidia Photo Viewer.

Flickr stereo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/karismafilms/sets/72157624034601749/

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