Game Compatibility And The Future
Hats off to the team at Nvidia that tested more than 350 DirectX games and determined the best settings for each one. The same group even went to the trouble of subjectively rating compatibility on a scale ranging from Fair to Excellent, giving customers some idea of what to expect when new technology and old software collide. Simply put, some apps just don’t work well in stereo, and in the games we tested with issues, Nvidia's disclaimers generally meshed with what we saw.
In order for the GeForce 3D Vision system to work with a particular game, there needs to be a profile associated with it. You can create your own profile if a given game doesn’t yet have one that matches, but we weren’t able to find a title in our software bin that is not yet accounted for in the GeForce 180.81 driver build. The concept of profiles shouldn’t spook anyone already accustomed to SLI, which is also affected by driver-based profiles for optimal performance. And Nvidia's spokespeople are insistent that, like SLI, new games will immediately receive 3D Vision driver support, too.
At the end of the day, GeForce 3D Vision must really bend itself around the long list of already-published titles, working with them as well as possible given a development process that, in many cases, ended years ago. As a result, none of today’s titles incorporate the sort of effects that made Captain EO audiences jump back in their seats. Sure, the zombies in Left 4 Dead lunge at you—but they stop at the monitor’s plane and are really only frightening when contrasted to the depth added to the rest of the game’s environment.
The fact that Fallout 3 didn’t require any configuration alterations in order to work correctly made it the most representative of how Nvidia might be able to leverage its developer relations strengths in the future to ensure that this technology "just works" in upcoming titles. That's the point where we think GeForce 3D Vision will make the most sense.
What really knocked our socks off was the stereoscopic test built into Nvidia’s drivers. Not only does it exhibit depth behind the screen, but it also pushed data out past where you’d expect the panel to end, giving that feeling of something popping out at you. Nvidia says it is seeding developers right now with stereoscopic hardware and expects those same "pop-out" effects to start emerging in games this year. Once that happens, the must-experience factor of GeForce 3D Vision will increase. Ideally, prices on the glasses, monitors, and cards will also be lower by then.