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Nvidia's Tegra 3 Optimizations: THD Android Games, Tested

The Dark Meadow: The Pact And Zen Pinball

The Dark Meadow: The Pact

The Dark Meadow: The Pact is a gorgeous Myst-style adventure game powered by the Unreal engine. While the game runs perfectly on the Tegra 3-based HTC One X+ and on iOS, it crashes immediately after starting on Google's Nexus 4. Meanwhile, Google Play doesn’t even list this title for Samsung's Galaxy S III.

This game offers a lot more detail and greatly improved lighting effects when you run it on a Tegra 3-based device. The ivy in the first few minutes of the game, for example, doesn't show up on the iPhone 5.

On the other hand, The Dark Meadow: The Pact is significantly less fluid on the Tegra 3 than the iPhone 5's A6 SoC. While movement isn’t jerky per se, it is definitely slower. Though not a major problem on our high-end test smartphone, owners of slower Tegra 3-based devices may experience playability issues.

Zen Pinball

We can all figure out what kind of game Zen Pinball is. While free to download, this title is more like trial-ware. It only includes one table, and additional tables are available as in-app purchases. Zen Pinball only works with Tegra-based Android devices and iOS. Unfortunately, that means we could not test on either the Google Nexus 4 or Samsung Galaxy S III.

While the iOS-based version of the game works the same as the Tegra version, additional lighting effects on the 3D elements of the table (bumpers, ramps, décor elements, and so on) make the Tegra version obviously better-looking.

  • aicom
    Interesting comparison. Maybe you could test if there are any differences in effects between models of the Tegra 3?
    Reply
  • darkavenger123
    Err...why bother compare with iOS?? No big deal. They should start comparing with PS VITA for some real games....hardware is useless without software....so sick of casual gaming...Angry birds runs just fine with Androids 2 years ago, doesn't need a hardware upgrade. They need to get developers to makes some real games for it or it's just pointless expensive sillicone.
    Reply
  • I own both the Nexus 4 and a Tegra 3 equiped Asus Transformer Prime. The Nexus 4 is quite a bit faster in a lot of games, especially GTA3 and Vice City. But also Dead Trigger which is supposedly optimized for Tegra runs quite badly on the Transformer Prime, the framerate is much better on the Nexus 4.
    Reply
  • gomerpile
    WTF is going on, jeez if it keep it up with the rat race of title games that have no graphics, pc gamers are all doomed. Why waste time and money on the next version of Battlefield 4 when we can develop monkey ball andriod shooters.
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    Nvidia continues to encourage game developers to add Tegra-only details to their Android titles.

    Exactly what is wrong with tech today, for 30 years companies learned to embrace compatibility after the Sony Betamax failure (technically better, but priced beyond comsumer appreciation). Now everyone wants to follow Apple forgetting they too suffered from a "closed shop" for 20 years.
    Reply
  • blubbey
    Are these phones now more powerful than gen 6 consoles? Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube/Xbox. I would assume so.
    Reply
  • darkchazz
    I've got a Nexus 7 OCed (1.5ghz CPU, 520mhz GPU) and a stock Galaxy Note II, and I have to say that every single game you can think of in the play store runs miles better on the Note II, even the so called optimized-for-tegra titles.

    What's bothersome for me though is that some tegra optimized titles actually run on a low resolution by default on the N7 (to compensate for low memory bandwidth???) yet still play on a 30-40ish frame rate, luckily the devs have put resolution option in the setting (see Riptide, beach buggy blitz), but you'll be playing at 20-30fps if you bump it up to the max/native res.

    Another title, Horn, which is actually a Tegra exclusive using UE3, actually runs on a low res but does not provide any option to change that, and even with the low resolution, it is extremely choppy at times I can easily notice 15-20fps.

    One dev that I like is MADFINGER Games (dead trigger, shadowgun), their titles are so heavily optimized that they run at a consistent 35-45fps on my N7 and I do not notice lag nor inconsistent frame rate. still runs at constant 60fps on my Note II though...

    Meanwhile I can't think of anything that doesn't run at 60fps on my Note II, So much that wonder how much better the gpu performance is on Snapdragon S4 pro and apple A6 devices.
    Reply
  • natoco
    blubbeyAre these phones now more powerful than gen 6 consoles? Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube/Xbox. I would assume so.Yes, but tiny screens u put u fingers on ruin the experience of gaming, i get my old megadrive out and play or niintendo 64 for some funny simple old school games. Phones look the 'tiny' part like it but its just not the same. I bought a whole heap of games on my iphone only to put them down and never play again since the format in which u play is just not 'fun' and thats the whole point of games is it not. Oh well, consoles or pc's FTW
    Reply
  • gilgamex101
    Did anyone else notice that the Heroes Call screen shots are the EXACT same as the Soulcraft screenshots??
    Reply
  • blubbeyAre these phones now more powerful than gen 6 consoles? Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube/Xbox. I would assume so.
    definitely, GTAIII and Vice City were both PS2 games and the new mobile versions have upgraded textures
    Reply