NVIDIA 3D Vision w/ ASUS VG236HE 3D Display Review

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3D Vision Gaming Experience

I am going to be completely subjective here and say gaming in 3D is an unexpectedly wonderful experience, in most cases. I have been a pretty die hard PC gamer since the early 1990’s with titles like the original Doom, Castle Wolfenstein and Warcraft. Back then we did not even have the luxury of any form of modern networking and thought we had it made by connecting 2 PC’s using a null modem cable and going ‘head to head’ at 9600 baud. Since then graphics have improved, computers have gotten faster, networking has vastly improved but in a way it has always been the same. A 3D game rendered on a 2D display format. 3D Vision brings something new to the table, 3D games experienced in a 3d format and in many cases it is a fantastic experience.

When the first article on this system was written over 2 years ago, there were over 350 game titles that were supported in some fashion. Currently there are over 550 titles supported, with more on the way soon and many of those older titles are supported at a much higher level making the experience even better. NVIDIA is able to support an incredible number of games as they were able to create a ‘wrapper’ for their own drivers. Because of this they can, and have, improved support for many older titles over time.
However, not all is perfect with the 3D Vision system. Some titles do have major issues rendering them completely unplayable (as mentioned in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat benchmark), while others have more minor issues (ie: Metro 2033). Another example of this is Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a game while being unlisted by NVIDIA for stereoscopic support and being ‘unsupported’ within the game can be made to work fairly well. Currently the game natively supports AMD’s competing HD3D, a much younger and still rough around the edges competitor to 3D Vision. Eidos has officially announced that a patch is coming to natively support 3D Vision, however with a simple registry change (below) 3D Vision can be made to work fairly well today. There are some lighting issues in DX11 mode, however adjusting the depth and convergence settings will mostly work around this issue.

  •  [HKEY_USERSS-1-5-21...SoftwareEidosDeus Ex: HRGraphics] 
  • Change the StereoMode DWORD to a value of 4

While the experience of an FPS such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in 3D Vision is great, you will find yourself getting fewer headshots even once you adjust to the game in this mode. Using the NVIDIA 3D Laser sight helps some, but for competitive fragging you will find yourself switching back to 2D mode. I am still somewhat unsure of why I feel this way on this type of game, as it is difficult to differentiate between the issue of adjusting properly to the 3D depth or the expected drop in frame rates at times. On multiple occasions I thought I had it figured out only to experience something that would make me think differently. Don’t get me wrong it is an excellent experience, but is not without issues.

Probably the most enjoyable game played using the 3D Vision system was Alice: Madness Returns. While NVIDIA only lists this game support as ‘good’ the issues were relatively minor and not extremely noticeable the majority of the time. The 3D made this wonderfully dark and at times disturbing game come to life in an absolutely stunning way. While this game does tend to become somewhat repetitive at times, the life brought to it by NVIDIA in this way will get me to dive headfirst into madness at least once more.
Real-time strategy and turn based strategy games are also quite enjoyable in 3D, once you get past staring at your minions bounding headfirst into their given task to the determent of everything else.
And then there is the MMO. Admit it or not, but most have been drawn in at some point to one of these. Blizzard added support in World of Warcraft 3.0.8, though with an account that has been expired for several years I was unable to test how this works. It does have a pretty good word of mouth on how it looks though. That being said, I do have an active EvE Online account or 4, that I was able to test the system with. With the recent release of walking in stations (aka: Space Barbie’s) I was able to get a feel for a character based MMO which was quite good. Given this limited sampling of this genre I would have to conclude that it should be a pretty good experience given compatibility with your particular MMO.
NVIDIA has put a lot of great work into making the 3D experience as good as possible and overall has done an excellent job in doing so. Going off previous history, the experience will only get better as new driver releases improve support for more games and future games will have better native stereoscopic support built in!
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