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GameGrade3D Instructions

GameGrade3D Logo

Introduction

Welcome to GameGrade3D (GG3D) – the quality assurance system for PC based stereoscopic 3D video games!  If you’re trying to figure out which games will work well on your system, how to get them to work, and what kind of 3D experience you can expect -  SEARCH NO MORE!

Recent advances have made it possible for many games to be played in stereoscopic 3D on PC.  In addition to stereoscopic 3D drivers by DDD, iZ3D, and Nvidia, we are also starting to see native 3D support by the likes of AMD (HD3D).  Unfortunately, despite all these advances, there are more marketing claims than you can shake a pair of 3D glasses at, and there is little consistency in quality expectations and results between titles and solutions.  After much time and effort invested by Neil Schneider, Vadim Krivosheev, and Cris Villalobos, we have the solution!

GameGrade3D is a fully functional system that asks a series of multiple choice questions.  Based on the answers given, a huge database is created complete with recommended game settings, quality expectations, and current GameGrade3D certification ratings.  These ratings adjust and compensate according to what members submit, driver updates, diversified results, and more.

The engine's back-end is completely dynamic, and we have the means to alter questions, add new options, adjust scoring, and fine tune the process without losing or resetting earlier contributions.

Some of GameGrade3D's benefits include:
  1. GG3D will give gamers an independently developed and credible resource for S-3D game quality and best settings for DDD, iZ3D, and Nvidia S-3D drivers.  It will also indicate the level of native 3D (e.g. AMD HD3D) support where applicable.
  2. GG3D is customer driven, and has no vested interests in any one product.
  3. Whereas before S-3D quality was subjective, we now have measurable methods to use and improve upon.
  4. Game developers and technology enablers now have a non-proprietary quality expectation to aim for, and will see how their solution compares to others through the eyes of their customers.
  5. GG3D is dynamic and adjusts with the times. The more gamers submit, especially for games already listed, the more accurate the system is.

New Features

GameGrade3D is based on an early prototype called MTBS’ 3D Game Analyzer.  Here are some improvement we’ve made since!
  1. When selecting anomalies, gamers can attach screenshots and share comments to help illustrate the problem.
  2. Each submission can have a driver profile attached.  While this is most applicable for DDD TriDef Ignition profiles, gamers can upload .TXT files for Nvidia and iZ3D equivalents where applicable.
  3. The certification mechanism has been revamped to increase fairness and accuracy for all applicable 3D solutions.
  4. Submissions can include a subjective score in addition to the measured approach.
  5. Gamers can edit their submissions.  It is no longer necessary to start from scratch every time a new anomaly is discovered or a correction needs to be made.
  6. A “Native 3D” classification has been created to acknowledge titles based on AMD’s HD3D implementation, as well as titles that have additional 3D options built in without the need for a special 3D driver.

Before You Begin


Before using GameGrade3D, please ensure that you follow these steps:
  • Download and install the latest graphics card and stereo drivers available for your system.  If there are updated game profiles by driver developers, it's encouraged to use them as well.
  • Download and install the latest game patches for the title you are submitting.
  • Download and install the latest DirectX runtime executable.
  • Read through MTBS' Stereoscopic 3D Anomaly Guide so you know what to watch out for.
  • If you are new to stereoscopic 3D gaming, familiarize yourself with MTBS' Stereoscopic 3D Settings Guide.  This will save you a lot of headaches when it comes to understanding how stereoscopic 3D works in video games, and how to go about getting the results you want.


What To Test For

There are two things we want to learn when it comes to testing a game in stereoscopic 3D.  The first is all about quality, and we want games that can offer an error-free 3D gaming experience, without being forced to turn down graphics settings.

It's often the case that PC games in 3D are plagued with visual anomalies, and the only way to get rid of them is to turn down graphics or "eye candy" settings like HDR lighting, shadows, reflections, and shader levels.  While all games begin with a perfect score of 100%, they get deductions every time a special effect has to be turned or forced off by the user or driver developer - and if there are visual problems that remain despite the gamer's best efforts.

The second part of the score has to do with visual flexibility.  Many gamers are content with a depth-only or "100% behind the glass" 3D experience, while others would like a combined depth and pop-out effect where things can seem to reach out and pierce through the display's screen.  While this isn't a qualitative score, results need to indicate a game's visual flexibility and under what circumstances.

Whether or not gamers like a combined depth and pop-out experience in their titles, it's an important part of the test process to ensure that game anomalies are in check, and the game's flexibility is accurately indicated.



What is Combined Depth & Pop-Out?

The idea behind a combined depth and pop-out experience is that you can see deep into the scene as though you are looking through a windshield, and things will seem to pierce the glass as they get close to you.  However, what makes this setting most important is that it's the best way to find out if there are bugs and anomalies that need to be fixed.

Sample anomalies could be shadows that separate from the objects they are connected to, textures that slide off the screen as you make adjustments, or even a heads-up display (HUD) that splits in two!

While a game's ability to achieve a combined depth and pop-out experience will not impact its score, gamers will have an indicator of a title's visual flexibility in 3D.

Here are some working examples of how games can exhibit a combined depth and pop-out experience.  Please use this as a reference when testing your favourite games on GameGrade3D.


First Person Shooters

The best way to do this is to walk towards an object with protrusions like a tree or a box with sharp corners.  It should look like it's behind the display as you walk towards it, until parts of it pierce through the glass when you get close.  Popular examples of this could be a gun barrel pointing at you, grass sticking out of the screen, the corner of a box, etc.

Portal 2

In this example from Portal 2, most of the scene is deep in the screen, but as you get close, the corner of the wall's panel door is peeping in front of the screen.

Portal 2 (DDD)

In the above case, the scene is deep, but the corners of the box are clearly in front of the screen.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (DDD)

While some games are native and prevent direct convergence control, there could be explosions or particles that blast through the screen - this is also acceptable.  The above picture is from Call of Duty: Black Ops in stereoscopic 3D mode.  While this isn't a native 3D game, it demonstrates a character behind the display glass, with the snow is in front.


Third Person / Top View

Dungeon Seige III (DDD)

When looking down below, you can usually zoom in and out of the scene with your mousewheel.  It's enough to get tall objects to pierce through the glass, because if you go too deep, the settings will usually be too strong for other types of scenery (e.g. cinematics, interpersonal, etc.).  In this example from Dungeon Seige III, the steeple of the fence is in front fo the display glass, while the rest of the path is deep in the scene.

It's ok if you can't get out of screen effects through the whole game - it's enough if you can achieve this during the main sections.


Third Person / Rear View

While it's best to be able to get the character to pop out just in front of the display, this can be difficult because of camera angle issues when the scene changes.

Batman Arkham Asylum (DDD)

In Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman's figure is just in front of the display glass, while the rest is deep in the screen.

Dungeon Seige III (DDD)

Given the challenges of consisten camera angles in games, a reasonable alternative is for objects just behind the character to come out of the screen (e.g. tree branches that are right behind the player). It's not necessary for out of screen effects to happen during the whole game, just the main game area.


Simulators

Need For Speed SHIFT (DDD)

Call of Duty Black Ops (DDD)

Good examples would be a cockpit view where instruments stick out, or a windshield that creeps up towards you.  In the first image of Need For Speed SHIFT, the steering wheel and the rear view mirror are in front of the screen, while you can see the curvature of the windshield go into the scene.  Some would have preferred to just have the rearview mirror coming out of the screen - it's all about comfort and flexibility.

The second picture from Call of Duty Black Ops is similar with the stick coming out of the display, and the rest going deep into the scene.  In all cases, make sure that you can easily change perspectives and still be able to play the game comfortably.  It's not necessary for all scenes to have a combined depth and pop-out experience, just the core of the game.

 

Driver Specific Instructions

Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision
Nvidia GeForce 3D VIsion

If you are using an Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision solution, or any hardware that is being driven by Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision drivers (e.g. 3DTV Play, Zalman+Nvidia combo, etc.), please activate the "advanced" feature of the drivers.  Unless the advanced mode is turned on, you won't be able to adjust the convergence or "pop-out" abilities of your games.

The default keys to control convergence are CTRL-F5 and CTRL-F6.  In some instances, Nvidia has locked out the convergence controls with certain titles, and you can indicate this limitation in GameGrade3D where applicable.


DDD
TriDef Ignition Drivers

TriDef Ignition regularly turns its auto-convergence feature ON by default.  When active, the game will dynamically adjust the convergence and 3D appearance depending on what you are looking at, and the screen will alter and change from one setting to the next automatically.  While some titles benefit from this feature, it's usually unnecessary and can hamper game performance.

While testing, auto-convergence has to be turned OFF in the game because camera angle problems need to be accurately scored so they can be fixed, and this feature makes consistent separation and convergence settings impossible.  In cases where auto-convergence makes a positive improvement to the game's stereoscopic 3D performance, please feel free to include your remarks in the comments section of your submission - though this won't impact the game's actual score in GameGrade3D.

Virtual 3D must also be turned off.  Virtual 3D is DDD's 2D+Depth implementation.  Many gamers like 2D+Depth because it keeps the FPS performance very high, but comes at the cost of being a pseudo 3D experience compared to a true dual camera rendering.  Since the expectations and problems associated with 2D+Depth are very different from what you get with traditional 3D rendering, GameGrade3D doesn't have the ability to rate 2D+Depth games...yet.

Where possible, users are encouraged to try the advanced 3D settings.  TriDef Ignition offers the ability to control the gun, scene, and sky as unique 3D elements, and this makes it easier to have a well balanced scene in 3D.  Always use "fixed" settings (not auto-convergence or automatic settings).  This is targetted more towards advanced users, but with a little practice, the results can be very rewarding.

Always remember to export your favourite DDD game profile so you can attach it to your GameGrade3D submission so others can duplicate your results!


iZ3D Logo
iZ3D Stereoscopic 3D Drivers

Similar to DDD drivers, auto-convergence must be turned off 100% of the time.

When testing for a combined depth and pop-out experience, there may be instances where the gun separates too far apart and is uncomfortable to view in 3D.  iZ3D has a feature in their driver labelled "Simple Projection Method".  If this solves the problem, please document in your game submission so others will know.

iZ3D doesn't have a profile export function, but it does have configuration files.  If you have special settings that make a big difference, we recommend attaching them as a .TXT file to your game submissions.


Native 3D Logo
Native Stereoscopic 3D Support

"Native" stereoscopic 3D means that the actual 3D display options are programmed into the game itself, and a third party driver is not required.  Native 3D outputs found in a game menu could include anaglyph, side by side mode, AMD's QuadBuffer HD3D output (when not associated with DDD or iZ3D drivers), dual output, and more.

Games that have "driver profiles" or have a driver certification (e.g. "Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision Certified") don't qualify as native, and are handled differently in GameGrade3D.  Always treat Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision support as driver based because the Nvidia category of certification will accurately record 3D quality regardless of the underlying implementation.

Games that are known to use 2D+Depth technologies should be excluded from GameGrade3D.  Samples of this include Crytek's Crysis 2 in 3D, Trioviz, DDD's Virtual 3D mode, and more.  While MTBS has nothing against these technologies, the rules and visual expectations are very different - and it really is apples to oranges.  We are looking at 2D+Depth technologies in a future revision of GameGrade3D.



Conclusion

While GameGrade3D is highly rules based, we respect that nothing is perfect in life.  Most problems and anomalies should be clear as day, and there will be instances when games fall into a grey category.  While submissions should be as accurate as possible, don't drive yourself crazy!  Do the best you can, and as fellow gamers make their own submissions and compare results, we will get an accurate picture of what needs to be fixed, and how to get the best results.  However, it helps no one if users submit perfect scores when the game isn't truly deserving!  Problems can only be fixed if game developers and driver developers know about them - so don't be shy!

GameGrade3D is currently in beta, and we expect much more functionality in the near future.  GG3D is an independently developed effort, and while we recognize multiple driver solutions, this should not be construed as being endorsed by DDD, iZ3D, AMD, or Nvidia...yet.