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GameGradeVR Instructions

GameGrade3D Logo

Welcome to GameGradeVR (GGVR) – the quality assurance system for PC based Virtual Reality 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 VR experience you can expect -  SEARCH NO MORE!

Thanks to current and impending VR product launches by OculusVR, castAR, Sony and more, the VR software market is poised to become a wild west of quality assurance claims and product support.  There are no less than three VR driver solutions (TriDef Ignition, Vireio Perception, and VorpX) as well as a wave of native VR support that doesn't require a middleware add-on.

To keep things transparent, gamers needed a quality assurance rating system that was objective, held up to public scrutiny, and would serve as an accurate measurement of what kind of quality gamers could expect from the VR software they buy and download.  If used properly, it's also a great motivator for software makers to improve their work, and make sure their marketing claims hold up to reality.

After much time and effort invested by Neil Schneider, Vadim Krivosheev, and Cris Villalobos, we have the solution!

GameGradeVR 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 GameGradeVR 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 GGVR's benefits include:

  1. GGVR will give gamers an independently developed and credible resource for S-3D game quality and best settings for DDD, Vireio Perception, and VorpX VR drivers.  It will also indicate the level of native VR support (e.g. Oculus Rift, castAR, etc.).
  2. GGVR is customer driven, and is designed to avoid subjective or easily swayable opinions.
  3. Whereas before VR quality was subjective, we now have objective measurable results to look for 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. GGVR is dynamic and adjusts with the times. The more gamers submit, especially for games already listed, the more accurate the system is.

New Features

GameGradeVR is based on an earlier prototype system called GameGrade3D.  Here are some key features and improvements!
  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.  Games can upload DDD TriDef Ignition profiles, .TXT files, and .MTBS VRBoost files (for VIreio Perception).  Other formats will be added as they become available.
  3. Submissions can include a subjective score in addition to the measured approach, though this doesn't impact the final grade.
  4. Gamers can edit their submissions as software gets updated.
  5. Instead of being faced with countless questions, the new system has collapsible option trees that highlight key areas of interest.
  6. In addition to the standard QA algorithm, GameGradeVR also highlights bonus features like body tracking, positional head tracking, non-standard driver features and more.
  7. GameGradeVR does NOT support 2D+Depth or "Z-Depth" game technologies.  Do NOT submit games based on this technology.  However, we do have an option to indicate compatibility with these technologies in the bonus feature section, but it doesn't negatively or positively impact the final score.



Before Getting Started!

Before using GameGradeVR, please follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the latest graphics card and VR drivers available for your system.  If there are updated game profiles by driver developers, it's encouraged to use them as well.
  2. Download and install the latest game patches for the title you are submitting.
  3. Download and install the latest DirectX runtime executable.
  4. Read through MTBS' Stereoscopic 3D Anomaly Guide if you need further clarification of what anomalies mean.  This will eventually get updated to reflect VR issues as well.  You can also post in MTBS' discussion forums.
  5. Start submitting games and viewing results.  You will need to be an MTBS member to make submissions (free).  Join via the front page membership tab.

Where possible, all games are tested according to the ability to achieve a combined depth and pop-out experience as demonstrated in the settings guide.  Games are not penalized for not being able to achieve this!  However, it's important to test this way because it helps us spot anomalies or problems to be fixed, and it gives fellow gamers an indicator of what type of VR flexibility they can expect with each game listed.

In all cases, 2D+Depth (AKA Z-Depth, Virtual 3D) options and auto-convergence features must be turned off!  This is necessary because the visual problems and anomalies associated with 2D+Depth are completely different from those you would find with a dual camera rendering, and would not be accurately scored with GameGradeVR.  Auto-Convergence needs to be turned off in the game because camera angle problems need to be accurately scored so they can be properly fixed, and this feature makes consistent separation and convergence settings impossible.  If you think these features make a positive improvement to the game's VR performance, please feel free to include your remarks in the comments section - but this won't impact the game's actual score.

Submissions should be as accurate as possible.  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!

GameGradeVR is currently in beta, and we expect much more functionality in the near future.  GGVR is an independently developed effort, and while we recognize multiple driver solutions, this should not be construed as an endorsement by DDD, VorpX, or native game and technology makers.  In truth, the only real opinion that matters is yours!


What To Test For

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

It's often the case that PC games in VR 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.  They get further deductions if there are remaining visual problems even after 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% far in front of you" VR experience, while others would like an up close and personal experience where things can be super close to your face.  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 your eyes will converge when objects get very close to you.  The point of convergence is when the left and right images cross or overlap.  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 VR.

Before you get all worried about how to do this crazy test, don't panic!  In true stereoscopic 3D VR, convergence is usually a default setting and is the result of the natural placement of the game's cameras.  Unless the World Scale is way off, or if the game developer clips the imagery when you get too close to an object, the convergence being described here should already be evident.

However, some solutions may need to be coaxed with custom settings, and it's helpful to recognize the behaviour of convergence so you can easily spot it.

Here are some working examples of how games can exhibit a combined depth and pop-out experience.  These captures were not intended for VR, but they do exhibit the raw 3D behavior we are trying to describe.  Please use this as a loose reference when testing your favourite games with GameGradeVR.


First Person Shooters

These images are being shown in stereoscopic 3D form so you can see the relationships.  This is NOT an indication of driver/game compatibility, but you can view these stills in other VR formats (like the Oculus Rift) with the sView plug-in.  When wearing an HMD, it's best to close one eye at a time to see the relationships, or if you have a convergence indicator, use that as a tool to confirm the status while playing your games.

Look at the vertical blue line.  Notice how the table corner crosses it in the left eye while the corner is flush with the line in the right. This is the point of convergence!

The best way to test for convergence is to walk towards an object with protrusions like a tree or a box with sharp corners.  It should look like it's in front of you as you walk towards it, until parts of it seem to be right in your face.  Popular examples of this could be a gun barrel pointing at you, grass sticking out of the screen, the corner of a box, etc.

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.

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

While some games are native and prevent direct convergence control, there could be explosions or particles that get very close to your face - this is also a good example of convergence.  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 in front.


Third Person / Top View

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.

For testing purposes, 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.

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

Given the challenges of consistent 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

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.



Conclusion

While GameGradeVR 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 outcome.  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!

GameGradeVR is currently in beta, and we expect much more functionality in the near future.  GGVR is an independently developed effort, and while we recognize multiple driver solutions, this should not be construed as being endorsed by DDD, VorpX, or the VR technology makers...yet.