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Fallout 3 S-3D Game Review

By Neil Schneider

  • Introduction
  • General Game Review
  • iZ3D Stereoscopic 3D Findings
  • NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D Findings
  • DDD Tridef Ignition Findings
  • Conclusion

    Introduction

    Some time ago, we reviewed Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a top seller by Bethesda Softworks. In it, you could play all kinds of characters and creatures with an endless supply of skills and magical spells to discover on your journey. You lived in a world where you could walk through forests to get from place to place, and every town and city had a flavor of its own. In stereoscopic 3D, it scored extremely well for both NVIDIA and iZ3D driver solutions, and to this day, ranks as one of my favorite games of all time.


    Fallout 3, NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision 190.62

    Bethesda Softworks has taken another strike at open world gaming with Fallout 3, a demented peak at what our future could look like after a nuclear holocaust. In stereoscopic 3D, will Fallout 3 add up to Oblivion’s reputation, or just its namesake? We will find out!



    General Game Review

    It is the year 2277. It is a post-apocalyptic world where civilized populations live underground in fallout shelters. Born and raised in one such shelter by your widower father (voiced by Liam Neeson), your surroundings are a twisted mesh of futuristic technology and 1940’s nostalgia.

    After hitting young adulthood, your father mysteriously disappears without a word to anyone. Your once friendly overseer has ordered your death, and you have no choice but to run for your life!


    Fallout 3, DDD Tridef Ignition 2.3 Beta 2

    Above ground is a disheveled Washington, DC. Forever scarred with radiation and nuclear damage, the city is a smashed up shell of years’ past. Fallout 3 is a vibrant what-if scenario where productive cities are reduced to anarchy and danger. Barely armed and comparably naked, you must earn the skills of survival, find your father, and figure out what happened to your once happy home.

    Similar to Oblivion, Fallout 3 is an open world scenario, an endless experience of meeting new people, completing personal missions, and unraveling its mysteries. Oblivion’s magical weapons are replaced with a wide range of guns, knives, explosives, and traps. The game easily qualifies as “the smart man’s first person shooter” because it’s not just about blowing enemies up. You need to be selective and deliberate. If you use your ammo on creature one, will you be able to handle creature two?


    Fallout 3, DDD Tridef Ignition 2.3 Beta 2

    What kind of person do you want to be? Do you pickpocket your way to fortune? Or do you earn karma and town respect, with complete strangers slipping donations in your pocket? I wish MTBS could earn Karma like this!


    Fallout 3, NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision 190.62

    My favorite element of the game is “The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System”, or V.A.T.S. for short. Almost like bullet time featured in other games, you can stop the battle action at any instant, and strategically target your enemy’s weak spots with your weapons. This is the most effective way of causing damage, but you have limited “action points” to work with before they need to recharge. For example, you can take out your enemy’s leg, but run out of action points to finish the job. It’s much harder to take out enemies when they are coming at you full speed!

    V.A.T.S. is also the gore feature of the game. While Oblivion’s form of graphic violence peaked at splattered blood, Fallout 3 features many a severed head and limb with a well placed shot. There is also a lot of swearing and foul language in the game. It’s strange that the severed heads and limbs were somewhat gratifying, but I cringed every time I heard a character swear. The swearing just didn’t add anything to the game, I guess.


    Fallout 3, NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision 190.62

    Gore aside, the graphics and imagery is second to none, and you can’t help but marvel at the way famous Washington D.C. markers are recreated as post apocalyptic landmarks. My sister-in-law used to work at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Washington, and I wonder what she would think of Fallout 3’s “Museum of Technology” recreation complete with the Wright Brothers Flyer in the lobby, a fallout chamber simulator, and a lot of ugly mutants!


    Fallout 3, DDD Tridef Ignition 2.3 Beta 2

    I kid you not when I say it’s a scary game. The ghouls are ghoulish, the surroundings are bleak, and you never know when you are going to walk into a bear trap or set off a mine. The only caveat is you really have no choice but to use the dark dingy subway systems to get from place to place. Unlike Oblivion which had no barriers between cities, many areas are blocked off so much that you have to explore the scary subway tunnels to get to your next destination.



    iZ3D Stereoscopic 3D Findings

    The iZ3D system specs include:

    AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition Quad Core Processor 2.5Ghz
    Patriot Extreme Viper PC2-8500 4GB RAM
    AMD 4850 GPU
    Vista 32 Bit
    Zalmon Trimon 22” Monitor
    iZ3D drivers 1.10 RC1

    Fallout 3 has all the elements to be a breathtaking stereoscopic 3D gaming experience. It has diverse and immersive environments, it has an open world nature, and it’s a lot of fun to discover something new around every bend.

    iZ3D struck a positive blow for stereoscopic 3D gaming with their nearly flawless support of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It was surprising that history did not repeat itself with Fallout 3.

    Visual anomalies and problems are too numerous to be acceptable. The lights and light sources get disconnected from each other when you try to achieve out of screen effects, the V.A.T.S. has very inconsistent results with levels of separation that go all over the place, and the “PIP Boy” or primary interface used during the game makes your eyes diverge uncomfortably. Finally, we could not include images because the screen capture functionality wouldn’t work with this game.

    I am certain a driver update will fix this, and I know another release is in the works. When these glaring issues are resolved, we will of course update our findings.



    NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D Findings

    Our NVIDIA solution is based on the following specifications:

    AMD Athlon 64X2 AM2, 4400+ 2.3Ghz
    PC2-5300 4GB RAM
    NVIDIA 8800GTS 512
    Vista 32 Bit
    Samsung Syncmaster 2233RZ / GeForce 3D Vision Glasses
    NVIDIA 190.62 Stereo Drivers


    Fallout 3, NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision 190.62

    While NVIDIA rates this game as “excellent”, it still has its share of flaws. The lights and light sources are whole which is good, the V.A.T.S. is both consistent and comfortable, and I am able to achieve a combined depth and pop-out experience. Unfortunately, the “PIP Boy” problem remains where the separation is much too high to be comfortable in out of screen scenarios.



    DDD Stereoscopic 3D Findings

    The DDD system specs include:

    AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition Quad Core Processor 2.5Ghz
    Patriot Extreme Viper PC2-8500 4GB RAM
    AMD 4850 GPU
    Vista 32 Bit
    Zalmon Trimon 22” Monitor
    DDD Tridef Experience 4.0.2 (Tridef Ignition Drivers)

    You are probably all wondering why I am reviewing Fallout 3 because this game has been out there for awhile to say the least. The truth is, for months on end, I couldn’t find a single driver solution that rendered this game correctly - and I wasn’t about to suffer my way through a poor S-3D experience just so we could put out a game review!


    Fallout 3, DDD Tridef Ignition 2.3 Beta 2

    This time, I thought I would try something new. DDD has been around for several years, and they have recently changed their strategy from selling S-3D support on a game by game basis, to having a stereoscopic 3D driver that is licensed by the computer and is designed to work on as many games as possible. What makes their drivers unique is they allow users to import and export individual game profiles, and have a level of user adjustable flexibility I have yet to see from any other S-3D driver developer.

    When I first loaded up Fallout 3, it was on par with the NVIDIA solution. I couldn’t find any visual flaws except the PIP Boy/user interface that would be disproportionately separated compared to the rest of the scene. I was gravely disappointed because the DDD drivers were giving the same flawed experience shared by iZ3D and NVIDIA – even though they already had a Fallout 3 profile in existence.


    Fallout 3, DDD Tridef Ignition 2.3 Beta 2

    The DDD drivers have a feature where you can set a threshold or range of 3D space where everything will be rendered in 2D. This was specifically designed to resolve GUI problems, and I was able to completely solve the Fallout 3 PIP Boy anomaly with this setting!

    In the Tridef Ignition interface, select “Options”. From “Options”, select “3D Object Detection”. From “3D Object Detection”, match the following settings:

    Mode 1
    GUI Threshold 67
    GUI Offset 0
    Row-Major Matrix No

    I don’t know why DDD chooses to default with an auto-convergence feature because it is completely unnecessary. From the main 3D menu page, I went with:

    3-D On
    Scene Depth 62
    Percent in Front 81
    Focus Speed Fixed 1

    By following these instructions, you should have a nearly flawless combined depth and pop-out experience. You have the flexibility to optimize further with separate screen elements too. For example, you can adjust the level of separation around the gun versus the other parts of the screen.


    Fallout 3, DDD Tridef Ignition 2.3 Beta 2

    There is a trade-off with this fix because the back of the gun will go in and out of S-3D because it touches the same threshold as the PIP Boy. I wouldn’t have noticed this problem had I not been looking for it. Another remaining anomaly is an occasional tiny ribbon along water lines near the shore.

    Clearly there is still room for optimization here and there, but thanks to DDD’s Tridef Ignition drivers, I was finally able to play and enjoy this game in stereoscopic 3D and make this game review possible.

    One more surprise for you. The Tridef Ignition drivers are compatible with FRAPS, and as long as games are compatible with DDD, we will be able to share S-3D game movie samples with you.



    To get the different S-3D display options menu, go to the original video page. We have also discovered a way to get even sharper image quality, and this will be revealed at a later time.

    Now that DDD has taken the angle of supporting as many games as possible, and they have clearly demonstrated their software’s viability, we have decided to create a DDD forum section for members to share their results and exchange game profiles.



    Conclusion

    All in all, Fallout 3 is a memorable game worth buying. Having run this on three unique driver solutions, it also brings into question the measurements of quality control. Only one of the three driver solutions offered a fulfilling S-3D experience, and I’m certain the iZ3D and NVIDIA options are just as capable of delivering an anomaly free outcome. Hopefully, future driver releases will confirm this.

    We have a complete gallery of Fallout 3 images. Check the pictures out and share your thoughts in our discussion forums!


    Game Play
    9/10

    Sound
    8/10

    Presentation
    8/10

    Immersive Nature
    9/10

    How Memorable Is This Game
    8/10

    Stereoscopic Effectiveness iZ3D
    4/10

    Stereoscopic Effectiveness NVIDIA
    6/10

    Stereoscopic Effectiveness DDD
    8.5/10

    iZ3D Overall Rating:
    7.66/10

    NVIDIA Overall Rating:
    8/10

    DDD Overall Rating:
    8.42/10