Nvidia Comms Manager Bea Longworth took some time out to speak to IncGamers about Nvidia 3D graphics, and how it works with the action game Just Cause 2.Tell us a bit about the new Nvidia graphics card range and how it works with Just Cause 2.

Our 3D vision technology is actually compatible with all of our graphics cards from the 8 series and above, so that’s been out for a little while now, but for a cutting edge game like Just Cause 2 it’s probably a good idea to have one of our newer cards so you’ve got enough grunt to give you a really nice, smooth experience. The way that 3D Vision works is that the graphics card renders each frame of the game twice – once for each eye – so for the 3D technology to work, essentially, you need several components. You need the 3D Vision Active Shutter Glasses, you need a small infra-red emitter which connects the glasses to the computer, and then obviously, you need a graphics card in your computer that’s capable of 3D Vision. You also need a panel – a monitor – which is at least 120hz, because what the 3D Vision technology does is it splits the picture into 60hz per eye, so you need to have that 120hz monitor for a really nice, smooth picture. Once you’ve got all those components, you’re ready to go!

I wanted to talk to you about how it works with other games. Obviously, Just Cause 2 is an example, but I understand that this technology can be applied to every game and any game. Is that going to impact the power of the machine, or is it all done on the graphics card, and how far back can you go?

At the moment, 3D Vision is backwards compatible with around 400 games that are already available. The way the technology works, the workload is actually done by our drivers – that’s where the clever stuff is. Our drivers can recognise games that are compatible with 3D Vision, and it automatically puts them into 3D. For game developers, it’s a dream come true because there’s very little for them to do! We do work with developers creating new games, like Square Enix with Just Cause 2, and that’s fantastic because it means that they can build the 3D experiences right into the game, and make them very integral to the game itself. When you see Just Cause 2, it looks absolutely beautiful and 3D Vision really lends itself to the open vistas and open gameplay world that you’ve got going on.

In terms of performance and the way that 3D affects the graphics card performance, there is a performance hit there because the graphics card is effectively doing twice the work. It’s not quite the halving of performance, if you like, but there is an impact, so it’s important to be aware of that if you’re putting together a rig and you want to use 3D Vision.

Is there any way you can avoid that – can you upgrade other components to help it, or…?

It is purely the graphics card, and having enough grunt in there. 3D Vision in that respect is maybe slightly more specialist, but it is a very accessible technology. It’s really easy to get into, and it’s very easy to get up and running. As I said, there are these 400 games which are playable with 3D Vision straight out of the box.

Say you took a game, an earlier one of the 400 lot. Does it still apply the same mechanics, the same principles; does it still generate the two images, does it do it at different angles as the eye would see it…?

It uses the same kind of mechanics, and it’s exactly the same process. It renders the frame twice, once for each eye, and then offsets the images slightly so you get the 3D effect. For newer games like Just Cause 2, which have been specifically developed with 3D Vision in mind, you will get that enhanced experience because the game has been created specifically to be enjoyed in 3D. But for older titles – they look fantastic. My personal favourite is Street Fighter from Capcom, which looks really, really cool in 3D Vision! We actually showed it to the guys at Capcom when we were talking to them about Resident Evil 5, and they were blown away by how fantastic an older game that wasn’t developed when 3D Vision was around looked. It just makes it really fun, and it’s a nice way of bringing new life back to old favourite titles.

{PAGE TITLE=Just Cause 2: 3D Nvidia Interview – Page 2}The only one thing that I saw that was a bit of a pain in the arse for me was the flickering of the actual character. Is that to do with how close an object is to you – you can’t render it well enough? The depth of field is incredible,  it really gives you a sense of distance, but I wasn’t sure about the closeness. Is that just a glitch?

Not necessarily – it might be a little bit of a glitch because this is a relatively early build of a game that’s not actually out yet, but the small emitter that comes with the 3D Vision kit is actually adjustable, so you can adjust the depth of field on that for your own comfort. Whether you’re using a projector like the setup the guys have got here today and you’re doing it on a big scale, or whether you’re sitting fairly close to a PC monitor, you can adjust it so that you get a good experience. There are a certain percentage of the population who just don’t get on with 3D – they can’t really watch 3D movies; it doesn’t work for them. The technology is being improved to address that and help people out, but although some people have a slightly adverse reaction, we do find that the majority absolutely love it, particularly gamers. It’s really hard to go back! That’s the main problem – you get spoiled. When you’ve gotta go back to flat 2D, it’s a little bit of a let-down!

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about PC gaming and it not being the future. You’ve got things like DRM, digital distribution, cracking games… Do you think this will be a saving grace for the PC market, if everyone picks up on 3D gaming?

3D gaming is a fairly unique feature for PC gaming. I think increasingly you’ll find that however long ago it was, say 18 months, you had the new generation of consoles coming out, which were the best of the best at the time. But as time goes on, there’ll be a gap between the next generation of consoles coming out. Consoles won’t be moving forward, but PC gaming will. I think you’re going to see PC gaming really taking back the crown in terms of graphics, performance, and in terms of other features like 3D Vision and physics. They’ll be capable of doing things that consoles can’t keep up with, because they’re not being updated at the same kind of rate. Consoles, obviously, are fantastic for gaming. Each console tends to appeal to different kinds of gamers – the Xbox is great for connectivity, the Wii is fantastic for casual gaming, and the PS3 has the really amazing, eye-popping graphics, but I think for the gamers who really demand the best of the best in cutting-edge technology, the PC is always going to be the way to go.

As far as Nvidia is concerned, the console market would be a lucrative market to tap and a great place to bring 3D gaming. Where does NVidia stand on that? Are you making moves into that market; having meetings with Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo – especially Nintendo. Their next console should be a big leap, and they push innovation in the console market!

Absolutely. We obviously talk very closely to all of the manufacturers. We work very closely with Sony and we’ve been doing that on 3D Blu-Ray, so you’re going to see that coming along. I’ve actually had a chance to see 3D Blu-Ray and it’s a really, relaly nice experience. I can see it appealing to people in the home – it’s not just a gimmick, it’s a fantastic thing to be able to experience. We are working with the console manufacturers. 3D Vision is actually compatible with consoles as well, and obviously Nvidia is in the PS3 already. We created the processor for the PS3. So that’s definitely something that we’re going to be looking at in the future – to work with manufacturers and developers.

Is that something that you’ll work with before the next cycle of consoles are out, or is that something you’ll have to leave until then? Is the technology in the PS3 able to support 3D Vision as it stands, now?

Yeah. 3D Vision is compatible with any 120hz or above monitor, so provided that we can get the drivers in, then yes, it’ll work on the consoles.

How long would that take to turnaround?

That’s already in the process. I can’t give you any exact dates about when it’s going to be coming out, but it’s something that’s definitely in the works and we’re really excited about it.See clips of this interview along with footage of the game, and parts of our interview with Just Cause 2’s Lead Designer Peter Johansson over on IGTV.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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