E3 2012: NVIDIA Shows Off Tegra 3 Exclusive Content

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One of the things NVIDIA has been pushing with its introduction of the Tegra3 chipset is the superior graphics power it brings over the prior generation. At E3 in Los Angeles, the company showed off some of the exclusive software optimizations developers undertook to take advantage of the improved hardware.

Specifically, NVIDIA is coaxing developers into coding graphically intensive versions of their games – versions crafted specifically for Tegra SoC-based phones. That means that several new Android applications will have better versions of themselves available only if you’re using a phone or tablet with a Tegra 3 chipset. It’s not known whether competing SoCs with similar performance will ever get the extra features, but it seems unlikely that NVIDIA would get to keep the bonuses forever.

With respect to Dead Trigger (shown off in the video above), there are six specific improvements that the Tegra 3 variant will exclusively have, such as:

  • Normal maps
  • Specular lighting
  • Volumetric fog
  • Ragdoll physics
  • More realistic water (this one really wasn’t too bad, I have to say)
  • Game controller support

The Tegra version of Dead Trigger will also come with controller support – and only that version. The Tegra optimizations include support for a surprisingly wide range of controller types, so you should be able to hook up your Xbox 360, PS3, or Logitech controller, hook your phone or tablet up to the television, and you’re good to go.

Here’s an example of the Tegra version of Dead Trigger versus the one you’ll get on any non-Tegra-powered phone or tablet:

Dead Trigger Tegra 3

NVIDIA showed off a number of other Tegra-optimized games at the show; be sure to check out the image gallery of this post for more screenshots.

All of the Tegra-enhanced software titles shown off by the chipmaker have been placed in a special store for Tegra owners, known as the Tegra Zone. The TZ has been around for some time, though previously it tended to hold games that were simply graphically intensive, not possessed of special Tegra-only content.

The Tegra Zone has risen in popularity of late, with NVIDIA boasting of over 4 Million installs; within the subset of active Tegra Zone users, the store is visited roughly every three days. Within the Zone, NVIDIA now has 14 games shipping with Tegra 3-exclusive content. Five premiered at E3 this year: Dead Trigger THD, Bounty Arms THD, Demons’ Score THD, Heroes Call THD, and Puddle THD.

NVIDIA didn’t settle on the point before too long, but it’s easy to see that mobile graphics have already eclipsed the power of video game consoles from not very long ago. There’s no standard yet for plugging your smartphone or tabet into an HDTV and adding a Bluetooth game controller, but it’s not exactly difficult. Given NVIDIA’s willingness to forge ahead and make their own standards, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them put something to that effect sooner rather than later. 

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