If you’ve followed my podcast or read other articles here, you should know that I love 3D. Unlike the 3D haters who arrogantly want it to go away for everyone just because they don’t like it, I want it to be an option. If you want to use it, great! If you don’t, that’s your choice, and I’m fine with that.
Thankfully, the folks at Rockstar have given PC gamers the option to play Grand Theft Auto V in stereoscopic 3D with settings that are built right into the game! The best part is that you don’t need a 3DTV or a 3D gaming monitor. All that you need is a modern NVIDIA graphics card and a pair of red/blue glasses, but playing this game natively on a 3DTV is an incredible experience!
[Edit: I neglected to mention at the original publication that in order for 3D to work natively with a 3DTV (instead of red/blue), you might need to purchase or otherwise acquire NVIDIA’s 3DTV Play plugin, which is about $40 but is supposedly available for a 14-day trial. I assumed that most people would use red/blue, and because the plugin sits in the background I forgot about it. Sorry for any inconvenience. — JB ]
You need to download the newest NVIDIA drivers that were released specifically for GTAV before you do anything else. Once the new drivers are installed, just follow these steps. (These work for both red/blue and standard 3D.)
- Activate NVIDIA stereoscopic 3D mode in the NVIDIA Control Panel, and go through the initialization/setup routine. Read my caveat below if you’re using native 3D mode as opposed to red/blue.
- Start the game. At the main menu (you don’t have to actually start the campaign), go into Settings in the lower right, and go into Graphics. Make sure that you’re configured for fullscreen mode (3D does not work in windowed or borderless windowed mode), and turn on the “Stereo 3D” mode.
- Restart the game. (I’m not sure why this can’t be done on-the-fly, but whatever.)
- When it starts again, you should see the NVIDIA 3D overlay saying that the rating is “excellent” and to press Ctrl+Shift+Insert to remove the overlay.
- For whatever reason, the game forces the 3D depth to minimum the first time you run it. Press and hold Ctrl+F4 to crank the NVIDIA 3D settings all the way to max (or whatever you’re comfortable with).
- Within GTAV‘s graphics options immediately under the Stereo 3D toggle, adjust the Convergence slider to increase the parallax effect on the game to whatever level you’re comfortable with. This is meant to adjust the 3D effect based on how far away you are from your TV/monitor, so be warned that setting this too high can cause a lot of eye strain.The best way to view this setting is that the Convergence will allow for a lot of 3D adjustment whereas the NVIDIA depth settings (Ctrl-F3/F4) are for fine-tuning.
You might need to drop some of the settings down to get smoother graphics, but I was able to get a great framerate by dropping my settings down from very high to high and turning off anti-aliasing, which doesn’t bother me anyway. This resulted in a great balance between quality and framerate on both my GTX 970 (720p 3D) and my 750ti (1080p red/blue) graphics cards.
As for that caveat I mentioned, if you use the red/blue method, you can use whatever resolution you want. The red/blue conversion happens within the GPU and doesn’t add a lot of overhead. However, if you plan on using native 3D mode on a 3D monitor or TV, you will likely be restricted to 24 frames per second at 1920 x 1080 resolution, depending on the display and the way it’s connected. For 3D TVs, dropping to 1280 x 720 resolution will allow 60 frames per second in 3D mode.
And please don’t get all high-and-mighty about that. Once the action starts and you have incredible 3D effects in your face, you won’t notice a difference between 1080p and 720p. For the immense depth that 3D mode provides, I’ll take the drop to 720p. That said, I was shocked by how good the red/blue mode looked, too.
Keep in mind, also, that GTAV for the PC is designed to handle 2K and 4K resolutions as well. Add 3D onto that and you’re looking at an absolutely amazing experience! Many thanks to Rockstar for taking the time to bring a proper port (with amazing enhancements) to the PC! This is one case where “PC Master Race” is justified.
Now, go and play GTAV in 3D! It’s amazing!