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How to Play Tegra Zone Games on Non-Tegra Devices

Chainfire3D to the rescue!

Published onJune 1, 2011

How do you play games on your Tegra device? Quick answer: Download and install the free NVIDIA Tegra Zone app from Android Market, use it to look for Tegra-optimized games, download the games you want, and start playing.

How do you play Tegra-optimized games on a non-Tegra device? Quick answer: Sorry, you can’t–you need a Tegra device to play games from Tegra Zone. Quick answer: Root your phone, get [root] Chainfire3D from Android Market, and follow the abovementioned steps for playing Tegra Zone games on a Tegra device.

Tegra-powered devices are powerful. No doubt about that. Tegra Zone, which NVIDIA launched last March, simply makes it easy for anyone to find games optimized for Tegra mobile processors. Much to the chagrin of non-Tegra fans, actually, as the latter have no way used to have no way to enjoy visually-rich games that run oozingly smoothly on Tegra devices. All they could do was drool.

Nexus One with Fruit Ninja running

But, not anymore. Non-Tegra devices can now pretend that they are Tegra devices and fool Tegra-optimized games into believing the devices are Tegra. That’s where [root] Chainfire3D comes in. It is a graphics driver app that hands you more rein over how other apps can squeeze the most out of your device’s graphics processing unit (GPU). You can configure it to strike a perfect balance between speed and memory. For instance, you can use textures with lower resolutions or higher bit depths. Some users even pull off visual stunts, such as mimicking a night-vision mode by telling Chainfire3D to fire up only the red subpixels on the display.

As you know, not many apps are well-written to get the most out of existing GPUs. This is pretty much analogous to the well-known and well-recited mantra of self-help gurus: “Human beings use only 10% of their potential.” NVIDIA, however, intended to put the leftover 90% to good use–thus, the “curated, editorial-driven merchandizing front-end [i.e., Tegra Zone] designed to enhance the shopping and discovery experience of differentiated games sold in Android Market.”

Non-Tegra devices are powerful, too. With Chainfire3D, owners of non-Tegra devices will no longer be left out in the cold, peeping through misty eyes through misty windows to that vibrant, tantalizing, and stunning gameplay running on the devices of their Tegra counterparts. Chainfire3D, strapped on to your non-Tegra device, can now open your devices’ doors to such games as:

  • Samurai II: Vengeance,
  • Backbreaker THD,
  • Fruit Ninja THD,
  • Galaxy on Fire 2 THD,
  • Dungeon Defenders: First Wave Deluxe HD,
  • Vendetta Online,
  • Hardwood Solitaire IV,
  • Monster Madness,
  • and many others.

The key to getting these delicious games to work on your non-Tegra devices is Chainfire3D’s support for extension plug-ins. Owing to intellectual property issues, the developer refrains from directly providing the locations of plugins. Some developers have already compiled extension plugins for texture emulation on Tegra 2, PowerVR, or ATI GPUs. They are available, if you spend some time to look for them.

If you are not yet convinced, hopefully this video will:

A word of caution, however: Some GPU functions are not accurately carried out by the plug-ins, so don’t come griping, and whining, and complaining why some game titles just won’t budge no matter how hard you lash them with your whip. There is also no guarantee that Chainfire3D will work with your specific device, although the developer has announced that it has been tested and found to be working in the following handsets:

  • Google Nexus S
  • HTC HD2
  • LG Optimus 2X
  • Motorola Atrix 4G
  • Motorola Droid 2
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″
  • Samsung Epic 4G

Getting a workaround like Chainfire3D to work on your device can take some technical legwork from you, but it just might be worth the hassle. In the words of one fan, “The awesomeness of this is so big that it almost makes bacon boring.” Even in concept, do you agree? Or do you agree? ;-)

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