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3D Super Stardust boosts 2D performance

1080p60, extra AA, split-screen upgrades.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Housemarque has said that the 3D update to its stunning PSN shooter, Super Stardust HD, also significantly boosts elements of the existing 2D version of the game.

Writing for the official PlayStation Blog, Housemarque CEO and co-founder Ilari Kuittinen said that the original Super Stardust HD only utilised around 50 per cent of the SPU power available, so the original game code was upgraded to run in the studio's brand new engine.

Housemarque talked about this process in a Digital Foundry interview back in January. The enhanced tech, combined with the SPU overhead, made an effective 720p120 a reality, but also allowed for improved graphical fidelity in 2D mode.

The original game's 1080p mode actually ran at 1280x1080, with the hardware upscaler expanding the image outwards to simulate full HD. The new engine sees Super Stardust HD running at the full 1920x1080 at 60FPS for the first time. The game's 720p mode also gets a useful boost in terms of image quality with anti-aliasing bumped up to full 4x MSAA.

There's also a very useful performance upgrade for those who purchased the additional split-screen co-op pack. The existing Super Stardust runs this section of the game at 30FPS. Thanks to the upgrades added for the 3D version of the game, the horsepower is not there to boost this to a full 60FPS.

Kuittinen also revealed that development on the 3D upgrade was actually carried out without access to any of the new Bravia 3DTV tech.

"We had the first 3D version of SSHD running in autumn 2009. We didn't have a proper 3D television at that time and we had to use paper anaglyph red-and-green (or cyan to be exact) glasses to see the 3D image on our monitors," he said. "The images we could produce didn't even have proper colour in them, but it was still really impressive."

Suffice to say, even if you don't own one of the new 3D sets, the new update is well worth a download, especially as it's free.

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