Chainfire3D Brings Tegra Zone Games to Non-Tegra Android Phones


Late last week, Android tinkerers got a new toy to play with, a graphics driver called Chainfire3D. It’s main purpose is to give you more direct control over how apps take advantage of your smartphone’s GPU. To do so, it sits between an app and your normal OpenGL graphics driver, overseeing the communications between the two. You can use it to try your luck at some speed/memory trade-offs, like using expanded bit-depth or lower-resolutions textures, as well as to pull of some visual effects, like only illuminating red subpixels for an impromptu night-vision mode. As users have experimented with its capabilities, the power of its plug-in system has become clear, letting you run some hardware-exclusive apps on phones not normally supported.

Apps discovered through NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone are limited to smartphones based on Tegra hardware. With a little work, Chainfire3D will let non-Tegra systems run those same titles. The key is the plug-in system Chainfire3D supports, letting you expand its functionality with third-party extensions. Some of the ones that have already been created emulate specific GPU functionality, letting other Androids pretend to support that hardware.


In order to pull this off, you’ll need to first install Chainfire3D along with the plug-in to report the existence of NVIDIA hardware. After refreshing your Android to now tell apps that it has support for Tegra features, apps like Samurai II: Vengeance THD will run on non-Tegra hardware. It’s very cool when you get it working, but it’s far from a perfect solution; not all GPU functions are properly interpreted by the plug-in, so some titles won’t work well or at all. There’s also the chance Chainfire3D may not function properly with your phone, but from the reports, many high-end models seem to be performing alright.

If you’d like a shot at trying this out for yourself, and don’t mind some very technical fiddling with Android, check out the thread at the XDA-Developers forum for all the files and instructions you’ll need.

Source: XDA-Developers forum

Via: Android Police

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!