[How To] Play nVidia Tegra Zone games on Nexus S

I love Android. I love the customizability it provides. But I really hates the fragmentation in Android devices. From the availability of the low, mid, and high range of devices, and *exclusive* nVIDIA Tegra Zone games for Tegra-powered devices, I personally don’t see that it is a healthy one, especially for the end user. Most of the so-called nVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset optimized games are purely gimmicks – they actually works very well on non-Tegra powered high end devices, such as Nexus S which is powered by PowerVR GPU. However, some sort of workaround is needed, and unfortunately some of the Tegra High Definition (THD) games doesn’t work properly. I have tested Sprinkle and Riptide GP, both titles that is so-called optimized for Tegra-powered devices, works well on the Nexus S (I believe they will work well on other previous high-end Android devices). To enable your high-end Android devices to play THD games, check the step-by-step guide after the break.

Steps to play THD games on Nexus S (or other)

  1. Make sure your device is rooted. If your device already installed with MIUI Android ROM, most probably your device is already rooted. This is to allow the app called Chainfire3D to run on your device.
  2. Download Chainfire3D from Android Market (version tested: 2.8). Free version will do. Install it and run it.
  3. Allow the ROOT permission to Chainfire3D after running it (may vary for different custom ROM).
  4. Click CF3D driver, then click Install. A reboot will be required to complete the installation.
  5. Once the device done rebooting, connect your device to your computer to transfer some files.
  6. Download the plugins for Chainfire3D. Extract the zip files in the archive (you should have libGLEMU_NVIDIA.zip, libGLEMU_POWERVR.zip, and libGLEMU_QUALCOMM.zip) to your device SD card. Note: The plugins must be in zip file format.
  7. Remove your device from the computer and run Chainfire3D again.
  8. Under Options, look for Install plugins/shaders. Click it. The app will then searching for files that can be installed.
  9. Under Install plugins and shaders, you should see the three zip files placed in your SD card. If there is none, please repeat Step 6 correctly.
  10. Click on each of them to install (although only nVidia plugin is needed in this guide).
  11. Once they are installed, back to the home page of Chaifire3D, and click Default OpenGL settings under Options.
  12. Click Use plugin, then select NVIDIA.
  13. You are basically done. Run those THD games that is already purchased and installed on your device, most likely they will work (tested Samurai II: Vengeance THD, Sprinkle and Riptide GP).
Hopefully Chainfire3D is able to enable your device to play Tegra-optimized games. I understand that these games will probably provide the best gaming experience with optimized hardware, but the Android community doesn’t deserve this. We want good games too.

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