Aquanox 2 Graphics Tweaking
A game is not a good game unless its graphics are decent. Aquanox 2’s graphics aged fine even 17 years later. You can use reshade to enhance it nicely. Following are my changes.
- I always prefer to play in ultrawide aspect ratios, 21:9, 27:9, sometimes even 32:9. Although Aquanox 2 natively only supports 4:3. A mod existed to support 21:9. Nvida software allows me to set any monitor resolution, so I set mine as 21:9 1920x824 to play.
- When 21:9 mod is running, vendetta zoom FOV has a problem that once it is zoomed, it cannot fully recover. There is a cheat engine script that keeps FOV right.
- As Aquanox 2 was designed for 4:3 originally, 21:9 produces a fish eye effect. I used reshade Perspective Correction to reduce the fish eye effect.
- Using reshade, color can be adjusted to your liking (curve, tonemap, vibrance) and sharpness (AMD fidelity, luma) is added. It looks better for such an old game. The game natively supports 4x supersampling anti-aliasing, so aliasing is not an issue at all.
- Use reshade normal map shader to add a water wavy effect that suits this game very well. Adjust both translation speed and rotation speed to 0.01, strength is 0.05.
- The ship has a flash light but it shines to the floor. Reshade provides a flash light shader to shine directly at the front. Bind the reshade flashlight key as the same key of the original flashlight, to gain a much useful feature. Please do not use flashlight in stealthy situations.
- Using reshade shaders, I can assign cool vision mode to a key. For example, for cloaking mode, I would assign Grainspread and Comic. For bullet time, I would assign pandaFX and Filmic Sharpen..
Aquanox 2 Nvidia 3D Vision
I cannot believe Aquanox 2 works for Nvidia 3D vision in Windows 10. It was an old DirectX 8 game! The 3D effect is actually very good, better than most 3D vision games, with the exception that the target marker is rendered at HUD depth, not at the depth of the target. Also the sky is rendered with wrong depth so do not look up too often. The wonderful thing is that it works with all the reshade shaders mentioned above, with the exception of normal map shader (so do not use it). BTW, in order to use reshade, you have to download and use the DirectX 8 wrapper d3d8.dll first from Pcgamingwiki.com
Nvidia 3D vision has elevated Aquanox 2 to another level. It is amazing because I was not expecting it from a game that was released in 2003.
Aquanox 2 Force Feedback Joystick Support
Aquanox 2 is the best example of flight action game that is best utilizing a force feedback joystick such as Logitech Force 3D Pro.
Force feedback is a short-lived technology before and around year 2000. After 2003, console games boomed and gamepad becomes the main controller type and force feedback was dead. Furthermore, even if joystick lives on, the more popular games and best supported ones are those mapping well with gamepad, such as Saitek AVBR-02, because most games are also designed to run in console with gamepad. In addition, the game graphics before and around year 2000 are pretty bad according to today’s standard, Aquanox 2 is probably the only exception.
Aquanox2 has native support for joystick, not gamepad. Aquanox 2 provides the unique utilization of force feedback. Comparing with flight simulation games, Aquanox 2 is more action and arcade like. It has many weapons that fire most of time with force feedback, and hit impact has force feedback as well. This sets apart from flight simulation games with few weapons and few force feedback usage. Aquanox 2 also provides aiming assistant, to compensate the aiming inaccuracy compared to mouse. BTW, the other game with good force feedback support is Freespace 2.
Do not forget that joystick provides an unique difference that keyboard/mouse does not have. Joystick’s throttle is a slider, that means it maintains a certain speed without additional control. Keyboard press cannot achieve this. Once the key press is let go, speed drops to 0. If key is kept holding, it will remain at max speed.