Stereoscopic 3D gaming is really cool

Written by Tim Smalley

August 26, 2008 | 03:06

Tags: #3d #glasses #nvision #nvision-2008 #stereoscopic #technology

Companies: #mitsubishi #nvidia #viewsonic

According to Nvidia, one of the next big things for the visual computing industry is stereoscopic 3D gaming.

Jen-Hsun introduced the concept during his opening keynote speech and in many ways, it’s very similar to what Intel announced with DreamWorks last week. However, instead of being focused on the movie industry, Nvidia wants to bring this technology to gamers.

Down on the show floor, both ViewSonic and Mitsubishi have been demoing stereoscopic screens in conjunction with Nvidia’s new GeForce Stereoscopic 3D technology. ViewSonic’s display is a new 22-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 1,680 x 1,050 native resolution – it should be available worldwide in the next couple of quarters all being well. Mitsubishi, on the other hand, had a 72-inch DLP TV using the same technology and it’s already shipping. However, Mitsubishi said that we’re unlikely to see this TV in the UK because “the European market doesn’t like big TVs,” apparently…

Anyway, I had a play around in Unreal Tournament III, Guitar Hero III and Race Driver: GRID – I have to say the effect is amazing and it was probably the most immersive 3D gaming experience I’ve ever had. I seriously didn’t want to stop playing, but had I not stopped playing, I wouldn’t be here telling you about it right now.

Stereoscopic 3D gaming is really cool Stereoscopic 3D gaming is really cool
These goggles do something...

The technology relies on 3D shutter glasses designed by Nvidia and what’s interesting is that, unlike any other attempt at 3D display technology, the glasses don’t use polarised lenses. Instead, they use mini LCD screens that sync with the PC via an infra red sensor that sits down by your keyboard – this ensures that the correct image is sent to each eye and there is no loss of resolution, claims Nvidia.

Upon using the glasses, it was clear that the game looked appreciably sharper than what has come before and, more importantly, you can adjust the depth of the effect using a simple wheel on the back of the sensing device. This should go a long way to alleviating eyestrain caused by so many other attempts at delivering a truly 3D experience, but I still have my doubts for the technology.

Stereoscopic 3D gaming is really cool Stereoscopic 3D gaming is really cool
They make me look ridiculous, that's for sure.

First of all, not everyone wants to wear stupid glasses and if you’re playing a game in the living room with your friends, it means everyone—or no one—wears 3D glasses in order to make gaming in the living room a social experience. If you’re playing on a smaller screen though, I’m not quite so concerned about this because you’re unlikely to have a large group of people watching while you play.

What I really want is a stereoscopic 3D display that doesn’t require stupid glasses – at that point, I’m completely sold. Tell us your thoughts in the forums.
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