Friday, November 17, 2006

Adventures in Stereoscopic 3D gaming

I came across a post on the mount and blade forum about special goggles for seeing games in stereoscopic 3D . I thought you would need a specially designed game to get 3D vision. In fact almost all modern 3D games are rendered into 3D by the graphics card so if you have a special graphics driver that splits the images for left and right eyes you can get stereoscopic 3D. There are a few ways to get your left and right eyes to view the two images. Perhaps the best is to use special goggles like these which have a separate screen for each eye. A cheaper approach is to wear goggles with an LCD shutter in front of each eye - by alternately turning each shutter on and off and by synchronously displaying alternate images on the screen you can achieve stereoscopic 3D. This approach is much cheaper but does need a very high monitor refresh rate so I am not sure about using it with LCD displays. I would love to try the 3D visor product but in the meantime I managed to fudge up my own solution. using a pair of cardboard red and blue 3D glasses filched from my daughters "Barbie Magic of Pegasus" dvd.

It goes like this: I have an Nvidia graphics cards and Nvidia offer a stereo 3D driver for free download. Now this driver supports the methods describes above but it also supports a method called Anaglyph Red/Blue glasses. Select that mode and away you go. I tried a few games: Mount and blade worked brilliantly, Far Cry not at all, Call of Duty 2 worked ok but some effects were weird, Doom3 worked extremely well. The red and blue does cause a bit of strain the eyes so I wouldn't recommend it for long playing sessions. The default stereo separation worked well for me but my wife saw two images - reducing the separation a bit enabled her to see the 3D effect too. This has fired up my enthusiasm for 3D gaming. I wonder if Mrs. Santa Claus would stump up for the 3D visor product?

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