Native stereoscopic 3D support was one of the features introduced by Microsoft with their new Windows 8 operating system as a part of the new DirectX 11.1 release coming with the OS. The idea behind this new stereo 3D support was to have the game developers using one universal set of instructions for the stereo 3D output (the game still has to have native stereo 3D support built-in the engine), regardless of what technology, GPU type or 3D display device the user has. The video drivers should take the role of outputting the stereo 3D image to the right type of setup that the user has as long as he has a 3D-capable system.
And while all this was something that we definitely need in order to have game developers not focusing only on AMD or Nvidia when developing stereo 3D support in their games, but to have it truly universal, we are still yet to see a game announced to support the new DirectX 11.1 stereo 3D features, let alone have it released. Fortunately if you want to test out how good the new Windows 8 stereo 3D features work you can do it using the popular Stereoscopic Player that since its version 2.0 has a “Quad Buffered DirectX” viewing method available that takes advantage of the Windows 8 stereoscopic 3D support. So if still you haven’t, you should go and give it a try if you’ve already switched to Windows 8, have in mind though that this output mode will not work on previous versions of Windows.
– You can download an try the latest version of the Stereoscopic Player here…
Tags:DirectX 11.1·Quad Buffered DirectX·stereo 3d support·stereoscopic player·Windows 8·Windows 8 stereo 3D
It seems that AMD wanted to kind of make happy the gamers around the world right before the holidays, by announcing their next generation Radeon HD 7970 graphics processors based on 28nm production technology. And while the announcement is now a fact, the video cards based on this new GPUs are still not available on the market, they should start appearing sometime in January next year, so don’t be too eager… yet. The new GPU should be the first GPU based on 28nm technology to hit the market, the first with support for the new PCI Express 3.0 and the first one supporting DirectX 11.1 expected with Windows 8). But these are the more general “firsts”, there are some interesting things regarding stereoscopic 3D support as well that will be available in the new Series 7000 GPUs from AMD…
If you remember not long ago AMD has released Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver that has finally added support for CrossfireX (multi-GPU configurations) in stereo 3D mode as well as support for the optional HDMI 1.4a 1080p 30Hz 3D mode. And while these features are still only available in a beta driver, they should be finding their place in the next official Catalyst release that should also have the support for the new Radeon HD 7970 GPUs. But in the new graphic processors AMD has more new features prepared for gamers using AMD-based hardware to play in stereoscopic 3D mode, hardware-based features that kind of build on top of the newly introduced software-based ones.
With the new video cards based on Radeon HD 7970 graphics processors you should be able to use multi-monitor setups (Eyefinity) in stereoscopic 3D mode as well and with a single video card (over DisplayPort 1.2). So with this AMD if finally kind of catching up with Nvidia by offering alternative to the 3D Vision Surround, a technology that has been available for a while. And while you should be able to run multiple monitors in stereoscopic 3D mode with Eyefinity from a single video card you would probably want to have two of these for best experience, especially for playing games, and with the addition of CrossfireX support in stereo 3D mode you should finally be able to do that.
The other new interesting feature coming with the Radeon HD 7970 video cards will be the support of the higher bandwidth HDMI 3 GHz specifications that will allow you to get 1080p 3D mode with 60Hz per eye. And while this sounds very nice as a feature to have, you should not be to eager to try it out as this is support only on the video card’s side, you would also need a 3D monitor or a 3D HDTV that will support this mode. Unlike with the optional HDMI 1.4a 30Hz 3D mode that some 3D-capable products support even now, for the new 1080p 60Hz 3D mode there will be some time needed before display products supporting it will start coming out on the market.
And now we are hitting one of the still problematic areas for AMD, namely not having a wider choice of compatible 3D-capable active displays, as for the compatibility with passive 3D solutions things are pretty much Ok. But hopefully next year we’ll start seeing some positive development in that area as well, I’m saying hopefully as AMD is still a bit slow in successfully convincing partners to make compatible hardware just the same way that Nvidia had when 3D Vision was initially announced… so it just takes more time and effort. But the big question now is how soon and with what will Nvidia respond to the new AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs, what do you think?
– For more information and the specifications of the new Radeon HD 7970 GPUs…
Tags:1080p 30Hz 3D mode·1080p 60Hz 3D mode·28nm technology·AMD Radeon HD 7970·CrossfireX stereo 3D·DirectX 11.1·DisplayPort 1.2·Eyefinity stereo 3D·hdmi 1.4a·Radeon HD 7970
You’ve probably stumbled on different news regarding Microsoft’s upcoming operating system, currently know under the name Windows 8, that also mention stereoscopic 3D support as one of the new features in it. This is certainly a good news for the whole stereo 3D community, but you should be aware of what exactly does Microsoft mean by adding Stereoscopic 3D support in their new operating system as it is not exactly what everyone had hoped for. Nevertheless since Microsoft recognizes the need of implementing stereoscopic 3D support as a feature in their new operating system it should sooner or later develop in a full-blown standard for generating and displaying visual information properly on 3D-capable displays. And in the upcoming Windows 8 OS it will kind of happen with DirectX 11.1 and new video driver architecture WDDM 1.2, although is it just marking the start for what is yet to come, as initially the stereoscopic 3D support will be somewhat limited to recognizing a 3D-capable display and outputting 3D content to it (with the help of the video drivers). This however is something that AMD, Intel and Nvidia already support in their current video drivers, but each of them uses their own implementation and this means that the application code required to add support for 3D with all of them gets more complex and needs more time to be made. So the developer of a stereoscopic 3D capable application or a game would be able to more easily implement stereoscopic 3D support in Windows 8, and saving time and costs associated with programming can actually help in the faster adoption of stereoscopic 3D support…
According to Microsoft:
Windows 8 provides the ideal platform for further innovations for partners to deliver a solid media experience. Windows 8 enables a rich graphical composition model that allows for more flexibility to support video playback and stereoscopic 3D scenarios. Windows 8 will provide a consistent API and DDI platform for Stereoscopic 3D scenarios such as gaming and video playback.
Stereoscopic 3D will be enabled only on systems that have all the components that are stereoscopic 3D capable. These include 3D-capable display hardware, graphics hardware, peripherals, and software applications. The Stereo design in the graphics stack is such that the particular visualization or display technology used is agnostic to the operating system. The Graphics driver talks to the Display and has knowledge about the display capabilities through the standardized EDID structure. The driver will enumerate Stereo capabilities only when it recognizes such a display connected to the system.
According to Microsoft the stereo 3D functionality can be enabled only on DirectX 10-capable hardware and higher, but that should not mean that if your video card is DX10-capable you will not be able to play games in stereo 3D mode if they use DX9. The improvements for stereoscopic 3D video content playback relates to the new D3D11 API for Stereoscopic 3D video that unpacks stereo frames into left- and right-eye images, that is if your video player application uses D3D11 API calls for the playback of 3D video.
So what does the stereoscopic 3D support for Windows 8 mean? It means that if you have a game with native stereoscopic 3D support you should be able to easily make the output compatible with different 3D solutions by using the S3D support in the OS (no matter what is the video card in your system) and not by talking to each of the video drivers in a specific way depending on what your video card is. If your game does not support stereo 3D in its engine, then you’d still have to use an additional software to convert it in stereo 3D format such as 3D Vision or iZ3D or TriDef 3D that are already available. These solutions of course would need to be updated to support the new stereoscopic 3D features when Windows 8 becomes available, but it will also make it easier for their developers to implement generic stereo 3D output if they decide to rely on the new features and not continue to use their workaround solutions. So the situation in terms of stereo 3D support wouldn’t actually change that much with just the release of Windows 8, but as I’ve already said it is a step in the right direction.
– For more information on what the new Windows Display Driver Model will bring…
– A Direct3D 11.1 Simple Stereo 3D application code in C++ utilizing the new features…
Tags:DirectX 11.1·DirectX 11.1 stereo 3D·Microsoft 3D·Microsoft Stereo 3D·stereoscopic 3d support·WDDM 1.2·WDDM 1.2 stereo 3D·Windows 8·Windows 8 3D·Windows 8 stereo 3D