3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Is the Stereo 3D Gaming Doomed to Fail or What, No Really?

July 16th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Other S3D Tech


Lately there are more and more articles regarding the not so bright future of stereoscopic 3D technology for gaming that center around what Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said about 3D not going to be a primary feature for Nintendo’s consoles anymore. But drawing a conclusion that stereoscopic 3D gaming is dying and now that the initial boom and big interest is over the interest in 3D technology will quickly wear off is totally wrong. And such one sided articles that don’t look trough the side of the normal gamer or consumer, coming from serious and well respected publications are frankly a disappointment (come on, at least try all aspects of 3D personally before saying it is a bad and stupid thing, draw conclusions from your own experience). With that said Nintendo is not going to drop the stereoscopic 3D support, they even have a stereoscopic 3D-capable game console – the Nintendo 3DS (XL). If you ask me however Nintendo’s problem starts with their approach to stereoscopic 3D support from the beginning and they have probably realized that now and want to make things the proper way, if it is not too late. As a product the Nintendo 3DS was a nice thing, but with a bit outdated features when it was released – small 3D screens, not very powerful for more realistic graphics, even the 3D camera was with pretty low resolution. Not to mention that there weren’t a lot of interesting game titles supporting stereoscopic 3D mode and some of the extra 3D features that you’d expect from a device like the Nintendo 3DS weren’t implemented at first, but were added via updates later on. This clearly shows that Nintendo was not ready with the 3DS when they’ve released it and that they did not have a very clear idea what they were doing, they probably saw the boom of interest in 3D as something that is going to bring back gamers to Nintendo.

A year later Nintendo has finally realized some of the problems they’ve had with the 3DS, so they have released a slightly bigger Nintendo 3DS XL console, but it essentially address only the smaller screen size and all the drawbacks of the 3DS. But for the sake of retaining full compatibility Nintendo couldn’t just go and upgrade other hardware inside the new XL console, so it is still outdated, even though it is offering stereoscopic 3D support with no glasses required. Another thing that Nintendo apparently did not think over initially is the target audience for the Nintendo 3DS console, clearly a lot of it is small kids and there are still a lot of concerns about the use of stereo 3D by young children. Hopefully by now Nintendo has also realized based on experience that 3D should not be there in games just to briefly wow you and then to constantly annoy you with with things in a game intentionally made to look “impressive” in stereoscopic 3D mode. Instead the 3D in games should be used as a tool to better tell the story of the game or make the experience seem more realistic, this is something that 3D movie makers have learned already and successful 3D movies show this is the right way to do things. So Nintendo should not blame the 3D as the reason that their product was not as successful as they probably expected, but instead should look for the reasons why it was not and try to make it right the next time from the beginning.

Next up is Sony and their PlayStation 3 console that has been updated to support stereoscopic 3D games and Blu-ray 3D movie playback, definitely a nice addition to bring back the console up to date with new trends some time after the hype around it has been totally gone since its initial release. The truth however is that PlayStation 3 is also a bit outdated in terms of hardware in order to compete with up to date PC graphics, especially if you add stereoscopic 3D rendering on top of a game. And a lot of gamers would prefer to have better 2D graphics in a game than to sacrifice some of the quality and get it rendered in stereoscopic 3D mode. Furthermore, in regards with the not so powerful hardware in the PS3, Sony has not developed a solution to allow older games to be converted in stereoscopic 3D mode – it would probably be too taxing for the console and even more graphics details should’ve been sacrificed to make things work, not to mention that there would’ve been some issues in games not being rendered in stereoscopic 3D mode properly. So Sony decided to start right from the beginning with new game titles optimized to support the new stereoscopic 3D mode, not so bad choice with regards to the things mentioned above, and the right way to offer proper stereoscopic 3D experience for the gamers even though sometimes compromises have to be made. The problem with that decision lies in the initial lack of content and having just one or two hit titles supporting stereo 3D did not help that much either. So the PS3 was initially more of a Blu-ray 3D player, though initially the number of movies available on BD 3D media also was somewhat lacing and even now it is still not that big, but at least it is constantly increasing. Sony however knew about these things, and most of all that it will take some time, because for Sony 3D support is not just about the PlayStation 3 console, the company is working on a whole ecosystem of 3D-capable products – 3D HDTVs, 3D projectors, 3D cameras and camcorders etc. And we should not forget the fact that even before adding stereoscopic 3D support the PS3 was already a successful product, so the 3D support here is just an extra to bring back user interest and increase the life of the product some more before the next generation becomes available.

Moving up to the third major player in the console gaming – Microsoft and their Xbox 360 game console. Microsoft was on the catching up side of things, though they followed a similar approach to Sony with the PS3. Initially Microsoft was not interested at all in adding stereoscopic 3D support to the Xbox 360, but that did not stop some game developers to experiment and add stereo 3D support using anaglyph or Side by Side and Over-Under output modes in their games. A bit later on Microsoft has finally added official support for stereoscopic 3D output for their console, but still the company did not focus that much on stereo 3D support in order to help game developers make more games that support the new feature. Stereoscopic 3D support was there, so that just Microsoft could say: “yes, we also support stereo 3D on our console like the competition”. The number of games supporting stereoscopic 3D mode on the Xbox is much less than on the PS3, and there is also the added confusion among customers between the support for the old non official stereo 3D rendering outputs and the new official one making it even harder for gamers that are not so knowledgeable in stereo 3D to make the decision to get a 3D display and try the feature on the Xbox 360. Microsoft however is not complaining, as stereo 3D support was never a key feature for them, as I’ve said they probably just wanted to be able to say “we support that as well, so the competition has no advantage over out our product”. But we need not forget that Microsoft is more of a software company than a hardware one and their focus is still mostly on the computers than on mobile devices and gaming consoles, though these are markets that they are actively developing as they still play the role of catching up to the competition, unlike with PCs where you can say they are the market leader and they set the trends. Just a reminder that one of the features that the new Windows 8 is going to have is native stereoscopic 3D support for output on compatible 3D display hardware.

Now, moving to PCs. Here we have two major players – AMD (ATI) and Nvidia, with both companies stereoscopic 3D mode for professional applications for quite a while along with different level of consumer level stereoscopic 3D support. Nvidia has been supporting stereoscopic 3D for years already dating back to CRT displays, however when the switch to LCD monitors happened the company has stopped developing their more generic stereoscopic 3D driver and has later on returned with a “new version” of the driver with the 3D Vision technology launch, focusing a lot more on stereo 3D support than before. AMD (ATI) has been working with middle-ware partners such as iZ3D and DDD for quite a while not having that much direct involvement, but lately they have become more active and have introduced their HD3D technology. The problem with the solutions offered by both companies is that they have strict hardware requirements and will not work on just about any 3D display that you can pick up. And while the iZ3D Driver and DDD’s TriDef 3D solutions provide more generic support for different stereoscopic 3D viewing methods, Nvidia’s 3D Vision is more closed and limited in terms of supported modes. The lack of common standard here and interoperability between the two solutions with different hardware is what is essentially confusing the users and if they decide to try and build a 3D setup and don’t get all the requirements correctly they often end up giving up on stereo 3D for a while. Both AMD and Nvidia do support 3D HDTVs through their solutions, meaning that it is easier to use a certain model of a 3D HDTV with each of the stereoscopic 3D solutions, however PC gamers generally prefer to go for 120Hz 3D LCD displays that can provide 1080p 3D mode with 60Hz per eye as well as 120HZ refresh rate when playing in non-stereoscopic 3D mode. The good thing is that both solutions work well with older games as well as with newer titles, converting them into stereoscopic 3D mode in real-time, though some games may have various issues as they have not been optimized to be used in stereoscopic 3D mode when being developed. Intel has also joined with promoting stereoscopic 3D support on their integrated graphics solutions, but not for gaming of course, instead it is for photo and movie playback in stereoscopic 3D mode, though only their more recent and higher-end processors with integrated graphics only meet the requirements for that.

Another thing that is more recently also getting a momentum in stereoscopic 3D support on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets with the reason behind that being the fact that the processing power of these devices has greatly increased and allows them to also provide good stereoscopic 3D experience even in games. The situation with the 3D-capable mobile devices is pretty much the same as with other solutions, what is delaying their faster adoption is mostly the lack of good stereoscopic 3D content to use on them.

So what is clearly still an issue ahead of all stereoscopic 3D gaming solutions – on consoles or on PC, is the lack of enough good content – stereoscopic 3D movies and stereoscopic 3D games. You need to have a big choice of quality 3D content, no matter if it is games or movies. So now that all of these companies are having the hardware, though it may not be perfect or easy to use for beginners (another issue), they should start focusing on making good 3D content for it. Without good content to play on your stereoscopic 3D hardware you’d quickly conclude that it is pointless and stupid thing, especially considering the price you need to play to get things working, with the most affordable solution being the Nintendo 3DS, though far from being the best one. So what is the conclusion of all this, instead of blaming the 3D technology for not being good enough, widely accessible, or easy to be used, all of the above companies should be pushing more not only to improve in these areas, but mostly to provide more and I stress on MORE good 3D content for their products. It is simple as that, focus more on 3D content and not on 3D technology, and it seems that things are still being done the other way around.

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New Battlefield 3 Update Finally Adds Stereoscopic 3D Support

November 22nd, 2011 · 39 Comments · Stereo 3D Games


Today we should finally get a new patch for the game Battlefield 3 and this patch is apparently going to be what all stereo 3D gamers were expecting to get when thegame was released – official stereoscopic 3D support. This update will include a major client update for the PC version as well as a server-side update for all platforms and it is expected to be available on November 22nd 7:00 AM UTC / November 21st 11:00 PM PST. Below you will find the release notes for the patch:

—- Client-Side Changes:

— Visuals, Stability and Performance Fixes:

• General performance and loading time improvements
• “Black Screen” fix for an issue occurring on some PC Configurations
Stereo and Rendering Support for Nvidia and AMD Graphics Cards
• Adjusted the “stuttering” encountered on some PC configurations.
• Fixed several Crashes when joining MP and Co-Op sessions
• Fixed multiple problems when using multiple monitors (Eyefinity / Surround).
• Fixed visual corruption issues on certain Nvidia Cards
• Improved loading times for certain textures
• Added console command “GameTime.MaxVariableFps” to limit max FPS
• Added console command “UI.DrawEnable” to hide UI for screenshots / videos

— Balance and Gameplay Adjustments (PC)

• Fixed a problem with high speed mouse movement
• Added back some missing Growlers on Kharg Island Conquest Large
• Added back EOR sound for SQDM and TDM
• You should no longer be able to damage a friendly vehicle when sitting in an open position
• Grenades now drop to ground if you get killed while attempting to throw it(note the affect this will have on Hardcore mode!)
• Spawn protection now should work in Conquest. You should no longer spawn on points too close to enemies
• You should no longer spawn too close to enemies in TDM and SQDM
• Combat areas on Kharg Rush tweaked in order to disallow defenders to access the carrier ship after 1st base is taken and being able to enter the AA gun
• Fixed a problem with revived players not suffering suppression
• Fixed a problem with the camera when being revived in COOP
• Added joystick deadzone setting
• Fixed sound for when climbing ladders
• Fixed an issue with some weapon sounds in first person
• Fixed a swim sound loop error
• Increased the damage of Helicopter Miniguns, AA guns, and Jet Cannons against infantry
• Increased the damage of Helicopter Miniguns against jeeps.
• Reduced the physics impact of AA guns and Jet Cannons, players under attack from these weapons should no longer lose control.
• Increased the damage of the 44 Magnum slightly.
• Increased the range and minimum damage of the .357 Round from the MP412 Rex.
• Increased the range of all .45cal and 9mm weapons.
• Slightly increased the range of the P90 and MP7 and PDW-R.
• Slightly increased the range of the 5.56mm PDW-R and decreased the minimum damage at long range.
• Slightly increased the minimum range of the Mk11, SVD, and M39 EMR 7.62mm rifles.
• Decreased the maximum damage and maximum range of the G3 and SCAR-H 7.62mm weapons.
• Reduced the damage from FIM-92 and SA-18 IGLA missiles against aircraft.
• Increased the damage and range of the 40mm BUCK rounds.
• Reduced the damage .50cal weapons do against Helicopters.
• Updated T90 canister shell tweaks to match Abrams canister shells
UI Changes (PC)
• Added round duration and ticket summary at EOR
• Advanced squad polish – should be more intuitive
• Significant changes to the Join Squad functionality (see below)
• Fixed a problem regarding keybindings while playing
• You should now get a better error message when being disconnected via Battlelog

—- Server Update Highlights

• EOD Bot exploit fix
• Several crash fixes
• Anti-stat padding measures taken, disallowing ranked servers to run obscure settings
• Improved team kill kick configuration
• Support for unranked servers. Unranked servers do not report players’ scores to Battlelog, but server administrators can freely control all settings

— Share your profile and stats with new Battlelog functionality

• Ability to share your Profile and Stats pages to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter
• User Profile and Stats pages on Battlelog can now be accessed without being signed in to Battlelog if you know a user’s URL
• Single sign on from Battlelog to Origin. If you’re not logged in to Origin and join a game server, Battlelog will automatically sign you in to Origin in the background and join the game server

— Quick notes on Squad changes in the Nov 22 update

• Removed FIND ME A SQUAD option
• Allow players to join empty Squads alone, thus having 1/4 squad members
• Change order of options to LEAVE SQUAD, INV A FRIEND, SWITCH TEAM
• Disable Privacy flag when 1 man squad
• Reset Privacy flag from Private to Public when squad drops to 1 player
• All occupied Squads will now show up colored blue on the Squad Selection screen
• Players who choose not to join squads will also show up as Blue in the “Not in a Squad” line
• Squads that are currently empty will display as white — if you wish to join an empty Squad, you can choose the first one marked with white text

— A detailed look at Squad refinements

A detailed look at Squad refinements

Today’s PC client patch features numerous tweaks to Squad functionality and is part of our ongoing efforts to make it easier to play with friends and Platoon mates. These changes will also be implemented for consoles when we release the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 updates shortly. Stay tuned for the exact date of the console updates.

First, we need to look at how joining with Squads and Platoons affects the balance of teams. Initially, servers are commanded to equal out each side, so joining with friends can impact that balance while joining with Platoons further hinders this. As a result we have made some adjustments to the in-game Squad management screen.

For PC, you are now able to highlight the various Squads and select which one you wish to join by selecting a Squad and then clicking the Join Squad button. Please note that the Squad Privacy option still allows 2 man Squads which, during 64 player sessions, can lead to players with no squad position –- the number of people with no Squads will be shown at the bottom of the Squad selection list.

After the patch is applied to consoles (in the near future) you will be able to join Squads by cycling through the list and selecting which Squad you wish to join.

The most important thing in this patch is the “Stereo and Rendering Support for Nvidia and AMD Graphics Cards” which should mean the game now officially supports stereo 3D output, rendered natively and just outputting it using AMD and Nvidia’s stereo 3D solutions. If you have already updated and tried the the game in stereo 3D mode after applying the update you are mote then welcome to share your feedback from it…

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Battlefield 3 Is Available, But No Stereoscopic 3D Support Yet

October 26th, 2011 · 16 Comments · Stereo 3D Games


The much anticipated game Battlefield 3 is now available, however it has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for all the stereoscopic 3D gamers as initially the game does not have support stereoscopic 3D mode. I’m reminding you that the game’s developers have promised support for both Nvidia’s 3D Vision as well as AMD’s HD3D technology with the game engine actually doing the stereo 3D rendering (native 3D support). The problem is probably caused by the developers not being able to have the stereoscopic 3D support fully working, so it is not yet enabled in the final game, it should hopefully soon come via a patch to update the game.

Both AMD and Nvidia have been releasing beta drivers for a while to improve performance with Battlefield 3 as the game is quite demanding if you want to enjoy all the visual extras to the maximum. The latest Nvidia GeForce 285.62 drivers apparently already have a 3D Vision profile for the game giving it Excellent rating, but you are not going to be able to play it yet in stereo 3D mode. Currently when you run Battlefield 3 you are prevented from being able to activate 3D vision in it, a failsafe mechanism implemented by the game developers in order not to give false impression about what the gamers will get in stereo 3D mode when the official stereo 3D support becomes available. So for now you are stuck with playing the game in non-stereo 3D mode, but most of you can at least enjoy it with a 120 Hz refresh rate (if you have and use an active 3D solution such as 3D Vision).

The visuals provided by the Frostbite 2 engine used in Battlefield 3 are really impressive, provided that you have the hardware capable of running the graphics details maxed out. This however also opens the question about performance in stereoscopic 3D mode as with the game expected to natively support stereo 3D and not using “pseudo 3D” rendering similar to the one used in Crysis 2. So while waiting for the stereoscopic 3D support to become available, you may consider upgrading your computer’s performance and by that I mean it is probably time for a faster video card…

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