If you have an old Stereo 3D-capable HMD like i-O Display’s i-glasses PC/SVGA or any other similar model of the company you are probably quite disappointed by the fact that S3D worked with these video glasses only on the old Nvidia Stereo drivers and these do not work on newer video cards. And if you think you are screwed and need to get rid of this old HMD you are just about half right, because there is still a way to make this 800×600 Head Mounted Display (HMD) to work in Stereo 3D mode. Thanks to a company called iZ3D (come on you have to know about them, otherwise how the hell you are interested into S3D… just kidding) and their driver you’ll be able to finally make i-glasses PC/SVGA work in Stereo 3D mode. But don’t just get too happy about that fact, because not everything is perfect and you still need to consider a few things and know about possible problems you might experience.
First of all you need to download the latest iZ3D driver and what I did was to get the V1.10RC1 from may 26, 2009. Now have in mind that this is a Release Candidate version and not a final driver and it still may have some bugs and issues present, so do not expect it to be working perfectly fine. After you download and install the driver on your computer (choose a Full Installation when asked) and don’t bother by the message that you don’t have an iZ3D compatible monitor as the driver has other modes available and you’ll use them. After the installation is finished, just make sure that Run Control Center and Enable Stereo by HotKey are checked (they should be by default). When you do that and continue you’ll be presented with the main screen of the Control Center for the iZ3D drivers where you’ll need to configure the mode you’ll be using.
Now in the main screen of the iZ3D Control Center you need to select Shutter (trial, beta) in the Output dropdown box and leave the option Simple in the second dropdown box on the right. The i-glasses will also work in Blue line coded mode, and there seems to be no visual or any other difference present between the both modes. If you still haven’t connected your i-glasses PC/SVGA now is the time to do so and don’t forget to make it the Primary display if you are going to use it to play games in Stereo 3D on it and at the same time have your normal monitor as a secondary display, but if you only have the HMD connected it will be the primary display by default. Don’t forget to set the refresh rate of the i-glasses high enough in order to not see them flickering when the 3D mode is activated… at least 85 Hz, but 100 Hz is better and I could set my pair to even 110 Hz without any problems.
Now you should be ready, but don’t bother with iZ3D’s demos to see if your Stereo 3D is working as expected, because it probably won’t be Ok in the demos (they are kind of buggy and don’t provide high enough framerate even on fast video cards). So instead just run a good S3D-capable game that looks nice with the added depth perception like Tomb Raider: Underworld for instance and when you start a level you can activate the 3D Stereo mode from the HMD (hold the Power button for a few seconds on the i-glasses to see the menu and activate 3D mode 1 or 2, doesn’t matter much) and the also from the iZ3D drivers by pressing the * key on the Numpad (the default hotkey to enable/disable the stereo mode). It is a good thing to also activate the Show FPS from the driver In-Game Options, but it is not required (it just helps to keep a track of the framerate)…
If everything is working fine you should be able to see the game normally in Stereo 3D with the illusion for depth of objects and/or pop-out of the screen effect (depending on the game and the settings) and of course you can also play with the level of depth and convergence to achieve better results. If you see the image jumping on both displays of the i-glasses this means you have a problem with achieving high-enough framerate in the game – try lowering the level of detail. Unlike with Nvidia’s GeForce 3D Vision, when you are using iZ3D driver and get lower framerate than the refreshrate you’ve set on the i-glasses (for instance 100 frames for 100Hz, 50 fps for each eye) you loose the sync of the Stereo 3D mode and the image starts to “jump”. Nvidia has found a solution for this, but iZ3D are still working to make it work and you may have problems with this, especially if you try to run a heavy game on a not so powerful PC with a slower video card. You should also note that using the iZ3D driver with Shutter Output is not for free, you’ll have to pay $49.99 to buy a license for this mode, although you are good for up to a 120 days which it the time you get to freely test this mode. Also unlike with Nvidia’s 3D Vision, iZ3D drivers do not have so good compatibility with so many game titles, and while they do work well with quite a lot of titles still you might experience some games just crashing when you try to run them with the driver installed. Something that is good for owners of video cards not based on Nvidia GPUs is that iZ3D driver works independently of the VGA type, but still requires a fast graphics card. Also have in mind that the iZ3D driver still does not support SLI or Crossfire configurations (multiple video cards).