Stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) games and displays have been pioneered by the innovations of manufacturers, technology enablers, and game publishers, but despite their success, the concepts of quality assurance, customer satisfaction, and especially the 3D experience are largely divided and inconsistent. Especially for media, the lack of standardized stereoscopic 3D quality and performance benchmarking tools are equally challenging and more often than not the result is in the form of biased and somewhat negative opinions about stereo 3D technology mostly coming from different media. As for technology press, traditional performance and quality benchmarks don’t apply well to stereoscopic 3D products, and standardized tools have yet to be developed in this area and this can really be a problem.
“As a tech journalist who has written articles about stereoscopic 3D hardware and software, I can say from firsthand experience that it’s a complex subject. I’ve seen credible websites post misinformation caused by a lack of understanding, and I think all journalists would benefit from a standardized and objective method of comparing these solutions,” said Don Woligroski, Senior Editor & Technology Reviewer at Tom’s Hardware.
So in order to improve on that the S-3D Gaming Alliance (S3DGA) is forming a Press Steering Team comprised of leading media and industry representatives to jointly define the methods for testing and reviewing 3D games, 3D displays, and related 3D products in a measurable and objective way. Subjective opinions of journalists and artistic choices of the developers will of course remain unaffected, as the goal is to just provide the right tools and methodology for properly testing and reviewing the products.
“Testing standards are a critical step in the evolution of stereoscopic 3D for gaming. With a clearly defined way of measuring 3D hardware and software, developers will be able to improve the quality of their games and players will be able to make informed decisions about what to buy,” according to Philip Harris, Group Technical Director at EA Sports (Electronic Arts Canada).
S3DGA’s consumer arm Meant to be Seen released GameGrade3D in October as a proof of concept. This community driven database measures PC game compatibility with the different stereoscopic 3D technologies offered by Nvidia, DDD, AMD’s HD3D, and others. But GameGrade3D is just one step in the right direction, and building on top of this and providing other similar tools for media to use will benefit everyone interested in stereoscopic 3D technology.
“The goal of game developers is to put the best products they can into the hands of consumers. The press plays a pivotal role in the growth and understanding of new technologies. Having a consistently applied yet evolving set of standards will help consumers and developers avoid confusion, and ensures that expectations can be quantified and met. It will create a win-win situation,” said Alan Price, President of S3DGA and former CTO of Electronic Arts Canada.
The S-3D Gaming Alliance is non-profit and non-proprietary. The 3D industry is welcome to join and participate with this steering team and media participation is free, however membership is subject to approval of S3DGA’s Board of Directors. Preference will be given to publishers with a demonstrated history of covering stereoscopic 3D technology.
You can count me in as I’m already applying for a place in the Press Steering Team. For example I’ve been trying to develop a methodology for testing stereo 3D-capable displays as you can see in the reviews I’ve already published here on the blog as well as for other 3D-capable products, and I can tell you that it is not an easy task for a single person. Hopefully this joint effort will help make things develop quicker and the work done by the Press Steering Team to be really helpful not only for the press, but also for everyone involved in developing 3D-capable products.