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Developing Stereoscopic 3D Games and Apps for Mobile Devices

July 16th, 2012 · 1 Comment · General 3D News

If you are a game developer and you want to make a stereoscopic 3D-capable game there are three major platforms at the moment that should be your target, but unfortunately each of them is different and uses slightly different approach than the others. These are the two 3D-capable smartphones available from LG – Optimus 3D and Optimus 3D Max (available under slightly different name in some regions) along with the HTC EVO 3D. Then there are a few so far devices based on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 platform, however none of the already available smartphones or tablets based on Tegra 3 feature a stereoscopic 3D-capable display built-in, unlike the 3D smartphones from LG and HTC. So with Tegra 3 devices you need to use an external stereoscopic 3D-capable display, until some devices such as the Wikipad come out with a built-in 3D screen. There are of course multiple other smartphones with 3D-capable displays available in some countries, but the limited availability of these devices usually makes the development of stereoscopic 3D games or applications not very attractive. What is interesting to note here is that all of these devices are pretty much based on Android operating system, nothing from Apple yet (though there are constant rumors) or from Microsoft and their Windows-based solutions for mobile devices, though maybe with Windows 8 we can get something…

LG calls the stereoscopic 3D games for their mobile phones and applications Real 3D applications, they have a separate page for Real 3D app development along with their LG SDK. You can also find some examples and details about the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of LG’s smartphones, so you can quickly and easily get familiar with the way stereo 3D works on LG’s 3D smartphones – LG’s Real3D SDK. LG however also offers an alternative more targeted at users than developers, it is a software called LG 3D Game Converter that converts 3D games into stereoscopic 3D ones in real-time. This converter allows the users to play a normal game in stereoscopic 3D mode as the game is being converted in real-time by the phone, the results in terms of stereoscopic 3D effect vary and some games are unplayable due to the lack of performance to be converted it real-time by the device. Though this solution essentially extends the number of games that can be played in stereoscopic 3D mode on LG’s 3D smartphones significantly.

Next up is Nvidia and their Tegra 3 platform, a powerful and feature rich solution, though apparently Nvidia does not push the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of the platform a lot as an interesting extra, unlike what they are doing in the PC segment with 3D Vision. The interesting thing here is that Nvidia uses a similar approach to providing stereoscopic 3D support on Tegra 3 devices as they do on PC with 3D Vision, they kind of convert 3D games into stereoscopic 3D ones in real-time. But in order to be able to play a game in stereoscopic 3D format it apparently has to be developed for Tegra using Nvidia’s SDK and to have a profile telling the device that stereoscopic 3D mode can be enabled by the user. It is not like with LG’s game converter where you can try to convert any Android game, though the results may vary depending on the game, with Tegra 3 there is a limited number of Tegra-optimized games that can be played in stereo 3D mode. Unfortunately Nvidia does not share a lot of details regarding the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of Tegra 3, at least not with the general public, maybe developers get more information, so you should check out Nvidia’s Developer Zone for more info when it gets back online as it is currently down due to some issues.

HTC is not so active in the area of stereoscopic 3D support like LG is, and they are probably even less active than Nvidia, however they do offer developers information and support for developing stereoscopic 3D applications and games for their HTC EVO 3D smartphone. Here is a stereoscopic 3D overview of the features and capabilities that their device offers and for more details you will of course have to register in their Developer Center.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Rory H // Jul 16, 2012 at 18:43

    If anyone is interested, the LG Optimus 3D Max is now shipping in the United Kingdom from MobiCity UK & it’s just £369.95 now.

    Having used one of these for a while, it seems like they’ve done a good job keeping it competitive. They’ve made a fair few improvements to the original Optimus 3D, and they’re undeniably noticable. The boost in RAM up to 1GHz was certainly necessary, and the updated processor keeps things running smoothly. Of course, the design has improved a lot too, and the phone definitely looks sleeker. It’s also slimmer and lighter, which is always welcome. One thing that put me off the original Optimus 3D was the bulk, so it’s nice to see that they’ve managed to ditch a fair bit of the thickness of the original. The truely great thing about LG 3D phones is the amount of 3D content. They’ve got to be the best for that, hands down…

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