3D Vision Blog

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

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Will 4K Gaming Replace Stereoscopic 3D Gaming or Not

October 3rd, 2013 · 7 Comments · Other S3D Tech

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If you are already a gamer playing in stereoscopic 3D mode or are at least following what has been happening with stereo 3D you have probably noticed that lately stereo 3D gaming is being left aside and both AMD and Nvidia are focusing on 4K gaming as the next big thing in gaming. The question here is if 4K gaming will become the norm in a few years or it will have fate that stereo 3D gaming does currently have – not supported and left to the community hoping that it will keep it alive. Nvidia has done great by reviving its old stereoscopic 3D drivers and pushing both hardware manufacturers and gamers to go and try stereoscopic 3D gaming a few years ago and thus creating the big market for stereoscopic 3D gaming itself. Of course there were also other solutions already available at that time, but they did not have the needed resources and the interest in general in stereo 3D was not that strong back then. AMD on the other hand also supported kind of stereoscopic 3D, but it was “outsourced” to partners such as iZ3D and DDD, because the company never did have very strong interest in stereoscopic 3D gaming. With the boom of the interest in stereo 3D after Cameron’s movie Avatar and because Nvidia already had strong positions in the stereoscopic 3D gaming market that it has helped create, AMD had to do something more and the HD3D technology has been introduced. The problem is that AMD did not try to push game developers to support this technology (this often happens with the innovative technologies they announce) and while Nvidia has done a better job at first, lately they give the impression as they are not considering their 3D Vision technology as something they need to push anymore. So at the moment only DDD are actively developing their TriDef 3D solution and are pursuing not only stereo 3D on the PC, but also on other markets such as mobile devices and they are even offering a beta support for the Oculus Rift.

Meanwhile what happened to the market is that people yet again got interested in VR technology and gaming in VR environments mostly thanks to the Oculus Rift project and the really good feedback it got not only by consumers, but by developers as well. And just like stereoscopic 3D the Head Mounted Displays are nothing really new, they are just something that got revived yet again thanks to the recent huge boom in technology for mobile devices that allows you to pack good enough hardware in a small package and most importantly at an affordable price. The revival in the interest in VR gaming has also helped the development of various non-traditional controllers, but while the hardware is here or will soon be available the biggest issue that remains is the availability of software that will support it. With the Oculus Rift things are already moving quite well and with the introduction of the consumer version of the device in 2014 it could really be the next big thing in gaming and not 4K. Even the lower resolution development kits of the Rift have demonstrated that the resolution is not the most important thing for gaming, though it helps, it should not only be all about the resolution. The experience you are getting while gaming is way more important than to have some more pixels and that goes not only when talking about the hardware you are using, but also for the games you are going to be playing.

Let’s get back to 4K gaming and see what is happening there and why. Hardware companies already started promoting the new technology supporting 4K as 1080p or Full HD has apparently gotten old and widely adopted, so the industry needs to provide something new. Obviously increasing the resolution of a display is a good choice as you will need more powerful hardware that is capable of supporting the higher resolution, and before the technology starts to become widely adopted the prices will be high and the profit will be good. Both AMD and Nvidia will want you to buy not just one high-end video card, but two or even three in order to be able to play in 4K resolution at maximum detail levels in the latest games. And it is not only the video card, you will also need a high-end CPU, more memory, faster disk drives etc. so this will be driving the hardware market forward obviously. At the moment however not that many people are readily giving 3-4K USD for a PC and then again that much for a 4K display like the Asus PQ321QE (there are not that many options available yet) just to be able to got higher resolution.

The truth is that you can get much more realism and fun while gaming with either VR or stereo 3D and that can happen at a fraction of a cost that 4K would require at this point, so undoubtedly the question that arises here is if 4K is the next step in gaming or not? This depends a lot on how things move in the following year or two, so we need more 4K monitors becoming available and at a much lower price in order for normal consumers to start buying the hardware. For the moment 4K gaming is only for enthusiasts with deep pockets that love to brag about their PC being top of the line and it will be like that for some time. Sure it was a similar situation with stereoscopic 3D when it was reintroduced with the 3D Vision technology a few years back, it was more expensive, but not as what 4K costs at the moment. With Stereo 3D gaming it was the experience that it provided compared to playing a game on a normal 2D monitor that quickly drove people into adopting it and with 4K it is just more of the same – you get more pixels. And more pixels and higher pixel density just make the image look smoother and hard edges not so apparent even when not using AA filtering, so it does not add that much to the immersion inside the game atmosphere and making the experience more realistic like when playing a good game in stereoscopic 3D or in VR mode. So the future of 4K gaming for now is a bit cloudy and unsure and while you should not totally ignore it for the moment, you should not also jump immediately on the 4K boat either. The industry is not yet completely ready with the technology required for 4K, so it is best to wait and see what happens in 2014 before making a decision, and let us see if the sequel of the movie Avatar in 2016 will bring back the interest in stereoscopic 3D technology or maybe the wide availability of good autostereoscopic 3D solutions (glasses-free) in a few years or…

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Some 3D Vision Monitors May Have Resolution Issue in 3D Mode

August 27th, 2013 · 11 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

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Back in 2011 when Acer released their first Acer HN274H B 3D monitor with 3D Vision 2 and 3D Lightboost technology support and I’ve got a unit for testing I have noticed that the monitor had some problems with the resolution in stereoscopic 3D mode. When it was showing something in stereo 3D mode the image was like with only half of the vertical lines per eye and not all of them showing, very similar to what you are seeing in a passive 3D monitor though there in 3D mode you get half the horizontal lines per eye. After all one of the advantages of active 3D technology is that it is supposed to be offering full 1080p resolution per eye thanks to the shutters in the 3D glasses being used. Notice on the image above how on the 3D Vision setup wizard with the screen showing the hexagon and rectangle stereo 3D test screen how the 2D text above is just fine, however the geometric figures with stereo 3D effect applied to them are like with half horizontal resolution – you see a line of green pixels for the hexagon then a line of what seems to be white pixels then again a line of green and the same goes with the blue for the triangle. Normally these figures need to be a solid color and monitors with this vertical scanline-like or checkerboard-like issue are showing them as if they are with lower resolution then they should actually be. Note that the image above is not a very closeup shot of the screen and yet the effect caused by the issue is clearly visible, so it is easily noticeable at normal viewing distance when using the display.

Back then I’ve tried pretty much anything to see where the problem with the Acer HN274H B monitor not showing the full resolution per eye was, like using different video drivers, trying different GPU configurations, playing with different cables and so on, but nothing helped. So I ended up with the conclusion that there is something wrong with the monitor itself. Nvidia was also aware about the issue when I’ve checked with them and they were looking into what was causing the problem. I should note that when testing the Asus VG278H monitor that was the other 3D Lightboost-capable monitor back at that time there were no such problems as what the Acer monitor has shown in stereo 3D mode, so apparently not all monitors were affected by this. Since that time I’ve tested a few more newer 3D-capable monitor with 3D Lightboost technology and did not see the same problem present or that much apparent at least in any of them, however I just seen a forum post with people complaining of having very similar problem with most of the newer active 3D displays on the market though not all units seem to be affected. This includes monitors such as the Asus VG248QE, Asus VG278HE, Asus VG278HR, BenQ XL2420T and BenQ XL270T, so it seems that the problem is still there and the question is what is casing it? This issue has actually been identified as LCD inversion (alternating positive and negative voltages for pixels used within an LCD panel in order to prevent polarization and thus damage) and thanks to Mark Rejohn we already have a good online test to check your 3D monitor for LCD inversion artifacts, so check out the Moving Inversion Patterns Test.

With that said, if you have a 3D-capable monitor that is suffering from the same problem as described above (seeming like half horizontal resolution) when in stereo 3D mode and by the way this issue is also visible with moving objects when you are using the display in 120Hz 3D mode, though everything seems normal in 60Hz, you are welcome to report it in the comments below or the forum topic linked below. Please post the model of your 3D display as well as a production date (should be printed on the information sticker at the back of the display). You can easily check to see if your 3D monitor is affected by the same issue and how strong the problem is by going through the 3D Vision setup wizard and taking a closer look at the Hardware Test image with the geometric figures that is on the photo above, so you actually don’t need anything special to test, though the mentioned test above can also help if you are using a compatible browser.

To check out the topic describing the above resolution problem at the GeForce forums…

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Nvidia and Ubisoft Pushing Graphics in Games, No 3D Vision Support

August 21st, 2013 · 1 Comment · General 3D News

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Nvidia has just announced an what they call an alliance with Ubisoft to offer PC gamers “the best gaming experiences possible” for some of Ubisoft’s upcoming top titles to be released this fall, including Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, Assassins Creed IV Black Flag and Watch Dogs. Here is a quote about what this alliance means for gamers expecting the best possible graphics:

NVIDIA’s developer technology team is working closely with Ubisoft’s development studios on incorporating graphics technology innovations to create game worlds that deliver new heights of realism and immersion. One example is NVIDIA TXAA antialiasing, which provides Hollywood-levels of smooth animation, soft shadows, HBAO+ (horizon-based ambient occlusion) and advanced DX11 tessellation.

Sadly this news does not mention 3D Vision at all or at least stereoscopic 3D support and this comes as a bit of a disappointment for gamers playing in stereoscopic 3D mode especially in regards to Assassins Creed IV that has the potential to look simply great when played in stereo 3D mode as previously released Assassins Creed games have demonstrated. Notice that Nvidia is talking about “new heights of realism and immersion” and that apparently no longer includes native stereo 3D support or 3D Vision support and that comes a general lack of activity from Nvidia regarding 3D Vision for a while now…

The good news here is that we already have DirectX 11 wrappers available that allow shader modification directly by the 3D Vision user community playing games in stereo 3D. Thanks to Helix and the 3DMigoto we could still be able to modify some problematic vertex and pixel shaders (or remove them) in order to have new DirectX 11 games run with all the visual goodies, including tessellation, so that these titles could actually be made playable in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision even if they don’t have official support.

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