3D Vision Blog

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

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First Impressions From the LG 3D Game Converter Software

November 17th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Other S3D Tech

The 3D Game Converter software was introduced sometime last month with the firmware update (v10K) for the LG Optimus 3D and LG Thrill 4G smartphones, a software that is intended to convert 3D games for these Android-based 3D smartphones into stereoscopic 3D ones for viewing on the autostereoscopic 3D displays of these mobile devices. But I was able to test the software just recently and here you can read some of the first impressions I’ve got for it. You can say that the 3D Game Converter software is something like 3D Vision for PC, but in a version for mobile phones as it does pretty much the same – convert 3D games in stereo 3D mode for viewing on stereoscopic 3D capable hardware. Of course LG’s the 3D Game Converter is only available on the LG Optimus 3D and LG Thrill 4G smartphones, it comes with preset profiles for 56 games that it automatically recognizes and runs with the optimal settings according to LG. And then you can also try to convert pretty much any OpenGL 3D game for Android in stereo 3D mode manually with the software, but you’ll need to figure out the best settings yourself…

Right after you finish the update of the firmware and your freshly installed phone does not have extra software installed, running the 3D Converter Software for the first time can look a bit weird. You get the message and link above that don’t give out too much information about the software and how to use it, and clicking on the link to see the list of games with profiles you get an under construction image and that is pretty much it. And this can be a bit confusing at first, making you think that either something is wrong or you need to do something special to make the software work. But after you install some games things will get more straightforward.

After you install some games, starting with Angry Birds of course as it is one of the games that has a profile in the 3D Game Converter software you will see it in the list of games that the software will show to you instead of the weird message with a non-working link. Every time you run the software it checks for newly installed games that have profiles and if it finds any you get a link added in the list. You need to run the game from within its icon form the 3D GameConverter software in order to run it converted in stereo 3D mode, if you run the game form the standard menu of applications it will work only in the normal non-stereo 3D mode. When you run a game from within the 3D Game Converter software you can use the physical 3D button on the side of the phone to switch between the 3D and stereo 3D mode of the application. Pressing the 3D button when you run the game normally however will not have the same effect. You can find a full list of games that have profiles for stereoscopic 3D mode in the 3D Game Converter software.

If you bring out the options of the application you get a menu with two things that you can choose between – the “Game list” that brings you to the under construction page and is pretty useless as well as the “Customizable games” that you need to use for games that do not yet have profiles. I’ve already mentioned that the software has profiles for 56 games, but it is actually for 55 games and one application and that application is Google Earth, an application that does look quite nice with the added perception of depth after being converted in stereo 3D mode. If you have seen the list of games with profiles already you will know that a lot of them also have a free ad-supported or limited in functionality versions, so normally you might want to get some of these to test the stereo 3D functionality of the software. You will however be a bit surprised when you find out that the free versions of games that have profiles are not being automatically recognized and the profiles for the full versions of these are not applied, so you have to manually try to find the best settings for them as well.

When you select the “Customizable games” option you will see a list of all the applications (not only games) that you have downloaded. This list does not contain any of the preinstalled applications that the phone comes with, so you will not be able to use the software with any of these… not that you’d need to use any of them with the 3D Game Converter software. If you quickly tap any of the icons in this list you will run it converted with the default stereo 3D settings, but if you hold down your finger for a moment on an icon you will get a menu with three sliders to control the settings of the stereoscopic conversion. These are the “3D Quality”, “3D depth” and “3D Scale”, and although what they do is not documented you should be able to pretty quickly get idea on how they work and affect the stereo 3D effect in the games. The default settings should work quite well with most games, but you might be able to get better results tweaking these settings, but playing with them might also bring worse results or make the games unplayable or even not properly working, so be careful. When you Save custom settings for a game in the “Customizable games” option (even if they are the same as the default ones) you will have the game listed in the main menu of the 3D Game Converter application under the “Customized games” list, otherwise they will need to be accessed only through the extra option (“Customizable games”). The problem is that after saving settings for a game and having it listed in the “Customized games” list there is no way to remove it form there, unless you uninstall the game, but holding your finger on the icon in this list for a bit will also bring the sliders for adjustment, so you can quickly and easily play with the settings.

What I did not like much about the 3D Game Converter’s functionality for user created profiles is the fact that you need to set the settings with the three sliders and then run the game to see the effect and while you are in the game you have no control over them. In order to change the settings you need to get out of the game (no need to close it) and go into the 3D game Converter software again, change them and get in the game again to see the difference. The best way to adjust the stereo 3D settings would be to be able to have access to this menu while in a game, unfortunately we’ve seen similar not so good examples with other native stereo 3D games for other platforms that only have stereo 3D adjustment available in their options, so you cannot make adjustments while you are actually seeing the direct result from them on the screen. Hopefully LG will thing of some way to improve this and add an in-game adjustment menu to help users get the best results easier and more convenient and then the next thing that LG can do is add the ability for user made profiles to be exported and imported, so people can share their profiles. Or at least an option to send user settings to LG, so that they can verify them and have them included in the list of profiles of the software via updates.

And a few words about the results of the conversion of 3D games using the 3D Game Converter software. I’ve tested quite a lot of games with the software (including a lot of titles that do not yet have profiles) and in almost all of them the results were very good, but that does not mean there are not some issues. Just a reminded that games that do not support Landscape mode or are not using OpenGL for 3D objects will not work with the 3D Game Converter software and there are also games that may seem 3D-ish, but are actually using only 2D objects and some of these might not look well converted in stereo 3D mode as well. As an example of a game that has some issues after being converted like wrong depth of different objects on the screen, if you look at the above screenshot from Angry Birds Rio you will notice that some of the boxes seem deeper in the screen than others and they should be all with the same depth level. But generally quite a lot of games work pretty good and the conversion to stereo 3D mode is quite convincing, so the 3D Game Converter software would be a really nice feature to have on every 3D-capable smartphone, but it is only available for the owners of LG Optimus 3D and LG Thrill 4G.

You should have in mind that there are some more demanding games for smartphones, optimized to fully utilize the performance of the smartphone that may not be able to provide high enough framerate when converted to stereo 3D mode. The reason for that is the fact that like 3D Vision on PC and other similar solutions, LG’s 3D Game Converter software also needs higher performance in order to render two separate views needed for the stereoscopic 3D output. Another possible issue that you might face when using the stereo 3D conversion functionality is with games that are made to be controlled only with the help of an accelerometer (rotating and turning the device itself). Due to the specifics of the autostereoscopic 3D display that the LG 3D smartphones use moving the device a lot while watching stereo 3D content can lead to uncomfortable experience as you are going to get in and out of the optimum viewing zones of the display only in which you are able to perceive the volume of the image displayed on it. Still, when you consider all the specifics and requirements of the 3D Game Converter software it can help you get more out of your device, especially if you already have a lot of games that are not stereoscopic 3D-capable. LG has certainly managed to bridge the gap that the lack of so much games with native stereoscopic 3D support available at the moment and hopefully they will continue to develop the software further to make it more functional.

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LG’s Dual Play Feature to be Available on LG Cinema 3D HDTVs

September 2nd, 2011 · 9 Comments · Other S3D Tech

At the IFA trade show LG is all about 3D technology and even their theme is “DO IT ALL IN 3D”, however one of the interesting features they are demonstrating seems to be getting less attention that in deserves (LG are probably a bit to blame for that as they are not releasing a lot of details about it yet). I’m talking about LG’s Dual Play feature that they are showing with a racing game and Xbox 360 console – essentially using the 3D features of the LG Cinema 3D TVs to show two different views in 2D to two persons playing a game in multiplayer mode. This probably already reminds you about the upcoming Sony PlayStation 3D monitor and the SimulView technology it will have to allow pretty much the same thing on LG’s 3D TV sets and Xbox 360 consoles. The approach however is a bit different for these two, since Sony uses active shutter glasses and LG passive, although they both rely on the 3D capabilities of the displays. And the end result is a nice to have extra feature that Sony will initially support on the PlayStation 3 console and the PlayStation 3D monitor only and it may require extra optimizations to ensure compatibility with specific games. With the LG implementation demonstrated on an Xbox 360 console the end result should be pretty much the same, although the quality may be a bit lower as compared to the active solution that Sony will provide…

The Dual Play feature has to turn a split screen multiplayer game into two separate views each of them seen only by the first or the second player, but not just any game that has split-screen multiplayer mode will do. Have in mind that each player must wear passive glasses with matching polarizing filters, so instead of the left and right filters with different polarization that are typically found in each pair of glasses, each player will wear a pair with either two left or two right lenses getting the same image with both eyes. And you can get to use that extra feature without actually having to get anything special, you can even swap the lenses on two pairs of normal polarized glasses that you got with the LG Cinema 3D HDTV and get the required Left/Left and Right/Right pairs of glasses. Then all you have to do is activate a game’s multiplayer mode (compatible with that function) that will split the screen in two and then set the TV to use this Dual Play function. You may think that it should also work by just manually activating the Top/Bottom or Side by Side 3D input and you will get two different views for each player, but you are forgetting that for this to work you need to send squashed frame output and with multiplayer split screen you get the full frame that is just cropped to fit your part of the screen, meaning that if you try to do that you will get a distorted frame. So if you thought that this extra function would be possible on all passive 3D HDTVs, then you will have to think again as things are not that simple as they may seem. But we’ll have to wait a bit more until LG releases more details about which of their 3D HDTVs will support the Dual Play functions and what other requirements will be there besides the more specific glasses…

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LG Xnote A530 is a New 3D-capable Notebook With a 3D Camera

August 24th, 2011 · 1 Comment · General 3D News

LG has launched in Korea what seems to be their first 3D-capable laptop, the LG Xnote A530, and the laptop is expected to be also available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa later this month followed by other markets soon after (no work on North American availability yet). LG A530 is a 15.6-inch laptop that uses the company’s Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology for providing a 3D display capabilities in the device and this is essentially a passive 3D display that requires you to wear a pair of passive polarized glasses to see the 3D effect. So far nothing we haven’t seen from other companies, however LG is going a step further by adding a built-in 3D webcamera as well that consists of essentially two normal 2D webcams that seem to be about 2 centimeters apart (less than an inch). Having a 3D webcamera on your laptop may seem like a cool idea at first, but it is something that is still not very usable as most video conversation software solutions still don’t support 3D video. So maybe you can be stuck at using it only for anaglyph 3D mode if supported, as this can also be easy for the person sitting on the other side to see you in 3D if he does not have a dedicated 3D-capable display. Although there is yet again integration with YouTube’s 3D support, so you will be easily able to upload 3D videos of you record with the 3D webcam, another thing that does not seem way too practical like having a 3D camera on a smartphone for example.

It is also interesting to note that on the official pres photo from LG there is the LG 3D Space software displayed, something that you may be familiar with if you’ve seen the company’s LG Optimus 3D smartphone, so this 3D interface should be giving you similar features to that found on the 3D phone. The 3D video and photo playback, as well as the ability to play games in stereoscopic 3D mode are apparently provided by DDD’s TriDef 3D software which LG also uses for their other passive 3D displays. There also seems to be a Blu-ray 3D video player and something that makes me a bit curious, a 3D Presentation mode that uses unknown for the moment software. The 15.6-inch display is apparently with Full HD 1920×1080 resolution that turns to half vertical (1920×540) per eye of that when you activate the 3D mode due to the way all of the passive 3D displays work. The LG A530 is using a second-generation Intel Core i7 processors, comes with up to 8GB of system memory, GeForce GT 555M graphics card that should be quite Ok for most not so demanding games even in stereo 3D mode (not fast enough to call this a high-end gaming laptop), a built-in solid-state drive (SSD) together with a traditional HDD drive, integrated fingerprint reader, SRS Wide 3D Sound system, USB 3.0 support, and the 3D webcam already mentioned. We’ll have to wait a bit more and see the first reviews when the laptop comes out in order to have a better understanding of the performance and extra features it will be offering in stereo 3D mode as the currently available information for the upcoming LG A530 laptop is not very detailed.

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