As 3D Content Hub currently develops a new television series on 3D Films & 3D Games reviews, we find it timely to focus on the world of 3D Gaming. In this second part, Ed Mason founder of 3Dizzy.com, an online community focusing on stereoscopic and autostereoscopic gaming technologies continues with sharing his insights. The first part is here.
“Over the course of 2010, shocked by the lack of True 3D content, I started creating my own 3D Gameplay videos of any game I could get my hands on, hosting it on a rudimentary version of 3Dizzy.com and allowing other 3D PC gamers to download the video to see what a game could look like in 3D before having to spend any money. Not long after, nVidia introduced in-browser streaming of 3D videos and agreed that in return for my 3D gameplay videos, I could use their technology on my site.
In August of 2010, I re-launched 3Dizzy.com allowing users to not only stream 3D videos in their browser but to also upload, share and embed their own 3D videos and 3D related content on their own web sites; the idea being to create a playground for the rapidly growing 3D community that focused on true stereoscopic content (as opposed to automatic 2D to 3D conversions). This is where we differ from YouTube: as a platform, we do not offer, nor do we encourage the use of automatic 2D to 3D conversions for a very specific reason (foresight!), but that’s a story for another day. We also went about creating the world’s first stereoscopic 3D Gaming TV Show, which to this day is airing into Millions of Households worldwide in 3D!
Over the course of 2011 we started hearing all kinds of news stories that 3D was a fad and it was gimmicky and blah blah blah. Things couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true that after the success of Avatar, what followed was a ton of sub-par stereoscopic movie releases that really didn’t help the global opinion of 3D, in actual fact, good things were percolating behind the scenes.
You see, the Gamer is usually an early first adopter of all new technologies, and with myself in particular, I like to get the absolute most out of all my new toys. Around the release of the Nintendo 3DS, I started looking to see what was coming after S3D displays and turned my attention to autostereoscopic 3D (AS3D). I started testing every screen I could get my hands on, from Dimenco to Tridelity, but they all had the same issues. Apart from the astronomical price tag, AS3D displays suffered from restricted viewing angles (like the 3DS), as well darker screens due to parallax barriers across the screen. This makes home use impractical and while the drivers worked just like their stereoscopic counterparts, the displays has some way to go before glasses free 3d gaming is really viable.
In early 2012, 3D International developed something wonderful: a truly affordable AS3D solution called “VisuZ”. This is simply a screen attachment that fixes to a 2D TV or monitor and when used in conjunction with their AS3D Drivers, creates an AS3D gaming experience that is enjoyable from multiple angles. 3D Blu-rays can also be viewed in AS3D (via PC) by using their special video player, but we found that these screens are at their happiest when running games. We received a prototype to test and were more than pleasantly surprised with the results. Compared with some of the autostereoscopic displays we’ve seen that are thousands of pounds, this screen outperforms most of them.
The screen itself is a thick piece of transparent glass that easily clips onto a display, and rather than using parallax barriers (which dims the screen), 3D International have developed a technology called CLD (or Chromatic Light Deflection), which pretty much bends light towards each eye. The result is a much brighter gaming experience. The screen has the added benefit that it can be viewed from multiple angles, making it suitable for multiplayer use.
In March, 2012, I was invited to speak at the 3D Storytelling Conference at Ravensbourne University in London. I had a couple of topics to speak about, primarily, the future of 3D Gaming but also 3D Cloud Gaming, which something I had taken a keen interest in since OnLive had launched the year before (I was also lucky enough to win first prize in the UKs only 3D Gaming Tournament). At the conference, I was surprised to see just how many people were unaware of the quantity of games available to play in 3D. The majority of attendees owned a 3D Display and were delighted to discover they could use 3D drivers and play their favorite games in 3D rather than having to wait for more ‘3D Ready’ titles to come out. A year later, the tech community would witness one of the most exciting 3D displays ever to be invented – designed specifically with gaming in mind.
In August, 2012 a crowd sourced project was placed on Kickstarter.com. The device was called the Oculus Rift and was developed by a gentleman named Palmer Luckey. This device received the funding necessary within the first 24 hours: it was an overnight sensation. Palmer’s Oculus Rift went on to receive critical acclaim from John Carmack, Cliff Bleszinski and the rest of the gaming community for being so unbelievably brilliant.
The Oculus Rift is a HMD unlike any other. It is affordable and it is awesome. This device will make you feel as though you are actually inside the game due to the huge Field of View and incredibly accurate head tracking. Yes, you can even turn your head inside the game world, all in glorious 3D! This will be released sometime in 2013 and if you were lucky enough to help out on their Kickstarter campaign then you will be getting your Developer Kit sometime in April ’13. Supported games so far include Hawken and DOOM 3 BFG.
At The London 2012 EuroGamer Expo, I revealed 3Dizzy.com’s Top Secret project to the public for the first time, the world’s first Auto / Stereoscopic 3D Cloud Gaming Platform.
The difference between 3Dizzy.com and other cloud gaming companies is the way in which we deliver the game to the user; our platform isn’t restricted by the same latency issues and bandwidth requirements that are mandatory for traditional methods of pixel streaming.
To demonstrate the versatility of our platform, we showcased it working on a 3D Projector, a 3DTV, a 3D Monitor, an autostereoscopic 3D Display, the VisuZ and even tweaked the PlayStation 3DTV to display a 3D PC signal. We then loaded up some 2D games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in magnificent S3D as well as native S3D games like Trine 2: Goblin Menace. We received tremendous appraisal from developers, publishers and gamers alike. As it stands, we are the only platform capable of streaming not only 3D games but glasses free 3D games as well. We are now touring publishers worldwide to secure as many AAA titles as possible before publically launching in 2013.
What does that mean to the gamer? Well, they are able to play the games they want to, when they want to, in whatever format of 3D they choose!
Finally: CES 2013 and 4K TVs. I would like to point out that contrary to a lot of widespread belief, 4K isn’t shelving 3D – 4K is enabling 3D in ways we have never seen before. Doubling the resolution for 2D also means doubling the resolution for 3D. We are still hindered by the HDMI 1.4a restriction of Full HD 3D at 24Hz, but it is still a step in the right direction. It won’t be long until we see plenty of 4K 3D games on the market.
IBTimes recently reported that the new PlayStation 4 will come with an AMDx64 CPU and an AMD Southern Island GPU, which means that with an incredible 4K image, 3D games will finally be playable at 1080p on a console (remember, presently the PS3 can only play 3D games at a resolution of 720p).
It is worth mentioning that the Oculus Rift won pretty much every award worth winning at CES and I thoroughly look forward to meeting Palmer in a few weeks to demo the 3Dizzy Platform.
That bombshell brings us to the end of to our brief history of 3D Gaming. If you have made it this far, then congratulations! You are now a little wiser in the world of stereoscopic gaming and hopefully you are now a little more inclined to play games in 3D, perhaps we have tempted you to immerse yourself in a world that I guarantee will surprise and delight.
I hope you found this at least a little helpful. If you need any further information on any of the above, then feel free to visit us at 3Dizzy.com or ask on our forums for a speedy response. We are housing a rapidly growing community and we look forward to seeing you soon!
The Playstation 3D TV
The Playstation 3D TV is a great piece of kit. Obviously built by Sony for ultimate compatibility with the PS3’s 3D, this is a 240Hz screen capable of not only playing games in 3D but also offers SimulView, a funky feature that allows two gamers to play a split screen game with a full screen each… on the same TV!
The image clarity on this beast is beautiful, it is a shame it only comes in one size. For the more technical users out there, you might be happy to read that simple EDID override will make this display work with the above mentioned nVidia 3DTV Play and ultimately, you can use it to play your PC games (via your PC of course) in 3D too.
HMZ-T2 is a 3D head mounted display built by Sony offering 2D and 3D viewing with virtual 5.1 surround sound. Perfect for movies and gaming, its twin OLED screens display vividly sharp images to absorb you in a truly immersive experience
As the HMZ-T2 uses two OLED screens, on top of an incredibly crisp image, you also won’t experience crosstalk giving you a much more enjoyable gaming experience.”
All pictures courtesy of 3Dizzy. The author of this guest article is Ed Mason.
Ed Mason is a known expert, avid gamer and pioneer in the field of emerging video game technologies. Having developed a playground for the rapidly growing stereoscopic 3D gaming community, Ed went on to create the world’s first 3D Cloud Gaming Platform which was showcased at the 2012 EuroGamer Expo in London. He spoke at the 2012 3D Storytelling conference on the future of 3D Gaming as well as 3D Cloud Gaming and also came first in the UK’s first 3D Gaming Tournament. Since then, He has been invited to film in events 3D such as the much coveted Celebrity Call of Duty Black Ops 2 launch in Central London. Ed has presented 3Dizzy at Harvard Business School and has toured Silicon Valley demoing the 3D Cloud Gaming platform to publishers and developers and will be joining the folks at Rocket Space in San Francisco later on this year.