Posted by: maroonmaurader | January 20, 2010

More 3D

So there are various software and hardware wizardry out there designed to transform video games into 3D display, and that’s not what I’m questioning. I also know that quite a few games happen to actually look passably good that way, as an unexpected side-effect of the way all sorts of graphics processing has been offloaded to graphics cards over the years and other such technical details. What’s odd to me is that I can’t think of a single major-release game in the last fifteen years that was deliberately designed to be viewed in 3D as well as or instead of 2D. Obviously it doesn’t really add to your target market, but it seems like someone would have done it if only to show that they could. It seems like an arena where it should be easier to make something 3D than in film, given that for most games things are already modeled internally in 3D, then transformed into 2D for display purposes after the modeling is done. Absolute worst-case for computation time, assuming you couldn’t figure out any time-saving tricks, would be to about double the graphics power required (and then you just treat it as overlaying two slightly displaced cameras). But I think you could do a lot better than that with some thought, and I suspect whoever designed the current 3D adapters has already done a lot of the thought involved so the game designers probably wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money developing all of that.

Given how big a deal surround-sound was for lots of games when it was first being widely adopted, it’s a little odd I can’t think of anyone who has given this a shot. Maybe I just don’t know of the relevant games, in which case does anyone want to inform me who and how it turned out?

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Responses

  1. JJ, I am actually quite uncertain what you mean when you say “It seems like an arena where it should be easier to make something 3D than in film, given that for most games things are already modeled internally in 3D, then transformed into 2D for display purposes after the modeling is done.” I was under the impression that game developers modelled things on computers similar in kind to the ones consumers used, with basically identical video outputs and screens. Unless Valve has secret holographic projectors I don’t know about, I can’t see how things need to be processed from to be like normal projections. If you are talking about 3d as in “exists-with-three-axes” rather than “pop-out-of-your-screen” gimmicky 3d, then you might have missed the boat slightly.

    For your larger point, why hasn’t a major studio invested in a 3d option in a major release, I’d imagine its because very few TVs/monitors are/were compatile with 3d outputs to justify the expense of rendering everything in 3d (again, this hangs on me doubting your dubious proposition that games are natively 3d) in a major release. Major studios (Crytek aside) are simply not in the business of spending tons of money on technology that no one can use for shits and giggles and cool tech demos for fairly transparent reasons. However, if industry soothsayers are to be believed (generally speaking, they shouldn’t be), then 3d compatible TVs/monitors are the future and it will start being economical for major studios to start producing such games.

    As a wider note, why the fuck does anyone even like “3d” movies/games/etc.? I recognize this is like a deaf man criticizing talkies, but even when my 3d vision was much better than it is now, I felt that 3d effects were nothing but a huge gimmick that added nothing to the experience of watching a film except for eye strain and the occasional impulse to duck. Now that they are the new Furby and savvy types are raving about them everywhere, it is assumed that they add immeasurably to all experiences. I can’t help feeling that the emperor has no clothes and we will decide five years from now that 3d movies are just as lame as they were five years ago, and people will go about their business.


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