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The 3D Experience

Tamsin Oxford
Features, News, PC games, PS3


The 3D Experience

I’ve always been a fan of 3D anything. Well, the idea of 3D anything. In reality it’s never quite worked out very well, has it? You’ve either spent a good proportion of the time leaning from side to side in order to keep everything in focus, or nursing a whopper of a headache. A 3D hangover without the fun bit first.

In spite of many setbacks, including dodgy Channel 4 westerns and B movies, 3D seems to be the buzzword of 2010. Ever since the tail end of 2009, products boasting 3D capabilities have been shuffling nervously onto the market.

The 3D ExperienceAsus launched the G51J 3D notebook in January of this year with Nvidia’s latest 3D technology built in. It comes with a set of wireless 3D vision active-shutter glasses and promises to whisk games into the third dimension.  Acer climbed into the ring first with the Aspire 5738DG (who comes up with these names?) but it didn’t quite have the power that Asus shoved into their machine.

Still, although 3D gaming looks set to become the killer app of the Teens, the technology surrounding it is at about the same stage of development. Like spots on teeny skin, flaws crop up. You have to remain pretty steady or you lose colours and the axis, and this can lead to some rather nasty side-effects, like brain crushing headaches or irritation. And it is sometimes flawed. You can't get away with just having 3D because it's pretty, it has to truly deliver.

Still, these are a small price to pay for the uber coolness of the 3D game. Immersing yourself in World of Warcraft is relentlessly powerful. Dragons and fists and weapons blasting out of the screen. Whenever I’ve done a review on one of these I’ve almost always found myself leaning back (or jumping a little and squeaking) as arms of doom reach out of the screen. It’s the best mind game ever.

The 3D ExperienceCertainly the market is frothing at the mouth. Shortly after Asus plonked their netbook onto the market, the news began to shake with 3D this and 3D that. Movies like Avatar and Alice are shaking the cinematic floorboards while Philips, Sony, MSI and Nokia throw 3D development announcements about like confetti.

In a recent interview, the Senior Vice President of Nokia Smartphones, Jo Harlow, said, “Content wise I think 3D – in terms of 3D games and the developer community – those kinds of things, especially among young people could be very, very interesting in terms of enhancing that experience, so I think that there’s a lot of exciting things on the horizon.”

The 3D ExperienceI have three concerns with the idea of 3D games on mobile phones. The first is aesthetic. If you looked a right tit wearing a earpiece, and a right plonker marching about the local public transport yelling, “Sell!” into your mobile phone, how utterly ridiculous are you going to look with 3D glasses on?

Secondly, would it even be worth it considering the size of the screen? I am a size queen, I admit it. I can’t really play games on my smart phone, with the possible except of Plants vs. Zombies, without getting a bit fed up, so I’m not sure that 3D is really the way forward for mobile.

Then again, I could be completely wrong. Finally, I take umbrage with the fact that she thinks only young people will appreciate the 3D experience on a mobile phone. Oh, wait...

Metal Gear Arcade is about to pounce into arcades in all its 3D glory and with it has come a possibly unexpected problem. Not the game, no, that appears to be fine. This is amusingly about the potential for sharing all sorts of yukky bacteria with fellow gamers.

Reuters recently reported that the Italian health ministry had confiscated 7 000 sets of 3D glasses from cinemas due to hygiene issues. If they are not properly cleansed they can become festering cesspools of bacterial activity. Aaaieee.

The 3D Experience

So in arcades, where all sorts of anorak wearing weirdos with an aversion to personal hygiene abound, what are the chances that the goggles you need for Metal Gear Arcade will be teaming with voracious bacteria? Pretty high I think. Perhaps all 3D activities outside the home need to be tackled with Dettol, cloths and anti-bacterial lotion...

The 3D ExperienceTaking it back to the personal 3D theatre, MSI have announced two 3D gaming notebooks namely; GX640 and GX740. These boast Intel Core i5 dual-core processors and ATi Mobility Radeon 3D discrete graphics cards that offer full DirectX11 support.  It’s going to be interesting to see how these compete with the Asus and Acer offerings already on the market.

Finally, Sony, who couldn’t possibly be left behind in the dimensional space race showed off a ton of 3D technology in Dubai last week. This included TVs, Blu-ray players, Blu-ray home theatre systems and firmware updates to PS3 units so they are compatible with 3D stereoscopic games and Blue-ray 3D discs.

So it seems that my 3D dreams may well be coming true this year. I’ve barely tickled the surface of the 3D technologies coming out over the course of the year, the games that will be taking advantage of it and the potential for the future.

Add a comment3 comments
Phil McC  Feb. 24, 2010 at 14:58

Classic early 90's game "Magic Carpet" shipped with 3D glasses and you switch the game into 3D with one of the F-keys.

Nice to see 15 years later other games are starting to catch up!

EndlessWaves  Feb. 24, 2010 at 15:35

3d vision clearly isn't ready for the big time, I'd much rather see games with 3d controls being developed right now. The controllers are there, you can get a Novint Falcon for a similar price to a set of 3d glasses, and all it requires is more support.

Matt Gardner  Feb. 24, 2010 at 16:37

Magic Carpet was awesome!


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