To me, nobody's got Fisher Price and its 65-year-old View-Master beat when it comes to 3-D. Sure, its paper discs are only capable of conveying still images, but no matter how many so-called 3-D movies, games, ads, or even football matchups I've seen over the years, nothing's come close to duplicating the awe I experienced the first time I ever peeped into those famous red binoculars. So, it was with great anticipation that I test drove the new GeForce 3-D Vision gaming goggles from Nvidia this week.
The $199 kit is comprised of a pair of Max Headroom-esque glasses and an IR emitter that jacks into a spare USB port. The "sold separately" requirements are any Nvidia GeForce Series 8 (or higher) graphics card and a 3-D Vision-ready display (either a 120Hz Dual-Link DVI monitor, one of a myriad of Mitsubishi DLP TV models or the DepthQ HD 3-D projector by LightSpeed Design).
Up until now, my first and last experience with three-dimensional gaming was Rad Racer, which careened onto the Nintendo Entertainment System way back in 1987. The game shipped with a pair of those classic creature feature-style cardboard specs and dropped into 3-D mode anytime you pressed the Select button. The resulting gameplay was more nauseating than it was three-dimensional and not something you really wanted to be subjected to for more than two consecutive minutes.
Well, things have changed a bit in the last two decades, and the Nvidia 3-D experience is pretty awesome. Setup is fairly straightforward: You have to dump your old Nvidia divers and install some new ones, but after that you're ready to go. The way it works is that each of the lenses on the pair of glasses is actually an LCD that can go either completely dark or become completely transparent depending on the signal it receives from the IR emitter. The dark/light state of each lens flip-flops rapidly, showing the left eye one image and then the right eye a slightly different one, which fools the brain into thinking it's seeing one single image with depth of field. This happens so rapidly (60 times per second, to be precise) that there's no flicker detectable by the human eye.
The greatest virtue of 3-D Vision is that it's already compatible and preconfigured to work with more than 300 existing games, including most of today's biggest titles. Within minutes of receiving the kit, I was squaring up three-dimensional headshots in Call of Duty: World at War. And, boy, did those exploding skulls look amazing. 3-D Vision does an exceptional job of immersing you in a game -- to the point that you can't help but wonder how far off full-blown "virtual reality" gaming really is. I got completely lost in the experience of following my squadron out of a prison camp, then onto a beach and up into the jungle. Put simply, the entire experience was just way more convincing.
Nicely, the IR emitter has a dial on the back that allowed me to fiddle with the depth of field to my liking. I also appreciated the fact that the glasses can fit over the prescription reading specs I use at the computer. Another little bonus is that the glasses come with various nose-bridge pieces to accommodate different-sized beaks.
But what I liked most about 3-D Vision is that it doesn't fall into the same gimmicky trap that every other 3-D experience inevitably does when it throws things right at your face or whizzes them directly under your nose. Yeah, this kind of stuff may solicit a "Whoa" out of me the first time I see it, but it always becomes so tired and predictable so fast (read my take on the recent 3-D football experiment for more on that). This isn't the case with 3-D Vision because it's using existing content that was never specifically built with 3-D glasses in mind. I can only hope that new games don't start resorting to these lame tactics as 3-D gaming becomes more popular.
Of course, I've got my gripes -- this is The Grouse, after all. My first has to do more with 3-D in general, though, and it's the fact that I always find it hard and somewhat painful to focus on something directly when it's in 3-D. Nvidia's technology is no different. If I try to look right at something, whether it's a squad member in Call of Duty, an evolutionary abomination in Spore or a brains-hungry zombie in Left 4 Dead, it actually hurts my eyes. But if I kind of step my eyes back, so to speak, and try to soak in the entire picture at once, it looks really impressive. Now, it's one thing to train yourself to "unfocus" if you're watching a movie, but that's not so easy to do in a video game where a lack of focus will get you killed.
My other complaint is a familiar one to this column, and that's price. 120Hz Dual-Link DVI monitors aren't exactly commonplace quite yet, so to experience 3-D Vision you're more than likely going to have to shell out for a fancy new display. Nvidia bundles a 22-inch Samsung with the glasses kit for a combined $598. Of course, if you don't happen to have a GeForce Series 8 or higher GPU, that's another couple of hundred bucks you'll be parting with. Suspending technological reality for a moment (and business reality, too), it would be nice if the 3-D glasses just worked with my existing monitor and GPU, and without the need to give up a USB port.
That's why, ultimately, 3-D Vision isn't for everyone. If you're a hardcore PC gamer who's hands are superglued to the keyboard and mouse, then 3-D Vision is an investment that will improve your day-to-day life by a factor of 1,000. The more casual gamer will want to wait it out, let prices come down, and see if the technology even takes off and gains widespread acceptance. For others, being able to watch Lara Croft prance around in three dimensions in Tomb Raider: Underworld is worth the price of admission.
My biggest problem with these new technologies is the, why? I work in the CG field and don't understand when people say it is now in 3D. The product you are looking at is already in 3D it is just on a flat screen. Frankly if the common consumer were to raise their IQ just slightly and realize this technology is a waste of money and a fad that needs to go away.
I myself personally have worked and reviewed more than a dozen various "3D" glasses. The ones that have two different colors, destroy the look of the original piece us artists put years into. The glasses that basically fake depth by blur the image is doing just that blurring the image, which again is destroying the look of the piece. Now with these glasses basically you have a ultra high flash rater strobe strapped to each eye.
All of them bring the same end result massive migraines, you wonder why you can't focus on a specific area within the "3D", it is because the human was not built to see like that for long periods. I bet if we did some studies, we would find the visual center of the brain and the optical nerves under huge stresses due to these new fad technologies.
Consumers don't bother with these things and they will go away, then that money in your pocket will stay there and not be paying for a fad add on that could double the price, ie; new movie ticket prices for the "3D" showing.
I have a pair of Sony Glasstron glasses, which is really two tv's, and gives you the same effect as looking at a 60 inch screen, However Sony stop making them, as the effect was really too real.
You could use them on Sony play stations, and on Microsoft Flightsims. Sony said no one under 16 should use them, and after looking through then for 40 minutes, they would shut down.
I really didn't follow there thinking, until one day I was using them with my Sony playstaion, flying in the game, Agile Warrior F-111X, flying at 1500 mph, rolling the plane, and shooting down other planes, till all of a sudden after 15 minutes of play, my stomach started to make me fill sick, then it dawned on me I was getting Air sick, I shut the game off, and it took me over 3 hours to get rid of the feeling. That was over 2 years ago, and still remember it. The brain really think it is happening.
Olimpus also made glasses, called Eye-trek, which were even stronger. When all you can see is just those screens, and everything else is blacked out around you, the effect is strong, Eye-Treks they also quit making. I haven't tried Nvidia glasses yet, but by looking at the big screens, seeing the areas around you I don't think you would get as a very strong effect.
roguepanda: I just had to sign up and reply to your post since it was full of uninformative BS.
For someone who works in the CG industry, you should understand the benefits of using 3D. Hell, if you have anything to do with 3D modeling of any kind, modeling in actual 3D as opposed to 2D that your basic monitor displays is a huge thing.
First of all, saying that you get headaches because humans were not meant to see "this way for long" is utter garbage. Do you know that this technology is at it's most basic level mimicking the human eye/brain interaction??? Humans see in 3 dimensions. Each eye sees a slightly different view of the same object in 2D and the brain combines the 2 images from both the right and left eye to give you the depth information that is 3D. The glasses are doing EXACTLY the same thing. They are showing the right eye a slightly different angle of the same image that the left eye sees and your brain does what it always does, combines the two and gives you depth information.
Did you also know that it's theorized that one of the reasons humans became the dominate species on the planet was due to our special awareness due to stereoscopic vision? It made us better hunters.
So to say that we were not ment to see this way is absurd. You see "this way" every single day of your natural life.
So please, don't talk about raising IQ's etc if you don't know what you are talking about yourself. You clearly need more education on the subject before spewing your uneducated opinions as fact.
The tech is amazing and it's completely safe to use. You won't go blind or cause any kind of damage to your vision period. Again, cuse the brain does this naturally anyways.
The headaches by the way come from people turning up the separation way too high right from the start. You have to ease into it slowly. You start with low separation and when you get used to that and are comfortable, you dial it up a bit and so on and so forth.
This is pretty cool. Looked through the stuff at Nvidia's site for some more info...
My biggest con for this would have to be the cost, two hundred bucks is over-doing it. Much like the fifteen hundred dollar LCD keyboards.
3D glasses used in many goods inside, for example, 3D cinema, 3D games .....I know which site you can buy a good glasses
I tried them at this store once and they sucked
Hm. I would suggest that they are not good for your eyes. Our eyes are precious, I know, I wear glasses now and boy that is annoying. Our manuacturers have a singificant responsibility to ensure that their products are safe, particularly when young people are more than likely going to use them.