Thursday, 11 February 2010

Active Stereo Systems and Headaches part 1 - 3D at home

Do you like the double entendre in the title?

I recently tested out the Nvidia 3D Vision system at home . . . it's a 22 inch monitor and a set of shutter glasses, both going at 120hz. Batman looked astoundingly good (it was one of those games that was developed with Nvidia so its 3D is perfect). Other games like TF2 and Left 4 Dead (1 and 2) were similarly awesome.

The only downside is that after a few hours of play I started to get that eystrain . . . like your two eyes are trying to slide out the sides of your head. The first time I tried this (with Burnout Paradise a few months ago) I was so impressed I played through the eye strain for a few hours only to end up with a headache that lasted through a night's sleep.

My verdict is that it's awesome in small doses. Unfortunately the price tag is still a large dose . . . so I'm shelving the idea of buying it for now. I was highly impressed by Nvidia's ability to pull depth information from their drivers so that games that weren't intended or designed for stereoscopic 3D viewing still look great in 3D.

So NVidia is selling 3D and hardware physics support while ATI is going for the multiple monitor thing (Eyefinity). It's interesting to see that in PCs the hardware has surpassed the software to such a point that to sell graphics cards now, they have to attach a whole bunch of new and strange features. Anyone who games a lot, maybe on 2 year old hardware like the famous Nvidia 8800GT and a 22" monitor will have noticed that a great deal of brand new titles aren't pushing their hardware enough to force them to upgrade . . . so the incentive the manufacturers are coming up with are gimmicky things like 3D and triple monitor setups. I'm not expecting that many people to take the bait here . . .

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