We’ve been playing around with various 3D options with the Xbox and PS3 and despite the limitations with the hardware there’s still some fine examples of how well 3D can work within video games. Having sampled the delights of 3D via PC and the vast difference in not only quality but options too, it raises a question that will perhaps be on the lips of some gamers into their 3D content.
We’ve recently got to grips with one of LG’s 3D monitors and what’s quite interesting is how AMD (who create the hardware for graphics cards) and the Korean TV manufacturer both support the Australian developed Tridef Ignition software which basically goes head to head with Nvidia’s own 3D vision. The LG monitor for example ships with a fully licensed and bespoke disc containing the Tridef software. Tridef provides conversion into 3D as a third party program installed on PC and can be used with AMD and Nvidia graphics card set ups. It also converts movies and images into 3D, with surprisingly good results. At present, Tridef officially provides 3D for some 700+ PC games and gets updated quite quickly, the most recent being Far Cry 3 as an example. It also allows users to tinker with the options to add 3D to any games the user feels comfortable with which offers limitless possibilities for those who dare to dabble.
Tridef aside, the issue of 3D has been hampered on consoles simply because the performance hit isn’t agreeable for many people, and yet, now more homes will have 3D enabled TVs, it does raise the question as to how Microsoft and Sony move forwards with 3D in the future. Whilst it’s clear both companies are looking to expand the user experience with projection based imagery as seen in the tech/target videos for Illumiroom, but what about conventional 3D? With Sony’s Orbis or PS4 and Microsoft’s next Xbox console it’s clear there will be a lot more power under the bonnet and so it’s safe to assume that any 3D applications will produce better results than what is currently possible.
The big question for 3D fans is whether Microsoft and Sony or one or the other develops / licenses 3D software similar to Tridef’s and has that integrated into the console as an optional app or permanent feature. This would open the floodgates for 3D gaming on a massive scale and potentially would alleviate the need for developers to spend time with the technology during development.
There is one stickler though; 3D via HDMI 1.4a (the input for most TVs these days) cannot transmit full 3D 1080p at 60hz and does so only at 24hz or 720p at 60hz. 1080p at 24hz for most gamers makes video games unplayable but is fine for 3D movies. There are half measures which offer good, but not the best results such as side by side outputs using less resolutions per eye which could be workable, and it’s unclear whether an upgrade to HDMI 2.0 (whenever that arrives) would yield any benefits if the TVs didn’t support it. If 3D is to be fully experienced on the next generation of consoles, then perhaps Microsoft and Sony will include DVI-D ports for monitors or the faster Display Ports.
The bottom line is, whether either company deems 3D in gaming to be marketable and something the masses will adhere to. At the moment many see the technology as a fad or gimmick, but then again many people believe Kinect and Move to be gimmicks also, yet it looks like their remnants will carry over to the new consoles as well in some form.