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Archive for the ‘3D’ Category

James Cameron's Avatar Promotional Image
Immersive setting, great computer animation, classic high adventure story… it’s like watching a video game. But will video games follow Avatar in the push for 3D?

In one sense, video games beat movies to the 3D scene by a fair distance. After all, the software of games has technically supported 3D rendering as long as video cards have been used in the display of 3D graphics. All it takes to do 3D is to render a single slightly offset 2D image for each eye, and… well, the rest is hardware implementation details!

But that’s the catch. Several solutions do exist, from the most easily understood but worst quality anaglyph image splitting using red/blue glasses to the virtual reality goggles that briefly stormed the scene in the 90s then quickly flared out when their cost and drawbacks (low resolution, nausea) proved too much to be marketable. Most promising in my view from both experience and a theoretical standpoint is using polarized glasses, which is how the 3D in Avatar works, but this requires more specialized (and expensive) technology on the side of the display than the older and cheaper red/blue image splitting. Gamers can get fancy monitors that support rendering 3D games using polarized light already, but the cleanness of the image varies from game to game, and the effect isn’t perfect.

I personally suspect that Avatar will push games in this direction just as I expect it will for movies. But the transition won’t be as difficult for developers; after all, they’ve been making games in 3D for over a decade now. The real people who need to be pushed in order for this to happen aren’t game developers, but gamers themselves, whose increased interest and demand for stereoscopic 3D technology in mainstream entertainment will do more to drive 3D hardware development and sales than anything else.

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