A guest post by Robert Elliot of Button-basher.com.
For those old enough to remember, stereoscopic 3D gaming is nothing new. Sega’s Master System was one of the first attempts of 3D gaming and came with a pair of very unsuccessful and unsupported 3D glasses. Then there was the 3D gaming effort from Nintendo, the rather disastrous Virtual Boy came with 3D goggles that didn’t help enhance the 3D gaming experience at all.
Even after all of this, there’s still a sense recently that this is the first time 3D gaming has really come of age. The equipment we’re starting to see come out is fantastic and really impressive so people’s expectations have risen with regards to what they want from their 3D tech now. It could also be the case that there is more of a hardcore games market that’s becoming more and more about HD graphics and is also looking for something new. Perhaps it’s all of the publicity that 3D work is getting with the film industries renewed interest in stereoscopic film.
However, it’s probably more the case that the new passion is because the technology has finally started to make it; people can now go to their local cinema and watch a 3D film that really drags them into the story, without the need for the red and green flimsy eyewear. To really prove that the 3D market is starting to make it, true gaming fans are now able to enjoy 3D gaming on their home PCs and laptops with the NVIDIA’s 3D Vision gaming system.
The NVIDIA’s 3D Vision is described as; “A combination of high-tech wireless glasses and advanced software, 3D Vision automatically transforms hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D. In addition, view movies and digital photographs in eye-popping 3D.” It also now supports full HD 1080p.
One limitation of this new system, however, is that you will need a display that is capable of operating at a 120Hz refresh rate, and the problem with this is that there are very few TVs available that can do this. Not many of the TVs have much bigger than a 22-inch panel or more than a 1680 x 1050 resolution, and most also require a dual-link DVI cable to enable the 120 Hz refresh rate to work. The good thing is that NVIDIA provides the necessary cable in the box, and any graphics card capable of driving 3D Vision at a decent frame rate should have the required connector.
One such compatible 3D TV that has recently come out is the Acer GD235HZ 120Hz LCD. This Acer has been brought out specifically paired to work with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision active-shutter glasses system. The TV has a 23.6-inch, 16:9 display and it is retailing for around £300. This TV is going to be great for gaming fans to start enjoying 3D gaming and films; the next few months are no doubt going to start getting a bit stale however as people get bored of Avatar and similarly frustrated by Left 4 Dead 2.
However, the 1920 x 1080 resolution is going to really be useful once the first load of 3D Blu-ray movies start hitting the shelves. The NVIDIA 3D Vision kit is sold separately for around £150, and does require a compatible NVIDIA card, but this is surely a small price to pay for total immersion in either the film you’re watching or the game you’re playing.
Whether or not you have an interest in 3D gaming or watching films, one thing’s for sure, the 3D revolution is most definitely upon us.
Robert Elliott is an active writer and blogger on gaming related topics at Button-basher.com.