Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Finally, here’s a 3D gaming solution that doesn’t send us headfirst into a vomit bag. GeForce 3D Vision is Nvidia’s attempt to revive stereoscopic 3D, a century-old technology that has never been implemented successfully in PC gaming (despite many headache-inducing efforts in the late ’90s). Along with wireless shutter glasses and an IR emitter, this $200 kit comes with the promise that you’ll be able to enhance your existing library of DirectX games by turning them into true 3D experiences—if you’re running a GeForce 8800 GT or better videocard. And for the most part, the promise is delivered —but not without some serious issues.
After a surprisingly painless installation—you just need to plug the IR emitter into a USB port and install drivers—we
loaded up several of our favorite games from the past year. Nvidia tests and certifies games to work with the 3D Vision—about 400 games have been approved and given ratings ranging from “Fair” to “Excellent” as of early February.
The 3D effect on the higher-rated games was stunning, transforming our monitor from a flat display to a window that let us peer into our games’ worlds. This illusion was particularly impressive with first-person shooters—Left 4 Dead’s zombies looked as if they were really clawing at our faces, and we felt like we were actually running through the towering cityscape of Mirror’s Edge. Depth-of-field blurring effects, like Call of Duty’s iron-sights and Far Cry 2’s layered fields of grass, also benefitted greatly. And thankfully, none of our testers experienced the nausea that was typical of previous shutter glasses, even after extended play sessions—this was due to our use of a 120Hz monitor, a requirement of the goggles. The only complaints testers had were that they felt a slight cross-eyed sensation and increased eyestrain during use.
But even in games with an “Excellent” rating, the implementation is far from perfect. Self-shadowing and motion blur produced visual artifacts, and post-processed lighting effects didn’t render correctly with stereoscopy enabled. Many games’ crosshairs also needed to be replaced by Nvidia’s reticule overlay, which omits some features of native in-game HUDs. The simulated depth goes into the screen by default; rendered objects don’t actually fly out toward you unless developers have specifically coded the effect into the game (World of Warcraft is the only game so far that supports this feature).
But our biggest problem with 3D Vision is the cost of the experience. The $200 price tag makes the kit really only suitable for enthusiasts, who’ll also have to spend at least another $300 for one of the two available 120Hz LCDs that are compatible with the kit. Worse yet, these pricey LCDs are currently limited to entry-level 22-inch panels (1680x1050 max resolution). These compromises make it hard to justify the premium for 3D Vision, even if you’re an early adopter with unlimited funds. Until the price drops and larger 120Hz displays become available, we’re fine gaming in a mere two dimensions.
Convincing 3D illusion works in many games; hassle-free installation and calibration.
Graphical artifacts; frame rate drop; limited compatible monitor options; expensive.