30 January, 2011

Thoughts on 3D

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 30 January, 2011

So... 3D. Maybe I missed it, but I haven't heard anyone say anything about 3D that stuck with me. Some people wrote it off immediately because it costs too much, most implementations require you to wear glasses, it narrows the viewing angle, and it dims the picture. Essentially the tech is too fidgety and expensive to be ready for prime time.

Regardless, I think 3D is a good idea. Consider for a moment that every baseball game ever made has forced players to judge pitches with no sense of depth. It's absurd isn't it? And how much easier will it be to judge distances in platformers and driving games? Why would you ever play a flight sim in 2D again?

I don't expect 3D will revolutionize games. I don't see new types of play coming from it. But when the tech finally gets sorted, it will make a lot of common tasks in games more manageable.

The real question is how long it will take the research and development people to come up with a solution that's cost effective and not a hassle. The last few years have seen a lot of money dumped into 3D. But it's been tried and abandoned many times before, so who knows if this is the push that will make it ubiquitous or not.

I doubt it. But I'm a late adopter. So I always doubt it. :P


Salt Racer said...

If this is the round thatit does become ubiquitous, you and I can be late adopters together. :) If not, we won't have $5,000 televisions that have a solution for 3D looking for a problem.

Blain Newport said...

It's probably also worth mentioning that modern consoles often can't even output at 720p and keep a decent frame rate. So HD 3D gaming is at least one generation off.

There are some handy optimizations to be made, though. While reading up on 3D for this article I read that since human eyes are generally no more than eight centimeters apart, anything more than nine meters (ten yards) away looks pretty much identical to both eyes. That should save some CPU power. Of course that also means that when the camera is nine meters or more from what's being seen, 3D is irrelevant. I suspect many games and movies will try to exaggerate 3D effects (just as they do with visual and sound effects) for added impact.

Salt Racer said...

Yeah, the full HD+3D experience isn't here yet for consoles. And I haven't even heard _rumors_ yet about the next generation of consoles.