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Did companies abandon 3D (stereoscopic) gaming too quickly?


partious
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I think 3D gaming is the best example of something sent out to die in the mainstream before the technology was ready. The push came from Sony in the PS3 era, on console hardware that just wasn`t upto the task. I tried 3D gaming on PS3 at the time and wasn`t very impressed. The 3D effect was either barely noticeable or tanked the framerate. I didn`t like 3D movies in cinemas either.

My guess is that low quality PS3 3D is where most people`s experience of 3D gaming began and ended and (alongside 3d movies) is where the common view that it wasn't worth the effort comes from. Maybe even the 3DS, but judging all of 3D gaming based on that seems quite silly.

 

Where 3D gaming shone/still shines is on PC. Nvidia 3D vision supports a massive amount of games from the past decade (thanks to the modders at Helixmod etc, no thanks to Nvidia). I played Witcher 3 in 3D 6 or 7 years ago and it`s still more impressive visually to me than anything I`ve played on my PS5 or the PC I built this year. I kept my old PC for 3D vision since Nvidia dropped support in the drivers a few years ago. Been playing through GTA5 in 3D and it`s still more visually impressive than anything I`ve played on my PS5 or new PC, including GTA5 in VR with the mod (a lot more visually impressive than that with none of the nausea etc).

 

I can`t believe this tech has been binned while we chase higher resolutions and ray tracing etc (I guess you could consider vr an evolution of regular games in 3D but I'd be inclined to disagree) .

 

Have you tried 3D gaming, what hardware did you use and what did you think of it?

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  • partious changed the title to Did companies abandon 3D (stereoscopic) gaming too quickly?

I never played it on a home console. The 3DS was quite impressive at first but I don’t miss it now it’s gone. 
 

I found it more of a novelty than anything, and can’t think of a single time there was a point where I experienced something that couldn’t be done in 2D, the effect just fades away after a little while. 
 

Contrast that with VR which is absolutely game changing and offers experiences impossible to replicate any other way, that’s where the future of proper 3D gaming lies IMO. 

 

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In general, no.

 

Much like for movies I think 3D on a TV is a pointless idea. In most cases the screen is too small in your vision to make it anything more than looking like something coming out of a small window. That's very different to the cinema experience where the screen fills your vision.

 

PC, with a big monitor up close has the best possibility of using it in the way people tried.

 

But, there are areas I think it could have offered interesting experiences....

 

Use the glasses for local multiplayer. Don't bother with 3D, just show each player a different image.

 

A subtle story book layered effect. For slower moving story games could be nice.

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8 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:

Use the glasses for local multiplayer. Don't bother with 3D, just show each player a different image.

 

My old LG TV has this as an option for split screen games. Never actually tried it out, but it sounds like a sensible use case.

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I've never owned 3D tech myself, unless you count the stereoscopic effect of VR. My interest in 3DS was killed after claims that not everyone will be able to get the most out of the effect due to vision issues... coupled with the fact that nobody in my area was even showing the hardware as a demo unit, so I couldn't see the effect myself to know if my own vision would cause problems. (Not until much later when an acquaintance let me have a look at their console, anyway.) And by the time I did check out the effect, everyone was saying that it was a novelty and they played with the slider turned all of the way down now.

 

I do like its use in VR though, like the cute diorama effect in things like Astro Bot.

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6 hours ago, Moz said:

It’s great in VR because it adds to the sense of scale and depth. On a screen it doesn’t really add much. I mean it’s just stereoscopy at the end of the day. 


^ Yeah, this is it.

 

I loved it at the time on the TV - Motorstorm 3D Rift was magnificent - but it looks like everything is right there in your lounge, and like you’re driving a little RC car around a sand pit. 3D football looks like loads of tiny ants running around in your living room.

 

No tech improvements will change that, and VR is definitely the next evolution of all this.

 

Plus it had issues with cross talk (seeing parts of the opposite image in each eye), and flicker.

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It was interesting, at best. But if - rather than seeing a 3D representation of a car cockpit on a relatively small screen five feet away - you could instead feel like you were sitting in the car, and see around you naturally when you turn your head…

 

VR >>>> 3D tv.

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Never had a TV that supported it, but I did own a 3DS.

 

The effect was neat, but it didn't really add anything to the game as opposed to the things people were experiencing with the Oculus Rift about a year later. I remember trying a CV1 at an indie game show, and it even made walking sims interesting because you can peer over bridges and stuff. There's just a level of emergence there that's very hard to convey properly on a flat panel.

 

I still enjoyed my 3DS for the games, though.

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As stated it was nothing more than a gimmick that didn't really ever add anything to the experience, much like 3d tv's.

 

The 3ds was a nice party trick but after the initial excitement I recall always playing with the 3d slider set to off.

 

I don't think the quality of the tech saw it's demise, it just wasn't a great idea. People can hate on Nintendo for Wii and waggle but it added something to the experience, bought a slew of people in to play games like Wii Sports.

 

It's the age old debate with most tech, it may be cool but what does it let people do they couldn't before - it's why something like the Metaverse seems doomed as it's just tech looking for an application at present. 

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I found when the 3D effect is limited by the boundaries of the screen, it has a huge effect on how I interpret the images. As Moz and Paulando note, you end up looking at this little diorama when using it in the home, while even in the cinema, the abrupt cut off at the edges became a lot more apparent to me in a 3D screening than in 2D.

 

VR, by comparison, has fewer such problems and handles the scale easily. You may often feel like your vision is restricted in some of the headsets, but that's countered by the simple ability to look around you.

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As stated earlier, the size of the screen is everything.  I have a collection of 3D Blurays I picked up cheap and my Sony TV with active 3D glasses is just rubbish. The TV is decent enough. But the 3D is ghosty, flickery, the glasses are uncomfortable and you get a weird flickering effect if you look out of the window.   The same film on the Oculus Quest 2 using BigScreen looks fantastic.  

 

Ridge Racer on PS3 dropped from 60fps to 30fps and below when played in 3d.  And again, the 55" screen isnt big enough to give you that big sense of 3D so it only really served to make a great game darker and jankier.  But the PSP emulator for Oculus Quest let's you play Ridge Racers 2 in real VR and in 3D and it's brilliant (probably one of my favourite VR games and it's not even designed for VR).

 

But Quest 2 also gives you the chance to play not in VR but on a big 3D screen and this works well too.  You need that size of screen otherwise, as someone said above, you're looking at something that's designed to fill your field of vision, but on a 55" screen it becomes a 3D window and the space in front and behind becomes a tunnel instead of depth. 

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Some interesting replies here. 

I've never actually played 3D games on a TV/monitor but it sounds like the experience was pretty underwhelming for a lot of people. 

I use the fairly old Sony OLED cinema headset (hmz-t3) and I've read that it doesn't suffer from the crosstalk and darkness issues of a 3D tv and glasses setup, but since I've never used a 3d tv, that didn't mean much to me.

 

The Sony headset provides 3D that to me feels akin to what I get from VR just with a lower field of view and a far sharper image (I guess these things are related). It's not immersive in the way that vr is and does at times have the feel of looking at a diorama I guess, which works well for third person games. I just think of it as like playing a regular game on a screen, but with a solidity and depth to the image that for me is far more important/impressive than any other recent graphical tech I'm supposed to be impressed by. 

 

Witcher 3, Halo (MCC), GTA 5, Alan Wake, RIME and many others in 3D have impressed me far more than basically anything I've played in VR aside from maybe Alyx and Astrobot. 

 In a lot of cases the idea of playing a game in VR is a lot more enjoyable than the stomach turning reality, especially when it comes to first person games. 3D is just an enhancement of existing games without having to redesign everything.

 

There are some emulators that offer 3D support that is far less janky than the VR emulator stuff. Dolphin, PSP and even PS1 via some sort of Duckstation magic can be played in 3D pretty seamlessly. 

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I'd go the opposite way to the original post and argue that companies, both TV manufacturers and content producers, tried to push 3D way too soon. Modern displays which get much brighter so that they can support HDR and in a lot of cases also support high refresh rates should be ideal for solutions using active 3D glasses like Nvidias 3D vision stuff which was the best implementation of 3D gaming back when it was a thing. 

 

Theoretically Microsoft or Sony should be able to sell you a pair of 3D glasses that'd work with the Series X/PS5 and let you play the 1080p 120hz "performance mode" versions of a lot of games in 3D and offer a great 3D effect for a fraction of the price of a VR headset but the well was thoroughly poisoned by the mediocre nature of earlier attempts at 3D. 

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I completely agree with that, @bear. The PS3 was being pushed beyond its limits to provide a lacklustre 3D experience, and as a result a lot of people have a negative impression of the very idea of stereoscopic 3d in games, aside from VR.

With the power of current consoles, HDR , high refresh rate tvs and even lightweight glasses sized oled displays like the nreal air, the technology is all there now to really do 3D justice, but it's too late.

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9 hours ago, Moz said:

It’s great in VR because it adds to the sense of scale and depth.

 

Yep. I remember the first time I put on a Rift for Elite Dangerous, having played it for months in 2D. I flew out of a station and there was just empty space in front of me, but I looked over my shoulder and the station was just .... there. Massive. Blew me away even though I could hardly read any of the text. Never got on with any 3D on a screen smaller than a cinema and even there, you can't stop thinking about it so lose the immersion. The one exception imho being Avatar.

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5 minutes ago, choddo said:

Never got on with any 3D on a screen smaller than a cinema and even there, you can't stop thinking about it so lose the immersion. The one exception imho being Avatar.

 

A few people have made similar points but would this not also apply to anything non-stereoscopic on a screen? I appreciate that 3D isn't as immersive as VR, but depth in an image is preferable to no depth.  I think the same game on 3D vs non-3D screens is a comparison that makes more sense than the whole 3D vs VR one.

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I think depth of field effects work well enough and maybe it’s just because of familiarity but I have no problem with 2D representation of either artwork that’s actually 2D or 3D engines. I don’t find myself thinking about them, distracting from the content.

 

Also: glasses

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I don't even think it was that amazing or worthwhile when I saw Avatar in the cinema in a decent seat. Like, I've never been confused in a film or a game about which parts of the picture are closer or further away, and I found it zero more immersive watching it in 3D effect. It's something that works perfectly fine from a technical standpoint, but I think doesn't really add all that much compared to a flatscreen.

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3D and HFR (The Hobbit) was interesting, and I liked that at the cinema, but it's hardly surprising that didn't take off.  I actually really liked the 3D on my old Samsung - DREDD 3D is pretty tasty! In fact I may invest in some shutter glasses because my projector does 3D. But for gaming? FUCK NO!

 

VR GAMES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> STEREOSCOPIC 3D GAMES.

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I still love my 3DS and the 3D effect. Stereoscopic output is of course still required for VR, which I like a lot.

 

That said, I’d still take ray-tracing over 3D on a conventional display. Any day. Full-on global illumination and everything else under the RTX umbrella is overwhelmingly immersive, especially when paired with high frame rates.

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1 hour ago, partious said:

A few people have made similar points but would this not also apply to anything non-stereoscopic on a screen?

 

I think a 3D image is more hamstrung by a small screen, because the 3D effect implies both distance and size in a way that doesn't happen in 2D. It's as if there's more information that you need to actively work against to retain immersion.

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45 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

 

I think a 3D image is more hamstrung by a small screen, because the 3D effect implies both distance and size in a way that doesn't happen in 2D. It's as if there's more information that you need to actively work against to retain immersion.


The reason I’m still in love with my 3DS is because after all this time it still feels like a little box of magic, especially when it’s playing something like A Link Between Worlds or Majora’s Mask.

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19 minutes ago, dataDave said:


The reason I’m still in love with my 3DS is because after all this time it still feels like a little box of magic, especially when it’s playing something like A Link Between Worlds or Majora’s Mask.


Yeah, the 3DS is great. These games actually work really well in 3D - it’s fitting to play what looks like a little 3D diorama of a Zelda game in your hands.

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The 3DS still frequently impresses me with its 3D, especially the Sega 3D Classics range.

 

There's a bit in Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master when a small, enclosed escalating platform rises above an embankment to give way to a gorgeous cyberpunk cityscape, a scrolling parallax bonanza of blinking lights and huge server-like buildings and it looks absolutely incredibly deep in 3D, a real jaw-dropping moment. Feels like the screen would swallow your finger if you were to poke past Joe Musashi into the inky blackness in the distance.

 

Outrun in 3D also adds loads to the sense of speed, to the point that the 3DS one is my favourite version of the game, hands down. 

 

So there's a space for 3D in gaming I think, though I don't think we'll see much of it outside of VR. 

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It feels redundant now imo now that VR gaming is technologically 'viable' (if not in sales anyway). It also doesn't really provide for innovative gameplay experiences to my memory

 

The only time 3d anything really worked for me was seeing Gravity in the cinema, which was incredible. I'd be happy for 3d films to make a lower key comeback with the new Avatar film. Not just plastered onto films as an afterthought, but carefully considered like it was with Gravity.

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1 hour ago, Let us measure said:

The 3DS still frequently impresses me with its 3D, especially the Sega 3D Classics range.

 

Outrun in 3D also adds loads to the sense of speed, to the point that the 3DS one is my favourite version of the game, hands down. 

 

So there's a space for 3D in gaming I think, though I don't think we'll see much of it outside of VR. 


Super Hang-On is my favourite of that particular bunch, with the analogue tilt controls and moving cabinet within the screen.

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