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Stereoscopic Glasses from Nvidia

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 20 comments

Some of you might remember way back in the day when you could get the 3D VR glasses, like the ones packaged with a TNT2 Ultra from ASUS. They were pretty neat for their time, but by no means very good. They were troublesome to get working properly and game support was pretty flaky as well. Hence why they pretty much disappeared from the market shortly after. Good try right?

Well Nvidia is bringing this whole idea back this year, hopefully with a much better experience for the user. Quoting and interview that Maximum PC recently had with Nvidia, we have the following direct response:

“The Nvidia GeForce Stereoscopic 3D driver works at the lowest level by taking 3D game data and rendering each scene twice – once for the left eye and once for the right eye. Each eye image is offset from each other for the correct viewing. The GPU then sends this data to a 3D Ready display. These displays show the left eye view for even frames (0,2,4,etc) and the right eye view for odd frames (1,3,5,etc). Nvidia 3D glasses then synchronize back to the 3D Ready display and present slightly different images to each eye resulting in the illusion of depth and an incredibly immersive experience for games.”

This new stereoscopic technology will be better experienced on displays with fast refresh rates (120Hz). So do not expect to get a really good experience from an out-dated display. Display factor aside, Andrew Fear – the product manager for the new technology, says you will need at least a GeForce 8800GT or better, a 32bit copy of Windows Vista (64bit support coming later) and of course a pair of Nvidia’s own stereoscopic 3D glasses.

Nvidia claims to have implemented a support library of over 350 existing DirectX 8,9 and 10 titles so far. However OpenGL games such as Quake 4 and Prey are not supported as of yet.

The glasses themselves should be shipping by the end of this year according to Andrew Fear. They’ll work wirelessly with a USB infrared transmitter and the built-in batteries should retain enough power for roughly 40 hours between charging. It sounds as though the glasses will use some type of built in shutter mechanism to shield each eye from even or odd frames.

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  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , September 18, 2008 5:38 PM
    Will Fail, period.
  • 0 Hide
    f-gomes , September 18, 2008 6:14 PM
    This is total crap. This is exactly what was available by then (late 90's). That so called "shutter mechanism" is LCD, if I remember it well from my pair of Elsa. These so-called new drivers have always been around, NVidia kept udpating them from time to time.
    The catch is that the monitor will have to support at least 100hz refresh rate. 50 images for each eye, for each second, there you have it - 100hz monitors. At I remember it looked very flashy - I tried it once with a borrowed monitor that supported 120Hz, and it looked a lot better that way.

    Good luck on finding an LCD monitor that supports more than 75hz, let alone 120hz.

    Why is NVidia reporting this as new, as it is 10 years old? Even the text is roughly the same that was on the drivers 8 years ago!!
  • -1 Hide
    f-gomes , September 18, 2008 6:24 PM
    You can find 3D drivers at NVidia's site, they even have versions available from 2004 and 2006 - so why is this announcement today any news?
  • -1 Hide
    maximiza , September 18, 2008 6:27 PM
    can you over clock those?
  • 0 Hide
    f-gomes , September 18, 2008 6:43 PM
    Yep. It is the same regular driver plus a small app that multiplies the frames by 2 for the RAMDAC. The only difference happens in the DAC, it has nothing to do with 3D processing.
  • -1 Hide
    truromeo4juliet , September 18, 2008 7:26 PM
    lol what a crock. I had a pair of stereoscopic glasses from MSI that were GeForce required, and they only worked with CRTs because the demand for a high refresh rate was so bloody high... good luck, nVidia... here's hoping you don't suck this time around
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 18, 2008 11:10 PM
    LCD monitors exist at 120Hz, some TVs go this high.
    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6792632-1.html
  • 1 Hide
    virtualban , September 19, 2008 7:17 AM
    I have never tried but am very curious about these kinds of things. I expected more tests from Toms Hardware, not a lone article more than a year ago.
    I could even go for them in the current state of mainstream development.
    For example: what happens when one tilts the head a bit? I know that the brain will make up for the difference, but the horizontal distance between right and left eye will decrease and so things will look weird.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , September 19, 2008 7:25 AM
    I mean, for example a 45 degree tilt of the head, if tracked, will make the virtual cameras display what the brain would perceive for the tilted head, but what would happen when virtual cameras will stay horizontal and display horizontal displacement of images (at the same distance and angle despite changing positions). It could even mess up stereo perception just like using just one eye does. And it will be especially painful and maybe irreversible in children.

    I wish such gaming potential got more R&D, and head tracking became mainstream. Even VR gloves to "touch" the world... hell, so many ideas, so many ways to put current and future computational capabilities of computers to good use, and not enough R&D...
  • 0 Hide
    stuart72 , September 19, 2008 9:28 AM
    "what happens when one tilts the head a bit?". You just see the 3D image on the screen tilted a bit - there is no tracking here, just a couple of LCD shutter on the glasses to block every other frame.

    On a separate note

    Tried these the first time 'round and got so motion sick I had to lie down for an hour. Apparently a certain percentage of the population get affected this way, so I would definitly try before you buy.
  • 0 Hide
    magicandy , September 19, 2008 9:37 AM
    Aaron, I think you might want to take a step back and consider the term you used for a monitor people shouldn't have: "Out-dated"? Hello? 60-75Hz is still pretty much the norm in 90% of monitors today, even CRT. You really have to pay top dollar to get the sort of refresh rate needed to enjoy this, not simply a newer monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    magicandy , September 19, 2008 9:43 AM
    BTW I would love to start getting into stereoscopic gaming - it's as close as we're going to get to virtual reality for a long time. I just think it's sad the monitor industry is still falling so behind with refresh rates, especially in the mainstream sector. This is such an awesome technology that didn't take off back in the TNT2 days for pretty much the same reason - most people didn't have a 100+Hz monitor to use it with, and thus, got terrible flicker with their 60Hz standard monitor. I really, really wish things have changed in the monitor industry but they really haven't, not in the affordable area. I so want to get into this, I really want to experience TF2 and other great games with actual depth perception.....it boggles my mind, how great it must be at the proper refresh rate.
  • 0 Hide
    magicandy , September 19, 2008 9:55 AM
    After a quick search I was able to find this, and can't believe I missed the news as it was only a few weeks ago: http://www.displayblog.com/2008/08/27/viewsonic-vx2265wm-22-lcd-monitor-with-120hz/

    Bugger though, I can't find the price anywhere, if there is one. I'm guessing $500+
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , September 19, 2008 10:22 AM
    stuart72"what happens when one tilts the head a bit?". You just see the 3D image on the screen tilted a bit - there is no tracking here, just a couple of LCD shutter on the glasses to block every other frame.

    On a separate note

    Tried these the first time 'round and got so motion sick I had to lie down for an hour. Apparently a certain percentage of the population get affected this way, so I would definitly try before you buy.

    When head tilts, brain expects not just the horizontal displacement of non tracked glasses, but also some bit of vertical displacement compared to the degree of tilting. At small tilting angles the brain compensates after a couple of seconds but the brain keeps compensating even at big angles and that's what could screw with normal stereo vision. Maybe that's exactly what had caused your motion sick experience. Probably I would get a headache by trying to build depth perception from wrongly aligned stereo vision.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , September 19, 2008 1:36 PM
    Trying (and completely succeeding) to build depth perception from vertically displaced images in a stereo vision would feel as if the eyes themselves were vertically aligned.
  • 0 Hide
    richardbrucebaxter , November 5, 2008 3:07 AM
    I purchased E-Dimensional stereoscopic glasses 4 years ago (July 2004) for $100US when Doom 3 came out, along with a 6800GT card. They worked well on Every game I tested with my

    Compaq 19" 1024x768@120Ghz/800x600@140Hz pro monitor. The two games I played most were Doom 3 and HalfLife 2. (RTSs looked OK also including Warhammer 40K and CNC3, but glasses

    are not really required for RTSs considering most objects viewed in RTSs are viewed at exactly the same position in both eyes).

    I have never played HL2 without glasses - some scenes were absolutely insane; and remember all those involving vertigo. With glasses you want to survive in first person

    shootemups not because your character might die, but because you actually feel the psychological effect of jumping off a ledge, looking around a corner, or facing an oncoming

    rocket. Doom 3 single player was absolutely insane also - assuming you had a pitch black room, a CRT monitor with no back light, a good sound system, no cross hairs,

    71.89_win2kxp_english.exe, 71.89_3dstereo.exe, set r_useTurboShadow 0, set r_useShadowVertexProgram 0, Verteran skill level, didnt save during missions, and accepted the

    environment as is; you were not supposed to be able to see everything. I still consider Doom 3 the most intense game ever created. Complete Hell under these conditions. With

    glasses it was clear the Tech 4 engine was superior to the Source engine.

    Even at 800x600 a 2004 game in 3D looks FAR better than a 2008 game in 2D - in fact I no longer play 1st person shooters without glasses, explaining some degree of not playing

    games at the moment.

    If you got motion sickness from glasses there is a large possibility your glasses were not configured correctly - most importantly the stereo separation parameter and the

    horizon distance paramaters. For Example I got sick when I played DoomGL/GLDoom where all objects, even the horizon, sat in front of the screen instead of behind it - the only

    objects which should sit in front of the screen is your gun.

    A known issue with stereo 3D is that crosshairs don't really work (only laser sights work) - since the depth of field of the cross hairs is always different than the depth of

    field of the object you are trying to shoot - which means either one of these is always out of focus. Fortunately though people are waking up to the fact that at least single

    player games are fun to play without cross hairs (Eg Farcry 2).

    Do not ask me how this latest technology publication by Nvidia is supposed to work on LCD displays, even at 120Hz, considering the main problem of stereo 3D on LCD displays is

    not the time it takes for a pixel to turn on and off, but the time for which all pixels shows one frame, then the next, and the interval between them. CRTs are fine because they

    pretty much update every pixel almost instantaneously, but LCDs only update pixels sequentially, making an active glasses stereoscopic solution impossible for traditional LCD

    monitors (maybe they are starting to fix this already?). ("Compatibility of LCD Monitors with Frame-Sequential Stereoscopic 3D Visualisation";

    www.cmst.curtin.edu.au/publicat/2006-30.pdf). If you havnt worked it out already LCDs are 10 years behind CRTs in performance specifications; they have delayed the ideal

    1stperson gaming experience because a) they preferred to manufacture cheap LCDs rather than professional flat screen CRTs, b) consumer knowledge gap, and c) bad consumer reviews

    of stereo 3D technology.

    Nvidia stereo 3D has always been quality software (up until their latest release; which were edited by a marketing manager to only support Anaglyph/redblue 3D glasses and

    3D/polarised LCD displays with passive glasses), proving they were the leaders in 3D cards and very worthy of 3DFX whowm they purchased - compared with ATI who had no stereo 3D

    solution of their own.

    Richard
  • 0 Hide
    richardbrucebaxter , November 5, 2008 3:10 AM
    I purchased E-Dimensional stereoscopic glasses 4 years ago (July 2004) for $100US when Doom 3 came out, along with a 6800GT card. They worked well on Every game I tested with my Compaq 19" 1024x768@120Ghz/800x600@140Hz pro monitor. The two games I played most were Doom 3 and HalfLife 2. (RTSs looked OK also including Warhammer 40K and CNC3, but glasses are not really required for RTSs considering most objects viewed in RTSs are viewed at exactly the same position in both eyes).

    I have never played HL2 without glasses - some scenes were absolutely insane; and remember all those involving vertigo. With glasses you want to survive in first person shootemups not because your character might die, but because you actually feel the psychological effect of jumping off a ledge, looking around a corner, or facing an oncoming rocket. Doom 3 single player was absolutely insane also - assuming you had a pitch black room, a CRT monitor with no back light, a good sound system, no cross hairs, 71.89_win2kxp_english.exe, 71.89_3dstereo.exe, set r_useTurboShadow 0, set r_useShadowVertexProgram 0, Verteran skill level, didnt save during missions, and accepted the environment as is; you were not supposed to be able to see everything. I still consider Doom 3 the most intense game ever created. Complete Hell under these conditions. With glasses it was clear the Tech 4 engine was superior to the Source engine.

    Even at 800x600 a 2004 game in 3D looks FAR better than a 2008 game in 2D - in fact I no longer play 1st person shooters without glasses, explaining some degree of not playing games at the moment.

    If you got motion sickness from glasses there is a large possibility your glasses were not configured correctly - most importantly the stereo separation parameter and the horizon distance paramaters. For Example I got sick when I played DoomGL/GLDoom where all objects, even the horizon, sat in front of the screen instead of behind it - the only objects which should sit in front of the screen is your gun.

    A known issue with stereo 3D is that crosshairs don't really work (only laser sights work) - since the depth of field of the cross hairs is always different than the depth of field of the object you are trying to shoot - which means either one of these is always out of focus. Fortunately though people are waking up to the fact that at least single player games are fun to play without cross hairs (Eg Farcry 2).

    Do not ask me how this latest technology publication by Nvidia is supposed to work on LCD displays, even at 120Hz, considering the main problem of stereo 3D on LCD displays is not the time it takes for a pixel to turn on and off, but the time for which all pixels shows one frame, then the next, and the interval between them. CRTs are fine because they pretty much update every pixel almost instantaneously, but LCDs only update pixels sequentially, making an active glasses stereoscopic solution impossible for traditional LCD monitors (maybe they are starting to fix this already?). ("Compatibility of LCD Monitors with Frame-Sequential Stereoscopic 3D Visualisation"; www.cmst.curtin.edu.au/publicat/2006-30.pdf). If you havnt worked it out already LCDs are 10 years behind CRTs in performance specifications; they have delayed the ideal 1stperson gaming experience because a) they preferred to manufacture cheap LCDs rather than professional flat screen CRTs, b) consumer knowledge gap, and c) bad consumer reviews of stereo 3D technology.

    Nvidia stereo 3D has always been quality software (up until their latest release; which were edited by a marketing manager to only support Anaglyph/redblue 3D glasses and 3D/polarised LCD displays with passive glasses), proving they were the leaders in 3D cards and very worthy of 3DFX whowm they purchased - compared with ATI who had no stereo 3D solution of their own.

    Richard
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2008 4:35 AM
    it seems that it would be a lot simpler if perhaps a bit more expensive but. why not make a nice lightweight headset with two small but higher resolution screens designed to automatically offset the incoming visual signal from the video card. would be simple 3d but it would still be 3d and would require virtually no software support.

    this seems simple and obvious...maybe im missing something but....would be a lot easier then resting everything on upgrading a video card. and a monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    V3NOM , January 9, 2009 4:32 AM
    i too bought the edimensional glasses... well i didnt exactly buyt hem, since i ordered one of those motion sensitive controllers, and they sent me the glasses ^.^ got to keep em though... still sitting in their fedex packaging a metre away lol... might try em out now ^.^
  • 0 Hide
    arpotu , January 29, 2009 3:22 PM
    I'm the kind of person who would tinker with a $200 toy like this, if only it would run on XP instead of *only* Vista. I think nvidia made a major mistake here. Vista is a huge flop - why would you base a new product on it? Surely it wouldn't be too hard to write XP compatibility into the drivers...