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Build Your Own: Wall-Sized 3D Gaming, Just Like Theaters Do It

Welcome To The Future

When it comes to 3D, bigger is better. Forget everything anyone ever told you about the appropriate size of a TV, because 3D is a dish best served large. Let me tell you something: I have seen the future and the future is jaw-dropping, wall-sized 3D gaming, complete with full-scale cars in Burnout Paradise and man-sized zombies in Left 4 Dead. I now partake in spaceship battles so viscerally convincing that I feel as if I were traveling through the void at warp speed, lasers blazing--all of it in glorious, larger-than-life 3D. If you want to know how you can do it too, read on.

Three years ago I wrote an article called Wall-Sized 3D Displays: The Ultimate Gaming Room. Back in 2007, watching a 3D film in a theater was still somewhat of a novelty. There were no mass-market 3D displays on the horizon and if you wanted to take 3D technology home, you would expect to pay a lot of money for something that probably wouldn't work all that well. And what would you do with it? Commercial movies weren't released in a 3D format, so the best you could hope for was some 3D gaming.

What a difference three years can make in the technology industry. Avatar thrust 3D into the pop-culture mainstream and all of the major TV manufacturers have announced 3D-ready sets for the home. We are also on the brink of the commercial release of the 3D Blu-ray format. The futuristic idea of commonplace stereoscopic 3D displays in our homes has never been this close to realization.

It is in this environment that we have re-embarked on the quest for a wall-sized 3D theater in the home. With commercial adoption on the horizon, it is no longer good enough for a 3D projection system to simply work--it has to be comfortable, functional, and ultimately, desirable enough to use on a regular basis. While we did manage to get the wall-sized 3D theater to work in 2007, the limitations of this older technology were such that there were unpleasant aspects to deal with. It's easier to endure a bit of brain-numbing strobe effects when you're pioneering something that will never be viable for the average consumer, but now that 3D is about to be released to the masses, our expectations are much higher.

With the release of 3D Blu-ray, you will see more articles from us over the next few weeks and months, but we'll start at the beginning. For most of us, our first taste of 3D has been in a movie theater. There are many ways to experience a stereoscopic 3D display, but let's start by recreating the method commonly used by movie studios: a dual-projector polarized setup.