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3D Gaming - The Cheap Way

Martin tries to wet our palate and tempt us with 3D in a fairly in expensive way

It seems today, that everyone’s raving about 3D gaming, and how 3D will be the future. While I’d agree in some ways the technologies being used today will be the future, 3D has been around for a very long time.

If you remember as a child using the glasses from a cinema to watch 3D movies, with the red and blue lenses, then you’ll also remember how funny we used to look wearing them. With the dawn of new 3D technologies, the one thing that has prevented many of us to use these 3D solutions, is quite simply the cost. How many of you now have a 120HZ monitor with a swanky 3D vision shutter glasses? Well, if you’re reading this article entitled ‘3D Gaming - The Cheap Way’, I guess I could safely say not many of you.

Well, not to fret, pretty much anyone, even with a 60HZ monitor can enjoy 3D Gaming, with those old red/blue glasses we used to wear, they’re available anywhere for a meagre 2 pound. This method of 3D is via anaglyphs, I could go into a very technical description of anaglyphs, or I could simply post the below image to get across my point;

Anaglyph 3DAnaglyph 3D

If you didn’t remember before, you probably do now.

This implementation of 3D can also be used in games and can be forced through various different ways, with pretty much every 3 dimensional games there is. One of the best examples I found of applying anaglyph 3D was to Rome Total War, a game that is coming up 8 years old.

For the Nvidia users, you’ve got it pretty lucky and it’s very easy to set up (As I found out from setting it up on my GTX680), Nvidia even sell the glasses also, with their “discover glasses” branding.

To set it up for Nvidia users, you would go onto the Nvidia Control Panel and you’d go into the “setup stereoscopic 3D” where you would tick enable stereoscopic 3D and then go through the wizard, you would be using the “Discover glasses” as previously mentioned, however it’ll work with any red/blue glasses.

For those who have an AMD GPU it’s still relatively simple, and best of all, unlike other forms of 3D that AMD can use, is free. IZ3D has a free anaglyph driver that you’re able to use and that works in the same way as Nvidia’s, one of the only differences you’d have is that you don’t get Nvidia’s “3D Vision” information, and I believe there isn’t as many settings to change.

In the Nvidia’s control panel for stereoscopic 3D, there are quite a few settings to change, such as the depth level and the convergence (Which I’d only really touch if you’re finding it uncomfortably with your protagonist, such as with Mass Effect, I found Sheppard and team to be hard to focus on).

Once your eyes grow more accustomed to using this method of 3D, you’re able to increase the depth level in your games, which adds to the realism and helps immerse the gamer further in the world around them. There are some limitations to this form of 3D however. I found it to work best in darker rooms, which for me was perfect, as my bedroom is pretty much in eternal darkness, but for those of you who are in living rooms, or rooms which aren’t quite so dark might find this method to not be brilliant during their peak gaming times. Other limitations are the colour distortion, which I didn’t find to be too much of a problem when I’ve been gaming for a while, as I grow accustomed to it, however I’m sure the more attentive of you will become rather annoyed at the colours being distorted. Some games I didn’t notice much difference with colours, such as Crysis, but I also found aiming to be rather hard as I wasn’t quite sure what I was meant to be aiming at as my eyes couldn’t focus quite so quickly, and I saw two targets, which if offset someway as IZ3D and Nvidia’s 3D vision have a laser sight added in which is optional.

Lastly, other limitations I found were with me struggling to adjust my eyes quickly enough, which can be fixed by playing with the convergence.

I think the strongest point of using this method of 3D for gaming, is that it’s a stepping stone into the world of 3D and may later on encourage you to go all out with a swanky 120HZ monitor etc.

Personally, I’ve found even with the limitations of this method, 3D Gaming adds a whole world of realism that I couldn’t get without it, Rome Total War had me in awe with arrows showering the sky’s and each squad, full of 120-240 men each looking fully unique, it’s quite a site to watch 2k units battle it out in 3D.

Well, I hope that this short article will at least make some people try 3D Gaming the cheap way, and furthermore I hope it gives people the taste they need to go full hog.