Future of “Next Generation” 3D

The next generation 3D (that’s the term I use to describe 3D screens that display 3D stuff in a new way). I experienced a 3D movie for the first time about a year ago, and had to check that blog post to see whether I liked it or not. (I did, if I understood my comments from that blog post properly).

I talked about 3D screens and friend of mine pointed out that there’s new televisions coming… where you won’t need glasses. I know Nintendo has some hand held device that somehow uses two “layers” to create 3D effect (without need for glasses).

Now, will this “next generation” 3D (where the “depth” effect can be so much different than in other movies) happen in games? Will we see more and more next generation 3D that we forget “regular 3D” completely?

I have mixed feelings about this. I can predict that there will be tons of people who say how unhealthy it is for your eyes and how your brain will be messed up and all that… but I feel that we people adapt. I think 3D tech will evolve and at some point it’s not any more unhealthy than staring regular computer screen.

But… will games support it? Will manufacturers go for it?

I find this a really tricky question to be answered. Tons of social & casual games are 2D, and they have become increasingly popular. Wii is doing pretty well in the console side of things, and it has old graphics in it.

I somehow feel that for some games, this next generation 3D will be a breakthrough that will at some point be always used. First person (shooters/rpgs/adventure) games, the 3D will be a hit. (My prediction). I would expect that the immersion of 3D is just so much greater that at some point we won’t see regular FPS games no more. Instead, the new 3D is always there.

Also, some horror games start to use it more and more. There will be more horror games created in 1st person perspective, using the new 3D effect to create more scary environment.

(And as long as games have good writers who understand that horror isn’t about screaming and blood and trying to scare people with sudden loud voices… it’s about waiting for something to happen, this will be good).

In some games, for example RTS games, the new 3D effect won’t be used. Same goes for sports games like NHL, it just won’t cut it.

New 3D requires certain camera view, in my pretty humble opinion. And some camera angles just aren’t good for it, or can just become a mess.

With this all being said… what you think?

(I really think that the 3rd generation 3D will be something that we need. Holograms. We will see graphics that will really fill the living room…. now, that will be something really cool)

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. many AAA studios are already embracing it as sony is pushing it heavily and now with nintendo too, the breakthrough may not be that far. Killzone 3 is a good looking FPS thats using 3D heavily and apparently it looks pretty good, although i think it will leave a bigger market for indies when 3D takes over or at least for the more casual games as big studios may use it for gimicky purposes and we can do what we do best with less competition.

  2. @Lumooja: it’s a little more complicated than a simple webcam that tracks your head. Nintendo 3DS uses something called a Parallax barrier over the screen that has a resolution of 800 x 240. Because of that barrier, one eye sees 400 x 240 pixels while the other eye sees the other 400 x 240 pixels. The game renders two (slightly) different views, and then displays them both at the same time, on different rows of the screen (interlaced). Therefore the eyes really perceive the image on the screen as true 3D, even without moving their head.

  3. My bet is that 3D platformers will benefit most. Racing and flight games too. All the games where navigation plays a major part, where you need to judge distances.

    Can that be useful for a casual game? Sure you can imagine some game where being able to guess distance correctly will provide a real advantage. Yet producing such a game will probably not be justified in the following years, as the casual players are extremely unlikely to have the required hardware, given its current prices.

    It is like 5.1 sound – better than stereo, but not enough for lots of people to really care.

  4. The Nintendo DS “two layer” 3D effect how you call it, is just a simple headtracking :)
    DS uses however eyetracking, but it’s the same principle.
    You need a webcam which tracks the movement of your eyes or head, and then the game looks real 3D which is going into the screen and also coming out of the screen, and you don’t need any glasses.

    FreeTrack is a Open Source API which you can use in your games for free for that.

    This guy uses a wiimote instead of a webcam, which also produces the same result:

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