Introduction

For those who are unfamiliar with Stereoscopic Glasses, they use a technique that provides a different image for each of your eyes in 3D-Games giving these Games a true 3rd dimension often described as looking throe a window into the world behind your screen. since almost all MMO’s I tested use 3rd person view it often feels like looking into a toy-box full of living, breathing toys. My personal impression : “If you get the game to working 3D-stereo mode, its an absolutely awesome experience”. A lot of games switch from “i view some kind of movie there” to “OMG there are little toy people running around inside my room (monitor)”. I noticed that in some games where i didn’t liked the standard 3D art that much,in 3D stereo mode i was totally amazed on how fantastic the world looks. Especially when i retried DDO in stereo mode i was like “wow that stuff looks as if im playing with living tin-miniatures”

The glasses basically work with every 3D game out of the box even tough for some (like wow) NVIDIA provides special profiles with settings (like depth) customized for the game.
You also have to keep in mind that the depth-effect comes from “how much the developers stay true to a 3-Dimensional” setting, so if they program in some clever tricks like lighting, effects, bloom or other stuff that doesn’t happen at the coordinates in the 3D world where they suppose to happen its better to turn these effects of so not to ruin the scene.

NVIDIA rated some of their driver supported games already on their web-page but since I’m a fan of classic western ill put my reviews into categories of “The good, the bad and the ugly”.

The Good

I have to agree on NVIDIAs excellency rating for both World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online. In addition to these 2 games id like to add AION and D&D on-line as games that work beautifully and almost without tweaking/ compromise:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Warhammer Online
  • Aion
  • D&D on-line
  • Chronicles of Spellborne

The Bad

Only two games in this category and that’s Age of Conan and Lord of the Rings on-line. These games either have heavy issues like misplaced textures, flickering or no noticeable depth effect

  • Age of Conan
  • Lord of the Rings online

The Ugly

Well ugly may be a to strong word for these games. Basically this category is for games that look good in stereo 3D Mode but in some cases have minor flaws or need to be tweaked heavily. So while I would swich to stereoscopic mode in these games once a while I would not picture myselve playing these game in “true” 3D constantly.

  • Lineage 2

These categories of course are not set in stone. NVIDIA promised to work with game developers to pimp up their games for 3D Vision and maybe some people more clever then me can also figure out some tweaks to make bad or ugly games more playable/ enjoyable in 3D Vision.

Beyond that List: Eve Online, Atlantica online, City of Heroes, Darkfall (if I get a trial)

Apparently NVIDIA alreaddy did some work and these game got improved already with the 1.08 driver. So currently they await re-evaluation.

Final Toughs

Common Problems that all of these game share:
IMHO the biggest strain for the eyes is the extensive use of the graphical user interface (GUI). All these elements like skillbar, chatbox, minimap, lifebar, character portrait are usually rendered in 2D at the front of the scene. The effect is like driving a car with a thousand stickers on your windshield. You can look at whats beyond the windshield and view the world in perfect 3D but if you have to focus on those stickers that are attached to your windshield from the inside you have trouble watching the road.
The same goes for PC/NPC Name, lifebars and other text or information that is pasted into the 3D environment. Even if it is placed perfectly (like in wow or war) above the head of the 3D model

My hope would be that in the far far future MMOs could be a lot less text heavy.
NPC’s could have voice-over dialog and enough diversity in their appearance to make stuff like “Go to Captain N00bslayer, he’s the big Ork in the main building” work on audio and appearance alone.
NPC’s and Players alike could have “near death animations” where they limp, cough and bleed instead of half full healthbar sticking somewhere on the screen or besides their model.

In the “first Look” i gave these games above i spend around 1h with each game, often in the free trial version of the MMO. In the coming months I’ll post individual game reviews with (stereo) screen-shots here at my blog so keep your eyes crossed and your glasses clean…

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