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RandomRob 08-28-2011 08:51 PM

The problem with 3D is Me
As my good friend Andy likes to point out, 'Avatar' was a successful 3D venue because it made the most of it's art, it used 3D effects in ways that made sense, and didn't poke you in the eye with imaginary spears every few minutes. For all it's inane white boy saves the smurf/indians bombast, it was done carefully, and cleverly.

3D works in film because it does not RELY on 3D to do anything other than enhance what's already there, and film, by it's nature has slow sections and closeups and myriad other imaging techniques that don't require 3D effects at all. This is handy for your eye because it means your eye can relax a bit between eye popping setpieces. Too much 3D makes the eye irritable.

Famed sound editor Walter Murch pointed out that 3Ds inherent failing is that it requires the eye to focus & re-focus on points that exist at IMAGINARY distances from the viewer. So while the eye and brain have already calculated the actual distance to the movie screen, the 3D effect 'fools' the eye momentarily, and in that moment there is a sense of displacement, which the eye and brain fight to correct, to recalibrate their focus to the screen...

Videogames, while aspiring to be filmlike, still exist as single viewpoint affairs. When you play Ridge Racer 3D or Pilotwings Resort on a Nintendo 3DS, you don't get a break from the 3D, and that's a big problem.

Or, I'm the problem.

I can't keep my head still when I play a racing or flying game. I like to move my head, and I think this is a reflexive bit of primitive hunting/sighting behavior that's hardwired into me, because I can't stop doing it. So here's me playing Ridge Racer 3D, and I'm cornering very nicely and I go into a big powerslide and I move my head a few degrees which causes the 3D effect to collapse into a double image, then I have to move my head back into proper alignment while I oversteer, and now Im gritting my teeth and my eyes are watering and Im not having a good time. Same thing with Pilotwings Resort... frustrating.

Now, I had no problem with Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, which I found a very enjoyable turn-based squad shooter. But here's the difference: in GR:SW, the 3D (like in film) is a minor enhancement of the visuals. But in an action game where you have to judge simulated distance and speed with some degree of accuracy, it seems to me 3D works against the brain. We've been judging flat perspective from watching TV and film our whole lives, we're comfortable with it. 3D graphics force us out of that comfort zone and into a situation where we have to trust distance being presented in a way that our eye inherently distrusts.

At least, mine do. But I can't believe I'm alone in feeling this way. And I don't see a way around it, short of creating actual holograms, that aren't fooling our eyes with perspective tricks or color shifts.
So, no, I'm not happy with 3D, or the 3DS, or Nintendo, right now.

I think I've been Virtual Boy'd again.

crackajack 08-29-2011 03:55 AM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me
When i play with a 3DS for the first time i will have a quick look on the effect and then probably turn it off. I doubt the brain-eye confusion is worth the little bit of improvement in having "real" depth in my game.

RandomRob 08-29-2011 07:38 AM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me

Originally Posted by crackajack (Post 198045)
When i play with a 3DS for the first time i will have a quick look on the effect and then probably turn it off. I doubt the brain-eye confusion is worth the little bit of improvement in having "real" depth in my game.

but is it worth buying a new console for an added library of not-particularly challenging games? And just for the record: NO, I refuse flat-out to buy the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Starfox 64, AGAIN.

Ain't doin it!

crackajack 08-29-2011 08:04 AM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me

Originally Posted by RandomRob (Post 198057)
but is it worth buying a new console

definitely not for me. i am not eager to test its acclaimed 3D, i'm not eager in getting the so far released 3DS games and i'm also not eager to get the most current DS iteration to play DS-classics. The spare minutes i spent playing with my brothers DS was some DSiware puzzle games, almost completely ignoring Zelda, GTA CW, NSMB and other cartridge releases he also played not that much.

Li-Ion 08-29-2011 09:28 AM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me
I tested the 3DS a bit at an airport where they had some standing around, while an overly cheerful woman tried to sell it to me. The overly cheerful saleswoman didn't help but I wasn't all that impressed with the 3D to begin with. I am also one of those people who looks for 2D showings of movies. If they show a movie only in 3D I'm skipping it, since I tend to get headaches. I don't see why I should pay extra for a darker picture and headaches. With the 3DS I also haven't seen anything special about it. I'm currently more inclined to give the Vita a shot.

Steve Maxwell 09-01-2011 08:18 PM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me
The Nintendo 3DS is a weird beast. One one hand, I think it's very successful at what it was built to do. I just recently played through Ocarina of Time, and wow, the 3D in the Temple of Time was awesome (as was the gyroscopic aiming, except don't try to do both at once). The inability to maintain the 3D when the head is moved slightly IS definitely a problem, but I don't think it's the worse problem.

I think the biggest issue is that perhaps 3D on gaming portables, like with televisions, is not something people really want yet, if at all. My first reaction when the 3DS was unveiled was to celebrate it's increase in horsepower. Even now after owning one, the fact that I can play a spruced up version of Ocarina on a handheld is far more impressive, for my money, than 3D visuals. The 3D is fun, but awesome looking, fully realized games are where it's at. Of course, that brings us to yet another big problem with the 3DS...

Still, I paid full price and have no regrets. Nintendo, despite it's faults, has always delivered over the years, one way or another, especially in the portable space. Anyway, great article, well written, I enjoyed reading it.

Richard Naik 09-02-2011 03:37 PM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me
I can't handle 3D. At all. Looking at a 3DS with the 3D turned on for like 5 minutes gave me a massive headache, and a 3DTV only took a little bit longer.

I'll wait for the holodeck.

Chi Kong Lui 09-26-2011 01:56 PM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me
With the exception of a few games, I think most developers should abandon the 3D effect by default and turn it on only for small occasions like cut-scenes. This is how SMT Devil Survivor Overclocked does it.

crackajack 10-03-2011 03:54 AM

Re: The problem with 3D is Me

Originally Posted by Chi Kong Lui (Post 198401)
I think most developers should abandon the 3D effect by default and turn it on only for small occasions...

Sounds like a good idea after having had my first underwhelming hands on with a 3DS.

The 3D is 3D, surprise surprise, but i would not want to play for more than 5 minutes with that device.
Graphical quality seems outdated and the display resolution just sucks, especially since i got accustomed to WVGA in the past days on my smartphone. It terribly lacks the same clarity ALL current phones offer.
That would be sort of acceptable, i guess, but i had problems holding the 3D, especially the fast cut trailers were confusing and i often lost every depth and focus. I felt like i cross-eyed some times or whatever and it also was hard to look at the screen as a whole. It appeared to me as though i could look at a single thing on screen while everything else had to sort of vanish. Tunnel vision ftw. Seems like a terrible way of playing when i only can see my own car, or only Mario and the level and the Gumbas sort of disappear.
It were just trailers and those offer a more concentrated confusion, but i will not harm my ability to see when it appears rather stressing and not at all adding fun to the experience.
Even if i had no problems 3D on such a small screen seems also not that great of an idea. I was more impressed with the effect on my PC with the color glasses. The color sucks of course and it's unacceptable to play that way, but it offers a proper resolution and a proper screen size. The actual nvidia-glasses (and maybe also the PS3-glasses) might be much better than glassless on that mini screen.

The slider pad was the only positive thing, though i am not sure if the double real thing on the vita is at the end not much much better.

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