In an experiment that could spread to other 3D video games on the PlayStation 3, the developers of November's Sly Cooper compilation are considering including a controller-based slider that will adjust the depth of 3D displayed by the game.
The ability to manually adjust the depth of stereoscopic 3D graphics popping out from or receding into a TV screen would help people view the game more comfortably, a Sony games producer told Kotaku. He was showing me the Sly Collection at a holiday showcase for PS3 and PSP titles in New York yesterday. The game runs in stereoscopic 3D with the help of a special TV and glasses.
Gesturing at his PS3 DualShock controller and fiddling with the let analogue stick, the producer said that the slider function might be mapped to a control stick, with a tilt adjusting the 3D depth.
All 3D technologies require users to position themselves within an ideal distance and viewing angle in front of a display screen in order to see their 3D effect. Standing in the right spot gets you 3D. Standing in the wrong spot might get you a headache and/or a doubled image.
Without a slider, the Sony producer said, a player of a 3D game might be left to having to stand or sit in a particular spot to play. With the slider, they might be able to pick their own spot, more or less and then adjust the intensity of the 3D graphics to suit their position.
The idea of a manual slider for 3D video games is relatively new but already quite welcome. Nintendo demonstrated a similar feature last month at E3 on their upcoming 3DS portable gaming platform. The 3DS' slider was widely praised for allowing people to manually find a degree of 3D-ness in the system's graphics that displayed properly and painlessly while the Nintendo device was held at a comfortable distance. The 3DS' slider even allowed the 3D effect to be turned off.
The Sly Collection doesn't have its slider yet - nor is it yet named, as Kotaku suggested, a "Slyder" - but the game would be a good test case for it. The game collection contains the three PlayStation 2 Sly Cooper games, all of them sort of mixes of a Mario 64-style platformer and heist capers, all of them rendered for the PS3 in optional 3D.
Sony is aggressively promoting 3D gaming on the PS3. All such 3D games require 3D-compatible TVs as well as glasses. Should the slider idea work, it could become a feature in other Sony-published PlayStation 3 games as well.
The 3D-enabled Sly Collection ships this November. If you don't have a 3D TV, don't worry. You can play the game in good old flat-TV 2D.