Techs We’d Rather Play With Than 3D

Techs We’d Rather Play With Than 3D
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Things are moving towards 3D nowadays. Sure, it’s cool. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that this isn’t a technology we’re choosing, rather than one that’s been chosen for us. What technology would you rather see game makers play with? We’ve listed a few below.

Having been to a few events showing off 3D gaming, I’ve only seen one game genuinely made with the tech in mind. And it was quite cool. Boosting in Wipeout HD makes the car come further out of the screen while the track stretches out in front.

Not only was it clever design – allowing me to see further along the track as I went faster – it was also plain that computer generated graphics could play with the 3D more effectively. Much more impressive than content “re-purposed” for 3D.

But we’ve all just bought our HD TVs. Heaven forbid they last a good 5 years. There’s worry about its effects on childrens’ eyes, but more importantly, we’ve got to wear those silly glasses.

Considering they probably won’t fully utilise the tech for the first little while anyway, I think I’ll skip the early adopter train on this one. Here’s a list of what we’d rather see in the meantime, and it’s encouraging to note that 2 out of 3 are homegrown.

1. 3D Headtracking Using Crazy Wiimote Hacking Business

This guy uses existing tech, on a “non-3D” TV, to make a better 3D experience than what we currently call 3D. Why hasn’t anyone made anything with this yet? Keep those videos coming, awesome mystery researcher guy.

2. Emotive’s Epoc Headset

Everyone wants a piece of Emotiv’s technology, which not only measures facial expressions, but affectiv and cognitiv signals as well. In short, it reads your mind.

Currently users have to “train” the headset to their way of thinking, similar to how you’d configure voice recognition software over a period of time. After teaching it what signals your brain sends out when it issues a “push forward” command enough times, it’ll eventually get it.

The man in this video is using his arms to help his brain generate what’s needed, but don’t mistake this for Kinect. The idea is, eventually you wouldn’t have to lift a finger.

It’s thought that children are the best users of Emotiv, given their more imaginative minds. But even though they’re mainly targeting gaming, the company has garnered widespread global interest, from the military to organisations helping the disabled.

3. Motionscan

It seems like Team Bondi has been working on L.A. Noire since Michael Jackson was black, but lately some really interesting stuff has started to emerge. In partnership with Sydney company Depth Analysis, the new game will feature a technology called Motionscan which uses 16 3D cameras (32 total) to measure every movement of your face.

No dots, no paint. Just sit there, say your piece, and stick it in the game. Impressively, the tech seems to waltz right past the uncanny valley by incorporating an element of caricature in your avatar. It raises the value of proper acting in video games, and L.A. Noire will utilise this by requiring you, as a detective, to be able to tell if an NPC is lying to you.

Under-par storytelling has been a constant in the gaming world. Techs like this could be a major step in fixing that. There aren’t any videos available yet, but GamePro’s John Davidson wrote up his experience from E3.

So how about you? Is 3D a tech you’re willing to accept with open arms? What would you rather see in its place, enjoying full industry support?


  • Real-world Augmented Reality, for me. Superimposing computer-generated information, figures and so on into your view of the world via VR glasses. It’s the stuff of science fiction mainly at this point (popular examples include William Gibsons Virtual Light and anime Dennou Coil) but it’s an area of active research at the moment, and has been applied to games, eg the home-grown ARQuake from the University of South Australia.

    Whoever manages to get to mass market with an MMO or similar using that kind of tech is going to be extremely rich.

    • I’m a student in the lab that made AR Quake and work on AR games has slowed down a fair bit here. It’s still an interest for us, but we need to focus on making improvements to AR instead of redoing something that has already been done (ARQuake) and making it good. We leave that to any companies that have the money and time to do it.

      As for the technology, you’d need a really good head-mounted display. Some that look like normal sunglasses would be great. Then you’d need a small computer that can run the software and display the images in the HMD. So we’re waiting for phones to become more powerful so that they can do all of the processing.

    • I’m on board with this.
      Not just 3D, but Full Immersion.
      Video glasses that fill up your field of vision, power gloves. This stuff was played with a decade ago in a clumsy way. Surely now it could be done a whole lot better. Smaller, cheaper equipment, with more power.

  • 3D in the form of Holograms. A Kinect that’s as smart as JARVIS in Iron Man. Granted it may several decades, but we’ll get there. Eventually.

  • Yeah man who wants to wear those stupid 3D glasses when you can wear these stupid Wii sensor bar glasses… or you could have 18 brain sensors strategically placed round your head and spend more time learning how to lift a block than the 30 hours it took to get through the training in FFXIII.
    But seriously all petty sarcasm aside, the main issue people have with 3D seems to be the need for glasses and yet these techs have the same or more intrusive devices to them and yet you have no complaints? I dont get it?

    • My issue with 3D was never the glasses, my problem with it is that its pointless and lame.

      This stuff however is genuinely interesting and actually looks to deliver something new and more immerse then the current 3D.

  • The 3D head tracking thing always comes to mind to me when 3D is discussed. Would be interested to see the 3D effects in Wipeout HD (Much love for Wipeout ^_^) but since I saw the 3D head tracking thing I thought it sounded a lot more interesting than 3D with silly glasses :p

  • When i first saw the head tracking thing i was blown away, it just looks phenominal… using somehting like that in conjunction with a trational controller would be marvelous for fps’s if implemented right… but yeh i’m also with Ad, i’m happy with gaming the way it is.. no 3d… at least not until it’s done really right

  • “Why hasn’t anyone made anything with this yet? Keep those videos coming, awesome mystery researcher guy.”

    Can’t tell if you’re being intentionally obtuse there Jung but Microsoft hired him to work on Kinect so expect some head tracking to show up in some Kinect augmented game. Forza 4 is using it as far as I know and Arma II supports it already. There’s vids on youtube

    • Sorry, Just posted essentially the same as you did before reading your post… Cheers.

      I am really excited (although we havn’t seen it yet) about this getting incorporated into other games.

  • I’m all for depth perception and enhanced immersion, wake me up when you’ve invented the holodeck

  • I thought is was common knowledge that the guy who made those head tracking videos (Johnny Lee?? or something) is now working for M$ on Kinect. This is exactly what I am expecting from traditional gaming out of kinect.

    Did i just make this up or was this news like 12 months ago?

    • Exactly what I am hoping for from Kinect.

      It would be great if teh ingame camera mimicked the natural movements some gamers have when playing with a controller – ie: leaning left or right.

      • The issue with head tracking (I have used in to RFactoe (PC racing sim) is that while it seems cool to look to your side to see out the side window, your monitor does not move with your line of sight. In this ARMAII video, watch his eyes, they are always fixed forward.. why would you bother.

        Kinect’s application of head tracking would make more sense as you are already moving around in 3D space so this head tracking would just be a natural progression of the screen. This is my issue with it being used for controler games, if you are sitting on the couch, the only head movements would be subtle and the extra development effort to produce may not be worth the minor improvement to a game. Head tracking for propper kinect games however (casual – jump around the house type games) would be really nice and something that the others could not replicate easily.

  • Hey Jung you do know that Johnny Lee actually works for MS these days and has been doing work for Kinect?

    Although I agree, head tracking 3D is far better than stupid glasses… it’s just has the limitation of being on effective for a single user.

  • “But it’s hard to shake the feeling that this isn’t a technology we’re choosing, rather than one that’s been chosen for us.”

    Nice one Junglist, yoU nailed that one! I totaly agree.

    I’m with the Augmented Reality tech as well!

  • I’d think any stereo split vision would have the capacity to cause eyestrain or permanent boss-eyes in the worst case. I’d prefer to see some panorama display developments.

  • Head tracking is the reason why 3D is just a gimmick because 3D isn’t 3D, whereas head tracking mechanically is.

    We implemented precisely the same head tracking into an FPS at university and received good reviews from the gaming industry. However, that was 2 years ago and no one was interested in funding the idea at the time.

    It’s funny how few companies aren’t willing to invested in technology ahead of time, then scramble like peasants over fallen loose change when the marketplace fills with tech buzz.

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