Gaming fans seems to love their crazes. First there was online on consoles, then the motion gaming rush, now it’s 3D. Most games that support 3D seem to have a very limited 3D feature that doesn’t do much for the whole experience. But is there something missing in 3D’s potential, or is it another failing phase?
There have been several decent attempts at 3D before. Battlefield 3 on PC is quite decent in 3D, I hear. Uncharted 3 and Killzone 3 had a decent mode, even if it sacrificed on graphics and texture resolution. These are the only really notable attempts, several shooters and other games have used the effect to little success, like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
The truth is that developers have been approaching 3D wrong. Rather than simply adding depth to the game world, they need to deliver a more aggressive experience. Avatar was depth, Resident Evil: Afterlife had things popping out of the screen at the audience. This is the kind of 3D treatment we need, an effect that really enhances gameplay.
How would this goal be achieved? There are a number of ways really. Starting with the HUD. HUD’s are tricky to balance. Players need adequate information and the readouts need to be big enough to be visible. However, too much HUD is obtrusive and makes gameplay hard. Why not use 3D to create a separation between HUD and game? This gives a slight edge between what we need to see and what the game is trying to show us. Any game with with a mini-map would look awesome, like GTA V. I’ve never played BF3 in 3D but I imagine the moving HUD would look amazing with this effect. Or take the conversation wheel from Mass Effect. That would be a cool look with the poop-out effect enabled.
However, 3D is mainly an immersion tool. Rockets shouldn’t just whiz past the screen and disappear. They should come out at the player and try to make them feel that intensity. For a first person game, the hands and player weapon could be drawn back a layer to make it seem that we are looking into the world.
I want that building to fall…in my eyes!
3D would also be amazing for any open world game. I believe it likely that Grand Theft Auto V will get 3D support, at least on PC. The PC versions of Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire both got Nvidia 3D Vision support, so it’s a safe bet GTA V will as well. The sheer scale of the Los Santos world would blow us away with all the depth. It would really be quite a sight.
Now imagine it…in 3D!!!
While current 3D is mainly a cosmetic effect, it could enhance gameplay as well. Imagine a zooming scope. Imagine every time you zoomed in, the game went into a deeper layer, and didn’t render the previous to save performance. It could really aid in target acquisition, and sniping over long ranges. This effect might turn out wrong though, but a dedicated developer would make it work.
Sony has the right idea with their SimulView technology. For those unfamiliar, last year’s PlayStation 3D Display had a system for 3D games where, rather than having two players in split screen, each player wearing glasses got a full, screen sized 2D display. Without the 3D glasses on, a person would see the two players screens overlayed as one, and it would make no sense. This is a great, innovative idea on how to use 3D to enhance the game. No one likes split-screen, and it also prevents screen cheating. It’s a shame this tech isn’t more widespread, it really is fantastic.
No more of this.
So there’s just some of the ways 3D could vastly improve or be improved in gaming. Whether you like it or not, the 3D push will likely come around again with the new consoles, because the improved hardware will make it a more realistic option. Agree or disagree? Is 3D a good thing or a curse? Let us know.