GeForce 3D Vision Hands-On

Find out how Nvidia is going to change how you experience 3D gaming with the GeForce 3D Vision.

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If Nvidia has its way, 2009 will be the year that 3D gaming breaks out of the 2D display screen. The graphics manufacturer announced today at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show that it plans on shipping a new GeForce 3D Vision kit that will let PC gamers play games in stereoscopic 3D with a set of wireless glasses. Stereoscopic 3D gaming isn't new to the PC platform. Veteran gamers might still have an old pair of Elsa 3D Revelator glasses that originally shipped with select Nvidia TNT2 card bundles almost a decade ago. The stereoscopic kits add a stereoscopic 3D viewing mode to existing PC games by using a high-frame-rate monitor and a set of shutter glasses to create a depth-of-field effect by showing each eye the same scene from two slightly different perspectives. The display screen alternates image viewpoints as the shutter glasses alternately darken the left and right lenses. The process causes the viewer to perceive a 3D effect in which objects on the screen pop out from the background.

The wireless GeForce 3D Vision glasses look much better than 3D glasses we've seen in the past.

Stereoscopic 3D gaming actually took a step backward when PC manufacturers switched from CRT monitors to LCD monitors. The original 3D shutter glasses released years ago worked well with CRT monitors because the old displays had superior refresh rates that could handle stereoscopic gaming, but current LCD monitors don't work as well because they are locked at 60Hz. Fortunately, LCD-monitor manufacturers including Samsung and Viewsonic are preparing to release 120Hz displays that are able to supply the refresh rates necessary for flicker-free stereoscopic playback.

Stereoscopic 3D gaming may not be new to the PC, but Nvidia believes that the underlying technologies have matured to the point where the 3D experience is ready to break through to the mainstream. Nvidia has leveraged its relationships with game developers to ensure wide game support, and display technology has advanced enough to make stereoscopic 3D gaming possible again. We spent a week testing the glasses here at the GameSpot offices, and we can say that, yes, they work!

You won't find any hard edges on the glasses (until you fold them).

Left 4 Dead played wonderfully in 3D. It is difficult to describe how much better the game looks without screenshots, but the extra depth gave an added sense of realism while we moved through the game, peering into subway trains and stumbling through forest environments. The first reactions from all of the GameSpot staffers that tried the system was generally something along the lines of, "Whoa, this is cool!" followed shortly by "How much does this cost?" We even caught one of our graphic designers pawing at the screen during his gameplay session. Most of the shooters we tested looked pretty nice; you end up paying extra attention to your environments because the graphics stand out. Seeing a corpse float by in Call of Duty: World at War is jarring enough to distract you from the enemy the first time you see one. The spatial awareness hits you in racing games such as GRID, where you get a heightened sense of everything around you, sort of like having an enhanced cockpit view. Getting the games to work was remarkably easy. We needed only to install the GeForce 3D Vision software and a set of ForceWare graphics drivers to get the games working in stereoscopic 3D. None of the games we tested required any software patches. They worked right out of the box (and freshly downloaded from Steam in some cases).

We noticed that a few of the games that we tested had small graphical issues that sometimes broke the 3D experience with rendered objects that didn't look correct onscreen. Nvidia provides recommendations on graphics settings that you can disable to improve image quality in stereoscopic mode within each game, but some glitches seemed to be unavoidable. For example, Fallout 3 looked great most of the time, but the clouds seemed to be rendered forward on the screen instead of sitting in the background, which created a weird effect. World of Warcraft looked pretty nice, with the action bars and other user-interface options rendered in the top layer and the gameworld rendered in the background, but the onscreen cursor appears at screen level, which makes it difficult to target mobs in the gameworld. That said, when the stereoscopic 3D effect is working, the view is often impressive enough for us to forgive a few glitches for now.

The infrared emitter can synchronize with multiple glasses, so several people can watch the same display.

The GeForce 3D Vision package consists of a set of wireless shutter glasses and an infrared emitter. We tested the system with a 120Hz Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ LCD monitor. There aren't many true 120Hz LCD monitors available right now, but you can also use the 3D Vision with other display types, including select DLP HDTVs and 100Hz+ CRT monitors. Lightspeed Design also has a DepthQ HD 3D Projector that supports stereoscopic 3D output for the early adopters out there.

The IR emitter syncs the shutter glasses with the game display to sync up the frames with the glasses. The emitter also has a scroll wheel that lets you adjust the onscreen 3D depth in real time. Scrolling the wheel shifts the alternating images closer together or farther apart to increase or reduce object depth onscreen. We tended to favor less depth at the start of our testing sessions, but eventually moved on to the more extreme depth settings as our eyes adjusted to the stereoscopic view.

The GeForce 3D Vision glasses fit over prescription eyewear.

The wireless glasses look fantastic compared to shutter glasses from years past. They're too large to be mistaken for regular plastic eyeglass frames, but the lines are clean and the build quality feels solid. The glasses have extra room in front and around the temples to fit over prescription eyeglasses, and the package includes interchangeable nose pieces for additional customization. The glasses will work for 40 hours on a single charge, and there's a small USB connector beneath the left side of the glasses for recharging. A built-in battery-indicator light will flash red when there's less than two hours of battery life remaining.

In addition to the special display requirements, you'll also need Windows Vista; an Intel Core 2, AMD Athlon X2, or more powerful CPU; and a fairly recent GeForce GPU to get your system to work with GeForce 3D Vision. Supported GPUs include the GeForce GTX 295, GeForce GTX 285, GeForce GTX 280, GeForce GTX 260, GeForce 9800 GX2, GeForce 9800 GTX+, GeForce 9800 GTX, GeForce 9800 GT, GeForce 9600 GT, GeForce 8800 Ultra, GeForce 8800 GTX, GeForce 8800 GTS, and the GeForce 8800 GT.

The GeForce 3D Vision will be available this month for $199. Competitive shooter players may not want to sacrifice the framerates or adapt to a new 3D world, but PC game enthusiasts interested in a completely new way to play their games should give the GeForce 3D Vision a try. Nvidia has confirmed that more than 350 games will be compatible at launch, but the real question is how well and for how long will the company work with developers to ensure that future games are optimized for the GeForce 3D Vision. We enjoyed our time using the 3D Vision glasses, but we'll feel a lot better about investing in a set after we see how well games coming out this year work with the system. We're willing to forgive minor bugs in existing games, but for $199 and another $399 for a new 120Hz monitor, all of the big games coming out this year must work perfectly.

Discussion

392 comments
Kleeyook
Kleeyook

It's too expensive. :( I doubt if this would work: Connecting my laptop to 200Hz HDTV and play using this glasses.

Nodashi
Nodashi

They work on 120Hz HDTVs and projectors. Look at the official site, it explains a lot.

egetaskent
egetaskent

does this glasses also work on tv because it would be better to play ps3 and xbox 360 games on 3d

TheDetroitWasp
TheDetroitWasp

There is a cheaper soultion that seems to work just as good called iz3d, its a monitor with dual screens, works just as imax 3d, check it out for yourself, iz3d.com, can be bought off newegg.com $310, i have to upgrade my oldschool p4 i can use one, once i get i will post review here... One final note, with reg blue/red 3d glasses and the iz3d drivers i can play most games in 3d with out monitor, just not at the same effect as the monitor would produce.

chechak7
chechak7

awesome classes..... need one

NetGod
NetGod

I love Nvida. I think they are a great company and they make great products. But I don't think 3D will ever really take off til we lose the glasses.

Tyler_100
Tyler_100

Sounds like a bit of inovating improvement pc gaming has needed for awhile now.

Alizerothree
Alizerothree

Isn't there a mod already to play Left 4 Dead in 3D? This would be awesome for it!

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

...and the GeForce 8800GT. woot! just got in.

AnelZukic
AnelZukic

it stil isn't out yet, so maybe if I decide to buy a 120 HZ LC monitor I probably gonna buy this also and enjoy it :D hope many developers gonna make games compatibile with it ;)

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

Requirements: Windows Vista..............Pass.

ShadowASH
ShadowASH

The 3D world of Computer Interface yet moves one step closer too fully being.Lets us think one more time,how fast the progress is.O yea.... "The NEW good is nothing but the OLD forgotten =P"

medwayman
medwayman

I think people have been suspicious of console peripherals ever since the Nintendo PowerGlove. I'd be willing to give them a shot, but I wouldn't sink $200 into them on faith. Not even if I started belching cash one morning.

MichaelGeorge70
MichaelGeorge70

it's something to do with blocking the vision in each eye at a slightly different time..? but uber fast so it tricks the brain into seeing it in 3d think there is an article at www.tomshardware.co.uk

army2067
army2067

i don't get how thay exactly work can someone help me

00Terry00
00Terry00

Cool, playing L4D with this will be nice. Imagine the witch running towards you and then poping out from your screen. XD XD XD

hedgy1
hedgy1

The biggest problem about previous VR glasses and systems is that they're usually stuck at 800 x 600 or 640 x 480 resolutions. Hopefully, and from the article, it sounds like it, the resolutions will be higher.

SuperGamer911
SuperGamer911

There already is a virtual reality visor Hellfire93. The bad thing is that it costs $1500.

rockutd
rockutd

Sounds cool.The future of gaming perhaps?

a_blind_man
a_blind_man

No. Just no. I flat-out don't care enough. And I agree with Hellfire, I like my eyes, I don't need them getting funkied with.

Hellfire93
Hellfire93

Yeah this sounds very cool, few more steps to virtual reality, but yeah I'm afraid of it screwing with my eyes.

futs22
futs22

Well, it sounds very appealing except that bit about the refresh rate requirement of 120 Hz. I don't really want to change my LCD monitor since it's only 6 months old. Hmmm.... maybe I'll sell it then to get a new one.

Jessman
Jessman

200 bucks eh? I might wait on this one.

Karrotjuce
Karrotjuce

sounds pretty cool... ill give it a try

riptoe222
riptoe222

ill probably wait to see how people like it , then maybe buy it, always interesting to try new interfaces which increase my ability to get into a game more

abarnes4
abarnes4

All the articles I've seen on the new Nvidia glasses are far too forgiving - there's almost nothing new here. So "the technologies have matured" - isn't that just saying they've been around for years, and haven't actually changed at all? The point that these are useless for virtually all gamers (who own 60 Hz LCD monitors) isn't stressed enough. How many people really want to buy a new monitor just for this? Just about the only difference between these and the old E-Dimensional glasses is that these are a bit sleeker looking. Oh and they're twice the price. And they don't work on XP.

wikkiwild1
wikkiwild1

I wonder if it will work on my 46" HD LCD? It does have a refresh rate of 120hz.

Geon106
Geon106

This is all very well, but i've just invested in a nice 32" HDTV for my main gaming rig and my home theatre pc a 100Hz 42". I'm not gonna go and spend £250 odd on a small 22" screen just for 120Hz refresh rate.

Benthefunnyhen
Benthefunnyhen

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

freekedoutfish
freekedoutfish

lol, I can see myself having an photo sensitive fit after 10 minutes of using these!

No_SuRReNDeR
No_SuRReNDeR

Ok so I have a 32inch lcd HDTV that has a 60hz refresh ----does that mean these glasses wouldn't work?.... And wont these things give you a headache like those pictures you stared at for hidden images...--"It's not a schooner... it's a Sailboat"-WB

hamadatoon
hamadatoon

lets ask our self. Way we need that thing???????? foe me i dont want it. be4 i gon be blind......maybe deff........or actually my LCD screen 19 wide is better than this.

Ghost777
Ghost777

qasim16061991: This will work perfectly fine with a Dual Core processor. Also the only eyesight issue to fear is possible epileptic seizures being induced from the constant flickering of the light being shown on the eyes.

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

I would like to also add at why this is going to take off for good this time. CES 2009 has every everyone trying to show off the 3D glasses. Samsung, LG, Sony...ect they are all in the game. Its not just one company, but all the big players at this point. Once everyone gets a taste of this technology, they will sing praises. Its really a nice treat, and some games will even have you pawing at your screen. Its a good thing for us now that the companies behind the tech feel that this is the next generation of entertainment enhancement.

qasim16061991
qasim16061991

hey this thign sounds cool for the new generation gaming...........well i have 2 questions,will this work on Intel Dual Core and wudnt this thing be dangerous for our eyesight.....

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

@soulcold, remember you need a monitor that has 120 hz refresh rate also. Dont get these if your monitor or new hdtv doesnt have at least a 120hz refresh rate.

meatball_dude
meatball_dude

DAMN!!!!! i have nvidia gforce 8500. and is it only windows vista?

elosolipa
elosolipa

Come on!!! I want one of this right now!!! How about testing them with Far Cry 2?

soulcold
soulcold

Thanks God I have a nvidia 8800. Buyin these As soon as they come out

tripplecripple
tripplecripple

For the question stangmar822 ... In addition to the special display requirements, you'll also need Windows Vista; an Intel Core 2, AMD Athlon X2, or more powerful CPU; and a fairly recent GeForce GPU to get your system to work with GeForce 3D Vision. Supported GPUs include the GeForce GTX 295, GeForce GTX 285, GeForce GTX 280, GeForce GTX 260, GeForce 9800 GX2, GeForce 9800 GTX+, GeForce 9800 GTX, GeForce 9800 GT, GeForce 9600 GT, GeForce 8800 Ultra, GeForce 8800 GTX, GeForce 8800 GTS, and the GeForce 8800 GT.

stangmar822
stangmar822

Noob question: i have an ati card so i can still use these right?

starmanuk50
starmanuk50

i had eDimensional shutter glasses (still lying around somewhere) and as good as they were on my crt monitor (the screensavers looked stunning) i didnt get the same results on lcds, maybe thats fixed now dont know driver issue i think but i think the best 3d will come about when 3d monitors take off and get cheaper. 3d without glasses is the real deal and its only a matter of time. Dual 3d monitors are the way to go being able to use them for normal use and 3d when required and available now dropping in price gradually.

relapse808
relapse808

Its funny how so many people talk smack about this product when you havent even used it. You cannot take screenshots of a product like this. I got a chance to play left 4 dead on this at CES and I must say I was very impressed with how 3d everything looked. This is not some cheap gimmick 3d product. I will get one as soon as I can.

DukeNukem3037
DukeNukem3037

I still have a set of 3D glasses (wired). The company was e-Dimensional. The effect was excellent. However, I play a lot of 1st person shooters. Unfortunately, the aiming reticle is not placed accurately in the 3D view mode...that's a deal breaker when trying for headshots. Hell, even one pixel off is not acceptable. Also, if anyone else is watching without the glasses on - the picture is blurry for them. I'll have to look to see if they have new drivers out to fix the reticle problem.