Once in a while, in the middle of a long caffeine and video game binge, Joshua Wirtanen starts making wild predictions about the future of gaming. In this weekly column, we will take a closer look at some of these predictions. It's up to you, the reader, to decide whether these have any truth to them or if it's just the caffeine talking.
3D gaming is an interesting phenomenon. Some gamers who are ready to take the next step towards a more immersive experience hail its coming as a legitimate way to enhance their gameplay. But will this phenomenon last, or is it just a flash-in-the-pan trend that players will quickly grow tired of?
3D movies experienced brief flashes of success throughout the history of film, but its popularity was never able to endure for very long. And that's because the original method of delivering a 3D experience was fundamentally flawed. Let me explain (in a very roundabout way).
In order to make images on a two-dimensional screen look like they are three-dimensional, those images must play a dirty trick on the eyes of the viewer. Our eyes can determine distance/depth because of the simple fact that there are two of them. Each eye views the world from a slightly different angle, meaning that each comparatively sees things in slightly different places. Our brains combine the two images, using the differences between the two to determine the distance away from us something is. Simplified version: we see things in 3D based on the differences between what our left eye sees versus our right eye. That's why a lamp post across the street looks further away than a person standing next to you.
So, to trick your brains into converting a 2D image into a 3D one, each eye must see a different image. For those of you who like technical terminology, this deception is called stereoscopy.
Those 3D films that showed up in the 1950s (and briefly again in the 1980s) worked by creating a red version and a blue version of an image, and then overlapped them. Putting on a pair of 3D glasses would cause one eye to only see the blue image, and the other to only see the red one. Each eye was seeing a different image, so the differences between the two would create the illusion of depth.