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Graphics Sony Games

Don't Go 3D For 3D's Sake, Says Sony 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the out-of-their-depth dept.
Sony is determined to push 3D graphics into the realm of gaming, but the company seems to be aware that quality, not quantity, is what can win over gamers. They've been telling game developers to take the plunge only if it makes for a better gaming experience, and not just to take advantage of an industry buzz word. Sony's Mick Hocking said, "We need to, and we're trying to encourage everyone to learn about 3D properly and come and talk to us so we'll support them when they convert the games. But only deliver the best quality 3D. As we've seen in some other industries, if you make great quality 3D, in film you could say Avatar – it's the most successful film of all time, it's the highest grossing film of all time – but since then that hasn't been followed up with the same degree of success. ... If people see great quality 3D it does enhance the experience. It's a great feature for a game. But if they see poor quality 3D it can put them off. Unfortunately some people are producing poor quality 3D, in all mediums. Over the last 12 months we've seen TV, film, some games, where the quality hasn't been there. It's just a case of people need to understand how to work with 3D, how to make it technically correct and then how to use it creatively. Only add 3D where it makes a difference to the gameplay experience. It must add something. Don't just add depth for the sake of it."
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Don't Go 3D For 3D's Sake, Says Sony

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  • by sourcerror (1718066) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @03:29AM (#36832260)

    Just imagine Duke Nukem 3D!

    • I was actually thinking solitaire 3D or Suduko 3D. Just imagine how it would improve your gameplay. ;)

      • I was actually thinking solitaire 3D or Suduko 3D. Just imagine how it would improve your gameplay. ;)

        I could go for *actual* 3D chess: I have an old board game of such from - I think - the 60s called "Space Chess [chessvariants.com]" (and here [boardgamegeek.com]). That'd be pretty cool in 3D.

        • I was just thinking that I actually have 3D versions of all the above games, but they don't need any special software and aren't affected by system updates or change in my computer. You can probably guess what I mean ;)

  • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @03:31AM (#36832270)

    The handful of games and handful of 3d blurays available do not make 3d in the home compelling.

    Put aside complaints about 3d tech, stupid glasses, whatever. Heard them all, I don't hate the tech like a lot of other folk. I even bought a 3d tv because it was a good tv in the price range I was looking for anyway.

    I never get to use it!

    And here in Australia they seem to want $60+ for a 3d bluray version of cloudy with a chance of meatballs, or Monsters vs Aliens. Seriously. Bad selection, bad prices. These things will kill it stone dead even if all the naysayers don't.

    • by strack (1051390)
      theres more than a handful of games. nvidia lists about 400-500 games that work well with its 3dvision system. you dont need to specially write games for 3d. for the most part. its different for movies.
      • by Nursie (632944)

        I guess I meant games and content from Sony.

        As and when I refresh my computer I guess I'll get something that can do 3d pc games and then we'll see.

        I still associate PC gaming with sitting at a desk rather than in the living room though.

    • I've seen a couple of dozen movies in IMAX 3D, and can count on one hand the number that are actually worth seeing in 3D. Most recently was Harry Potter 7, part 2, which I saw last Saturday.... the 3D was exceptionally well done. But there were only two scenes in the entire movie where it added anything noticeable, and I could easily have done without the 3D without affecting my enjoyment of the movie, and have no intention of buying the 3D version of the movie when it comes out on disc.

      And it's the same st

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Yup, only movies I've seen in 3D which I thought were done well were Avatar and Tron Legacy. I rarely bother to see movies in 3D - usually they're just visually distracting and headache-inducing. It isn't even a matter of money for me so much as paying more for what I'd consider an inferior product to the 2D most of the time.

        To make a movie in 3D you need to actually plan it that way - just like you have to plan for movies in 2D. They don't "just happen."

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Yup, only movies I've seen in 3D which I thought were done well were Avatar and Tron Legacy. I rarely bother to see movies in 3D - usually they're just visually distracting and headache-inducing. It isn't even a matter of money for me so much as paying more for what I'd consider an inferior product to the 2D most of the time.

          To make a movie in 3D you need to actually plan it that way - just like you have to plan for movies in 2D. They don't "just happen."

          The thing that makes Avatar so good was James Cameron

    • I'm trying. I got an EVO 3D. I take the most boring 3D pictures/movies you have ever seen, but I'll have some beter stuff soon. The phone shows the scene as 3D, so I know what it will look like, and doesn't require glasses. It does have a narrow viewing angle, so two people can't look at the same time.

      I got it mostly because it was free after corporate discounts, porting rebate, instant rebate. I could have gotten the other EVO with the slide out keyboard, but I don't text enough to make it worthwhile

    • by Rakarra (112805)

      And here in Australia they seem to want $60+ for a 3d bluray version of cloudy with a chance of meatballs, or Monsters vs Aliens. Seriously. Bad selection, bad prices. These things will kill it stone dead even if all the naysayers don't.

      The only reason the studios are pushing 3D in the first place is because they can charge a premium for it.

    • by Kalriath (849904)

      Aussie and NZ are in the same Bluray region as the UK, and Amazon.co.uk has a free shipping deal on for all purchases above £25 (which at their pricing is TWO Blurays!)

      Seriously, screw your local overpriced retailers, ship it in from Amazon UK at half to a third of the cost.

  • by dexomn (147950)

    FTA: "Don't just add depth for the sake of it." Bad dum tsss!

  • And here I was thinking that Sony was giving serious, practical advice to buyers of their TV sets and to their film division ...

  • Sony... making a reasonable point? NO! We hate sony! Game developers everywhere, make shitty 3D games just to spite Sony!
    • In unrelated news, Steve Jobs says that no-one wanted a tablet PC, then announced the iPad.

      Personally, I'd much rather have 1080p or better per eye in my portable VR goggles, the best I've purchased (without building my own from used Android phones) is 640x480 per eye, tried a few 852x480 or better but I'm waiting for the price to drop a bit.

      Follow each tech to it's logical conclusion: Getting the screen bigger and farther away will become impractical -- I'd rather head the other direction and place th

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      You know, both things don't conflict with each other.

      The hate people have for Sony isn't because they lack intelligent people capable of making a good point. The hate exists because they take that intelligence, and most of the time apply it in the wrong direction.

    • by hal2814 (725639)
      That does really surprise me, especially from Sony. Back in the 90's, developers were making shitty 3D games (in this case, not stereoscopic but set in 3D environments) for the Playstation just to keep Sony happy.
      • by Gravatron (716477)
        SCEA was really bad about that back in the day. SCEI/SCEE not so much. Luckily, they seemed to have gotten over it and abandoned that as a policy after the ps1, probably due to the success of several high profile 2d games.
  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @03:50AM (#36832370)

    It's a buzz word, so people will go with it. Sony can warn them all they want, but people just want to gain from someone else's success. If they can turn an ordinary game into a 3D game with little effort, and boost their sales (on the short term), then they will do it.

    I predict a 3D sudoku before the year is over.

  • I want to learn 3d too... but math is such a difficult thing to conquer..
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You don't have to understand the maths behind projecting 3D on a 2D raster just to create 3D content. Even though it can be helpful when using more techincal features of certain content creation software packages.

      However, even the math isn't *that* hard, take this from someone who dropped out of school and used to think basic arithmetic is all the math he'd ever be capable of learning and has now gotten a fairly good understanding of the math after having done some 3D programming projects using OpenGL. Some

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @04:01AM (#36832396)

    Developers can't make 3d-centric games because no one but an incredibly small minority of people with gaming rigs and/or consoles would be able to play them.

    Customers don't buy 3d-monitors and TVs because there's no content worth watching on them.

    End result, 3d is used as an afterthought or marketing gimmick. It makes no sense to spend a lot of funds developing a feature almost no one would use.

    • by rgviza (1303161)
      I bought a 3D tv because the 2D model was $50 less. I think we're at the tipping point where 3D will pretty much become default. I know there isn't much content, and most of what is (at least for movies) is the old red/blue cheesy 3d (which you can watch on a 2D tv with the same effect), but the 3D LCDs have pretty good picture quality and there isn't much of a premium any more for it. I think 2011-2012 will see a sharp increase in available content, and pretty much all newer tv models that get released in
  • In other words... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Veggiesama (1203068)

    In other words, Sony is saying, "Hey consumers, it's the developers' fault for using buzzwords we helped promote. We know 3D sucks ass right now, but come on, give us another chance! Remember Avatar? Come on, remember?"

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      Eh, it's just the same thing that happens with every new invention.

      When they came up with movies, the stuff they filmed was completely pointless by today's standards, and was mostly "Holy crap, it MOVES!". And thus you got such exciting movies as a few seconds of a guy sneezing.

      When they came up with color, people started trying to add it to black and white movies, whether it made sense or not. Because, COLOR!

      To same thing is happening with 3D right now. Eventually people will figure out that stuff like "Ho

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or: "I have lazy eye, you insensitive clod!"

    (Besides, it's not really 3D until you can move your head and see the parallax.)
    • by demonbug (309515)

      (Besides, it's not really 3D until you can move your head and see the parallax.)

      I agree completely. Sadly, I have had the opportunity to work (and play) with just such a system. I say sadly because it completely spoiled me for the "3D" experience of films (haven't tried video games yet). The system I used incorporated active shutter glasses, head tracking with millimeter accuracy, was tailored specifically for the user (accounting for your specific eye separation and other parameters I don't recall - there was about a 5-10 minute calibration run-through for each new user to get it set

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Whilst what Sony says is true of films, in that technicians need to re-learn how their cinematography etc. will work in 3 dimensions rather than the 2 they've learnt their trade in, I think games are a very different matter. Have these guys never played FPS on a PC with 3D shutter glasses or some similar system? That enhances the gaming experience immensely, even if the game was never designed with that in mind. The difference is that in a game the user controls the camera and gets the full depth experie

    • You need a 120hz monitor first, I'm still waiting for a 120hz monitor that is not tiny and has a glossy screen.
  • by acehole (174372) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @04:39AM (#36832506) Homepage

    How about making a decent game without stupid gimmicks or one that doesn't play a cutscene every two steps.

    • If you want games with gameplay, I suggest you travel back to the 1990's. Unfortunately, most games these days seem to want to move into the "interactive movie" category.

    • by Inda (580031)
      And this is the reason I play so many Flash games these days.

      New games are released daily. Some of poor, most are average, some are, I can't believe I'm typing this, triple-A games.

      I've always been one to try every single flipping game I could find. I like the innovation. I like the way a programmer is obviously not talented in the graphics department but has put together polished game play. I like the way games are 'patched' almost daily. I like the way they listen to gamers' moans.

      Gemcraft Labyrinth has k
      • by Shrike82 (1471633)

        Gemcraft Labyrinth has kept me entertained for a couple of months. Probably the best tower defence game I've ever played. Worth the few quid I spent on it.

        Interesting to hear that you bought it. I assume that was so you could play it while you were away from the PC as (I'm sure you already know) it's availabel for free at all the usual Flash game portal sites.

    • by Gravatron (716477)
      Funny, I don't see many games like that, then again, I tend to be pretty picky on what I play. Well, for cut scenes I think at least, 'stupid gimmicks' pretty much defines a lot of game play since the dawn of gaming, even on simple flash games.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2011 @04:44AM (#36832518)

    The problem is that we've been screwing around with the 3d word. Remember when "3D" cards came out. The original OpenGL spec also defined a left and right frame buffer. And then there were Shutter glasses going back to things like the Sega Master System.

    3D never, ever, works. The primary problem Nintendo learned with the VR boy. People get headaches from it because it's impossible to calibrate them to work with every pair of eyes. Everyone gets motion sickness or headaches with a "VR set" and when you put it on a flat screen, you force the eyes to go cross-eyed, resulting in headaches and eyestrain.

    In the theater, they use polarizing glasses, which work in a pinch but require the picture to be much brighter than normal. The problem again being that not everyones stereo vision is calibrated the same. Like for me, with the exception of a few key scenes in Avatar, 3D is lost on me, the brain tunes it out after 5 minutes. I still see some films in 3D because they're the only properly calibrated projection screens, but overall it's never been worth seeing anything in 3D, since 3D adds very little value.

    Now here's where I think we can make a difference, but I don't think we'll see it in current generation systems. Take the Kinect device and combine it with a auto-stereoscopic monitor. Now you have a true 3d interaction. Until this is possible, 3D will remain as glue and sparkles, looks pretty, but functionally useless.

    There is some promise for 3D, but I don't see any games being able to make use of 3D without completely doing away with the glasses. Any real benefit to 3D stereography would require being able to see light bounce off 3D objects, which doesn't happen, hence why it fails. There's no depth, so the eyes can't focus.

    Avatar was good, but if you turn the 3D off, most people wouldn't have noticed after the first 10 minutes.

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      Wow are you out of date. I mean, come on, Virtual Boy? Have you actually seen what it produced? Here [wikipedia.org]. You might as well have used Wolfenstein 3D to discuss the issues of 3D graphics today. As you might notice from looking at the screenshots there have been a few advancements since then. The Virtual Boy was just a product that came up way, way before its time.

      What you're speaking of already exists. Go try a 3DS, it works. The remaining issues with 3D are: getting good tech out (which exists, but needs to be

      • by ildon (413912)

        You clearly never actually used a Virtual Boy. It did not produce a red/blue flat image. It had two little LCD screens and two mirrors and each screen produced a unique image and you wore the whole thing like a giant set of goggles. Both the images were monochrome red with about 4 variations in color. This is functionally identical to how stereoscopy works now (delivering 2 distinct flat images to each eye that are slightly different to create a perception of depth). All that's changed over time is the deli

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          I know it didn't produce anaglyph images. But it's hard to make screenshots of what it really did.

          Anyway, my point was that low resolution, 4 color images mostly looking like wireframe, plus one of the first attempts at implementing it all aren't really comparable to the state of the tech today.

          And yes, I know 3D separation can be a problem. However that's a problem for movies. This story is about games, and things that are rendered in real time can be made to have any amount of separation you like.

          Once tha

      • by Gravatron (716477)
        3DS has the same problems for me as other 3d has: it's quite painful after a few minutes of use. It's the primary reason I haven't bought one yet. I keep hoping for a 3DS XL down the road with an improved screen or something.
    • by Nursie (632944)

      You're one of a minority with a vision problem.

      Sorry 3d sucks for you, but it's you with the defect.

  • And what have you done to the Sony we love to hate?

    Is it just me or are the tune Sony is playing by changing, and from the looks of it to the better, towards that of the old Sony...from before they started screwing over their customers at every chance they could get?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kiddygrinder (605598)
      Dude, it's sony. They're only pissed people are making shitty 3d content so they can't sell the tonnes of hardware they made hoping for another analogue->digital tv goldmine.
  • by White Flame (1074973) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @05:06AM (#36832586)

    Mind you, I've only seen the 3D portions of Gran Turismo 5 and Sly 3, but each of those games only seemed to have a divergence of about 5 horizontal pixels onscreen between the 2 views even at the farthest Z-buffer depth. The actual 3D effect was incredibly understated and pointless. Sure as a graphics geek, I'm all for having superfluous 3D just for random kicks once in a while, but even from that end of things it did not deliver.

    Every 3D game should have a configuration for adjusting the "strength" of the parallax divergence, especially as display sizes and other factors could benefit from them. Neither of those 2 games I tried seemed to have that at all. Trying to make a "safe" default divergence strength makes the gimmick effectively disappear.

    (If I understand correctly, the 3DS has some sort of depth adjustment slider. Does it affect the rendering convergence, or just help focus at the hardware level?)

    • by strack (1051390)
      nvidia has just that with 3dvision. on the pc. you can adjust the divergence and depth in game, have profiles for each game, no problem.
    • by rgviza (1303161)
      Great point! I'm one of the people that doesn't get a headache from 3d but a great many people do. Adjustable parallax divergence would probably fix it for some people. Of course then you have the issue that everyone in the room is different so when you dial it in for yourself, chances are someone else will be getting a headache.
    • by demonbug (309515)

      Mind you, I've only seen the 3D portions of Gran Turismo 5 and Sly 3, but each of those games only seemed to have a divergence of about 5 horizontal pixels onscreen between the 2 views even at the farthest Z-buffer depth. The actual 3D effect was incredibly understated and pointless. Sure as a graphics geek, I'm all for having superfluous 3D just for random kicks once in a while, but even from that end of things it did not deliver.

      Interesting, I'd heard that the 3D in GT5 actually worked pretty well, making it easier to judge braking points and hit apexes. I had heard that it was pretty understated, but that's how 3D should be IMO. That's the only game I've really had any interest in seeing in 3D up to this point.

      • I agree with the sentiment about how it should help. I'm big into driving sims & practicing technique, and also thought this would be a legitimate benefit. The 3D was unnoticeable. It looks like the vanishing point of the road is about 5 inches behind the screen if you do focus on it, which really doesn't add anything in terms of perceiving the spatial configuration of the upcoming length of track.

        I looked through the game options to no avail; not sure if the console itself has configuration for that

  • FTFY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @05:23AM (#36832632) Homepage

    Sony needs to recoup their investment in 3D technology by making sure the public sees value in 3D, so they will buy into it.
    Game developers need to recoup their investment in the game by making sure their most recent game sells; i.e. use buzz-word technology.
    It is not in the game devs best interests to ignore short term profit; in fact, it is in their best interest to have this type of tech die out in a few years so they can focus on new buzz-words that sell.

    • by cbope (130292)

      Did you not even understood the summary?... Sony is essentially coming out and saying "don't buy into the hype, just because it's 3D". As stated in the summary, 3D needs to be done technically and creatively correct in order to have an impact, something that 95% of today's content just doesn't do.

      I totally agree with Sony on this point, and in fact I myself have not bought into 3D and currently have no plans to do it. For me, it just doesn't add anything meaningful that I'm willing to pay more for. I do buy

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Did you not even understand my comment?
        What I said what that it is in the financial interrest of the game developers to DO buy into the hype and add 3D even if it ruins gameplay, simply because right now games will sell more when they have 3D support. Game developers do NOT benefit from 3D technology being succesful; the technology in itself will not sell more games in the long term. Individual game developers will sell more games in the short term if they support 3D technology but in the long term, support

    • Didn't slashdot recently have a piece about hos games were mostly being created with a list of features that were considered must haves instead of actually deciding if the feature would add something to the game. This is just the new must have feature on the list.
  • Not just games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by senorpoco (1396603) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @05:33AM (#36832682)
    Watched the new Harry Potter last night in 3D at the behest of my housemate. It was a good story told well but 3D added nothing to it. The depth of view effect was nice but having to accommodate 3D filming means they rely overly on slow panning shots and the like a lot of the film's shot selection seemed to be based on trying to shoehorn the direction into the format. Also due to the limitations on frame rates many of the action shots simply became a blurry jaggedy mess.
    • by rgviza (1303161)
      120hz tv?
    • It was just a feature that needed to be included so it was shoehorned in. I have seen a few 3D movies and the only one where I thought it was done well and didn't feel like a feature that needed to be included was Avatar. I kind of wanted to see the toy story movies in 3D, but never got around to it, as I think it could have made the movies more immersive as it probably wouldn't have felt so forced.
    • by yincrash (854885)
      most sources seem to cite that harry potter was a 3d conversion and was filmed in 2d.
    • by demonbug (309515)

      Watched the new Harry Potter last night in 3D at the behest of my housemate. It was a good story told well but 3D added nothing to it. The depth of view effect was nice but having to accommodate 3D filming means they rely overly on slow panning shots and the like a lot of the film's shot selection seemed to be based on trying to shoehorn the direction into the format. Also due to the limitations on frame rates many of the action shots simply became a blurry jaggedy mess.

      They didn't accommodate 3D filming. Like most "3D" films these days, it was shot in 2D and digitally processed into faux-3D. Which I find just stupid. As Sony said (in interest of having some decent content produced to better show off their expensive new 3D TVs, no doubt), if you are going to do 3D then do it right. That means actually filming in 3D instead of just adding the effect in post production.

      Actually, don't. That would probably just end up making the 2D version look worse.

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @06:35AM (#36832898)

    I love 3D and always have. I admit it's gimmicky, and usually done poorly, but I still like it.

    For games on the PC, especially first-person games like Fallout New Vegas and Portal, it adds an element of depth to it. I really feel like I'm more into the game when playing in 3D. I've started to dislike games that the 3D doesn't work right, and I have to play them without the glasses.

  • one would think that sony would be the last company to talk about 'game quality' after screwing up star wars galaxies.
  • Sony have massive stock of 3DTV's to sell and don't want the fad to die out before they've flogged them.
  • Now if only some of the movies coming out had some depth in the plot. As much as I like some good brain melt mindless action, but I really enjoy movies with actual plot development. I watch different movies with different expectations, but now so many movies seem like they are being produced with a checklist of features of which 3D is one of the new must have features.
  • The company that advocated going CD for CD's sake, and then HD for HD's sake, and even until very recently actively campaigned for 3D for 3D's sake, is now trying to say that pretty pictures aren't everything? Yeah, right. Sony depends on pretty pictures; their whole business model is based on it. This is a calculated marketing risk in an attempt to combat the 3DS, and nothing more.

    (on a related note, why does the latest graphical gimmick always have an abbreviation that ends in D?)

  • by shess (31691) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @09:10AM (#36833674) Homepage

    How about you just don't make ANYTHING unless it is using high quality components? A sucky 3D movie is somewhat more annoying because of the extra $3, but it's not like spending $10 to see a sucky 2D movie is a great alternative.

  • This is the same Sony that has released various films shot in 2D and then upconverted to 3D just to make more money.

    Films that are shot in 3D (including Avatar and that new 3 Musketeers film) are fine, films shot in 2D and upconverted to 3D are not. Obviously CGI films like Cars and Toy Story that are rendered properly for 3D (with separate rendering passes for left and right eyes) are also OK.

  • "but the company seems to be aware that quality, not quantity, is what can win over gamers."

    No, no they don't and a great example of that is PSP, If you are handed one of these and have never used one, your going to be really fucking lucky to find a game that is quality and NOT shovelware shit ports of 10 year old PS2 games, or worse like one of the simpsons games which looks and plays worse than tomb raider on PS1

    the PS2 was full of it too, there was endless bins of 9.99$ games that were not worth the plas

    • I have every 'got to have' PS3 exclusive. Uncharted is HANDS DOWN the best adventure series in this generation. GT5 is a toughy because Forza 4 is going to eat its lunch and claim the popular sim crown. Killzone 2+3 are very well done. Motorstorm, Ratchet and Clank, Time Crisis ( no gun games on Xbox), Meal Gear Solid 4, Heavenly Sword, Not to mention HD remakes Of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. There is also PS Home, which is pretty damn cool for being free. All the games listed here are AAA polished tit
  • Maybe they should've taken their own "quality not quantity" advice when they released a 300W games console with bigger hardware numbers than the rest and a launch lineup of tired old sequels.

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