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Ziphnor (Ziphnor)
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Posted on Saturday, August 04, 2007 - 4:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

Hi,

I was considering buying a HMD or shutter-glasses for playing computer games (and watching movie on the go for the HMDs), but i find it hard to get an overview of the available options.

First off, i would like to get some clarification on what is required for a game to work with the different options. I know that nVidia has Stereoscopic drivers and that ATI does not (fine by me, i have an 7900GTO@GTX in my gaming PC).

So does all the different HMD's and shutterglasses work equally well with games, depending only on how well the game works with the Stereoscopic drivers? I noticed that edimensional claims that their shutter-glasses work with all games and even on ATI cards, how is that possible?

Regarding the shutter glasses, will they work with an LCD monitor? Ive seen posts here to the effect that they will not, but for example edimensional.com mentions that their shutter-glasses do work with both LCD and CRT monitors.

As to HMD's, so far ive seen mention of the Icuiti VR920, emagin Z800 and the V-Real Viewer 3D which seems to be priced at $400, $1100 - 1500 and $550 - 800.

I have a few questions regarding HMDs:

0. Why are HMD's so unpopular? I remember >10 years ago reading about the first HMDs (and gloves) for the PC, but then i never really heard anything else. If you search on Virtual Reality now, mostly you get virtual worlds or shutter-glasses. So why arent we all wearing HMDs by now, and why is information so sparse?

1. One thing im wondering about HMD's is whether or not i will need to wear my prescription glasses or not? In the 'real world' I need glasses to see things that are far away clearly, but have no problem with things close up.

2. How important is resolution for gaming purposes? 800x600 looks like crap on my 20" LCD monitor at home, and these HMDs will cover a much larger FOV...

3. How are these HMD's for watching movies on the go (for example with an iPod Video or similar player)? Can they all connect to all mobile media players with a video output ( i notice that not all have iPod cables available for example).

4. If i buy an HMD without head-tracking, how much extra will a seperate head-tracker cost?

5. Besides the upcoming TDVisor and the above-mentioned HMD's are there others i should be aware of?

6. Are there any comparative reviews of recent HMD's to be found anywhere?

7. Besides stereo3d.com, any particular place(s) to go for more forums, reviews etc?

8. Is this a good or bad time to buy an HMD, meaning are there are lot of significant new HMD's coming out very soon that one should wait for?

Thanks for reading my rather long post :-) Feel free to only answer a subset of my multitude of questions ;)
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Marvio Santos (Marvio)
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Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 1:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

WOW!

That's a lot! :-)

Your question abnout shutter glasses first.

Yes, they are pretty much all the same, work on the same principle; You can make them work with ATI cards, but it's such a pain in the arse you might as well nt try (in your case your're all set). And NO, THEY WILL NOT WORK WITH LCD MONITORS, at all, period.

Why aren't HMD's more popular?

There are several factors, one still is price, only in the past couple of years we have seen prices drop below $1000 for something that's worthwhile, secondly, they are hard to make, specialy the tiny screens that make your display, the yields are still very low, thirdly, even a decent HMD's are too expensive for the casual gamer; Don't get me wrong some of these are great products, but your average 15 year old doesn't have money to buy it, and even if they saved their money (what a concept huh?) truth be told that there are better ways to spend it, and because of that manufacturers have yet to put a massive marketing campaing behind one of these.
So you put all those factors together and you get the state of things in HMD's today, not at all unlike the very beginings of personal computers, really, I don't know how old you are, but in the late 70's to early 80's only the enthusiast had their own PC's, much like HMD's now, they were not very good, very expensive and not redily available ;)

Let me try to answer your specific questions now:

1- MOst likely you won't need them, most HMD's have ajustments on the lenses to take care of that, but even if you do it's not a big deal.

2- REsolution, at least for right now with the state of things in HMD, it's not that important, the newest crop of HMD's will show up to 1280x1024, altough their native resolution in 800x600, and you have to remember that an HMD screen is very small, so 800x600 pixels on that screen naturally looks better that when they're spread out on your 19" monitor; What you're really looking for on an HMD is FOV (field of view), which is basicaly how big the screens are in front of your eyes, that more then anything else will give you the immersive expirience you're looking for.

3- I realy wouldn't use any of these for an extended period of time, let's say, more then 2 hours at a time, a lot of users here have reported using them even to to Office work, but the resolution will really kill your eyes over the long run; If you don't make a habit of it, oh I don't know, if you watch a movie every month, it's not bad, but I would definitely not use it everyday, or every other day...

4- In my opinion an HMD without headtracking is not an HMD, that's the whole point of the thing, to give you immersivness; But to answer your question.. IF you buy it separately, it will be more expensive, may work a little better (depending on what you get), but the set up is almost always cumbersome, that is to say, if you're thinking about an HMD, save the extra cash and get one with head tracking.

5- Not really, not anything it's worth mentioning anyhow.

6- Well yes sir!! Right here on this site!! :-)

7- There were a lot back when I started in '94 or so, great places for specific HMD's (I had/have a VFX1 at the time); One by one they all went down, and I haven't looked in a while, but last time I did I couldn't find much else, as far as actual VR HMD's sites, there are tons of sites for stereo 3D, but I don't think that's what you're looking for.

8- NO! :-) The tech itself hasn't evolved that much since when I bought my first VFX1, the last major update was what? (and help me here guys) 5 years ago? and there's nothing on the horizon as far as any of us can see, sure there are different products in the market, but they are all pretty much comparable.

In sum, HMD's are really just expensive toys at this point in time, and only us geeks pay attention to them. They are very cool tough, and tough you won't get the Holywood version of what you're thinking, you truly can get lost in the world you're playing.

Hope I answered al your questions

(Message edited by marvio on August 06, 2007)
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Ziphnor (Ziphnor)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 12:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

First off, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I would have replied sooner, but ive been off-line a few days.

Re 2:
But if i understand correctly, since you are so close to the LCD's you will appear to be looking at a really big virtual screen, ive seen mention of (for example) 80" at 8'. If i play a computer game in 800x600 on my 50" RP-LCD TV at home things look quite blocky at 3 meters distance, so i was expecting something similar here.

Re 3: Why does it put so much strain on the eyes to use the HMD for watching 2D movies? I thought that the problem mostly was that you could get a bit queasy from the stereoscopic effects?

Re 4:
My reason for asking was mostly that i noticed the V-Real Viewer 3D on vrealities.com, which lacks headtracking.

Re 6:
I noticed the comparison chart on this site, but could only find two reviews, not covering any of the HMDs mentioned so far.

Conclusion:
So it seems only 3 relevant products are available currently?

Z800:
Good FOV, high-res, $1350 (ouch!).
Also no video input (at least not without the video-kit (http://www.vrealities.com/videokitspecs.html) which is hardly handy on the go :-)

Icuiti VR920:
Poor FOV, lower res, $400.
Not sure about video inputs, but doesnt appear to support S-video or composite.

V-Real Viewer 3D:
Decent FOV, high-res, no head-tracking, $800, but less so than Z800. Supports video-inputs, but im unsure as to whether it runs of batteries of requires another power source to work.

I was sort of hoping to buy an HMD that would work nicely for PC gaming AND watching movies from a portable player (say on an airplane using an iPod or smartphone such as the Nokia N95), something which the Z800 and Icuiti doesnt seem suited for, while the V-Real might, depending on its power-source options. Maybe its just not realistic covering both needs with one HMD?

Do you have any recommendations, both for the case of PC gaming only and with added mobile video playback?
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decoril (Decoril)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 3:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

For the resolution; there is sort of an antialiasing effect produced by the fact that you are seeing two different displays together..
I looked at the real viewer and, its fov its the same that icuiti. The z800 have better fov, but nothing near good, good fov might start from 60, and that is a narrow fov,, sadly.
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Ziphnor (Ziphnor)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 5:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

decoril:
Regarding resolution, so both 800x600 and 640x480 should be perfectly acceptable for gaming?

Re. FOV, i thought that the Icuiti had 32 degrees FOV and the Real 35 degrees?

How bad is 40 degrees FOV, what FOV do you have when playing a game normally?

Marvio:
Regarding shutter glasses, why does eDimensional insist that they work with LCD monitors? Under requirements they have:
"CRT or LCD external monitor with VGA connection (no laptop screens)"
URL: http://edimensional.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=29
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decoril (Decoril)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 7:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

Yes, acceptable is the word. Sorry for the icuiti and the real comparison, but for me that is the same.
40 degrees is more or least like sitting in front 22" screen; the bad thing is that the tunnel effect brokes all the inmersiveness, its more like sitting in a theater far away from a big screen, with a much greater fov the screen will seem the same far away but if you dont notice the borders the inmersion will be a lot greater.
If anyone wants to correct me do so; ciao
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Marvio Santos (Marvio)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 8:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

About shutter glasses..

Sorry, I've been out of the loop for a while, I did a little research and it seems that there are LCD displays that will do stereo. But again, that's monitor dependent, it's not in the glass itself...
Maybe what they are referring to is a over/under type configuration? That would do fine for 3D movies, but wouldn't work with games, the Nvidia drivers use page fliping, something that until very recently LCD displays couldn't do, just by the very nature of how they work (there are no "frames" in an LCD monitor, pixels are turned on and off as needed, tough this new monitor I found works like CRT's do and actually draw every full frame, one by one)

The whole thing with HMD's is this. In reality the only truly good HMD's are the "pro" models, and they are REAAAALLLLLYYY expensive, around the 5k ball park for a starter model, not only that, they won't work with anything really, you have to program for them...
So, you're left with the consumer models; I personaly would go with the z800, if you want to watch movies (I'm pretty sure they have models with analog inputs). But you really can't beat the price of the Icuti's, and truth be told, they are just as good as the z800's. I guess you could bring a laptop to watch movies?
And yes, you're right, the virtual screen would look like very big to your brain, but nevertheless you eyes have to strain to see the pictures. I guess I was a bit extreme, you'd be fine if you want to use your HMD for 2-4 hours a day, everyday, I was just thinking in real long terms, 10-15 years down the road, if you use it that much, for that long a period of time, you would definitely damage your vision..

It's really not unlike the strain that regular CRT monitors put in your eye, but again, long term...
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Marvio Santos (Marvio)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - 8:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

I hadn't visited your link before I posted, but they also say that you won't need USB/Serial (which is complete bull, how is the computer going to sync with the glasses?) connections, and further down the page they tell how easy it is to just hook up the "adapter" (which uses a serial connection nonetheless, and your computer might not have one) to your computer and start gaming!!! :-) Ah ah ah ah a ha
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Ziphnor (Ziphnor)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2007 - 3:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

decoril:
As to HMD's it really sound like i should try before i buy, but where is it possible to do that?

Am i correct in that you are basically saying that a 22" (or larger) LCD (with shutter glasses if possible) would give me the same effect (apart from the head tracking) as an HMD?

Marvio:
Why exactly is it that the shutter-glasses shouldnt work with LCD, apart from the low refresh rate (60Hz)? As far as i understand, using a 60Hz LCD with shutter-glasses would imply a maximum of 30 effective frames per second (since you first have to show the image for one eye (1/60 sec) and then the other eye (another 1/60 sec)). Maybe the problem with older LCDs was that pixels couldnt change color fast enough(ie poor response time)? I think my monitor has a 16ms response time, and new ones has a response time of ~8ms.

As to the eDimensional glasses i read a few good reviews. As to connections, maybe you dont need any connectors because they sync by passing the VGA signal through a sync emitter? Where did you read that it requires a serial connector?
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Marvio Santos (Marvio)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2007 - 2:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

Ziphnor,

I think I actually explained it in my last post?

LCD monitors don't draw frames! They only change whatever pixel is needed for the next frame, it's a pixel by pixel basis, so a format like page flipping (what the Nvidia cards use for games) won't work at all, the display HAS TO draw each full frame and have a "dark peiod" between them for page flipping to work and LCD monitors just don't do that. Now like I said, I did some research and it seems that there are some recent (very recent, I don't know if it's even in the market yet) LCD displays which work like CRT's (draw each frame completely with a "dark phase"), those would work, but by in large, no.

Shutter glasses and HMD's are two completely different expiriences, even if the HMD doesn't have head tracking, and even if it doesn't have a large FOV. Just by the fact that the displays are so close to your eyes it gives you better immersion, tough the percieved image is the same.
I would definitely NOT buy an HMD if all you want is Stereo tough, they were meant to be much more then that and the cost of even a consumer level HMD shows that. But if all you have is an LCD monitor I guess you have no other option for stereo, it's truly a shame tough; Like I said in my earlier posts, an HMD should have head tracking, without it they are little more then personal viewing devices...
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Ziphnor (Ziphnor)
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Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 3:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

Marvio:
About the shutter glasses, its true that LCDs dont have a dark period, but i wouldnt say they dont draw a complete frame, however i think i understand what you mean.

The dark period really shouldnt really matter that much, the important thing is to remove the left eye frame before the right eye shutter opens, right? So if you always wait until the LCD monitor has completed drawing the right eye frame before opening the shutter it ought to work. Of course the issue is if this timing can be predicted easily and whether the LCD response time is fast enough i suppose.

I found these posts regarding LCD monitors and shutter glasses:
http://groups.google.dk/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action/browse_thread/thread/3a1d9ed6229493e2/c3b166d173b95653?lnk=st&q=shutter+glasses+on+LCD+monitor&rnum=1&hl=da#c3b166d173b95653


However, it does sound like CRTs are strongly to be preferred, in which case shutter glasses are kind of doomed, as the CRT's are a dying breed ;)

As to HMDs, it really, REALLY sounds like i should try an HMD before buying anything, but they are hard to find in stores. I should certainly convince myself that the effect of head tracking is worthwhile for example.
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Darshan Gayake (Darshan_ind)
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Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 12:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

Hello,
Does any one know about why Stereo3D with NVIDIA 91.31 Drivers not supported with CORE2 DUO

Hai Correct me if i am wrong but someone said if you want to use core2duo + GF 7600 you got to turn off the cores for playing in stereo

Why So ? any solutions other then turning core off 'cous i think it will kill performance

Waiting for res.
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Marvio Santos (Marvio)
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Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 1:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

Ziphnor,

I really never heard of an LCD working with shutter glassas at all (haven't been to your link yet).

Unfortunately you're right, I can't think of one place you could go in and try out an HMD, save for conferences like E3 and Quakecom :-)
But I'll tell you this, if you want a VR expirience a head tracker is an absolute must, becuase, well, it's just required VR wouldn't be VR without headtracking :-) Does that make sense?

Virtual reality implies that you are part of the world you're seeing, if you turn your head and the world doesn't turn with it, well, that's not VR, that's a TV really close to your eyes :-)

Like I said in my first post, you're never going to get the Holywood version of VR, not even the really expensive helmets will do that for you. But a good helmet with head tracking can absolutely make you loose track of reality, for example: If you play with an HMD with head tracking (starting facing your computer monitor) for at least 10 minutes, I dare you to be able to tell which your you're facing when you take it off at the end, you completely loose track of your real world orientation. Not only that, if you can suspend your desbelief enough to "live" a regular movie, you won't have any problem doing the same with a game on an HMD with headtracking...

In the end my friend you just have to take the leap, they're expensive, you can't test drive them, and they are very limited in what they can do, but I and many oithers on this site are very happy wiith our HMD's, hell I still have lots of fun with my VFX1 !!!!

But I can't stress enough, if you're not a geek at heart, who loves to tinker, and expect a "plug and play" expiriece, I would pass on HMD's all together at this point, which by the way is another reason why they aren't popular...
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Marvio Santos (Marvio)
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Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 1:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

By the way,

I'm really not convinced, after reading your link, that the author was actually seeing 3D on a LCD pannel, he didn't sound like a very expirienced user, and it's really easy to make yourself think you're seeing in 3D when in reality there's nothing there, or maybe a very mild "push back" (when the whole screen pushes back into the monitor creating depth, yes, but 1 level and 1 plane only) effect. Just look at the whole "living 3D" thing, which claim to turn any 2D TV/movie into 3D, guess what? It doesn't , but some people swaer they see 3D, sigh..

Where is cristoph when you need him? He's really good explaining this stuff :-)

(Message edited by marvio on August 09, 2007)
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Steven Walters (Pilot)
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Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 6:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

I know I'm late to this discussion, but wanted to say that I have had the eDimensional glasses for over a year and haved used them with a couple of newer LCD displays with success. A couple of older LCD displays did not work, and I cannot get it to work with my new Olevia 237 LCD tv/monitor. One must use a specific driver from eDimensional, not the nVidia ones. The driver may just be a wrapper - not sure of the details.

I have had success with a Samsung Syncmaster 204B and a Mag 17" Platinum Series. I did not get it to work with older Dell Ultrasharp 17" and 19" LCD displays.

To Marvio - I sped-read thru the first link above and it seemed pretty spot-on. It's obvious to me when 3D is working and when it isn't, and seemed obvious in the linked thread as well. When I move my head around the 3D objects tend to move as well, verifying the depth is there.

That said - it wasn't nearly as exciting and didn't work nearly as well as I had hoped on the LCD monitors. Because of that I've been reading about the HMDs...
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Bill Hardy (Billh)
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Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 1:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

I have just changed my broken CRT monitor to a new 22" Samsung LCD. I have been using eDimensional shutter glasses with an ATI Radeon for the last few months. I am using the eDimensional 'ATI' drivers which are recommended for ATI cards with CRT monitors, and all graphics cards with LCD monitors. These drivers only work in an interleaved mode.

So far I have had a number of issues with the new monitor:

1) The monitor display seems to randomly trigger the shutter glasses. I assume it is radiating some infra-red which is being detected by the sensor on the glasses. I have sort of solved this for now by shielding the sensor from direct view of the screen with a piece of sticky paper, and putting the infra-red transmitter on my lap.

2)The stereo effect varies from top to bottom of the screen. I proved this by creating a stereo image from two image files, one for the left eye and one for the right eye. Observing the images through each eye in turn with the glasses on showed a fairly good separation of the images at the bottom of the screen, but rather poor at the top. I don't know whether altering the phase of the shutter glasses would help this or not. I have asked eDimensional if the phase is adjustable, but have had no response.

3)I get severe banding of the image. Basically, I cannot get the eDimensional drivers to work at the native 1680x1050 resolution of the monitor. Working at a lower resolution causes a variable amount of banding according to the resolution, but it never goes away altogether.

The new monitor quotes response time of 2ms, so I am continuing with experiments to resolve these issues.
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Christoph Bungert (Admin)
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Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 10:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post

The idea of using LCD-monitors with shutterglasses is silly. There are so many issues it's not worth considering it. (LCD-monitors emit polarized light while LCD-shutterglasses can block this light, refresh rate is too low, image on screen is out of sync with input signal due to digital processing, response time is too low)

The point is that nowadays everybody is switching to LCD's and the distributors of shutterglasses figured they would go out of business if they don't claim it'll work with LCD too - and they're probably right.

It may work with certain with some LCD-models and special so-called LCD-monitor-compatible shutterglasses to some degree, but this isn't satisfying.

So this is just business. Technically it doesn't make much sense.

Christoph

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