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List:     linux-ggi
Subject:  Re: Stereo Graphics Support
From:     "Kendall Bennett" <KendallB@scitechsoft.com>
Date:     1998-08-13 9:23:58
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Hi Steven,

> Im not sure if its been mentioned or discussed before but:

I don't believe so.

> I Think any new video interface system should have support for
> stereoscopic viewing. Either with LCD Shutter Glasses or Head Mounted
> Displays. Windows has no standard way of doing this, and given the
> architecture of the windows drivers it is very difficult to "tack it
> on".

Yep, stereo support in Windows is currently not very widely 
available. We have full support for hardware based stereo in our 
SciTech MGL graphics library for DOS and Windows 95. Currently this 
only works if you have a card with hardware stereo support (3Dlabs 
Permedia2, Alliance AT3D or Rendition V1000/2x00) and glasses that 
don't need a hardware sync mechanism (basically StereoGraphics 

> Basically all that is needed is the ability to support several special
> "tweaked" video modes, and a mechanism for having frame synch control.
> (To toggle the eye/frame for LCD Shutter Glasses.) Also some new cards
> have support for this in hardware so it makes sense for the video
> drivers to expose this functionality in a standard way.

The support for this does get complicated, and you have to factor 
into the picture that there are multiple different types of LC 
glasses on the market, and they all use different mechanism to signal 
to the glasses when to show the left and right eye images. With the 
new hardware stereo chips available and the new VESA stereo connector 
this is slowly becoming a standard, but it is not that widespread yet.

However some big changes will be happening on the stereo front over 
the coming months. At SciTech we have done a deal with VRex (makers 
of the VRSurfer glasses) such that they have donated to us all the 
code that they have written to implement software timer driver page 
flipping and sync mechanisms to the LC glasses (parallel port, serial 
port and vertical sync toggling). The code is under NDA so we can't 
release the sources, but we are currently integrating all this 
support into the SciTech Display Doctor product. The new version of 
the MGL we are working on will use the support in SDD to allow for 
full stereo support on any graphics card with any pair of LC glasses.

But you are probably wondering 'What the hell does this have to do 
with Linux??'. Quite a lot, since the SciTech MGL is currently about 
90% ported to run on the Linux and QNX operating systems. We already 
have all the code in place so that we can call the existing graphics 
cards BIOS if necessary, which means the MGL for Linux will be able 
to run fullscreen in a console and run Standard VGA modes, VBE 
1.2/2.0/3.0 modes and VBE/AF (basically SciTech Display Doctor 
accelerated modes). Of course we also have an X11 target (that is 
already running) allowing you to run MGL apps in an X window (the DGA 
fullscreen stuff is also about 95% completed).

Hence when we get the port of the MGL to the Linux OS completed, you 
will be able to use the MGL's stereo support functions to do full 
software or hardware based stereo on any graphics card with any LC 
shutter glasses. Cool eh?

Oh yeah, in case you are not aware the SciTech MGL is a free project 
with full source code under the SciTech MGL Public License (which 
will soon allow for re-licensing under the LGPL due to discussions 
offline with RMS). For more information and to download the latest 
sources check out:

or our public newsgroups:



|        SciTech Software - Building Truly Plug'n'Play Software!           |
| Kendall Bennett                     | Email: KendallB@scitechsoft.com    |
| Director of Engineering             | Phone: (530) 894 8400              |
| SciTech Software, Inc.              | Fax  : (530) 894 9069              |
| 505 Wall Street                     | ftp  : ftp.scitechsoft.com         |
| Chico, CA 95928, USA                | www  : http://www.scitechsoft.com  |

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