How to: Games in 3D

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Now that Avatar has pushed us into a world where 3D cinema is suddenly something we’re not only hearing about, but apparently going to see in droves, it seems like it might be a good time to talk about the options for anyone who wants to give gaming in 3D a go.

Left 4 Dead is just one of a surprising number of 3D capable games 🙂

It’s a relatively simple setup, but it does take a little trying to get there. Of course, there is a bit of getting your hands dirty with your registry, and you could do any amount of damage while you’re in there (and we can’t take any responsibility for that) but the payoff is that there are plenty of games out there already that you can play in 3D.

For those who might want to try it out, there are a couple of options. The first is to go for Nvidia’s 3D vision arrangement, which weighs in at €150.

The other is a little cheaper, but we’ll say right now that this one only works for Nvidia, so if you’re using an ATI card you’re a little out of luck, sadly. You could also have trouble is you’re using a 64-bit OS; we’ve only tested it on Vista 32bit, but there are plenty of people out there who claim to have it all running well under 64-bit.

This is a surprisingly old one, and it’s been floating around since early last year, but it’s a hack that people aren’t entirely aware of. The games that we’ve tried it for are just Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2, since those are the ones that we had access to while we were playing with our software that support it, but there are plenty of games that support 3D viewing, including Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5, and a bundle of others – including just about any game that runs on the source engine since Episode 2.

You can check out a full list of games over at Nvidia’s page for the 3D setup.

Disclaimer: Please don’t hold us responsible if something goes horribly wrong from here… if you lose everything on your drive, manage to detonate your notebook or some other way destroy something, we’ll give you a hug but we can’t be held responsible.

The Actual Hack:

This isn’t something that you’re entirely meant to do, but it’s well worth giving a go. The guide that we followed was from GamersLastWill, which should lead you through just about everything step-by-step.

Essentially, all you’ll need to is install a new set of Nvidia drivers, which will vary a little depending on your setup, but it’s all relatively clear what you’ll need. As we said above, it does call for a little bit of a registry hack, but we gave it a run through and everything seems to have made it through alright, so take from that what you will.

It’s worth pointing out that the 3D you’ll get out of this won’t be the Avatar-styled polarised-lenses affair, but the far less stylish red/blue type. We’ll be the first to admit that it’s not quite the same thing, but it does help to cast games like Left 4 Dead in an even weirder, somehow scarier light.

3D Glasses:

If you’re anything like me, then you saw the post linked above and though, “What? Install some drivers and run some registry-editing thing? No problem, bring on the horde of 3D opponents that I might better eviscerate them.” Jumped through all of the various hoops and then realised, “… ah, I don’t actually have any 3D glasses, do I?” There’s a quick way to stall a project…

You'll need to either buy/borrow or steal some more of these. Building our own is easiest 😉

Fortunately, I do have a sister who’s a lot more things-to-make-and-do hands on than I am, who dug up a fairly handy guide that sorted me out nice and quickly. All you need to do is run out and pick up a set of cheap sunglasses (relatively easily obtainable, and most households will have them), pop out the lenses and then replace them with red and blue lenses.

Red and blue lenses can be fairly easily made by just taking a red and blue permanent markers to a piece of clear plastic (or, if you’re in possession of them, transparencies for a projector). If you find yourself lacking clear plastic and/or permanent markers, I’m told that there’s an even more low-fi solution to be found using a little ingenuity, some patience and some tape.

Regardless of how you get there, it’s the getting there that counts.

Closing

Alright, that’s it for now folks. We understand this one is a little easier and probably a lot cheaper than some of our other “How to” posts, but as I said above, it’s something that we’ve been getting enough enjoyment out of that we thought it’d do well if we put it up on the blog and made sure more people knew about it.

It may not be the staggering, mind-blowing 3D gaming explosion that some will doubtless expect, but it’s a lot of fun and a very easy way to while away an afternoon when you might not be doing anything else of consequence. It’s a fun bit of a project, and one we’ve enjoyed a lot.

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3 Responses to “How to: Games in 3D”

  1. Wizartar Says:

    I’m going to use Quailty Street rappers left over from Christman!

  2. Karel Says:

    I’m suprised that you left out the requirement for a 120 Hz LCD display…

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