State of the 3D Game

By  |  Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

e3logoOn the floor of E3, gamers are getting a chance to try a stereoscopic 3D video game for Xbox 360.

Invincible Tiger by Blitz Games is, ironically, a 2D fighting game in the style of classics like Kung Fu and Double Dragon, but with the help of 3D glasses and a compatible HDTV, the various planes of artwork suddenly become much more distinct.

I caught up with Blitz Games’ Chief Technical Officer Andrew Oliver, who laid out where he thinks the technology is going and how his company will be involved.

Basically, the kinds of graphics-intensive games that dominate the show floor are a ways off from working with 3D glasses and TVs. That’s because graphic artists usually “cheat” with special effects like smoke and fire, drawing them in two dimensions. When playing in 3D, the trick becomes more noticeable, in a bad way.

Blitz Games is starting small with Invincible Tiger, which might see a release in the third quarter, and hopes to work up to feature-length games next year. But even then, the studio will stick to cartoon-style games that go easy on special effects. There’s a reason why films are also sticking to that art style, Oliver said.

Of course, there’s also the issue of bringing the 3D peripherals into the mainstream. Glasses and a special TV aren’t cheap, and not all manufacturers are on board. Even then, they’re all working with different standards, and Blitz has to spend about two weeks making each television compatible with its games.

Personally, I want to see this technology integrated with the motion tracking cameras we’ve seen from Microsoft and Sony. Invincible Tiger was cool to look at, but it’s hard to shake the idea that it’s just window dressing. But moving around in a 3D space to play a 3D game? That would just be awesome.

Oliver’s excited about that, too. When I asked him if he’d be interested in working with motion tracking, his eyes lit up. “Absolutely,” he said.

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