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Discussion on Article:
iZ3D Stereoscopic Monitor Review

Started by: Chopper | Date 10/27/08 02:12:53 PM
Comments: 5 | Last Comment:  10/31/08 05:59:56 PM

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1. 
Dear X-Bit Labs,

Thank you for doing this review of the iZ3D stereoscopic 3D gaming monitor.

I can tell you spent a great deal of time to understand its workings, and I also commend your recognition and understanding of how the technology works with the different stereoscopic 3D solutions on the market. It is unfortunate, but not all reviewers have this knowledge.

I run Meant to be Seen (mtbs3D.com), and we work to educate gamers about modern stereoscopic 3D solutions like the iZ3D monitor. I am concerned that the 3D portion of your article was improperly measured, and sets a false expectation of this solution.

First, you are running this game on a low-end ATI Radeon X1650 GPU. This is a very modestly powered GPU and does not at all represent the equipment that hardcore gamers would be using with a solution like this. While you can play with less, I recommend a 7900GTX series or better NVIDIA, and a 3870 or better AMD GPU.

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"The pictures on the monitor’s two matrixes can get out of sync without vertical synchronization (VSync), so the appropriate checkbox can be found in the control panel. Of course, you can turn VSync on in the graphics card’s or game’s settings."

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Given that only one of your computers was equipped with at least mid-range equipment, this would explain your synchronization problems between the left and right views. VSYNC should be avoided to prevent performance loss if you can. If your GPU is fast enough, you won't have this issue.

I would also add that the frame rate you can expect in video games in S-3D mode will vary. Some games can perform as high as over 60% that of the 2D mode. There are a lot of variables that determine this including how the game was written, the GPU architecture, etc.

I'm afraid most of your game descriptions were completely inaccurate, and I will explain why.

First, in Far Cry you describe an inability to aim properly in S-3D mode. This is correct if the driver is set for "symmetrical" separation. What happens here is the images are split equally between the eyes.

Most of us have a right sided dominant eye. What happens is our right eye picks up the details and focus points, while our left eye provides the rest of the information to create a 3D image in our brain. In the iZ3D driver, there is a setting to choose "Symmetrical", "Left Shift", and "Right Shift" separation. If you choose "left shift", the cross-hair and HUD will always be still and accurate in the dominant eye, while the image will shift in the left. In this mode, if you open just one eye at a time, you will see the bullets go where they should in your right eye, and seem to miss with your left. When both eyes are open, your aim will be true 100% of the time - and you won't even see the missed shots with your left eye. Try it - you will see what I mean.

Far Cry, a 2004 game, does have its share of anomalies because much of the terrain was written in sprites and not full geometry. There is a setting to circumvent this - I will have to find it. I recommend trying FarCry2 - there are some issues that should be rectified in a later driver release, but I think you will find it breathtaking.

I can't speak for your results with Need for Speed: Underground 2, but based on what was written about FEAR, I am certain your 3D settings were not handled correctly at all. I play FEAR religiously, and it is one of those games that looks amazing in stereoscopic 3D. Here is a non-proprietary guide on how to set a game up in S-3D. It has visual examples (including FEAR!), and will make for a much more enjoyable experience for gamers:

http://www.mtbs3d.com/cgi...ewsletter.cgi?news_id=44/

Far Cry was a particularly terrible choice in games to demonstrate. Looking at the images, your settings are way off and uncomfortable looking, and I know firsthand that it is filled with anomalies that most games don't possess. I would instead recommend updating your AMD GPU to a modern 4850 or 4870, and give Crysis a try.

The final remark about the need for new glasses was also a bit off. Similar to the dominant eye cross-hair mechanism I explained above, when both eyes are open, the color difference won't be distracting at all. The problems you have described in this review have much more to do with game settings and hardware performance than anything else. Your experience should be a comfortable one, and if you are getting headaches or discomfort, something is wrong.

Regardless, thank you for your efforts. I do appreciate the hard work you put into this, and with some minor changes, your S-3D experience will be much better.

Sincerely,

Neil Schneider, President & CEO
Meant to be Seen
http://www.mtbs3D.com
0 0 [Posted by: Chopper  | Date: 10/27/08 02:12:53 PM]
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Hello Neil

Thanks for your comment, but I can't agree with you.

Far Cry definitely is a 2004 game, but Far Cry shows no problems and very attractive 3D on Zalman Trimon. Moreover, iZ3D guys tell me that Far Cry is their preferred 3D mode demo. And Radeon X1650Pro is enough to play Far Cry. Sprites and geometry is not a problem, but ghosting is the problem.

Color difference really not a big problem (thought it's still an issue) and I never mentioned it as a big problem.

But ghosting is the real problem.

Ghosting doesn't depend on hardware perfomance or game settings, it's always there and it's always noticeable. In some games you can accept it, in others you can't.

Team Fortress 2 is a year 2008 game, 8800GTS/512 card is more than enough to play it, but ghosting still there.

I discussed on my conclusion with iZ3D/NeurOK guys before article was posted, and the major question was not "is there ghosting?" but "is such ghosting acceptable?".
0 0 [Posted by: Oleg Artamonov  | Date: 10/28/08 12:13:36 PM]
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2. 
Hi Oleg,

MTBS doesn't review hardware because it puts us in a conflict of interest. However, I would like to share some opinions on your methodology.

1. FarCry is a terrible reference point because it is a five year old game that is barely supported by anyone anymore. NVIDIA's success is better demonstrated with games like Mass Effect and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. However, until their new drivers are released, the iZ3D solution is the only software we have had success with games like Crysis, Call of Duty 4, Spore, and more. In a review like this, modern games run on modern hardware is the most important measuring stick. I have never seen iZ3D exhibit with FarCry on their monitors, and if they are - they should stop. It's doing them a disservice. Crysis or Unreal Tournament 3 are much better choices in this case.

2. Looking at the images included in your article, your settings are way off. Even with a completely ghost free solution like head mounted displays where there is a mini screen in front of each of your eyes, your brain would not be able to fuse the image and you would see double. This equipment just isn't being used properly, and it's no wonder you are having such an inconsistent experience.

3. I haven't played Team Fortress 2, but your review has no mention of a ghosting problem with this game.

I know you worked hard on this, and I'm not trying to put your work down in any way. I just think you should revisit your choice of games and hardware, and use separation and convergence settings that are conducive to a positive S-3D gaming experience. You should be having an enjoyable experience, and that's not what I am seeing.

Maybe we can meet on some middle ground. You mentioned a poor experience with FEAR. If you can share your separation and convergence settings using the modern 1.09 release drivers in 1680X1050 mode, I can compare them to mine. PM may work better.

Regards,

Neil Schneider, President & CEO
Meant to be Seen
http://www.mtbs3D.com
0 0 [Posted by: Chopper  | Date: 10/29/08 03:36:39 PM]
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3. 
Having just played Far Cry and Bioshock with IZ3D and Nvidia drivers, I can say that both were great experiences. For Far Cry, I had to disable Glare in the FarCry.exe launcher, found under the Advanced tab for custom settings. It got rid of the glare that did not render properly in 3D. Glare was largely un-necessary and only made the skins on enemies glow overly bright (overly-exaggerated bloom) that it looked awful. Turning off glare actually made the game look Far better (especially with characters).

For Bioshock, I experienced anomalies with Nvidia's drivers, whenever looking at water or through waterfalls or dense fog. I used anaglyph glasses, but the drivers still uses the same rendering algorithm for Zalman's Trimon (with the exception that instead of analgyph mode, it is in interleaved mode for polarized glasses). There were not any anomalies with IZ3D's drivers, except that I could not play in DX10 mode. After adjusting the convergence and separation settings (of which the optimal settings vary widely among games), playing both Bioshock and Far Cry in 3-D were even more immersive and enjoyable the second time around, even if I have already beat those games in 2-D. I have played several others in 3-D, including Portal recently. There is not anything new to say about Portal, since it closely matches what you said about Team Fortress 2, based on the same engine. Oh, now I remember.. the only thing about Portal is that the separation cannot be taken too far or else nothing would show through the portals (they would be pitch black).

One thing I really do not agree with in the introduction of your excellent review is when it said that the images do not pop out of the screen. On the contrary, when the convergence/separation are adjusted accordingly, it is possible to have both great depth and popping-out effects at the same time. Convergence is the key (cant remember if it's called "negative" or "positive" convergence though..). That is what the hot-keys are for, by manually experimenting with them until the perfect 3-D visuals appeal.
0 0 [Posted by: Bo_Fox  | Date: 10/30/08 04:35:32 PM]
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4. 
WoW I did not know such product existed. The concept sounds awesome, now I just have to wait until it matures and is more easy to use.
0 0 [Posted by: Mr. BonBon  | Date: 10/31/08 05:59:56 PM]
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