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GameGradeVR Instructions


What is Combined Depth & Pop-Out?

The idea behind a combined depth and pop-out experience is that you can see deep into the scene as though you are looking through a windshield, and your eyes will converge when objects get very close to you.  The point of convergence is when the left and right images cross or overlap.  What makes this setting most important is that it's the best way to find out if there are bugs and anomalies that need to be fixed.

Sample anomalies could be shadows that separate from the objects they are connected to, textures that slide off the screen as you make adjustments, or even a heads-up display (HUD) that splits in two!

While a game's ability to achieve a combined depth and pop-out experience will not impact its score, gamers will have an indicator of a title's visual flexibility in VR.

Before you get all worried about how to do this crazy test, don't panic!  In true stereoscopic 3D VR, convergence is usually a default setting and is the result of the natural placement of the game's cameras.  Unless the World Scale is way off, or if the game developer clips the imagery when you get too close to an object, the convergence being described here should already be evident.

However, some solutions may need to be coaxed with custom settings, and it's helpful to recognize the behaviour of convergence so you can easily spot it.

Here are some working examples of how games can exhibit a combined depth and pop-out experience.  These captures were not intended for VR, but they do exhibit the raw 3D behavior we are trying to describe.  Please use this as a loose reference when testing your favourite games with GameGradeVR.


First Person Shooters

These images are being shown in stereoscopic 3D form so you can see the relationships.  This is NOT an indication of driver/game compatibility, but you can view these stills in other VR formats (like the Oculus Rift) with the sView plug-in.  When wearing an HMD, it's best to close one eye at a time to see the relationships, or if you have a convergence indicator, use that as a tool to confirm the status while playing your games.

Look at the vertical blue line.  Notice how the table corner crosses it in the left eye while the corner is flush with the line in the right. This is the point of convergence!

The best way to test for convergence is to walk towards an object with protrusions like a tree or a box with sharp corners.  It should look like it's in front of you as you walk towards it, until parts of it seem to be right in your face.  Popular examples of this could be a gun barrel pointing at you, grass sticking out of the screen, the corner of a box, etc.

In this example from Portal 2, most of the scene is deep in the screen, but as you get close, the corner of the wall's panel door is peeping in front of the screen.

In the above case, the scene is deep, but the corners of the box are clearly in front of the screen.

While some games are native and prevent direct convergence control, there could be explosions or particles that get very close to your face - this is also a good example of convergence.  The above picture is from Call of Duty: Black Ops in stereoscopic 3D mode.  While this isn't a native 3D game, it demonstrates a character behind the display glass, with the snow in front.


Third Person / Top View

When looking down below, you can usually zoom in and out of the scene with your mousewheel.  It's enough to get tall objects to pierce through the glass, because if you go too deep, the settings will usually be too strong for other types of scenery (e.g. cinematics, interpersonal, etc.).  In this example from Dungeon Seige III, the steeple of the fence is in front fo the display glass, while the rest of the path is deep in the scene.

For testing purposes, it's ok if you can't get out of screen effects through the whole game - it's enough if you can achieve this during the main sections.


Third Person / Rear View

While it's best to be able to get the character to pop out just in front of the display, this can be difficult because of camera angle issues when the scene changes.

In Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman's figure is just in front of the display glass, while the rest is deep in the screen.

Given the challenges of consistent camera angles in games, a reasonable alternative is for objects just behind the character to come out of the screen (e.g. tree branches that are right behind the player). It's not necessary for out of screen effects to happen during the whole game, just the main game area.


Simulators

Good examples would be a cockpit view where instruments stick out, or a windshield that creeps up towards you.  In the first image of Need For Speed SHIFT, the steering wheel and the rear view mirror are in front of the screen, while you can see the curvature of the windshield go into the scene.  Some would have preferred to just have the rearview mirror coming out of the screen - it's all about comfort and flexibility.

The second picture from Call of Duty Black Ops is similar with the stick coming out of the display, and the rest going deep into the scene.  In all cases, make sure that you can easily change perspectives and still be able to play the game comfortably.  It's not necessary for all scenes to have a combined depth and pop-out experience, just the core of the game.