At Sony, I spoke with Simon Benson and Ian Bickerstaff, both of whom are presenting sessions specifically about stereo 3D. Sony is clearly very enthusiastic and positive about 3D in games, and have an excellent set of products and technologies for delivering it. Their first party games are now being outnumbered by third party development in supporting 3D which is really encouraging. Recent very high profile games like Uncharted 3 have done an outstanding job with 3D and really showcase how good it can look and how effective it can be at furthering the gameplay. The developer support Sony provides to developers is extensive, and it sounds like more and more projects are using 3D as something the developers are seeing as a key feature.
The Playstation 3D Display was running a demo of the SimulView mode which is a novel feature that some games are starting to utilize as well to let two players each have a full resolution view rather than split screen multiplayer. It is cool, but it is a feature currently only supported by this one display and might be hard to convince third party developers to put in the effort to support it. Simon is quick to point out that the technical requirements for stereoscopic 3D and SimulView on the PS3 are very similar and doing both is really not much more challenging than just one so for the consumers that do have the display its a nice bonus.
Stereoscopic Rendering and Design for Consoles
In the first part of the presentation Faheem went over the basics of stereography. He explained how depth perception works, how various 3D displays function, and the general processes for producing stereoscopic 3D content. He covered the difference between fully rendered viewports, depth buffer, and hybrid approaches which are currently being used. The overview was detailed, but not too technical and not specifically focused on the PS3 in terms of any particular implementation.
Simon then went over mini postmortems of recent first party development efforts with stereo 3D. The games he talked about were: Uncharted 3, Ratchet and Clank All 4 One, the God of War collection and Resistance 3. The games themselves were very different with a wide range of genres, production goals and technical approaches to implementing stereo 3D. The results were positive across the board and it generally involved a surprisingly small portion of the development budget spent on 3D.