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 things will seem to pierce the glass as they get close to you. However, 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 3D.
Here are some working examples of how games can exhibit a combined depth and pop-out experience. Please use this as a reference when testing your favourite games on GameGrade3D.
First Person Shooters
The best way to do this is to walk towards an object with protrusions like a tree or a box with sharp corners. It should look like it’s behind the display as you walk towards it, until parts of it pierce through the glass when you get close. 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 blast through the screen – this is also acceptable. 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 is 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.
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 consisten 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.
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.