MMORPGs in 3D: A Study in Red and Blue

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Just got back from Virginia yesterday afternoon (you’ll be seeing some pictures from my trip on my ShutterCal widget to the right in the coming days) and am still catching up on all the blogospheric happenings of the past few days.

Reason enough to show off some 3D images I’ve been making.

A few weeks ago, I got wondering how I could turn game screenshots into three dimensional images. MMORPGs would be a lot more immersive if we could see the game world in the same number of dimensions as we see the real world.

It turned out to be both easier and harder than I thought.

I originally wanted to make stereograms, like for the old View-Masters (and I still want to), but it looked like that would entail a significant effort. That led me to Anaglyphs, the combined red/blue images that you need to view with red/blue glasses.

I found a short tutorial on making anaglyphs in Photoshop, ordered some red/blue glasses, and was off.

  1. Bree: The first picture looks down into Bree from the Prancing Pony Inn in Lord of the Rings Online. The 3D effect makes it easy to follow the bumps and dips in the cobblestone road; in particular, there’s a steep bit on the left of the road that wagon drivers likely try and avoid when bringing supplies to the Inn.
  2. Cannon: This experimental cannon, found in EQ2’s Moors of Ykesha, hurls people back to the dock area — if they are lucky.
  3. Clockwork: One of the roaming clockworks in EQ2’s Moors of Ykesha. The 3D effect is amazing in this shot; not only does the clockwork look real enough to grab, it’s easy to see the depth of the rock shelf to the right, and the distance of the tower on the island to the left.
  4. EQ2Bar: This is the bar Stargrace made me for my apartments in Gorowyn.
  5. EQ2Camel: A camel standing behind a group of treants in my apartments. I started off with simple indoor scenes where things wouldn’t move, too much.
  6. EQ2Clock: I shot this clock scene for my rebuttal to Wolfhead’s First 15 Minutes in EQ2 article. Since the clock and both moons were lined up so nicely, I took another shot for the 3D effect.
  7. EQ2Theater: Another shot from my Stargrace-designed apartments. The effect here is amazing; everything looks absolutely solid, if a bit toy-like.
  8. EQJunkbeast: The Junk Beast in EverQuest’s Plane of Innovation. The color didn’t come out well in the anaglyph, so I converted it to black and white to enhance the effect. With red/blue glasses on, it’s easy to see the monster is actually hovering above the ground.
  9. EQNexus: The main Combine spires in EQ’s Nexus. This used to be the meeting place for the EverQuest community, back when Luclin was new. Now, empty.
  10. EQPoJustice: One of the Hammers that guard the portals to the trials in the Plane of Justice.
  11. EQSHDwarves: A group of dwarves in Shadow Haven doing what they do best: Drinking. Very nice effect here, but I had to drop to black and white.
  12. EVE Online: The next four pictures are all from EVE Online. Since you can’t strafe in EVE, I just rotated the view a little to get the two pictures. I’m convinced. Of all these games, EVE would look the most incredible in 3D.
  13. FRMerryVale: Merry Vale from Free Realms. It was too colorful for the 3D effect to work, but it’s better in black and white. Red/Blue anaglyphs leech all the reds from every picture.
  14. FRSnowville: Snowville from Free Realms. Anaglyphs LOVE scenes heavy in greens.
  15. PrancingPony: The Prancing Pony Inn from Lord of the Rings Online.
  16. SBQuarterstone: An inn in Spellborn’s Quarterstone, in the Pit District.
  17. SBStatue: Statues from Quarterstone’s Statue District in Chronicles of Spellborn.
  18. SBVaultsZigg: A twisty collection of switchbacks leading up the Vaults in Spellborn.
  19. W101Car: An auto in my showroom in my house in Wizard 101. It’s hard to take good screenshots in Wizard 101 because your character is always in the picture. In my home, I could place a book case where I wanted to take a picture, stand as close to it as possible, and the camera would place itself in front of both the bookcase and my character. This wasn’t easy to do outside.
  20. W101 Krok: Krokotopia seen from Sphinx Island. I cropped out my character. In both this and the Sphinx picture, I waited for the sky to come back to the same position so it would look like I took both pictures at the same time.
  21. W101Parlor: The parlor from my Wizard 101 home.
  22. W101Sphinx: The Krokosphinx itself. Again, heavily cropped to keep my character out of the picture, and the sky in the same position in both shots was a priority.

I’ve also started on some real-world anaglyphs, but I am having a bit of trouble with those. The real world doesn’t stand still and wait for me.

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Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

13 thoughts on “MMORPGs in 3D: A Study in Red and Blue”

  1. Which, the game ones or the real world ones? Can you see the game ones? I’m unsure the plugin is working (works for me, though). I’ll be publishing the real world ones on ShutterCal.

  2. Hi Tipa,

    Last weekend I went to small computer trade show as a guest, here in the UK, and they had a 3D set-up playing World of Warcraft.

    They were using Nvidia 3D Vision glasses, a GTX 295 graphics card, and a 22” monitor. I heard the guy talking about it state that the monitor has to be a 120Hz model.

    Unfortunately there were a lot of people more interested than me – so I never got to look through the glasses. I can’t say as to whether or not EQ2 works with the system.

    I’m sure more information can be found on Nvidia’s website, but I must get back to work before my boss realises I’m reading your blog instead of working.

    All the best Tipa,

  3. The newer Nvidia drivers support red/cyan 3D (or blue/yellow or other combinations) for any game. This is in addition to the old CRT-based LCD shutter glasses as well as the reborn version of them you can buy today.

    There’s an article in German c’t magazine that explains how:

    There’s also a gallery of 3D films they made (for anaglyph glasses):–/artikel/141366

    But I guess all you need is a recent Nvidia driver (186.18) and some glasses. I last tried this stuff when Voodoo 2 graphics cards were the latest thing (11 years ago), so the technology isn’t new, but it wasn’t convincing back then because most games were completely unprepared. You had things like targeting reticules floating a few millimeters in front of your nose instead of on our screen. But I hear the newer attempts are much better!

  4. A while back Nvidia released a 3D driver for their graphics cards that would make any game viewable in 3D with 3D glasses. I messed around with it for a bit ant it worked a lot better than I expected. It needs a very high refresh rate though and most LCD screens won’t work.

  5. @mbp: There are a bunch of monitor manufacturers around now that make 120 Hz LCD screens, Samsung for example. They’re pretty much specifically manufactured for use with 3D shutter glasses :D

  6. What I’d like to know is if there is a driver out there that will make your monitor display the red and blue…

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