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3D Vision, your favourite MMO seen thrue the NVIDIA 3D VISION Glasses

I discontinued my old blog "random ideas for mmos" to blog about a couple of tests playing various MMOs with NVIDIAs new 3D-Vision Shutter Glasses.

Author: craynlon

3D Visions of The Chronicles of Spellborne

Posted by craynlon Monday May 25 2009 at 11:58AM
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This is a mirror of my blog at where you can also find stereoscopic screenshots to this article:


As a hardcore Spellborne Player for the past 4 month now I may be a bit biased towards the game. When I got my 3D Vision glasses I was pretty disappointed about the lack of depth but with the release of NVIDIA’s 1.08 Drivers the game went from “ugly” to “good”. It’s not perfect but perfectly enjoyable in 3D. Prior to this test i spend around 10 hours playing the game with my glasses on (in 4 settings since my old eyes seem to get weary after 2-3hours using the stereoscopic view).


Character/ Environmental Detail

When I first saw screenshots of Spellborne I totally fell in love with the artistic style. This is of course my personal view. If WOW/War uses a typical American art-style and Lineage 2/ Aion is typical Asian then I would say that Spellborne adapts a typical European Style as you would see in French/ Belgian Comics. The game itself uses the Unreal Engine Version 2.5 and the 3D Vision glasses do a very good job transferring that screwy, disproportional art-style into a fantastic “true” 3D scenery.

Characters and environment seem to have a nice polygon count resulting in a world with a lot of detail. The art-style is to “cartoony” to attempt realism but the viewing experience is something you’d expect from from high quality 3D-Animated Movies like “Monsters vs Aliens 3D” and “Iceage”. In comparison to WOW I would say the game’s 3D models are more complex and the world looks more detailed.


Depth/ Ghosting

With the current drivers the feeling of depth in The Chronicles of Spellborne is pretty good in stereo mode. In the options menu you can adjust brightness, contrast and gamma and I found no significant loss of color quality adjusting those to counter the loss of brightness due to the glasses. I also turned of Gloom there because I felt that it added to ghosting. After playing with convergence and depth a bit I came to a setting where I noticed only some minor ghosting in the far distance that satisfied my wish for a very 3-dimensional look and feel of my character and the scenery close to it. The characters, NPCs and the world look very solid as if you bought brand new toys and placed them in a fantastic diorama. Fires and other bright effects worked for me pretty good and without ghosting although at some places i felt that point-lights from lanterns and light crystals were just a bit to bright but maybe that’sa result of my tempering with the settings to much. Playing the game I didnt noticed any clipping or unusual effects where the models geometry would mess with my immersion into the 3D setting.


The Interface/ Combat

After the introduction of the 1.08 drivers the game seems to utilize 3 “planes”. At the front of your screen, which I like to call windshield, the graphical user interface consisting of chat window, mini-map and some buttons is very much readable and clear. Behind that, into the screen unfolds the 3D-World. The interesting thing I noticed about Spellborne is that there is a 3rd plane similar to the “windshield” but set a bit deeper into the 3D scene. The targeting cursor as well as the NPC’s names and health bars and the speech bubbles from dialog are placed on this 3rd (or middle) plane which works OK for the targeting cursor but doesn’t feel right for both names and health bars. All in all I have mixed feelings about this middle plane. On the positive side, the names of the NPCs for example as well as the speech bubbles are much clearer and more readable then for example in Aion where this information is placed correctly above the head of the NPC resulting in hard to read text for NPCs in a distance. On the negative side I had to turn off health bars completely (which is easily done in the interface options) because I felt they messed up my 3D Vision. The rotating skill deck on the other hand, one of the key features of TCOS, is a 3D-Object itself and looked pretty cool and natural in the 3D setting beside the minor flaw that the bar where you build up combo points is stuck on the windshield.

Being a game where you have to dodge and aim manually I had my doubts at first how this would work in ”true” 3D but after a few minutes the combat and aiming felt pretty natural. Both ranged and melee attacks work fine due to the middle plane even without a real 3D-cursor. Selecting a Target or interacting with it was also no problem. A selected target also spots a white circle around its models base. As far as Effects go, I didn’t notice any misplaced skill-effects and the visuals of these skills are pretty amazing to see in stereo vision.


Final Toughs

Overall the game is perfectly enjoyable and looks stunning through the 3D Vision Glasses.
If I were developer for a day (and could work really really fast) i would probably iron out these minor flaws:

The information about the opponents health could be placed at its model base. For example a full red circle means full health and then like a clock if the monster looses health replace the red with white so that a monster with half his hp would have the right side of its base-circle white, the other half red.
With that the “selecting” of a target could be discussed. Maybe the target that I aim at should be selected automatically instead of some target I clicked or “tabbed” to before.
The names of the NPCs as well as their speech bubble should be places at the right coordinates in the 3D-scene even if that means trading of readability.
There should be options to turn off individual GUI items on the windshield plane. I for one would be perfectly happy turning off all, keeping only my rotating skill-deck when it comes to combat.
Some point-lights could loose a bit of brightness and some more ambient light could be used there instead
Anyway these minor flaws won’t keep me in enjoying the world of Spellborne in “true” 3D from now on and I’m hoping to spend many many more hours in that beautifully screwy world.


Next to come: my re-evaluation of Lord of the Rings online, stay tuned

3D Visions of Aion ToE

Posted by craynlon Saturday May 23 2009 at 9:59AM
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This is a mirror post of my blog at where i rate MMO's by their ability to be played in "true" 3D using the Nvidia 3D Vision shutter glasses :


Aion: The Tower of Eternity, 3D Visions

Aion is probably the game I had the least time testing. I took a couple of screen shots while in the Chinese beta and i taught i could finish up testing it later but my time was up before it came to this. So basically I’m writing this entry from memory and based on the shots i took. In future updates I promise to post the individual settings and tweaks I did on the games as well, for Aion for now I’ll only give my first impressions.

Character/ Environmental Detail

Being a 3rd generation MMMO (if you count Ultima/EQ and Lineage1 as the 1st and WOW/ Lineage 2 as the 2nd) Aion looks a lot more detailed in both characters as well as environment then its predecessor. The cysis engine seemed to be a good choice both for “normal” and stereo 3D rendering.
Both Characters and environment seem to have a high polygon count given them a very realistic feel. So far i didn’t notice any displaced effects. The PC and NPC names hover above their heads at the right spot and can be read OK even in stereo 3D mode.

Depth/ Ghosting

In Aion the feeling of depth is pretty good in stereo mode. In the front of your screen, i like to call windshield you have your interface, in the depth of the screen the scenery unfolds. I noticed some minor ghosting and displacement of light sources but the characters themselves as well as the scenery look very solid.

The Interface/ Combat

The interface works pretty well in 3D Space. The Skills, the Minimap and Healthbar as well as the Chatbox are “on the Windshield” in front of the screen while scenery unfolds in 3D behind them. I don’t think that the games has a 3D cursor to select enemies but the selected enemy has a glowing red circle at the base of the model in the 3D Scene. As mentioned above names of the monsters you fight are also placed at the correct 3D Coordinates so that they do not disturb the depth feeling.I noticed tough that there are some small bullets framing the name of the selected target that are rendered on the windshield same as the damage numbers if you hit your target. This seems to be a minor flaw which, besides the missing 3D cursor that sets the game back a bit from being viewed perfectly in 3D. The spell and skill effects on the other hand are shown where they are supposed to happen and look pretty cool.

Final Toughs

Overall the game looks pretty set up for the use with the 3D Vision Glasses. There are minor flaws that the devs could iron out easily if they wanted to to get into the excellency category for NVIDIA. As soon as the game goes live in Europe I’ll probably spending much more time with it to test if you could play it entirely in 3D-Depth mode


Next to come: Chronicles of Spellborne, stay tuned

Nvidias 3D-Vision and your favourite MMO

Posted by craynlon Wednesday May 20 2009 at 1:47PM
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 I’m writing this first Article 2 weeks after i purchased the combination of the NVIDIA® GeForce® 3D Vision™ and Samsung® SyncMaster™ 2233RZ 120Hz LCD.

Since I’m a MMO-Addict i tried out numerous MMO Games and Demos including World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Chronicles of Spellborne, D&D Online and Warhammer Online



For those who are unfamiliar with Stereoscopic Glasses, they use a technique that provides a different image for each of your eyes in 3D-Games giving these Games a true 3rd dimension often described as looking thrue a window into the world behind your screen. since almost all MMO’s i testet use 3rd person view it often feels like looking into a toybox full of living, breathing toys. My personal impression : “If you get the game to workin 3D-stereo mode, its an absolutely awesome experience”. A lot of games swich from “i view some kind of movie there” to “omg there are little toy people running around inside my room (monitor)”. I noticed that in some games where i didnt liked the standard 3D art that much,in 3D stereo mode i was totally amazed on how fantastic the world looks. Especially when i retried DDO in stereo mode i was like “wow that stuff looks as if im playing with living tin-miniatures”

The glasses basicly work with every 3D game out of the box even tough for some (like wow) NVIDIA provides special profiles with settings (like depth) customized for the game.
You also have to keep in mind that the depth-effect comes from “how much the developers stay true to a 3-Dimensional” setting, so if they program in some clever tricks like lighting, effects, bloom or other stuff that doesn’t happen at the coordinates in the 3D world where they suppose to happen its better to turn these effects of so not to ruin the scene.

NVIDIA rated some of their driver supported games already on their webpage but since im a fan of classic western ill put my reviews into categories of “The good, the bad and the ugly”.


The Good

I have to agree on NVIDIAs excellency rating for both World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online. In addition to these 2 games id like to add AION and D&D online as games that work beutifully and almost without tweaking/ compromise:

World of Warcraft
Warhammer Online
D&D online

The Bad

Only two games in this category and thats Age of Conan and Lord of the Rings online. These games either have heavy issues like misplaced textures, flickering or no noticable depth effect

Age of Conan
Lord of the Rings online

The Ugly

Well ugly may be a to strong word for these games. Basicly this category is for games that look good in stereo 3D Mode but in some cases have minor flaws or need to be tweaked heavily.

Lineage 2
Chronicles of Spellborne

These categories of course are not set in stone. NVIDIA promissed to work with game developers to pimp up their games for 3D Vision and maybe some people more clever then me can also figure out some tweaks to make bad or ugly games more playable/ enjoyable in 3D Vision.


Final Toughs

Common Problems that all of these game share:
IMHO the biggest strain for the eyes is the extensive use of the graphical user interface (GUI). All these elements like skillbar, chatbox, minimap, lifebar, character portrait are usually rendered in 2D at the front of the scene. The effect is like driving a car with a thousand stickers on your windshield. You can look at whats beyond the windshield and view the world in perfect 3D but if you have to focus on those stickers that are attached to your windshield from the inside you have trouble watching the road.
The same goes for PC/NPC Name, Lifebars and other text or information that is pasted into the 3D environment. Even if it is placed perfectly (like in wow or war) above the head of the 3D model

My hope would be that in the far far future MMOs could be a lot less text heavy.
NPC’s could have voiceover dialog and enough diversity in their appearance to make stuff like “Go to Captain N00bslayer, he’s the big Ork in the main building” work on audio and appearance alone.
NPC’s and Players alike could have “near death animations” where they limp, cough and bleed instead of half full healthbar sticking somewhere on the screen or besides their model.

In the “first Look” i gave these games above i spend around 1h with each game, often in the free trial version of the MMO. In the coming months I’ll post individual game reviews with (stereo) screenshots here and at my blog at so keep your eyes crossed and your glasses clean…