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James Cameron's "Avatar", besides messing with the title of an excellent Nickolodeon animation series, has a lot of people believing in the promise of 3-D again. But for 3-D to touch on not just the mood but the mechanics of games, the concept has quite a big hurdle to overcome. We'll examine the hardware catch-22 in today's Loading... Gadgetized, Marginalized.
are today's top 5 Pulse results:
- EverQuest 2 (UP 3)
movers this month:
XL (release date)
Origins (release date)
Collection (release date)
Siege of Mirkwood (expansion)
Online: Dominion (expansion)
2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
style="font-weight: bold;">Spring 2011
- Star Wars:
Almost everyone I've talked to that has seen "Avatar" has been impressed with the visual effects, if not the drawn-out, hyper- hippie, modern-humans-are-nothing-but-a-smudge-upon-idyllic-nature plot. I was certainly impressed with how far 3D has come from the days of the red-and-blue cardboard glasses, but I'll agree that most of the 3D wow value came in the opening shorts. Preceding the movie were several high-relief action sequences which had more than a few people in the audience flinching. These showed the promise of 3D from nothing more than polarized lenses (a far cry from the weighty active-shutter Nvidia 3D Vision headgear you'd need to buy to enable games like WoW or Batman: Arkham Asylum for 3D, assuming you have all the required hardware).
We've discussed 3D in Loading... before, but I bring it up because, thanks largely to "Avatar," the concept seemed to be all the rage this year at CES. Sony, always looking for an edge in the console war, introduced a couple 3D demo levels for PlayStation 3, and they were fairly well received. That is, well-received from an atmosphere or immersiveness standpoint. More than one editorial notes that 3-D doesn't really impact gameplay, nor could it until the hardware got good enough and cheap enough to justify creating AAA games based solely on its use.
And this is the hardware catch-22: developers can't produce games where 3-D matters until gamers have the hardware to make it 3-D, and most gamers won't buy 3-D hardware until developers produce games that make it worthwhile. It's not an impossible gap to overcome; Guitar Hero and the Wii showed that gamers will buy a hardware / software bundle if the price (and idea) is right.
The big, huge, scary obstacle to pervasive 3-D is that gamers need three components (a high refresh rate monitor / TV, a compatible graphics card, and active-shutter glasses that can be tuned to the monitor's refresh rate). Only the graphics card is becoming standard equipment any time soon. Whittle that requirement down to active-shutter glasses bundled with a game and we might actually have something here.
So, whether you think 3-D is the next big thing in gaming or just a novelty, high refresh rate monitor / TV adoption rate is really the heart of the matter. 3-D works by interposing a frame that is "shot" at a different angle with every other frame. In order to allow the game to interject those sidelong frames and create a smooth 3D effect while preserving the kind of quality we're used to in games, 120 Hz is the 3-D standard for monitors and TVs, and you'll have to have premium hardware to match.
Problem is, 120 Hz is fairly new (and hella pricey) for flatscreen monitors and TVs. But, interestingly, as Machail explained to me the other day, CRT monitors typically have much higher framerates (typically more than 100 Hz) than LED monitors to eliminate flicker. So if you're using a older CRT driven by a fairly high-end video card, you might be better primed for the (possible?) 3-D revolution than gamers with flatscreen monitors.
3-D is a fun topic, but one with limited value for MMO gamers. Much of the real innovation in gaming is happening in the so-called casual games sector, where games like Braid and World of Goo will truly mess with your head (in a good way). I see much more room for 3-D application in games where developers are less afraid to mess with your playstyle than in the traditional MMORPG, but what do you think? Share your 3-D thoughts in the
forum, and we'll put on our glasses to respond!
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
From our Tavern of the Ten Ton Hammer
What do you want to see in 2010?
Here's a simple question for our community members: what would you
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more interviews, previews or reviews? More video? A return to our
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New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer
6 new Ten Ton Hammer features today! 53 in January! 53 in 2010!
Ten Ton Hammer's Star Trek Online Community Site Goes Live
boldly go where no gamer has gone before is the dream of not only Star
Trek fans around the world, but also for MMOG enthusiasts anxious to
try something new. This week the Star Trek Online open beta kicks off,
and with that the countdown to release is on. Worried you're not up to
speed with all things STO? Fear not, because Ten Ton Hammer is pleased
to announce the launch of our new Star Trek Online community site today!
Kapow! A First Look at Kung Foo
Foo is the new tongue-in-cheek martial arts MMO by Perfect World
Entertainment. Looking to use your hands as weapons of mass destruction
to rain death down upon a thousand bunnies? Well, this game is for you!
Your pals at Ten Ton Hammer are here to provide their impressions of
the beta of this slyly humorous game.
Runes of Magic: Impressions on the Mid-Game Experience
So a little over four months ago we sent out one of our own, ZeroMerc to explore
all that is Runes of Magic. Now he has reached the middle of the game and is
back with his impressions of the game up till now. Join ZeroMerc as he lets us
know what he thinks about Runes!
Star Trek Online - Klingon Ship Repository
yourself in battle is the Klingon way and, even though every day is a
good day to die, there's no reason to do it needlessly. If you
want to be the best warrior in the Empire, then you need to know your
ships. Fortunately for you, Ten Ton Hammer has gathered the vital
statistics of each ship in the Klingon Fleet. You would do well to
study them, Qup vaj (that’s “young warrior” for you Federation scum),
for it may prove the difference between fighting another day and
joining your ancestors in Sto'Vo'Kor.
Allods Online: Class Overviews Part 1 - Tanks Paladins and Scout Archetypes
difference between a really good MMOG and a great one can often come
down to playable classes. With 28 such classes to choose from Allods
Online is certainly making a marked effort to ascend to greatness.
While all 28 are not completely unique, but rather variations on eight
archetypes, the subtle differences in each of them could be the
difference between a like it or love it experience to the new player.
Join Medawky this week as he begins a two part look into the classes of
Allods Online beginning with the hands on melee combatants, the Tank,
Paladin and Scout archetypes.
Aion Sorcerer Spells Levels 26-50
out of the newbie levels in Aion and working towards full power, the
Sorcerer comes into their own after level 20. With impressive damage
spells and useful crowd control, no group will want to be without you
and other players will certainly fear you. Come and take a peek at all
this powerful class can offer or research your Sorcerer's upcoming
skills in our newly updated spell list now including all 50 levels of
TODAY'S HOTTEST ARTICLES
- Ten Ton Hammer's Star Trek Online Community Site Launched
Online href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79046"> Q&A
with Al Rivera - All About Ships
Trek Online Beta Journal #4 - No Tank, Healer or DPS?
- Kapow! A First Look at Kung Foo!
or Written in Pencil: Developers' New Year's Resolutions
Online href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/79051"> Ten
Ton Hammers Hands-On Beta Impressions
- Star Trek Online - Klingon Ship Repository
- Runes of Magic: Mid-Game Review
style="font-weight: bold;">Dungeons and Dragons Online:
Character Build The Warchanter
Mission Types Interview with Exec. Producer Todd Harris
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer
- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
and the Ten Ton Hammer team