Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's a whole new world in 3D

It's the work of metaverse developer Ian Upton (Ian Pahute SL). "It is not a trick or a post process," he tells me by email. "It is just another way of experiencing Second Life. You switch it on!"

I hear a lot more about how it works, and how it might transform SL: "It is quite possible to render almost any Open GL application in stereo. But to do this you need driver level software, workstation graphics cards and a suitable projection system (usually dual 'polarized' projectors or high refresh rate 'shutter glasses') . This kit is not domestic and can be very, very, expensive. I have been lucky enough to have some access and experience of these technologies." Ian is a member of the Serious Games Institute, which recently asked him to demonstrate Second Life in Stereo 3D, and that's what you see above. "As a back-up for this demonstration (technology can be so fickle!) I decided to create a short machinima and investigated how I could do this quickly on my own kit at home."
Much more from Mr. Pahute after the break:
"First a bit of research. I discovered that Eric Maslowski at the University of Michigan 3D Lab had created code that enabled Second Life to drive a stereo output (this-- surprisingly -- appears to have been received somewhat lukewarmly by Linden Lab.) I then found an open source viewer patched by Dale Glass to include this code. You get an extra option under the graphics tab. Normal, Anaglyph and Shutter. Hit anaglyph and SL renders with red and cyan auras. Pop on your glasses and SL pops out of the screen!
"I chose AM Radio's The Far Away for two reasons. One it is a well known SL artwork. And the corn looks awesome when you run around it big screen in stereo. Second, for the anaglyph rendering, the colours are perfect. An issue with anaglyph is if there are any reds or blue in the scene it can upset the effect. In essence you can feel like you have migraine. Luckily the Far Away is essentially yellow!
"It was then a case of firing up FRAPS, capturing the shots and editing into a machinima. I did take quite a lot of care with the shots. They are long - to enable the audience to accommodate the 3d effects and I have tried to minimize movements that would give them a headache! That is so easy to do and if you take a look at the other stereo SL Machinima's on YouTube you will see what I mean (have the paracetamol ready!)
"One of the reasons I uploaded the machinima was to show what was possible. I have been lucky and have seen the power of stereo SL when run on commercial kit. And it is the closest thing you get to stepping into another world! I am amazed that Linden (and also NVidia - who produce an excellent domestic shutter glass system) have not been more interested in supporting Second Life . Hopefully machinima's like 'The Far Away' will persuade them to look again?"
Read more on Ian's SL site, Get Real.