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Sony Developing 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For Two Players

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the hey-an-actual-useful-feature dept.

Displays 174

Stoobalou writes "Sony has recently published patent applications which will allow two-player 3D gaming on a single screen. The new technology could spell an end to split-screen gaming, but is unlikely to see the light of day for a few years at least. Sony's method would allow player one to see frames one and three whilst player two would see frames two and four. Current technology requires a display with a 120 Hz refresh rate so it seems likely that we'll have to wait for 240Hz screen technology to become commonplace before two-player 3D becomes a reality. PDF versions of the two applications are available."

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Oh hell no (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32975640)

Screw that, i'll stick to my elaborate connection of SCART splitters, phono leads, 2 TVs and some black paper with some sticky Blu-tack.

Get off my lawn, Future.

Patenting the patents? (2, Insightful)

Dzonatas (984964) | about 4 years ago | (#32975648)

I'd imagine there are already stereoscopic patents for normal, single, left & right eye angles to create the 3D appearance. With what the article suggests, these angles have only been widened by a couple meters. Wouldn't this basically be the same patent at a different angle?

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32975698)

"these angles have only been widened by a couple meters. Wouldn't this basically be the same patent at a different angle?"

Angles are measured in degrees or radians. A meter is a unit of length.

Re:Patenting the patents? (2)

Dzonatas (984964) | about 4 years ago | (#32975714)

When you take a triangle and widen its base you change the angle of the its top arc. Cause and effect being applied. This is naturally viewing from the player perspective be a few meters apart from each other.

Re:Patenting the patents? (2, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 years ago | (#32976240)

Not if you also lengthen the sides. That is why we have different units for different things, and try to use them correctly. Oh, I think I saw your user on ATS once, getting mightily confused by some rather obvious words. Language is a protocol - you can use words however you see fit, but don't expect anyone to understand you if you deviate from the norm.

Re:Patenting the patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976352)

Language is a protocol - you can use words however you see fit, but don't expect anyone to understand you if you deviate from the norm.

No, set tree fire loss and obvious normal incinerate unilateral order, word free men loss tree water mineral.

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

Dzonatas (984964) | about 4 years ago | (#32976410)

Let's apply this to two viewers watching TV, so then you would be suggesting that "widen the base" would then mean to make the couch wider and have both viewers sit back farther in order to sit farther apart and view the TV at the same angle.

Is your account banned on ATS, too?

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

vivian (156520) | about 4 years ago | (#32975858)

I thought patents were not supposed to be awardable if they are "obvious to an person of ordinary skill in the art."

I am no expert, and I haven't even bothered to read TFA but if someone asked me "how can we make it possible for two players share the same screen", in the time it took me to read the above summary and click through to this page, (about 2 seconds) I can think of the following possible solutions:

1) Have each player wear shutter glasses that lets each see alternating frames.
or another solution:
2) have a second whole screen LCD cover - ie. essentially one giant screen sized pixel that covers the entire screen area. Each player would wear polarized glasses that are polarized 90 degrees to each other. Liquid crystals rotate the angle of polarization by 90 degrees when turned on, so this would make the direction of polarization shift by 90 degrees every odd frame.
so if I can think of these solutions, as I am sure just about anyone else here could, doesn't this make it fail the "obvious" part of the requirement to get a patent?

Now to read that article and see what cunning technical solution they have come up with...

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

takev (214836) | about 4 years ago | (#32976670)

In fact, my co worker and I has been discussing this half a year ago, and I didn't know Sony or anyone else was thinking about this.
Using both the shutter glasses and Polaroid glasses, idea, it should also work using anaglyph, or any other stereo imaging method. It could even work with WOW TV (lengtingular lenses).

Second part would be able to watch two different videos at the same time, maybe they can make special "couple movies"-dvd, with a romantic movie and an action movie in lock-step, so you can watch with your spouse.

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32976990)

Ditto on thinking of this a while ago - I had the same thought after watching Avatar in 3D (in fact, I was thinking about it at the time to take my mind off Avatar, but I digress...) and the two movie one screen concept was the first that sprang to my mind. I was thinking, with headsets delivering two soundtracks, I could be watching something entirely different to everyone else right now, although admittedly we'd all be watching in 2D. The next step was using this in the home so kids can watch their shows while adults watch the news or something (there was a lot of talk of 3D television being the next big in home entertainment hook), and of course the next logical step is using it for co-op games, or even letting me play games while my partner watches a slushy movie. I've also spoken to other people who have had exactly the same idea independently so this is far from non-obvious use of the technology.

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

sleeping143 (1523137) | about 4 years ago | (#32976162)

Not really. The viewing angle hasn't changed, but rather the way that the glasses and screen interact. On a 120Hz screen, you could manage two full-screen players at the same time. Each player's glasses would block their sight when the screen is showing the other player's content. On a 240Hz screen, each of the two people's eyes would be assigned a frame in a four-frame sequence that allows each person to see two different images, just as with 3D. It doesn't really have anything to do with viewing angles, but rather frame sequencing.

Re:Patenting the patents? (2, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | about 4 years ago | (#32976190)

the patent isn't about changing the angles... it's about multiplexing the video signal another order of magnitude to allow 2 people to see different full screen images at the same time. i have an optoma HD66 project that supports HD 3D... i tried it out with the sony shutter glasses... it looked worse than avatar and was more uncomfortable/headache inducing... so the technology has to more than double just to get the same unacceptable results, and when you add in the fact that player 1 might be in a dark cave and player 2 might be standing on the sun, the bleed between frames and stress on the screen lighting systems will be large, perhaps insurmountable, additional hurdles.

i'd rather just take the current 3d tech, hack the 3d glasses and make both eyes flicker in harmony so only player 1 sees frame 1 (throught both eyes) and only player 2 sees frame 2 (through both eyes)... should already be able to do 2 player full screen with current tech.

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

Dzonatas (984964) | about 4 years ago | (#32976302)

Looks like Sony has taken there 3DTV display meant for a single viewer (without shutter glasses) and only widen the angle for use with two shutter glasses.

Maybe they do have a patent on a patent if that wasn't so obvious. Maybe what makes it not so obvious is people tend to think you need glasses to watch any 3D displays except for Sony's technology, where you don't need glasses at all.

Re:Patenting the patents? (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#32976720)

The sad part.. Everyone is gung ho on making flat panel 3d with shutter glasses. yet nobody has a 3d projector that uses polarizers so you can use lighter and cheaper glasses.

for the price of these 42" plasmas and a set of 4 glasses I can set up a 109" dual projector and stewart screen, and have 90 pairs of glasses plus not have the problems with the shutter system.

Re:Patenting the patents? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#32976292)

I would think this idea would be way too obvious, but the patent office had let dumber, more obvious things through.

Spectators (1)

slim (1652) | about 4 years ago | (#32975656)

So, no more sociable gaming sessions where a couple of people take their turn race/fight/whatever and other people watch.

I suppose as long as the game also supports a traditional split screen mode, it'll still work out -- and that mode will have to continue to exist for quite a while, as long as many people don't have 3D hardware.

Re:Spectators (1)

Lundse (1036754) | about 4 years ago | (#32975796)

So, no more sociable gaming sessions where a couple of people take their turn race/fight/whatever and other people watch.

Use your normal 3D glasses from the cinema, and change player POV by closing one eye or the other...

Re:Spectators (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#32976030)

Can you polarise light in more than two directions and still have the images separate? Because this system is talking about displaying 4 separate images, not just two. Though I hadn't even heard of it being done just for two images for local multiplayer. It's a very cool idea, I'd like to see it even without the 3D aspect.

Re:Spectators (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 years ago | (#32976094)

Not really. You can have H and V polarisation, which was used for the first polarized 3D displays, but that doesn't work well because you have to keep your head strictly vertical to avoid crossover. Cinema screens use clock and anticlock polarisation, and there are only two such polarisations.

Re:Spectators (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#32976610)

Can you polarise light in more than two directions and still have the images separate?

You don't need to. This doesn't use polarization to separate the images in the way you seem to be thinking. They do not transmit one eye's image with horizontal polarization, and the other eye's image with vertical polarization. (Actually, old systems didn't use horizontal and vertical, but 45 degrees and 135 degrees. The systems in the theatres today use clockwise and counterclockwise circular polarization. This allows you to tilt your head and still get the 3D effect.)

3D television uses LCD shutters. An LCD shutter is similar to a segment on an LCD display on a calculator, either transparent or black. You put one shutter over the left eye and trigger it open on odd numbered frames, and closed for even numbered frames. You put a similar shutter over the right eye, and trigger it open for even numbered frames, and closed for odd. The light coming from the screen is not polarized at all. In order for each eye to receive a flicker free image, you have to double the frame rate from 60Hz to 120Hz.

This two player 3D gaming system doubles the frame rate to 240Hz. They close all the shutters except the one over player one's left eye, and they display the image for player one left. Then they close all the shutters except for the one over player two's left eye, and they display the player 2 left image. Then they close all the shutters except player 1 right, and show the player 1 right image; and finally, player 2 right. Each eye of each player sees the entire screen at a 60Hz frame rate.

This system doesn't rely on polarization. It relies on a sequential blocking and transmitting of images. You could get the same effect with motorized, mechanical shutters made out of metal or plastic; anything that can open and close at the right point in the sequence. The LCD shutters are used because they are lightweight and silent.

Re:Spectators (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#32976992)

Thanks - though for the shutter glasses part I've known how it works for over a decade, I just don't really have the required physics background to understand polarisation properly.

I think the poster I was responding to must just not have realised that this article is about dual 3D rather than dual 2D. Seems dual 3D is not possible with a passive system.

Re:Spectators (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about 4 years ago | (#32976716)

nope, the polarisation only has two dimensions to play with.
essentially, the orientation of the wave is x/y vector perpendicular to the direction of motion.

you can split the x/y to get two independent components, or (maths more complicated) split two orientations of circular polarisations out.

any other additions simply interfere with the two components you are taking out.

essentially, your carrier (the polarisation vector) only has two dimensions - so you can only get two non-interfering signals.

Re:Spectators (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#32976806)

Technically yes, but it's a really, really hard thing to do. You'd have to quadruple the frame rate, then manage a way of changing the orientation of the polarization at each frame. And unfortunately since polarizing filters have maximum effect at a 90 degree angle you're stuck with covering lenses at some points to ensure that the wrong person doesn't get the effect. Mainly because the minimum effect is at 0 and 180 degrees. You can somewhat offset that by going at angles less ideal, but then you have to put up with only partially blocking the light.

There is also the clockwise and counter clockwise option, but that only gives you one set of perspectives. Layering that over the other scheme just ensures that you don't see anything. And with any scheme you need to have a really bright source of light as you're losing at least half the light due to polarization technology, and probably more like 2/3.

Re:Spectators (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#32977066)

So current polarisation projectors display different polarisations on alternating frames? I had previously thought that one advantage of the passive system is that you don't need to only be showing an image to one eye at a time, but I guess with framerates of 60Hz for each eye then it just isn't really noticeable anyway.

Re:Spectators (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#32976412)

Use your normal 3D glasses from the cinema, and change player POV by closing one eye or the other...

Except that the current crop of 3D TVs for the home don't work with the cheap glasses from the cinema. They require expensive glasses that actively sync with the TV.

Re:Spectators (1)

thijsh (910751) | about 4 years ago | (#32976046)

Yeah, this is a great disadvantage of 3D... But a technology to allow multiple players to compete in 3D (without spectators being able to watch) is doomed to fail since it is already obsolete... We will more likely see consoles with 3D display glasses per player. Playing 3D with 1, 2, 4 or more per console is trivially easy (only limited by the bandwidth of the transmission mechanism), more likely even is this: the glasses will one day even *be* the console, and allow you to start a LAN party just by getting together and gaming ad-hoc. No need to gather around a TV anymore, just game where you want (yeah, we already have that with PSPs etc. but now in 3D!).

Re:Spectators (1)

skids (119237) | about 4 years ago | (#32977408)

Traditional split screen barely exists as it is. Very few games support couch-coop
these days... despite the screaming of people who actually like to physically visit
their friends and game. See here [cooptimus.com] to get an
idea just how pathetic the selection is.

While it's good to see people think towards 3D split-screen A) patent wars will as
usual keep the technology lagging for years and years and B) all the game
developers are currently planning of using any computing resources they would
for split-screen to support 3D. It's likely 3D support will cause more games to
drop couch coop.

And given developers are pushing the current systems (at least, to the limits
of their talent) this might not happen until the next generation of consoles.

3D Porn (1)

BlkRb0t (1610449) | about 4 years ago | (#32975670)

3D Porn on frames 2 and 4 will be the standard.

Re:3D Porn (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#32976606)

The best 3D "porn" has a tactile element.

Quick.... (2, Informative)

ErroneousBee (611028) | about 4 years ago | (#32975672)

Somebody get a patent on 2 player games in 2d, where player 1 sees frame 1, and player 2 sees frame 2.

Re:Quick.... (1)

e70838 (976799) | about 4 years ago | (#32975762)

It is probably an old TV patent: man watching football and woman watching documentary at the same time on the same TV.

When elephants dance (2, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 4 years ago | (#32975674)

Sony was the target of a 3D patent in 2004:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/11/04/mckool_smith_lawsuit_update/ [theregister.co.uk]

Their legal department might be trying to recuperate their costs now by suing others. It's a game that benefits no one. Meanwhile, Sony is part of the MPEG-LA consortium that's preventing free software and SMEs from including support for MPEG video formats, so they deserve no good will.

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/MPEG_video_formats [swpat.org]
http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Harm_to_standards_and_compatibility [swpat.org]

When a video doesn't play, or when a company expresses doubt about supporting a free format, it's due to MPEG-LA.

the grass gets trampled (3, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 4 years ago | (#32975718)

I'm working now on gathering software patent info related to Sony.

* http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Sony [swpat.org]

Help welcome.

Re:When elephants dance (2, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | about 4 years ago | (#32975906)

"It's a game that benefits no one"

Not true. It benefits the lawyers and the rest of the legal industry massively.

Re:When elephants dance (2, Funny)

h7 (1855514) | about 4 years ago | (#32976044)

I wonder how only American companies got all these patents. Were the Europeans sleeping while all these standards were created and patented?

Re:When elephants dance (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#32977042)

Meanwhile, Sony is part of the MPEG-LA consortium that's preventing free software and SMEs from including support for MPEG video formats, so they deserve no good will.

Sony rooted my computer with their XCP trojan; no way in hell will they EVER get anything but ill will from me. I want to see their CEO and board of directors in prison and their company in bankruptcy.

IMO Microsoft is a saintly company compared to Sony, and I don't even like much of MS's software. The MPEG thing is like a drop of piss on top of the swimming pool full of Sony shit.

not really "innovative" (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | about 4 years ago | (#32975688)

It is just multiple shutter glasses running at 240+ hertz. Frame one is in the right eye of player one, frame two in the right eye of player two, frame three in the left eye of player one, and frame four in the left eye of player two.

What would be better would be normal multi-player with shutter glasses. (example: in a 4 player game every player sees only their frames and cannot see the other players pov. A person w/o a set of glasses would see a set of blurry images.)

Re:not really "innovative" (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#32976994)

There's no reason they can't do that. I skimmed the PDFs of the patent. All they have to do is transmit separate audio to each pair of glasses, and shutter them appropriately.

Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For Two (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | about 4 years ago | (#32975708)

The new technology could spell an end to split-screen gaming

I'm wary of patients too, but can this really happen. I understand lawyers are paid to fight their clients corner and not pay attention to anything else. Could any one give examples of one widely used feature being banned or avoided due to a superficial similarity with a newer patented technology.

Re:Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For T (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 4 years ago | (#32975732)

It's not about patents restricting use of split screen gaming (which has been around since the 1980's). It's simply about the technology being made obsolete.

Re:Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For T (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32977140)

Of course, that's just about the situation already except in the case of a few notable exceptions. It's easier for devs to just insist multiplayer is online or requires two consoles on a LAN (not to mention more profitable to require two copies of the game) than it is to optimise for split-screen multiplayer. This has been the de facto position for a while now, the bigger question would be whether this new technology can revive multiplayer on a single console or whether it will simply replace split screen as the niche offering of a handful of games.

Re:Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For T (1)

PriyanPhoenix (900509) | about 4 years ago | (#32975736)

If your comment was serious, I think it's just a misunderstanding: they're not suggesting the patent would prevent split-screen gaming, but rather that companies may choose to implement full-screen 2-player rather than split-screen if the technology takes off, leading to the death of the latter. Whether or not that constitutes progress I leave to the reader.

Re:Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For T (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | about 4 years ago | (#32975868)

Yes I was serious, please excuse my ignorance of legal issues. Remember I said

widely used feature being banned or avoided

I also don't know enough about big companies and their risk avoidance behaviour. It may well be this patent would ensure companies avoid the technique to insure them self's against risk, however negligible.

Re:Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For T (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#32977328)

That shouldn't be necessary as prior art [wikipedia.org] is a defence to patent infringement, and there must be literally thousands (or at the very least hundreds) of examples of split-screen games that pre-date the patent.

Re:Sony Patents 3D Screen-Sharing Technology For T (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976004)

I'm wary of patients too

Oh my, i'll know not to go to you when "3D damages my eyes".

240, ouch! (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 4 years ago | (#32975724)

My brain hertz.

Brightness? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32975726)

The LCD blinds goggles for 3D gaming reduce perceived screen brightness by half.
It seems this invention would reduce it by 3/4.

Oh yeah? Well I patent it for THREE! (1)

kg8484 (1755554) | about 4 years ago | (#32975738)

Yeah, read that right. Player 1 sees frames 1 and 4, Player 2 sees frames 2 and 5 and Player 3 sees frames 3 and 6. Hold up, I'm having a Gillette moment here.

  1. Player 1 sees frames 1 and 6
  2. Player 2 sees frames 2 and 7
  3. Player 3 sees frames 3 and 8
  4. Player 4 sees frames 4 and 9
  5. Player 5 sees frames 5 and 10

That's right assholes. Five blades^H^H^H^H^H^Hplayers.

Re:Oh yeah? Well I patent it for THREE! (2, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32975870)

600Hz Display. At last I'll be able to show movies to horses and they won't see the flicker.

Flicka (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#32976054)

At last I'll be able to show movies to horses and they won't see the flicker.

But will they see the Flicka [wikipedia.org] ? Oh wait, that was Fox, not Sony.

Requires specialized goggles (1)

selven (1556643) | about 4 years ago | (#32975756)

I imagine the specialized goggles needed for this would be more expensive than just getting a second monitor.

Re:Requires specialized goggles (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | about 4 years ago | (#32976330)

No kidding. I remember a whole 8-9 years ago, it took the arms of.. well one guy to lug an Xbox around and carefully unravel and connect that "network" cable. For gaming, this sounds as revolutionary as a flower pot with flowers on it.

Re:Requires specialized goggles (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32976618)

Specialized goggles, nope. They would be about the same 3D goggles as in current use, maybe with slightly better LCD blinds.

A 240Hz+ refresh rate screen and a gfx card to pull that off, now THAT would cost arm and leg.

Re:Requires specialized goggles (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32977400)

You don't really *need* a 240Hz screen. Or rather, you only need one if you want to game at 60FPS. If you're willing to accept a 30FPS rate (the standard in the playstation era, and faster than a movie framerate) you can do it on 120 Hz. The console probably wants to run at that framerate anyway, since I doubt it wants to render a single-player's worth of junk twice as fast as normal.

3D WTF (1)

Nysul (1816168) | about 4 years ago | (#32975760)

I hate to jump on the anti-3D bandwagon (I actually really enjoyed Avatar despite the plot) but why in the past 2 years is there a sudden jump towards 3D (Nintendo, Nvidia/ATI, Sony, TV companies, etc)?

Re:3D WTF (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 4 years ago | (#32976382)

Technical feasibility.

Re:3D WTF (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#32976520)

but why in the past 2 years is there a sudden jump towards 3D (Nintendo, Nvidia/ATI, Sony, TV companies, etc)?

Why would you even need to ask that question? The answers (which should be obvious to anyone) are:

  1. The technology is becoming more effective and affordable.
  2. Cinemas are seeing an opportunity to get people away from their home theater systems, and back into the cinemas.
  3. Home theater manufacturers are seeing an opportunity to sell people a new TV and expensive goggles, even though they just bought a new LCD TV.

Re:3D WTF (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#32977068)

1. The technology is becoming more effective and affordable.
2. Cinemas are seeing an opportunity to get people away from their home theater systems, and back into the cinemas.
3. Home theater manufacturers are seeing an opportunity to sell people a new TV and expensive goggles, even though they just bought a new LCD TV.

... and then they built the supercollider.


Nice!

Re:3D WTF (1)

Manfre (631065) | about 4 years ago | (#32977212)

Most consumers already own HDTVs, so offering up a clearer picture is no longer a reason for people to go out and buy the latest, greatest TV. The industry needed a new gimmick to open wallets, and 3D is that gimmick.

Flicker? (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 4 years ago | (#32975770)

Shutter glasses running that fast but skipping every other frame means that each eye would see only 1 out of 4 frames. I am guessing with so little "on" time, it will start to damage perceived image persistence and it is likely the brain will start to notice flicker. The image would also seem to be 1/4 brightness instead of 1/2 brightness like a single 3D image. Then add that with a single view (player), the two images are very similar in brightness and appearance. But if you interleave that with another totally different view that could be very different in brightness and/or appearance, it will complicate matters even further.

Although a cool idea, it also seems kinda obvious... but that never seems to stop patenting.

Re:Flicker? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#32975816)

With refresh fast enough (ZOMG 240Hz at very least) this will not be issue. But 1/4th the light getting into the eye would better get a very bright screen or it will be very, very dark.

Re:Flicker? (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#32976558)

But 1/4th the light getting into the eye would better get a very bright screen or it will be very, very dark.

1/4 the light is only two stops (photographically speaking) difference. Given that the LED displays I've been seeing lately are so blindingly bright that you turn down the brightness to a very low setting, I don't think it will be much of an issue.

Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (4, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 4 years ago | (#32975782)

I'm not sure I can ever remember a time when I suddenly stopped playing an FPS game because the "3D simulation on a 2D screen" wasn't immersive enough for me - but I can remember stopping many games because they were crap.

Likewise, I cannot remember staring at a movie in the cinema or on a TV screen and not feeling immersed enough due to flat screen images - but I can remember walking out of crap movies in cinemas or turning off crap DVDs.

I'm also old enough to remember movies like Jaws 3D which were released *SPECIFICALLY* to showcase 3D but were ultimately crap movies... Avatar was very pretty, I'm pleased I saw it but was ultimately just a series of graphical set pieces strung together by a simple plot.

3D in entertainment is a gimmick & marketing tool, nothing more. It turns everything into eye candy which means your brain spends more time looking at stuff rather than wondering about the quality of the plot and the content - if you look at most stuff that's released as entertainment these days, it's clear to see quality standards have dropped, everything now is about marketing and branding.

And as such, the technology companies are in the pay of the entertainment companies to force 3D on consumers so they can continue to churn out mainstream rubbish remakes.

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (2, Interesting)

esme (17526) | about 4 years ago | (#32976024)

No -- 3D is just a less mature technology, and like sound and movies before them, it'll go through a fad phase before the novelty wears off and somebody gets around to using it to make art.

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | about 4 years ago | (#32976222)

Ah, but you are missing the BIG idea here!

Forget the 3d crap, with this tech we can now have 4 player 2d coop on ONE SCREEN!
No more tiny/stretched boxes, no more "Screen Watching", no more "Only 2 player" and "Only 1 player per console" etc...

^_^ This is the biggest advancement in actual game tech I have heard from in years!

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 4 years ago | (#32976326)

Yes, I agree that your description of an application for this technology sounds like fun - but then it's no longer "3D" is it? More like "screen multiplexing"...

Even then, do you *REALLY* see such an application being allowed by games companies when it might reduce sales of multiple consoles or multiple games?

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (1)

dido (9125) | about 4 years ago | (#32976612)

I remember a silent movie actress named Mary Pickford once said that adding sound to movies would be like adding lipstick to the Venus de Milo. You seem similarly dismissive of an immature technology whose artistic possibilities have only barely been explored. You seem to be betting, just like Ms. Pickford did before you, that it'll never see artistic application in the hands of an imaginative filmmaker who would find a way to make it break out of its gimmicky underpinnings. I hope you don't put down a significant sum on that bet.

I've seen it before... (1)

fuzznutz (789413) | about 4 years ago | (#32977032)

Mary Pickford notwithstanding, This is the third big wave of 3D movies.

What is different this time?

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (1)

bjourne (1034822) | about 4 years ago | (#32976652)

I think you forgot to mention that you do not appreciate trespassers on your lawn, especially not if they come in full 3d.

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976752)

First off, you're riding a non-sequiteur here. I never missed HD until I had it; I never missed a PVR until I had one; I never missed a VCR until I had one; I never missed a microwave until I had one. These, it turned out, were not indications that the tech was useless.

As for quality standards, it's pretty clear comparing films now to films of the 70s, or music now to music of the 70s, that quality standards have sky-rocketed over the last 40 years. Everything is more mainstream now but the mainstream now encompasses everything that used to be niche anyway.

Still, your stereotyped "I'm such a jaded emo" point of view is fun to read.

Re:Read it as "The consumer WILL buy into 3D"... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 4 years ago | (#32976786)

"Up" was a fantastic movie in 3D with an engaging story and credible characters. Sure, it wasn't Casa Blanca or the Ten Commandments, but not much is.

As for Avatar, its one of the few movies I've seen in my life where audiences consistently applauded at the ending. Obviously it engaged people the way art is supposed to do.

Movies are an art form. Some art sucks, some is good, but nobody will ever agree on which is which. My wife still thinks "Dude, where's my car?" was a great movie, and that the "Lord of the Rings" was boring for example.

If 3D lets an artist do something more engaging to certain audiences, then more power to them. 3D is no more a gimmick than stained glass windows.

Sensurround? (1)

fuzznutz (789413) | about 4 years ago | (#32976880)

Every now and then, a new gimmick comes along and everybody goes nuts until it quietly fades away. I'm old enough to remember the "Sensurround" releases of the seventies. For a while, nearly every movie was "released in Sensurround." 3D movies are the new Sensurround or maybe old3D. Sooner or later, movie goers will get their fill of the gimmick and start thinking hard about the 3D premium on their tickets. Eventually, this too will fade.

Sony's patent, while hideously obvious, might last longer if it can be implemented well without too much loss of brightness. I suspect though, that with the reported problems caused by the technology with people's perception of "true-life" 3D, the lawyers will kill it eventually anyway.

Good lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32975810)

This is obvious if I ever heard of such. Billions of dollars of R&D, and a grade schooler could come up with this. Oh well, just means I will have less "real" competition next year.

By the way you might not want to get too comfortable using their features they are known for just "ripping" them out later on.

Non obvious?! (2, Insightful)

Zone-MR (631588) | about 4 years ago | (#32975840)

I thought a requirement for patents was for the 'idea' to be non-obvious to a skilled professional in the field.

I don't work in the field of display technology, but the second I read the headline I knew how it could be achieved with a trivial modification to the LCD shutter glasses.

The USPO should really learn the word "obvious" (4, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 4 years ago | (#32975846)

Using existing channel separation to (shock!) separate channels is really so obvious that I would never even imagine to apply for a patent. The US Patent Office should have lost its right to handle patents long ago, as they are only hurting society with their "we grant everything" attitude. They are not capable at all.

Re:The USPO should really learn the word "obvious" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976938)

they are only applications, not actual patents yet.

"Twice As Dark TV" technology (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 years ago | (#32975862)

You realize that by only seeing half the frames produced by the TV, even if the resulting video appears to be 30fps in 3D, will by default be half the brightness of the original TV, not counting whatever light reduction (and you thought 3D glasses were dark already!) you get from the fancy 3D glasses.
 
Eventually you're going to hit a point where you just say, "you know, let's just spring for the twin-screen 720p display glasses" for $1000 and call it a day. $700 for a pair of video glasses a decade ago was stupid money, now it's looking like a much better option for 3D.
 
Fun fact: movie theater projectors only project light on the screen 50% of the time; the other half of the time is spent with the shutter closed while the film progresses to the next frame.... you just make up for the 50% reduction in light by using a $150 xenon bulb the size of a NFL regulation football that has to be handled with gloves, full face mask and shrapnel suit -> cool youtube video example (not me!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVpD8SWzKFM [youtube.com] DLP projectors are much more efficient since about 90% of the light makes it to the screen (the mirrors are always moving, but there's still the color wheel) so they can use a smaller bulb.

Re:"Twice As Dark TV" technology (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | about 4 years ago | (#32976504)

DLP projectors are much more efficient since about 90% of the light makes it to the screen (the mirrors are always moving, but there's still the color wheel) so they can use a smaller bulb.

And multiple DLP chip projectors are even better, since nearly 100% of the light makes it to the screen (each chip is for a set color)

Cool (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 years ago | (#32975864)

Seems like a pretty cool idea to me. Especially in games where you get a much better experience will a full screen view (driving, exploring, platform, 3d, hell anything really)

The thought of a four player gauntlet type game where each player sees a view centred around their own player (and only the areas of the game where they have visited) would be pretty nifty and would encourage communication between players sitting on the sofa rather than having to contend with a bunch of 13 year olds shouting obscenities on Xbox Live.

I appreciate that other people wouldn't be able to watch, but then I've always found that pretty boring after a while. The fun to me has always been in the playing.

It's a shame the TV I'm about to buy isn't 3D and only 50Hz, but it'll take a few years before this matures anyway.

Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32975900)

This seems too obvious to be patentable to me. But then again, most patents do seem too obvious to me. Am I the only one that thinks this?

Re:Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976642)

Am I the only one that thinks this?

No, most of Slashdot thinks that.

Fuck 3D! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 4 years ago | (#32975922)

Give me full screen 2- or 4- player! If you can get 2-player now with 120Hz, do that! Stereographic 3D is a gimmick; 4 person full screen deathmatch is PURE AWESOME.

Seriously, if you can do 3D using two frames, make that other frame for another player. You could print money with that gaming technology.

Prior art? (1)

Hast (24833) | about 4 years ago | (#32975934)

I'm pretty sure that I saw people doing this on the Meant to be seen DIY forums (http://mtbs3d.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=26) quite some time back. In that case they did use two different consoles plugged into the different machines of course; and they used polarized glasses. It might be that this is supposed to be a complete system for it. (All the way from console rendering the frames to syncing the glasses.)

As an aside I can recommend anyone who has access to an old "silver screen" to make their own 3D projector setup. Just bring a couple of disposable 3D glasses from a movie, tear one pair apart and put the different glasses over two different projectors. (It seems like you need DLP projectors as LCD tend to have different polarization on the different colors.) (And if you separate the lenses completely you could make your own set of "split screen glasses" to play.)

Another patent not worth the paper it's written on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32975946)

How can you patent that? Where is the innovation?

+ ... who want's to wear glasses or goggles? NOT ME!

So challange the validity of the patents (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | about 4 years ago | (#32975958)

For all of you armchair geniuses saying these are obvious and/or invalid patents...why don't you file a challenge instead of whining on here? Every time we hear about a patent on Slashdot, I see a lot of people say a patent is obvious or that there's prior art, but I never hear about anyone sending a letter to the USPTO or to an organization like the EFF (which I believe has both technical & legal knowledge to form an opinion as to the validity of a patent).

Re:So challange the validity of the patents (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 4 years ago | (#32976060)

They should not be challenged, they should not exist in the first place. I read about so many obvious patents here that is is totally infeasible to challenge them all. The patent system might work if only a limited set of brilliant ideas is granted a patent, but not if every breath is granted a patent. If this were an incident, you were right. But this is not an incident. The US Patent Office is really incapable of granting patents.

Challenging a patent costs money (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#32976092)

Most of us don't have four figures USD to file a challenge. That's why we sketch out the challenge on Slashdot so that someone who actually makes and sells these things can file the challenge for us.

Re:So challange the validity of the patents (2, Insightful)

pijokela (462279) | about 4 years ago | (#32976118)

There is no point in challenging this patent: it is most likely a valid patent under the current rules. The problem is that the patent legislation allows patents that are obvious to be granted, because their interpretation of the word obvious is not the obvious, normal, interpretation. And EFF cannot help with bad laws.

Re:So challange the validity of the patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976126)

That's the genius of the pro-patents group.....

They have made challenging such a costly and PITA process that few individuals will care to challenge..... even if the patent is bogus and the individual is a top scientist / expert in the field.

Re:So challange the validity of the patents (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 4 years ago | (#32976986)

To challenge a patent you effectively need to go to trial (costs lots of money) --OR-- File for a challenge(costs lots of money) Most people don't have that lots of money to spend

Patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976002)

"Using a screen made for displaying two pictures at the same time, to display two DIFFERENT pictures at the same time.

Yeah, f*cking innovative, guys.

This isn't even a software patent. I guess when people said that only software patents are stupid, real world patents are fine, Sony and the Patent Office decided to prove them wrong.

Surely this is obvious? (1)

kieran (20691) | about 4 years ago | (#32976066)

It's the refresh rate that's difficult, not extrapolating from alternate frames = 2 eyes to every 4th frame = 4 eyes = 2 players.

If not, I would like to hereby stake my claim to n-player 3D technology, requiring every 2n frame to be shown to a given eye and a n*120mhz refresh rate.

Also the cheapy version: n-player 2D, with glasses that show the same thing to both eyes, each pair of glasses displays every nth frame and only requires a n*60hz refresh rate.

Dim Display (1)

bluhatter (583867) | about 4 years ago | (#32976070)

If these work the same way that stereoscopic gaming glasses worked in the past, expect to see a 50% dimming effect in your games since half of the time light will be filtered from your field of vision.

Clever (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 4 years ago | (#32976110)

Cute idea, it could realistically mean 2D for two different people already. Feel real' sorry for the onlookers though. Stereoscopy is headache-inducing enough when the images flicker back and forth but two different images would give anyone a seizure.

By the time 240hz come around (only see it happening with DLP with multiple synced projectors) you could even have 4 players seeing a different 2D image.

The alternative (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 4 years ago | (#32976128)

How much cheaper will one 240Hz display be than two 120Hz displays - which will have the advantage of avoiding the dimming already mentioned? And extends to 3, 4, N players without further dimming or even higher frequency displays. And can be used for two separate games/programs if you are not in two-player mode.

Stereo is necessary because you cannot put your eyeballs in different places.But you can (and often do) put two players in different places.

Yawn

Single player dual 3D (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | about 4 years ago | (#32976274)

What if they made a game where both 3D views were meant to be seen by the same player? It would add a second layer to the main game - like that game where you can only see ghosts through your camera. You could have the ordinary world, then flip a switch on your shutter glasses and you can see a second world layered on top. Like jumping between worlds in Silent Hill.

hardly a new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32976486)

I had this idea bloody ages ago back when I first saw 3d glasses for graphics cards, and told some of my mates, if you had two sets of glasses instead ...' etc.
one of them had even already thought of it themselves, but of course we weren't going to implement it ourselves.
not then anyway we were just small fry, plus it was a 'wouldn't it be cool if' idea. the graphics card manufacturers were
already pushing the boundaries to the limits at the time so it was an idea for the future.

pity i forgot about it till now.

still, we can't have been the only people who have thought of this over the years. hundreds of kids and gamers would have had very similar ideas - it's hardly a novel idea it's just an obvious extension of the technology.

yet, it will now be patented by one bloody company and the rest of the world will pay through the nose for it.

BAH! (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#32976674)

Why not something innovative like...

Player 1 sees frame 1 NOT in 3d.
Player 2 sees frame 2 NOT in 3d
Player 3 sees frame 3 NOT in 3d
Player 4 sees frame 4 NOT in 3d.

Why? so all 4 players get the full screen for playing. eliminates the tiny square in the corner effect and makes the game a lot more fun for multi player.

also it eliminates the douchebaggery of friends that look at the other windows to see where you are.

3d is worthless, give us real advances in gaming.

this also could be used for regular TV. I watch Show 1, the wife can watch Show 2 with headphones on.

sony rootkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32977262)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/sony_rootkit [wikipedia.org]

never forget, never forgive

Everyone else who is watching... (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | about 4 years ago | (#32977342)

And everyone else who is watching just feels nauseous.

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