Monday, June 28, 2010

3DDS Missed a trick

I have had exams and so my E3 coverage has been, well, missing. The Fable 3 trailer was absurdly over-the-top dramatic and Portal 2 looks amazing, but today I am going to write about the new DS that has a 3D screen.

Everyone says it works fantastically and not having to wear glasses is a massive achievement for Nintendo. Put simply, 3D won't take off until this becomes standard. No one is going to wear special glasses to watch normal TV.

Having said this, I think Nintendo missed a trick with this DS. Only one of the screens is 3D, the one that isn't a touch screen. They said it was because finger prints could mess up the 3D effect. Fine, but I think more importantly touching a 2D display would break the illusion of 3D.

However, what is the first thing people try and do when they see 3D: reach out and touch it. And they could have done this with the DS. The lower touch screen could also have tiny cameras that could detect the positions of your fingertips. If they did this, you would be able to interact with objects in 3D.

Not only would this reinforce the illusion of 3D, it would open up huge game play possibilities. Up till now, most video game puzzles are limited to operating within a 2D environment. This is because both our vision and interactions have been limited to 2D. As soon as games throw in a 3rd dimension, the puzzle becomes frustrating because you can't interact with it in a natural way.

However with a 3D, err, interaction screen, you could do all sorts of puzzles that would have otherwise been very difficult to convert in to a game. It could also have educational purposes, particularly with 3D vector questions (as you can tell, exams have taken over my mind).

I am still unsure about Kinect, and MS massively missed the point when demonstrating their kart racer game. In real driving you have to hold something. Without anything in your hands, the experience (I believe) will feel flat and bland. They could have at least done something cool with it, like accelerating with your feet, to make it feel more like real racing. I was also disappointed that there wasn't any information on how Fable 3 plans to make use of it.

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