April 24th, 2010, 11:53 Posted By: wraggster
At the 3D Gaming Summit in Los Angeles, Sony Platform Research Manager David Coombes talked about the PS3's upcoming firmware update, how it will affect the console's performance, and what's new with the PlayStation Move.
In regards to the PS3's 3D-enabling firmware update, Coombes said it will come in two waves; the first update hitting this Summer will allow the console to display 3D games, while 3D Blu-ray support will come "a short time after." Sony reiterated that the games being offered to UK customers who purchase a 3D-read Sony Bravia display, which includes PAIN, Wipeout HD, Motorstorm Pacific Rift, and others, may not be the same as those offered in the United States.
Coombes also spoke about 3D on the PlayStation 3 from a development perspective. Most notably, he discussed that the 3D experience in PS3 games would always be implemented by developers, not by an automatic conversion process in the PlayStation 3 itself. While TV manufacturers may offer a conversion feature, the PS3 itself will not. In other words, once the console gets its firmware update, that doesn't mean you'll be able to play any game in pseudo-3D. You'll have to wait for the developers to produce an actual 3D version of the game.
He also addressed concerns that 3D images will cut the console's processing power in half, saying developers can actually find non-3D information that can be shared between left and right images. Shadows, for example, are generally flat. The PS3's GPU can share that data between left and right eye images, instead of having to render it twice.
Similarly, games that are already capable of running in split-screen will transition to 3D more easily, since they're already designed to display two simultaneous images. By finding ways to optimize 3D, developers won't necessarily have to sacrifice detail or framerates.
Coombes also announced that 3D PS3 games will be compatible with any and all 3D HDTVs that support the HDMI 1.4 standard. The PS3 will automatically scale 3D images to fit whatever screen you're playing on, while still making it a comfortable viewing experience.
The 3D software development kit has been available to developers since January, the fruits of which we expect to see at this year's E3.
Lastly, Coombes demoed the PlayStation Move, and how it pertains to 3D control. In addition to simply tracking the Move controller itself, however, Coombes also demonstrated the facial recognition and head-tracking capabilities of the PlayStation Eye, as part of the Move system. The demo included an on-screen mechanical puppet that was mapped to his body, as well as his arms via the PlayStation Move.
Head and body-tracking meant the puppet's entire torso was matching the position of his body. The purposed benefit of combining the Move's controller tracking technology with the PlayStation Eye's head and body tracking, Coombes said, was Johnny Chung-style perspective tracking - where moving your head changes your perspective of the world inside your TV, giving the illusion of 3D.
Coombes also applied these concepts to a third-person perspective of the puppet, where his actions were being mapped onto a 3D character within the game. Moving his body and arms caused the character to move and reach into the game-world. This was all just a tech demo, but still an encouraging example of what developers could pull off in the future.
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