Is 3D the way forward for sim racing?

Probably sim racing’s biggest technology ‘buzz word’ during 2011 was 3D.  What with the growth of 3D TV, the vast increase in the number of 3D films being released and 3D’s cause being championed throughout the gaming world, inevitably, 3D is a subject the sim racing world is keeping its eye on, be it in 2 or 3D.

3D is also a technology that visitors to the Autosport International show are getting the chance to sample for themselves, as the VRX simulators running at iRacing.com’s booth at the NEC this weekend are both triple screen, nVidia 3D setups.

However, with one setup running in 2D mode to allow spectators to view the racing easier while the other is running in 3D, it’s possible to do back-to-back comparisons of the two technologies.

This is something I was able to do on Thursday during the first of two ‘trade’ days at the NEC prior to the public opening on Saturday.  I have always been an advocate of three screens for simulated racing to improve the immersion and situational awareness, but have never been entirely sure whether 3D was worth the added cost.

My impression of the back-to-back comparison is that the 3D screen doesn’t really add anything to the driving experience. I think there is a logical reason for this too as, in the sim racing world we don’t actually use depth perception all that much.

We look for familiar points to appear at specific parts of our view as indicators to brake, turn-in etc. When racing in a pack, we are generally concentrating on specific parts of the scene rather than taking it in as a whole.

I have also read that not everyone can even ‘see’ 3D, let alone sense a dramatic increase in immersion. As such my advice would be that this is definitely a ‘try before you buy’ technology as your own eye sight or the way you see 3D may well mean it just doesn’t work for you.

But on the flip side you might get the feeling your in a whole new world and can’t be without it.

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