In addition to executives and game designers talking about the prospect of 3D video games at the 3D Gaming Summit in Los Angeles this week, there were also -- guess what -- 3D games.
Here's some quick, one-liner impressions of the games whose 3D-ness passed my eyes:
Age of Empires: Is it weird this one probably made the most significant impression on me? 2D games in 3D seem to do really well within the current applications of 3D technology. The depth-of-field effect worked exceptionally well for Age of Empires. I could see enjoying it at length.
Need For Speed Shift: Even though racing games tend to benefit greatly from the addition of 3D, the version shown at the 3D Gaming Summit was toned down to the point that it was usually difficult to tell if the game was in 3D at all. 3D shouldn't hit you over the head, but...
World of Warcraft: It's ironic that I'm finding myself continually fascinated by how well some 2D elements tend to look when 3D is applied properly. That's precisely the case with World of Warcraft, too, as the interface elements really seem to "pop" compared to the 3D world itself.
EverQuest II: Maybe it's because the visuals themselves are ancient, but it did nothing for me. I can see how hardcore fans might enjoy going through their favorite dungeons with added depth, but the aging game engine simply doesn't look that great, especially with EverQuest II's art.
Star Trek DAC: Since most 3D games are simply slapping on 3D technology to broadly add 3D depth to the visuals, the "wow" factor can evaporate in a few minutes. It tends to stick around a little big longer in 3D games on a 2D plane and Star Trek: DAC reinforces that. Sure, the gameplay is taking place on a 2D plane, but being able to see real depth into space...beautiful.
The 3D Gaming Summit didn't do much to change my thouughts on 3D gaming: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What 3D gaming really needs is a game developed from the ground up.