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Captain America: Super Soldier

Captain America: Super Soldier 3D Spotlight

Go behind the scenes of Captain America's new video game to find out about the game's 3D features!

Captain America: Super Soldier PS3 box art
By Ben Chabala and Ryan Penagos

If seeing "Captain America: The First Avenger" on the big screen got you hankering for more Cap action in 3D, take note: Cap's latest video game adventure is also available in 3D!

"Captain America: Super Soldier," available now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, features full 3D gameplay and cinematics. We've played it and we've enjoyed it, but we wanted to get a little more info about how the 3D works. So we spoke with Grady Hannah, Director of Business Development for Darkworks to delve into the 3D guts of their TriOviz tech! 

Marvel.com: How exactly do you bring 3D to a video game?  It's a relatively new technology, so just what do the people at Darkworks do to transform a flat experience into something deeper?

Captain America: Super Soldier screenshot

Grady Hannah: Transforming a game into 3D is actually a fairly straightforward process, and can be implemented in less than a week in most cases. This is because the 3D geometry information already exists in console games, and what the TriOviz for Games 3D post process does is takes this geometry and organizes it to create parallax in the game. This is where the perception of depth is created. There is a lot going on under the hood, but put simply we sample the depth values in every frame of the game, and depending on where the camera is oriented we render the most advantageous 3D effect.

For instance, in a large expansive outdoor scene, the 3D needs to be applied differently than scenes that take place indoors, where there is less distance between the foreground and background in the scene. The overall goal is to make sure that the 3D effect is used to simulate a more natural, realistic environment which blurs the lines between the virtual world and actuality. In the real world, we see and interact with our environment in three-dimensions, so if we are able to simulate that experience through the use of 3D it will ultimately transfer into content that gamers actually want.

Captain America: Super Soldier screenshot

Marvel.com: Is the 3D relegated to certain sequences or will players be slinging Cap's shield into the third dimension the entire game?

Grady Hannah: The 3D effect is in every frame of the game, including cinematic scenes when activated in 3D TV or INFICOLOR mode. Players will find they can better orient themselves in the scenes, perceive depth cues much more intuitively, and yes, aim and judge distance of enemies more accurately when slinging Cap's shield.

It is also important to note, because TriOviz treats the rendered frame and is not dual rendering, the 3D effect can run in every scene without slowdown. For players, this means they can throw Cap’s shield in 3D throughout the entire game without impacting the game’s performance.

Captain America: Super Soldier screenshot

Marvel.com: What are some of the benefits of playing “Captain America: Super Soldier” in 3D?  Is it all about immersion, or does it add new depth to the gameplay?

Grady Hannah: In traditional console games, players judge distance through visual cues such as lighting effects, relative size of objects and even in the lengths of shadows. Players use this information to target enemies, assess cover and judge the borders of the game scene. Where 3D benefits players most, however, is in the depth cues which help players judge the orientation of objects in their scene much more accurately. Viewing “Captain America” in 3D is much more akin to how we view and judge distance in real life in comparison to that of a standard console game.

Marvel.com: Will players need to wear 3D glasses to get the full effect?

Captain America: Super Soldier screenshot

Grady Hannah: Players need to wear 3D glasses to experience the full 3D effect in “Captain America,” as will every other console game for many years to come. Consumers want glasses-free 3D, but with current technology it is impossible to view 3D on a screen of any significant size without glasses to decode the information. This is because there are various production issues involved when creating a movie or game that accounts for the multiple viewing angles that a TV requires. The 3DS as well as 3D compliant phones are able to use glasses-free systems because the screens are exceedingly small, and manufacturers know that users will view these devices straight on and at arm’s length. However, if the user moves slightly, the 3D effect can be lost.

SIGGRAPH has been showing glasses-free 3D demos for years, but these barriers in production mean that people will have to embrace 3D glasses in the home as they have done in theaters, or wait until production issues are resolved.

Marvel.com: What were some of the goals the Darkworks team had for Cap's 3D conversion?  Was it just about getting his shield to pop off the screen?

Captain America: Super Soldier screenshot

Grady Hannah: When implementing 3D in “Captain America: Super Soldier,” it was much more about immersing players in the scene than making objects fly out of the TV. When playing a game for 3 hours, it can become somewhat uncomfortable to continually have to orient yourself to objects randomly coming off the screen. If you watched “Avatar,” there were very few scenes that involved objects coming out of the screen. I'm not making a direct comparison between “Avatar” 3D and “Captain America” 3D, but the principal of orienting people to the depth in the scene rather than what is flying out of it holds true for both examples.
Starring actor Chris Evans as Captain America, the game’s original story was penned by noted Marvel scribe Christos Gage (AVENGERS ACADEMY), who infused the game with expanded lore from the comic universe and immersive twists designed to enhance gameplay with all-new cinematic action sequences. Purchase your copy of "Captain America: Super Soldier" today for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and DS.

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