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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 03:40 
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A while ago I posted in the forum regarding a bezel-less rear projected display we've been working on for museum installations. We’ve since started actively developing a smaller curved display for the home gamer and simulator enthusiast. We’re calling it the Infinitx D. Infinitx as in “infinite in the x-axis” with a D for desktop edition..

We would like to invite all WSGF members to contribute, in the form of comments, criticisms and wishes to help create a truly crowdsourced product that meets the needs of gamers and simulator constructors.

To offer a flavour of curved screen surround gaming, here’s a video of some systems already on offer today.
http://fireuser.com/blog/eyefinity_using_curved_displays_for_full_surround_view/

The goal of this project is to produce a complete, affordable display system, that can fit in the average office space, is easy to set up, supports existing games and simulators (preferably without mods or warping software), and above all offers an immersive experience that is out of the ordinary.

Here is our progress so far. Firstly, two concept demos showing a 135 and a 180 degree screen respectively. Both are based on actual physical dimensions and would be readily constructable.

135 degree
Link to 3D model of 135 degree version

180 degree
Link to 3D model of 180 degree version

The grey areas at the back of the 3D models represent grey areas(!), that is, they are not yet defined in detail, though have been calculated as the volume necessary to house the projectors and reflectors.

Both concept demos use an array of 3 projectors. We’re in the process of sourcing and testing projectors, to find the one that offers the best balance of image quality/noise/price/resolution/features etc. This obviously has a big impact on the overall design and final functionality, not to mention the overall investment to build one.

What we have to offer is a method for designing and producing the mirror assemblies (we call them cradles) and screens to make virtually any projector into a curved display. Soon we will have the facilities for building physical prototypes and even limited production runs.

We need your help

In order to cover the natural human frustum of vision, we instinctively plumbed for a 180 degree display. This offers full peripheral coverage and displays fisheye video content in all it's glory. Talking to Skip Clarke and others on the forum, we quickly realised this isn’t necessarily the optimal spread for all games, or gamers. For flight and driving simulators it might be cool, but for FPS, perhaps another arc would be preferable? That’s just the kind of design decision we would really like to discuss.

In order to give an idea of the input that would be valuable to us, here’s some actual questions currently under discussion.

  1. What is the optimal arc for a wide screen gaming display? (Should there be different options?)

  2. Is stereoscopic 3D important to gamers? (Does anyone actually use it?)

  3. What’s the maximum acceptable physical size for such a display?

  4. What should it cost? There are several places where it’s possible to compromise on materials and components. Which weighs heavier, the price or the output image quality?

  5. Should the screen be self assembly (think IKEA) of ready to rock?

  6. Is portability a factor that should be considered? Should you be able to pack the screen down either for travel or storage?

  7. What’s most important, a display which is “true to life” (geometrically) or one that gives you the biggest advantage over your competitors?

  8. Should the projectors be removable for use interdependently or in other setups?



Of course we have our own instincts and guesses about all these things, but we sure would like to hear other peoples. While those were a few specific questions for inspiration, feel free to contribute with anything you feel could be relevant.

Here we have prepared some background information, based on our own research.

Projectors
We are convinced the projectors should be of the LED or laser variety, rather than more traditional (and often cheaper) halogen powered, as LED offers some distinct advantages.

  • First there’s the lamp life. An LED setup can run for over 20,000 hrs without changing a lamp, against around 3,000 with halogen. That’s the equivalent of 6 years gaming if you play 8 hours a day, 365 days a year!

  • Power factor. LED uses far less power, generating less heat and when you have 3 projectors, that becomes important.

  • The third, less obvious advantage is the color matching across projectors. All incandescent lamps emit a slightly different color, and their color changes over their lifespan. LED is far more stable in this respect.

  • Instant on/off. LED lamps can cope with being turned off suddenly, and are generally quicker to come up to full power than traditional projectors.



Screen Tech
After testing every type of screen material we could get our hands on, we have come up with what we hope will be a winning formula. Using a film developed for light dispersion within flat screen TV’s coupled with a low reflectivity acrylic, we can produce screens that give high contrast at a competitive price.

Reflectors
As yet it hasn’t been possible to find a true short throw LED projector on the market (for less than $3000 each!!) Therefore it is necessary to fold the light output from the projector to reduce the distance needed behind the screen (currently approx. 35cm).

The current design uses 3 separate reflectors, to give the minimal depth practically possible. We are constantly experimenting with different materials including polished metals, plastics and silvered glass. To keep down the weight and price of the Infinitx D, we are planning to use plastic reflectors.

General Construction
The entire construction, apart from the acrylic screen, is of 6mm plywood. This gives a good weight/strength ratio and is easily cut with a laser or routing machine.
We are considering making the drawings available so that people with access to the relevant equipment could create their own home brew Infinitx screen. (Is that of interest to anyone?)

Thanks for listening!

I really do hope some of you will feel like getting involved :)


Last edited by shansen on 25 Jun 2013, 07:05, edited 3 times in total.
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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 04:30 
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theMightyAtom wrote:
In order to give an idea of the input that would be valuable to us, here’s some actual questions currently under discussion.

1 What is the optimal arc for a wide screen gaming display? (Should there be different options?)
2 Is stereoscopic 3D important to gamers? (Does anyone actually use it?)
3 What’s the maximum acceptable physical size for such a display?
4 What should it cost? There are several places where it’s possible to compromise on materials and components. Which weighs heavier, the price or the output image quality?
5 Should the screen be self assembly (think IKEA) of ready to rock?
6 Is portability a factor that should be considered? Should you be able to pack the screen down either for travel or storage?
7 What’s most important, a display which is “true to life” (geometrically) or one that gives you the biggest advantage over your competitors?
8 Should the projectors be removable for use interdependently or in other setups?

Read More


Hey there!

I will try to give my feedback on the problem;))

1. Personally I think 180 degrees is way to much around 120-140 is a more reasonable number and I found it to work very nice in all types of games..
2. YES!!! VERY VERY IMPORTANT (At least to me) Glorious 3D Surround!!!! For me is either "Go for it!" or "Next...." Also there are ALOT of people over the nVidia 3D vision forums, both one screen and Surround users...So I do know alot of people interested in this!
3. Hmmm.. A CRT size monitor I expect will be hard to sell in this day and age....but I have no real idea here
4. I would say the output image quality is defo the most important one (especially in stereo 3D, ghosting and other chromatic aberrations ) So this is definitely very important rather than price
5. IKEA way is awesome!
6. "Defo" YES! Some form of "portability" or travel-readyness is encouraged! (I wouldn't want a van to when I move from place to place)
7. Hmm..here I would say a mix of both... True to life but also something that gives a big advantage over competition (I know UTOPIA)
8. This decision is more marketing related. BUT! I would let some degree of freedom for spare parts. For example if one of the projectors is faulty to be replaced (ofc by the same type from the same company, etc. You get my meaning)

So far it's looking awesome!!! I can't wait to finish the product as I am looking forward to see it;))
I saw a prototype of a curved TV 1 year ago while working at a TV company and I was "wow! This would make an awesome Surround display for my PC" :)) - Ofc it was only curved without the benefit of having 3xwidth res x height res (was a standard 1080p resolution)

So what you are trying to achieve is "THE PROPER" thing!!! and I am really interested in it!

Hope my ideas help!

Best Regards,
Helifax

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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 09:14 
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theMightyAtom wrote:
In order to give an idea of the input that would be valuable to us, here’s some actual questions currently under discussion.

    1 What is the optimal arc for a wide screen gaming display? (Should there be different options?)
    2 Is stereoscopic 3D important to gamers? (Does anyone actually use it?)
    3 What’s the maximum acceptable physical size for such a display?
    4 What should it cost? There are several places where it’s possible to compromise on materials and components. Which weighs heavier, the price or the output image quality?
    5 Should the screen be self assembly (think IKEA) of ready to rock?
    6 Is portability a factor that should be considered? Should you be able to pack the screen down either for travel or storage?
    7 What’s most important, a display which is “true to life” (geometrically) or one that gives you the biggest advantage over your competitors?
    8 Should the projectors be removable for use interdependently or in other setups?


1. 120-140 makes sense, at 180 the outside edges of screen are perpendicular to the user therefore unseen.
2. It's somewhat important. I don't use it because it's cost prohibitive, but it's fairly immersive and a good thing to invest in if you have the GPU power.
3. I use a friggin dinning room table, so I'm not exactly the best to ask this.
4. Well, I understand it's a niche product, but I remember the Old Curved Projector monitors that ostendo? made and they didn't sell because they cost way WAY too much. I'm thinking $600 would be the most I'd be willing to pay. That may limit the actual resolution. You could get away with 2 widescreen projectors, but in a small form factor, that may not be able to be helped.
5. That would be optimum. I don't move my setup often, but there are people who take there setup to lans or have to move from time to time.
6. It would be nice. Again this could be a good way to setup a mobile cockpit.
7. A mix of both. Since this is curved, 2D items are going to be skewed. On top of that 30 items would too unless the game was programed to make use of the different geometry.
8. Depends on cost. If you're going to have 3 inputs, then it makes sense to allow that, but it may be hard to re-align the projectors.

BTW, LED projectors make a lot of sense for this all in one contained display. Ever think to make it a kit where you get a screen and 2-3 rear projectors? It would allow for future upgradeability.

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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 12:48 
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Thanks for the those quick responses and good answers.

If there were 60 degree modules, a 120 would naturally only use 2 projectors immediately saving around a third of the total cost.
The question is, is that wide enough? You both mention it as a bare minimum.

I'm personally very fond of the "kit", or "IKEA" approach. It keeps the costs down, from fabrication to shipping, and also opens up for hacks.
Calibration could prove a challenge, but certainly not a show stopper.

We should probably add the question,

9. What type/titles of game/simulator do you primarily use your widescreen set-up for?
I'm sure that's a big factor when selecting the best screen arc angle.

I should have mentioned in the original blog post, we will send out promotional codes to all contributors. Not sure we can get down into $600 territory though. A single 3D LED projector currently retails for around $500. For example the Aaxa Showtime 3D http://www.aaxatech.com/products/led_showtime_3d_micro_projector.htm.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 15:59 
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theMightyAtom wrote:
If there were 60 degree modules, a 120 would naturally only use 2 projectors immediately saving around a third of the total cost.
The question is, is that wide enough? You both mention it as a bare minimum.


I would say 120 -140 is enough however I would still like to have the 3 projectors, I know what you're saying about 60 degree modules but I would say 3x40 or 3x50 degree would be better. then at least you can get the full 5760x1080 of a "standard" triple-wide system.

Oh and forgive me if 5760x1080 isn't the "standard"

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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 16:38 
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Yo, super-stoked for this product!

Quote:
In order to give an idea of the input that would be valuable to us, here’s some actual questions currently under discussion.

1.) What is the optimal arc for a wide screen gaming display? (Should there be different options?)
2.) Is stereoscopic 3D important to gamers? (Does anyone actually use it?)
3.) What’s the maximum acceptable physical size for such a display?
4.) What should it cost? There are several places where it’s possible to compromise on materials and components. Which weighs heavier, the price or the output image quality?
5.) Should the screen be self assembly (think IKEA) of ready to rock?
6.) Is portability a factor that should be considered? Should you be able to pack the screen down either for travel or storage?
7.) What’s most important, a display which is “true to life” (geometrically) or one that gives you the biggest advantage over your competitors?
8.) Should the projectors be removable for use interdependently or in other setups?

My 2 cents:

1.) A 135 degree arc is appropriate for the typical fov settings in a 3x1L setup.
2.) 3D is fairly niche, however, a bezel-less setup such as this one is ideal for 3D surround, so definitely include this feature if possible.***
3.) Make the screen as large as possible without forcing the user to sit back and lose sense of pixel density.
4.) If you can produce only one model, do NOT compromise image quality. $500 per 1080p max resolution projector sounds like a bargain to me.***
5.) The market for this type of display is mainly enthusiasts; I doubt those who build their own PCs would mind assembling this display.
6.) Relates to the above question. Easier dis-assembly generally means easier storage and portability.
7.) Why choose? With a 3x2L setup you could simply turn off one of the rows for 3x1L "competition" mode (i.e. max fov). If you don't anticipate that demand for 3x2L will be sufficient to warrant production of a double-sized screen, at least make the 3x1L setups seamlessly stack-able. (I know this is possible from your post about the museum displays.) Also, be sure to provide a convenient way for the user to turn each individual projector on and off for custom configurations such as 3x1L+1.***
8.) If the reflectors you mentioned allow the use of any projectors, the user should be able to easily swap out the existing projectors when the ultra HD models hit the market. Future-proofing ftw!***

***important

Best of luck with the development of what is sure to be a godsend to the widescreen gaming community!


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2013, 21:39 
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OK, let's talk a bit about resolution trade offs. Take a look at the Viewsonic range of LED projectors for example...
http://www.viewsonic.com/us/projectors.html?projector_features=163
(admittedly there are more differences than just the resolution with these models)

A Full HD LED projector is typically around 6 times the price of a 1280x800.
Many projectors quote 1080p resolution, when actually that's the max resolution of the input and not the actual output res.

That means projector wise, you could build a 3x2 wall, giving you 3840x1600 (almost 4K!) for the same price as a single 1920x1080 projector.
As you rightly point out Quinn, it would be feasible to use these in a 3x2 infinitx set-up, just as long as you have the graphic card(s) to power it.
We'd kind of dropped the idea of 3x2 for gaming, on the grounds of price, graphic card requirements and game compatibility. Maybe we should revisit that scenario.
Certainly the hardware is being designed to accommodate stacking (i.e. 2 rows), though this was aimed more at supporting GoPro and other Fisheye video footage in a 2x2.
Quote:
7.) Why choose? With a 3x2L setup you could simply turn off one of the rows for 3x1L "competition" mode (i.e. max fov).

Right again! As long as your budget allows it.

I should explain that while it's true we can build a reflector setup for just about any projector, once designed for one projector, it can't readily be used with another model, unless they happen to share the exact same lens characteristics, that is the throw ratio, minimum focus distance and vertical offset.
In an ideal world, there would be multiple projectors that were identical apart from their feature set. That way you could start with budget projectors and upgrade to higher resolutions, 3D, etc. as they become available, fall in price, or you win the lottery.

Thanks once again for this invaluable feedback :)


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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2013, 03:19 
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Quote:
In order to give an idea of the input that would be valuable to us, here’s some actual questions currently under discussion.

1 What is the optimal arc for a wide screen gaming display? (Should there be different options?)
2 Is stereoscopic 3D important to gamers? (Does anyone actually use it?)
3 What’s the maximum acceptable physical size for such a display?
4 What should it cost? There are several places where it’s possible to compromise on materials and components. Which weighs heavier, the price or the output image quality?
5 Should the screen be self assembly (think IKEA) of ready to rock?
6 Is portability a factor that should be considered? Should you be able to pack the screen down either for travel or storage?
7 What’s most important, a display which is “true to life” (geometrically) or one that gives you the biggest advantage over your competitors?
8 Should the projectors be removable for use interdependently or in other setups?


1. If i had to choose between those two i'd say 135° no idea what the perfect sultion is.
2. Uhm..... i'd say no. But mostly because people don't have it! If it would be possible without much costs. For sure!
3. i'd say in a square.... 1.8-2m wide and maybe 80cm high?
4. uhm, comming from a monitor comparision i'd say 900$ but hey... Projectors! no way thats possible right ? so going for 200$ for the construct and 500$ or mor for a projector that would be 1500-2000$ ?
5. Both! Shipping fee would be way to high in "ready to rock" but then there are people who think they might not be capable of building it on their own. Prioirty
6. LAN partys aren't that common anymore. So if you can make it easy portable why not. But IMHO not so important
7.huh ? Somehow i don't get that question. You mean squezze more FoV out of the Picture than what would be actually correct? no thx!
8. That would be kinda cool. Lift a lever, take out the whole projector, move it 180° or put it on a table right there and watch a Movie on the Wall.



theMightyAtom wrote:
A Full HD LED projector is typically around 6 times the price of a 1280x800.
Many projectors quote 1080p resolution, when actually that's the max resolution of the input and not the actual output res.

That means projector wise, you could build a 3x2 wall, giving you 3840x1600 (almost 4K!) for the same price as a single 1920x1080 projector.
As you rightly point out Quinn, it would be feasible to use these in a 3x2 infinitx set-up, just as long as you have the graphic card(s) to power it.
We'd kind of dropped the idea of 3x2 for gaming, on the grounds of price, graphic card requirements and game compatibility. Maybe we should revisit that scenario.
Certainly the hardware is being designed to accommodate stacking (i.e. 2 rows), though this was aimed more at supporting GoPro and other Fisheye video footage in a 2x2.
Quote:
7.) Why choose? With a 3x2L setup you could simply turn off one of the rows for 3x1L "competition" mode (i.e. max fov).

Right again! As long as your budget allows it.


Aha ? "not the actual output res." ? You mean thats just good marketing? i sadly don't have much knowledge about Projectors.

But i'm in for a 3x2 Setup with 6 projectors! With MST hub's that would run from 2x Displayport! (add another 300$....) Game compability won't be a Problem on AMD side... only for Nvidia.
But you might be right... who would wan't to play on a 3x2 System? only verry few people! for FPS games you'd need every little bit of FOV you can get, Also racing games might look better on 3x1. But for Flight simulations and maybe even for RPG's 3x2 could be awesome!


btw Crowdsourcing? in a financial way? So you're going on Kickstarter or what ?

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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2013, 03:25 
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On the subject of projectors, I wonder if there are some type of OEM projectors that don't include all the bells and whistles of file playback and such.

Are you trying to use projectors that are already on the market? Or would you be designing projectors for it? If the latter, you could design them like modules and be able to support any number of projectors that could physically fit in the assembly.

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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2013, 05:12 
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I am a bit out of the loop with the actual system( but I can give opinions on the finished product.

1 Anything in the 120-140 range is fine. 120 is not a floor either simply the beginning of the sweet spot to hit. Anything lower and you lose the full range of view, too high and you have extra screen you have to strain into your field of view.
2 How many games actually use it? A serious question, I really don't know. This wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_st ... ideo_games) seems rather sparse to put extra money on a feature with limited use.
3 Your average desk is ~30" deep and ~55" wide. You still need room for mouse, keyboard, speakers. And some people still like their desks to be desks. My current setup with 3x24" monitors leaves me plenty of room to spare on a desk that size.
4 Output quality is going to trump price, however, you are in a niche market. You do not want to price out too many people. A fairly low-mid end eyefinity setup is gonna run you around 700 dollars.
5 Again, niche market who generally do all their own building as it is. We can handle it :mrgreen:
6 Assuming if we are putting it together, we can also take it apart. But portability should not be a consideration if it damages the overall product. It should be solid as a rock once it is set up. If sacrificing portability is a causality of that then so be it.
7 True to life. I assume few people go triple wide solely so they can see whats coming in their peripheral vision.
8 Pretty much the same as #5.
9 I play everything with shooters being my most played genre.

#1, 3, 4 are the big factors in determining your market. Get the quality, footprint and price right and you will have a winner :rockout:


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