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Reviewed: VRJoy 2000
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: January 19th 2001
Page: 2

The VRJoy 2000 is almost the same as the original VRJoy: two pairs of glasses can be hooked up to a small control module, which has three buttons. A separate input comes from an interceptor hooked between the video card output and monitor cord: this feeds the vertical sync in so the glasses sync up to the monitor properly. One notable difference: instead of requiring a separate power adapter, the control unit feeds power from the keyboard attachment, making use of one less cord in your power hookups. The installation of the glasses takes about 20 minutes, with the only problem being the size of the video interceptor: if something should fall on it while plugged in, serious damage could be done to the video card itself. As you can see from the front page image, there are a few parts to this setup. The Oakley-style sunglasses things are actually a shield which clips to the front of the shutter glasses, to protect them from scratching. There's the video connector cable, control box, and of course the glasses themselves. Not shown is a small cable which feeds power to the control box from the keyboard PS/2 port: this is actually the most easily hooked up piece of the equipment.

The glasses work fairly simply: when turned on, the two LCD shutters flicker on and off based on the input from the monitor VSync output. Thus, each eye only sees one half of the monitor refresh rate. It is recommended that users have at least a 100 Hz refresh rate, assuming the monitor supports it: 120Hz is optimal. Anything less, and eye strain can develop as the eyes start catching the flickering of the glasses.

The device software actually allows 3 modes: off, interlaced, and page flipping. In the "off" mode, game performance should theoretically be normal. In practice, this mode tends to cause some visual flickering artifacts on the lower half of the screen. When not using the glasses, the VRJoy drivers should be left off rather than running in "off" mode.

The interlaced mode of the glasses places the two visual images, right and left side, on alternating lines of the monitor and blanking the others. This keeps the images separated, but darkens the image considerably. The page flipping mode displays the same, but without the interlacing lines: this displays a little more detail than the interlaced mode. Unfortunately, both modes show severe pixelation thanks to the method of creating the 3D images. The driver of the VRJoy, when enabled, cuts the vertical resolution of the image in half. This unfortunately results in a large amount of pixelation, especially in regards to game text which is only 10 or 12 pixels high to begin with. If not for this pixelation, the 3D effects of the glasses could be considered flawless.

Game compatibility is a great feature of the VRJoy 2000 glasses: just about every modern game running DirectX 6, 7, or 8 is compatible (as long as it returns valid Z-data). Going through the collection and testing out various games, I was pleased to note that the only particularly cranky title was Trespasser. Newer games, including Mechwarrior 4 and Crimson Skies as well as Quake 3: Team Arena and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force were awesome to behold in the 3D setting. I would have included some 3D screenshots, but the bottom line is that they don't do the glasses justice -- the effects have to be seen in motion to look as good as they do.

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Added:  Friday, January 19, 2001
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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