The SPEXperimental page
Quick Info: The Nuvision 3D-SPEX is a PARALLEL Port Shutterglasses system. The glasses are very comfortable and the LCD panels are large. The SPEX comes with an interesting software bundle. Although the parallel-port solution is a bit outdated by now the SPEX offers some of the best driver support in the market.
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The SPEX require an external power source. The power adaptor comes in a US (110V) and European (220V) version.
There might be a new 3D-SPEX version w/o external power and with pass-through parallel port controller in the future.

The european version is distributed by

Paul Hooper
Vikay Distribution Europe Ltd., UK
+ 44 01276 686225
Fax: + 44 01276 686139



The Controller
All 3D-Shutterglasses connected to the serial or parallel port are using PAGE-FLIPPING only. (Don Sawdai, the author of LCD-BIOS, once told me that with certain VGA-boards even interlace support over such an interface might be possible, but at the moment that's just theory). Not long ago the only available driver software for such controllers was LCD-BIOS. Then QUAKE appeared using an ALTERNATE LINE format used for HMD's and interlace mode compatible Shutterglasses.
Marius Schilder did a little program to break the alternate line image into two separate frames and make them work with LCD-BIOS page-flipping. It's quite similar to the 3D-BIOS emulation mode of LCD-BIOS (?). The idea was then adapted by NuVision resulting in a special LCD-BIOS version for 3D-SPEX called NUVFRAG.
You should also visit the DRIVER page for more info.

Most serial/parallel port shutterglasses systems do not have a stereo reverse switch. In some programs this might cause problems. Here's a way to switch the stereo orientation by software:
Switch eyes on LCDBios by changing the LCDCtrl:/AALLRROO command.
Just swap the LL and RR numbers to reverse stereo.
(Thanks to Don Sawdai and Gabor Laufer.)

homebrew parallel controller (SPEX-compatible)
The Chinon CyberShades are fully 3D-SPEX compatible, but they're discontinued!
The Canopus Total3D is different from the original 3D-SPEX system!!!
The 3D-SPEX glasses are also used for the Canopus Total 3D system, where the controller resides on the 3D-accelerator (Rendition) card. This on-board controller hasn't much in common with the Nuvision parallel port controller.
AFAIK, NuvFrag doesn't work with the Canopus, the Rendition chip doesn't seem to like line-doubling. I'm not shure about WinSPEX. (The original parallel port controller wouldn't help here since it's a problem with the Rendition chip. The same applies to all other Rendition boards.)
For Stereo3D-QUAKE on the Canopus T3D get the H3D V-Quake accelleration plus stereo3D patch from H3D.
For other purposes try LCD-BIOS.
The Glasses

The glasses are very light and comfortable, but not that sturdy. They use pi-cell LC-panels which have a warm-up/cool-down phase when activated/deactivated. In this phase which lasts a few seconds the vision is impaired. While inactive the glasses are not clear, but colored like sunglasses. During operation they become more transparent. The pi-cells are said to be faster than "conventional" panels and give better contrast. I tested the 3D-SPEX and the 3D-Max glasses at up to 160 Hz. Both seem to do the job with the same accuracy. The 3D-Max glasses don't have the warm-up/cool-down phase and they're almost clear while inactive. I would prefer glasses with the LC-panels of the Max and the frame of the SPEX. All my friends prefer the SPEX for their comfort though.

Using a refresh utitlity like UNICENTER from the Scitech Display Doctor package any refresh rate your monitor can handle is achievable. Using a humble S3 Trio 64V+ chipset and a not so humble 86 kHz monitor I reached 160 Hz in 640x480.
Some lo-res standard VGA programs, like Whiplash, doesn't react to the refresh rate set with utilities like Scitech Display Doctor. In that case the refresh rate is limited. (I reached 78 Hz with my S3 chip and /HRefresh - option. Without /HRefresh activated it's even worse). Hi-Res VESA programs like Quake or Descent 2 run at up to 160 Hz and look and feel wonderful.

 Software Bundle

The 3D-Spex comes with Slipstream 5000, Whiplash, Descent 2 OEM (8 levels, the retail version has 30 levels), an image viewer and some 3D-pictures. Slipstream and Whiplash stereo versions are not available in the shops and there are no patches.
There are a few 1024x768 demo 3D-photos. That's the best thing I've ever saw. Usually you get 1024x768 interleaved 3D-pix which results in 1024x384 per eye. In the 1024x768 mode of stereo Quake two 1024x768 images are displayed and the monitor and VGA are stressed accordingly, but the lines are just doubled by Nuvfrag. The real resolution is just 1024x384.
BTW I had to modify the slideshow to see the full 1024 resolution. By default the pix are displayed in 640 and are supposed to be scrolled. My 86kHz monitor delivers about 105 Hz at 1024 res. That's enough for a trip to heaven.

The command line for 3D-SPEX should look like this:


If the refresh rate is choosen with a utility like SDD5.3a /hrefresh isn't needed, but SDD not always takes effect.

Avoiding /lockflip increases game speed, but causes sync-error flicker. I recommend to always use it, unless you have a better idea.


NUVFRAG can be used to run any "alternate line" stereo software under DOS. Usually such software is designed for the 3D-Max or some HMD (i-glasses, VFX1, CyberMaxx).

The parameter "lock" should always be used to avoid sync problems.



If a program needs it's own parameters use quotation marks:


NUVFRAG doesn't seem to work on other devices, because port and control bits are fixed. I've heard NUVFRAG works with the parallel controller of the Chinon Cybershades too, but the shades are out of production for quite some time now and you'll hardly find them anywhere. There are more parallel controllers out there, but they'll not neccessarily work with Nuvfrag, due to different control bits.

WinSPEX adds windows compatibility to the 3D-SPEX. It's based on page-flipping and seems to be chipset dependend.

WINSPEX works with Intel Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, AMD K5, K6, but not on  Cyrix/IBM 6x86 at the moment.

3D-SPEX compatibility list
(tested on S3 Trio V64+)
The selection of titles is based on the Hotlist.
Title Comp Driver Comment
Comanche 3 - hacked LCD-BIOS mode YES 
LCD-BIOS buggy on S3 and maybe other chipsets, the image jumps every now and then, visit my Comanche 3 page
Comanche 3 - standard stereo mode YES 
NuvFrag buggy on S3 and maybe other chipsets, the image jumps every now and then, visit my Comanche 3 page
CyberBykes YES NuvFrag choose a normal hi-res mode, avoid the CyberMaxx mode, press F12 for stereo mode. Visit the CyberBykes hint page.
Depth Dwellers YES LCD-BIOS (Using the Cybershades bundle version.)
Descent 1 YES LCD-BIOS, NuvFrag  It works with most versions. In case you have a really old version and anything fails try NuFrag with -3dmaxlo option.
Descent 2 YES LCD-BIOS Flawless! Wonderful! 
Dig It! NO any  it was written for the Cybershades, which are quite similar to the SPEX, but I've heard it doesn't even run on the Cybershades
Duke Nukem Shareware (Woobo patch)     NOT TESTED, but I guess it won't work
Duke Nukem Retail (Woobo patch)     NOT TESTED, the retail version should work
Hexagon-Kartell     NOT TESTED, but there's a good chance it'll work using Nuvfrag
Hexen 2 (NO) NOT TESTED, it's a windows program, I very much doubt WinSPEX will be of any help here
Hi-Octane YES LCD-BIOS sync problems, you'll have  to use /lockflip and /fastint to keep the errors low, this causes a considerable speed loss
Madspace (demo) - i-glasses, VFX1 mode NO NuvFrag I guess it would work if only the program wouldn't insist on headtracking support 
Madspace (demo) SimulEyes mode NO any  
other modes
any The best thing I saw (and heard of) is a splitscreen with one stereo image intact. 
Nuvision is working on a fix. 
Magic Carpet YES LCD-BIOS sync problems, you'll have to use /lockflip and /fastint to keep the errors low, this causes a considerable speed loss, I had to use S3vbe20 here also, no luck with SDD5.3a
Math Rescue YES LCD-BIOS (Using the Cybershades bundle version.)
Nascar (hi-res) YES LCD-BIOS or NuvFrag Everything's fine.
QPV 1.7c YES NuvFrag QPV isn't a 3D-program, it's a good normal DOS image viewer. In conjunction with NuvFrag it can be used as an "Alternate Line Stereo Image Viewer". Other DOS image viewers should work as well. For "alternate page" images use NUVIEWER from the 3D-SPEX software package (*.bmp only).
Quake DOS 1.08 YES NuvFrag 10percent speed loss through using "lock", without "lock": flicker! All screen modes work except for some 360 lines modes. Looks cool. Visit the Quake page.
Sento     NOT TESTED
Shattered Steel - i-glasses mode YES NuvFrag Funny, the i-glasses mode works, the SimulEyes not 
Important: no 3D-effect? press ENTER during mission & type DEFAULTPARALLAX; for more commands click
Slipstream YES LCD-BIOS I saw some minor graphic errors from time to time
Terminal Velocity - Cybermaxx mode YES (buggy!?!) NuvFrag produces a split screen on S3 and some other chipsets, stereo image is correct though
VR-Slingshot YES LCD-BIOS (Using the Cybershades bundle version.)
Wendy Models - 3D SimulEyes and Cyberboy mode NO any  
Wendy Models - 3D-Max mode YES NuvFrag I'm stuck at low refresh with that one, because it crashes if SDD is used, I recommend to use NuvFrag with a standard DOS image viewer and watch the pix that way, that's more comfortable too. 
Visit the Pix page for info on this title.
Whiplash YES LCD-BIOS no refresh higher than 78 Hz, doesn't react to the SDD5.3a refresh utility (unicentr.exe)
Wolfenstein YES LCD-BIOS (Using the Cybershades bundle version.)
Word Rescue YES LCD-BIOS (Using the Cybershades bundle version.)
ZAR (3-level-demo) - SimulEyes mode NO any  
ZAR - other versions/modes     NOT TESTED
I used lockflip in all cases to avoid sync errors.
The "Cybershades bundle" titles were tested on the 3D-SPEX by Gabor Laufer, thanks.
Special thanks to NuVision Technologies Inc. for providing me with a 3D-SPEX sample.
Please consult the Shutterglasses Comparison Chart for a complete market-overview.
Brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
The author can not guarantee the accuracy or topicality of the information given on this page.
Christoph Bungert, Germany .