The unofficial VR-JOY
This page was innitially
released on May 30, 1998,
last update: September 10, 1998.
The VR-Joy by VR
Standard Corp (manufactured by Woobo)
is a wired 3D-Shutterglasses system for any hardware platform. It features
a VGA-pass-through controller which syncs to any (!) screen mode. In addition
it has a switchable "Line Blanker" device
which generates artificial interlace in conjunction with any (!) graphics-board.
No driver software required. The VR Joy is 100% compatible to any computer
and graphics hardware as long as a standard monitor (no LCD) is used. Software
compatibility includes all frame and line sequential titles. The above-below
split-screen format is NOT supported. The package comes without any software,
but usually customers receive a 1 month membership for the VR-Joy
From 1999 on the VR-Joy will be bundled with the full retail version of Hexen2.
My verdict: The best buy so far, apart from the 3Dfx-gaming focused H3D/Wicked3D products.
competitor entered the market offering similar features. The Tetratel EyeFX.
You may like to read the VR-Joy vs. EyeFX shootout
and the EyeFX review.
This review isn't intended for beginners. Please consult the Basics and FAQ pages first.
Brenner&Sievritts (german distributor)
vrjoy.de (german distributor)
3DIST (german distributor)
Official Brasilian VRJoy site
a member of VR-Ring
First of all the VR Joy controller uses a VGA-pass-through cable
and behaves exactly like my beloved homebrew VGA-PT
The controller just syncs to anything (page-flipping and interlace).
In addition it has a switch to activate "line-blanking" which provides interlace in any case, even on VGA-boards which usually don't support this.
There is no sync-doubler functionality for the split-screen-format though.
The VGA-dongle fits between VGA-card and monitor. Despite the fact that
complex circuitry is involved the dongle is very small opposed to the oversized
H3D-dongle. The circuitry resides in the external controller box.
This leads to the next question. What about VGA-signal quality loss? That's hard to tell. In theory there's always some loss when using VGA-dongles, but it's not severe in this case.
The box has two standard 3.5 mm stereo jacks (headphone format) for wired shutterglasses. Using standard headphone adaptors more than 2 glasses should also be possible.
I tried the 3D-Max glasses with the controller. No problems here, looks like the LCD's come from the same manufacturer. The 3D-SPEX glasses work too.
the wiring of the VR Joy glasses is reversed compared to some other brands
of wired glasses. When connecting the VR Joy and some 3D-Max or 3D-SPEX
glasses simultaneously one goggle will work correctly, while the other
is in Stereo-Reverse !!!
Countermeasures: Use two glasses with the same wiring or build a little 3.5 mm adaptor which reverses the contacts (very simple). Check the homebrew section for details on the 3.5 mm jack pinout.
NEW: Another problem: I was told that the VR-Joy controller uses a nasty control signal format which might hurt some 3rd party glasses. The liquid crystals could migrate. No danger for the Spex though.
The cable between dongle and controller-box is 190 cm long (manufacturer
claims 200 cm), that's good. The controller resides on the desk like a
mouse and has 3 buttons, which give the user total control - just as it
The 3 buttons:
POWER: Glasses on/off
Will it work for 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo 2 add-on boards?
Yes, but there's no software yet. The images would have to be in interleaved
line format. The split-screen format as it is used by H3D is NOT supported.
In theory it would be very easy for a programmer to modify such programs
to display interleaved format instead of split-screen.
On Voodoo Rush or Rendition boards H3D titles will work right away with the VR Joy.
Always check the stereo orientation by using
the reverse-switch at startup (and from time to time during a page-flipping
-i.e. LCD-BIOS- stereo-session). Using LCD-BIOS the stereo orientation
can change every second and render the software useless.
Beginners can easily miss the fact that the image is reversed, which results in eye&brain-strain and an unsatisfying 3D-experience.
The controller is powered by an external adaptor. Too bad they didn't
do the i-Art trick with the keyboard connector.
I received the 110V version. According to the package there should be a
220V version also. The output specs are: 9V, 200mA.
Poor! There's a little booklet which just covers the basics of operation
and a small list of related web-sites. The LCD-BIOS homepage and my homepage
are missing. No information on 3D-basics, photography, programming, etc.
No introduction to the technical principles: interlace, page-flipping,
Like the H3D system the VR Joy features circuitry which I refer to as "Line Blanker". Opposed to H3D the control of the device lays in the hands of the user, which is GREAT !!! No proprietary software required. Just a push of a button and you're done. After fiddling around with 3D- and VESA-drivers for so long it feels like magic!
The VR Joy was in development long before the H3D came out. Woobo hoped to be the first to present this technology. When the H3D line blanker technology was revealed on this website it came as a bad surprise to Woobo.
The VR-Joy line-blanker seems to be more flexible compared to the H3D when it comes to resolution/refresh-rate compatibility. The H3D line-blanker only works on certain settings.
The Line Blanker works on any software which provides an interleaved
line stereo-3D image format.
interleaved line stereo format
Usually driver software and a compatible VGA-chipset is required
to display such an image in a shutterglasses-compatible way.
With the Line Blanker you don't need any software or any special VGA-hardware.
What the line blanker does:
VGA card and monitor are in a normal mode. Resolution & refresh are normal, but your eyes see interlace.
How is this done?
Here you go: The controller scans the frame and blanks out the odd lines.
In the next frame the controller blanks out the even lines
and so on. The refresh rate and other parameters aren't changed. The lines are still there, they're just black now. This is not even
page-flipping. It's what I would call "synthetic interlace", without the participation of VGA-card or monitor.
Graphics mode compatibility
The manual claims that the Line Blanker is optimized for 800x600, but I've tested many more modes, without any (obvious) problems:
320 x 200 @ 51 Hz
320 x 200 @ up to 159 Hz
640 x 480 @ up to 160 Hz
800 x 600 @ up to 137 Hz
1024 x 768 @ up to 107 Hz
1152 x 864 @ up to 94 Hz
1280 x 1024 @ up to 75 Hz
1600 x 1200 @ up to 57 Hz
Tested with Matrox Mystique 220, IDEK 86 kHz monitor and Scitech Display Doctor.
You see, the only limit seems to be my humble monitor - amazing!
Ohh yes, and the most important:
3Dfx Voodoo Graphics: 640 x 480 @ 120 Hz - no problems!
(Please remember that there's no interleaved line stereo 3Dfx software yet! H3D stuff doesn't work in this case! )
Drawbacks of the Line Blanker !!!
1) Possible inaccuracies in the blanking process might lead to additional
ghosting or other unwanted effects when using other resolutions than the
recommended 800 x 600 ?!? (I have to further investigate this, but there
seem to be no problems at least with my hardware.)
2) The impact on the monitor frequency is 2 times as high as real interlace, at the same resolution & refresh.
3) The image might be slightly darker than in real interlace.
4) The problem of the black interlace lines remains, line-doubled page-flipping just looks better.
5) Refresh rate isn't changed. Setting has to be done manually using 3rd party utilities, like Scitech Display Doctor.
The VR-Joy minus the Line-Blanker equals an autosync system similar to APEC VR97, i-Art VirtualEyes or the homebrew VGA-PT. You know I like these systems, so I like the VR-Joy even more.
The Line Blanker uses standard screen modes. It doesn't change the refresh rate, like a real interlace driver (3D-BIOS, VR-BIOS, 3D-Win, etc.).
In case you can get your hands on any real interlace driver (like i-Art 3DWin, APEC VR(97)-Viewer, Stereographics SG-Toggle, VRex VR-BIOS, VRex SSDI) which works for your particular VGA-board you might use this instead of the Line-Blanker. Real interlace provides higher refresh and puts less pressure on your monitor.
On the other hand: It's much more fun to just push the MODE-button than to fiddle around with drivers. AND... most important: many of the newest, hottest VGA-boards are not supported by current driver software and never will be, because they don't do interlace anymore.
Some programs (games to be precise) require a 3D-driver like LCD-BIOS
When using LCD-BIOS or native SimulEyes titles with the VR Joy the usual drawbacks (instable stereo orientation) apply.
When using the Line-Blanker use Scitech Display Doctor or a similar
tool to set the refresh rate as high as possible!
The same applies in case the VR Joy is used with LCD-BIOS, NuvFrag or native SimulEyes titles.
In case the VR Joy controller stops working at a certain refresh rate use Display Doctor to change the sync polarity !!!
Unfortunately there are many programs using standard VGA modes instead
of VESA which might get you stuck at 70 Hz.
(Try the LCD-BIOS hi-refresh command line option in this case.)
Don't forget to deactivate the Line-Blanker when using a 3D-Driver or
a native SimulEyes or H3D title.
The VR Joy glasses are wired and weight 90 g. They
seem to be similar to the Woobo
Cyberboy, but the walkman-type earphones are gone, which isn't of any concern
in my opinion. The holders for the earphones are still present. There's
also a (new ???) adjustable and removable nose-piece which is quite comfortable,
much better than the 3D-Max nose-piece. The glasses should fit over any
prescribed glasses, but the nose-piece has to be removed in this case.
Comfort with prescribed glasses is also acceptable.
Due to my big head (circumference 61 cm) I'm on the threshold of the VR Joy's size. There's already a bit of painful pressure behind the ears. Usually this shouldn't be of any concern, since most heads are smaller :-).
The stereo-reverse switch in the cable has gone also. The reverse button can now be found on the controller.
VR Standard Corp./Woobo claim a maximum refresh rate of 180 Hz. I've tested them at up to 160 Hz. No problems.
The LCD-panels are large: 4 x 2.5 cm. Good!
The cable length is 180 cm (the manufacturer claims 200 cm). That's more than enough since the controller resides on the desk. The cable is thick and flexible.
Please check the X-RAY Lab for a weight&size
comparison of various shutterglasses.
I found this order-form, in the VR Joy package, which might be of interest.
I don't think all items are available already.
The software prices are quite reasonable. Maybe they're only available to VR-Joy customers.
Keep an eye on the VR Standard webpage if you're interested.
Due to the Line-Blanker device the VR Joy is 100% compatible to any computer system and any graphics hardware. It'll work with any standard tube-monitor or -projector (not LCD!!!) which is connected via a standard 15-pin jack.
As far as I know the VR Joy is 100% hardware compatible (not neccessarily software compatible, since some drivers are not available for free) to the following shutterglasses systems and HMD's (apart from the known drawbacks):
The VR Joy is compatible to any software which delivers an interleaved
line or page-flipping format.
No driver required.
A standard web-browser or slideshow program is sufficient for viewing stereo-images.
VR Joy will work for any operating system (Windows, DOS, Mac, Unix, whatever).
Apart from that the VR Joy controller should work with the following driver-software:
The manufacturer claims that the VR Joy will be compatible to any Movie
format. Well, there is no TV-adaptor in the package which means it won't
work for 3D-movies on VHS tape. The upcoming DVD movies for the PC, as
announced by H3D and other companies, might be in split-screen format,
rather than interleaved line format. Let's hope there will be MPEG movie
player software which provides both formats.
Update: There are some MPEG1 and AVI video clips in interleaved 3D format on the VR Standard Homepage. They work on any standard player software, but can't be zoomed. Enlarged or full-screen video playback would require special software which handles the lines correctly.
The VR-Joy website:
The VR-Joy website offers adult and other image material for stereo
viewing. The only thing I saw was the preview stuff. It seems they're using
JPG-files in interlace format. The JPG-compression algorythm doesn't behave
well with such material, which might lead to additional ghosting. It's
always better to isolate the left and right image information better when
using compression. An example of how it's done right is the JPS (JPG Stereo
I must admit that I'm using standard interleaved JPG format too, even on this website, because handling is so easy.
Special thanks to Woobo for providing me with a free VR Joy sample.
a member of VR-Ring
Brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their
The author can not guarantee the accuracy or topicality of the information given on this page.
Christoph Bungert, Germany .