“Virtual Reality, don’t just play the game, be in the game.”
I am sure a lot us remember the “Holodeck room” in Star Trek: “The Next Generation”. It was a place where crew members could escape the pressures of flying and maintaining the Starship Enterprise.
In the “Holodeck”, you can play sports, use it for training, spend a relaxing day in the woods, or have a gunfight at the “OK Carrol”. The choices were endless. If you can imagine it, you can program it. I love planes, so flying big powerful fighter jets would have been my ESCAPE.
Virtual Reality games are a reality now. Interesting times ahead, wouldn’t you say Captain Kirk?
VR, what is it?
Virtual reality or virtual realities (VR), also known as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality, is computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined. It also simulates a user’s physical presence that environment in a way that allows the user to interact with it.
In simple terms for an old gamer like me, it means a lot of fun. I am so excited about this.
VR comes in many different forms. There’s the cheap headset that works with your phone and there are more expensive options that require a powerful PC or gaming console and some space to move around.
Different Platforms are available now!
- Google Cardboard:
This is an inexpensive way to get started. All you need is your smartphone, a couple of plastic lenses, and some strategically cut cardboard pieces that come together to form a virtual reality headset. Cost around $15 not counting the phone.
- Samsung Gear VR: The best mobile VR experience so far — but only for Samsung phones. This one will cost around $99, still a good price.
- Oculus Rift: With a price tag of $599, it far more immersive than strapping a phone to your face. It does require a powerful gaming PC to generate its graphics. Plus, you are tethered between your head and the computer. Watch your footing.
- HTC Vive: The best VR experience you can have right now if you’ve got the space. It costs $799. You can grab objects and walk around the room. So, clear the room of furniture. And you need a powerful gaming PC which you will be tethered to.
- Sony PlayStation VR: It is a little cheaper at $399, but you need to figure in the cost of a PlayStation 4 console (About $300 to $400). A lot of gamers will already have consoles.
As I was updating this post, I can across an interesting article about the future of virtual reality. The resource is https://www.cnet.com/news/microsofts-roomalive-turns-your-room-into-a-holodeck.
It is about a prototype called “RoomAlive” developed by Microsoft. The original, Microsoft’s “IllumiRoom”, was first introduced at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in 2013.
It transforms any room into an immersive, augmented, magical entertainment experience,” the Microsoft team explains on their research website.
At its core is the projector depth-camera unit, known as a procam. It consists of a wide field of view projector, a Kinect sensor, and a computer. The Kinect maps the room and tracks what’s in it, while the projector is used for the display. With six procam units, every square inch of a room can be mapped.
Each of the six procam units is auto-calibrating and self-localizing. The user installs the unit, and all six work together to create a unified model of the room.
The six Kinect sensors work together to track the user’s head position in the room. This lets the software correct the perspective of the imagery so that it appears 3D to the user wherever they are in the room.
Like “IllumiRoom”, “RoomAlive” is only a proof-of-concept at this point. WOW, this is amazing.
I am looking forward to future VR systems. Video gaming has come so far. I love it. “Let’s Game”.
We have different options. I think I would go for the Sony PlayStation VR for now. It seems more practical for me.
VR, not just for Gaming!
Virtual Reality systems have more uses than playing video games.
- Entertainment: Movies, concerts, or theater events. You can be there, not just watch it.
- Artistry and Design: Create your own 3D blueprints for a new home or paint the next “Mona Lisa”.
- My favorite, Gaming: VR will take video gaming to new and exciting levels for gamers.
- Education and Simulation: You can travel to far away lands, fly 747 jets or sharpen one’s skills to do better at our jobs.
- Tourism and Exploration: You can witness the Pyramids or explore outer space from your living room.
- Psychology and Meditation: VR can be a place to unwind or just figure some stuff out. Studies are showing VR can be helpful as a painkiller rather taking pills all the time.
- Real Estate and Shopping: When purchasing your next home or car, you can shop from your house. No more driving to the store or making appointments to view a house.
- Social and Telepresence: VR does not have to be an isolated experience. We will be able to create virtual communities. We will meet people from different parts of the world and different cultures. VR has the possibility to enhance our relationships with each other if done in the proper form and context.
I hope this blog has been helpful. If you have any thoughts or comments please reply at the bottom or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I leave you with a quote from Captain Picard as he looks from the deck of the USS Enterprise, “Engage”.
Have fun my fellow gamers.