What is virtual reality and what should it be?
Virtual reality is a make believe place that does not exist in a physical sense but within a computer generated three dimensional environment allowing the user or player to interact and explore within the virtual site as a low cost function with side benefits. In a virtual setting a side benefit can make a tedious task to be simpler such as online food shopping, with a few clicks all foods can be ordered within a few minutes and delivered to your door. In business a virtual office would be able to hold a staff meeting without the need of a large room, all staff would be able to dial in with their phones and computers. Virtual shops can be open 24 hours a day and offer thousands of products online cheaper because the overheads are minimised to be only the warehouse, no staffing or shop rentals. In essence virtual reality should make things simpler, faster, safer, cheaper, and save you time.
Virtual reality of today has now moved far ahead of the simple way of the VIEW MASTER in the late 1930s. As technology advances so do our virtual reality systems, it opens the endless potentials and possibilities to explore new ways of gaming and even new ways of storytelling. Yet the human race has a long way to go to get to that point. Given that virtual reality (VR) is primly aimed at the gaming community and military warfare research. The storytelling has changed from Films and motion captures and have adapted into VR technology systems to give the player or film viewer more of and exciting, visual experience and understanding of the environments that they may be working in or even training with out the risk of real word hazard.
Immersive surroundings enclose a player such that all they recognize is a part of a new world. Long before the central processing unit or personal computer, oral storytellers fashioned new virtual and immersive worlds all the time. Audiences still become wrapped up in the story world, seeing all of the facts, making associates between the events in the story and their own lives. Hence, in a virtual reality atmosphere that uses story, the player is even more immersed. Knowing more about how a participant is immersed in narrative would allow a virtual reality designer to work more efficiently.
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This essay examines three aspect of virtual reality, narrative technology and the future of Virtual reality games. This contributes very much to an player sense of interest in the VR encounter. These fundamentals also plan out well from oral storytelling to new forms of media and many VR applications.
What virtual reality should do is take the fundamentals of a real setting and make it feel real, the customer would be able to do more with less, making the experience enjoyable. However in gaming the virtual environment is more for leisure and fun so the experience becomes more memorable rather than job satisfaction. In a game a person becomes aware that they are in an artificial world and accordingly adjust their virtual character behaviour to progress into the new world.
(Reference 6, 7, 8, 9)
Story telling is a form of communication and it is how people share their ideas, their thoughts, and their experiences to each other. Story telling has been done by many cultures going back many centuries, from campfires to classrooms, from books to radio to films. As the listener of the story they would have to imagine the scenario from the words of the storyteller, picture the event in their minds and then capture their experience. In the movies, the cinema would provide the narrative with its use of a large screen for the visual graphic and the actors for the viewer to follow, but it lacked the interaction, the viewer can only follow the movie as the director produced the film. In a virtual setting the viewer now becomes one of the characters and is now part of the story, they are now in the middle of a plot, and then they would control where they go and what they do in equal spectacular visionary forms via the graphic cards. The interaction between the game and the game player is self-involving, central to the game player, and providing a pleasurable experience. In a way the virtual reality becomes a large part of the narrative, the only difference between the virtual environment and cinema is the means of the display being the big screen instead of the PC graphics and the interaction from just being a viewer to being part of the scene in relation to the story.
(Reference 1, 3)
In a general sense technology has been evolving ever since the discovery of the wheel, the wheel was a tool that allowed us to do more in terms of transport and deliveries. But we also progressed into the printing press, the telephone, and the internet that in a sense allowed humans to interact all around the world seamlessly. Technology now days is a fast paced and it is changing all the time, new hardware that doubles functionality supersedes the old hardware which was new a few months before that, we can now fit more into less, and new video cards can do sharper images with more colours, we also have motherboards with multi cored cpu’s, and so on. Technology has gone far beyond its Y2K bug to new boundaries that seem infinite, all in the size of an iPhone.
Virtual reality environments still we have a long way to go because many people still want virtual reality to be the future of gaming and simulations. The virtual reality system is only now being introduced to us as a new gaming experience, such as with the Sony Oculius Rift – a 3 dimensional head display. But most up to date virtual reality environments are displayed either on a computer screen or with special head mount display, and some simulations include additional speakers or headphones targeted towards VR users. Even some advanced systems now include tactile information, generally known as force feedback in medical, gaming and military applications. Furthermore, virtual reality covers remote communication environments, which provide virtual presence of users with the concepts of Skype (tele-presence) and being able to interact with the remote environment.
The simulated environment can be similar to the real world in order to create a life like experience for example, in simulations for pilot or combat training or it differs significantly from reality, such as in VR games.
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The future of Virtual reality games: From humble beginnings such as the two-dimensional ping-pong from the early 70’s to the now World Of War craft, it is hard to predict where the future of virtual reality will lead us into.
The one thing we should expect is a three dimensional feature into the arena, to entice the general public into the three dimensional aspect such as the Oculus Rift or Microsoft “HoloLens”, it will have to be mainstream and affordable.
An alternative to 3 dimensional headsets, game developers would enable their games to use secondary screens to give the player a wider view of the game that will add to the effect to the player.
I imagine people will expect more true to life graphics showing the perspiration of a characters face with the sweat marks running down a persons face as he leans to take a shot at the threatening alien with the Sun glaring into his eyes. All of this with the matching true sound of a sniper rifle gun firing into the sunset. (Reference 5, 9)
I can see secondary gaming devices becoming more relevant in the gaming world as they can aid in the experience of playing games by its inbuilt screen showing a map or your inventory relating to your game in a seamless fashion without leaving the game field. The secondary device would also allow you to stop playing on the primary screen and then allow you to continue playing on its secondary. The secondary device could be your mobile phone interacting with your gaming unit.
Games will also need to be affordable, open source games will allow game developers to build and sell their games cheaply for a market share into the games arena. It may not have the graphic and sound quality but it has the potential to provide leisure at a lower cost to the consumer.
Augmented reality is another possibility for gamers where it will allows your mobile phone to take in your surrounding areas and virtualise a gaming concept such as skirmish.
Cloud gaming will be a place where consumers will be able to buy, play, and update their games from a cloud server via a stable internet connection. The scope of Cloud Gaming will cover computers and mobile devices, the actual game is stored and played on the Clouds server, the results of the game is streamed over the internet onto customers device.
I believe soon we will be able to have access to these Virtual reality systems where we can see a different parts of the world or universe, or even playing games and watching films. This technology might be the next big thing to come out and revolutionized the way we interact with in games, movies and knowledge.
(Reference 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
By Christopher Kralevski
(Towards a narrative theory of Virtual Reality, By Sandy Louchart, Ruth Aylett)
(Defining Virtual Reality: Dimensions Determining Telepresence, By Jonathan Steuer, October 15, 1993)
(MOTOROLA LABS/HUMAN INTERFACE LABS, BY KEVIN BROOKS)
(VR storytelling wars begin, but will anyone be watching?, By Justin Cone, JANUARY 30, 2015)
(Future of Gaming: 5 Exciting Emerging Trends, By Michael Poh)
(The VR race: who's closest to making VR a reality?, By JT Ripton and Lily Prasuethsut)