Daniel Wilks

Daniel Wilks looks beyond the game

Hyper - - NEWS -

Be­cause of the way my eyes work, or to be pre­cise, due to the way my eyes don’t work, VR (or re­ally any­thing that fakes 3D in some man­ner, mak­ing go­ing to the movies nowa­days a real crap­shoot) is very dif­fi­cult for me. Any movement that causes me to change fo­cal depth quickly in VR causes se­ri­ous eye strain and plays havoc on my bal­ance and abil­ity to keep down my lunch. As such, for the most part VR gam­ing is not some­thing that I am too en­thused about, but that doesn‘t mean that I’m not ex­cited about VR in other av­enues.

What ex­cites me most about VR is the po­ten­tial to ex­pe­ri­ence things that I may never get a chance to see in real life. Imag­ine a VR tour of an oth­er­wise closed ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig, or the in­side of a space shut­tle, or hell, even a VR ex­pe­ri­ence of a NASA launch. Sure, you wouldn’t get the force of grav­ity push­ing you back into your seat as the mas­sive thrust takes you out­side the at­mos­phere, but just see­ing it through the eyes of an as­tro­naut would be amaz­ing enough. Imag­ine be­ing able to go to any mu­seum in the world and be­ing able to look at the ex­hibits not as a vis­i­tor but as a cu­ra­tor, up close and per­sonal, hands on with­out the ac­tual phys­i­cal sen­sa­tion.

It’s these ex­pe­ri­ences, rather than gam­ing, that make me look for­ward to VR be­com­ing com­mon­place, and due to the na­ture of these ex­pe­ri­ences be­ing more tai­lored to the pas­sive than the in­ter­ac­tive, of all thing it’s mo­bile VR, like Sam­sung Gear, that ex­cites me the most. There are no wires to get stuck in and the price point is much lower than any other VR for­mat, with most mod­ern smart phones ca­pa­ble of run­ning VR apps and there are lit­er­ally hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent en­clo­sures (look at GearBest or any other gi­ant Chi­nese shop if you don’t believe me) avail­able to fit nearly any sized hand­set. Sim­ply play­ing VR footage is a lot less pro­ces­sor in­ten­sive than any game, so the bar­rier for en­try should be – rel­a­tively speak­ing – quite low.

Mo­bile VR also has some­thing else go­ing for it that gives it a leg up as far as po­ten­tial goes. Any phone ca­pa­ble of run­ning VR will also fea­ture a de­cent cam­era, mak­ing mo­bile AR all but a cer­tainty. Maybe it’s just my love of cy­ber­punk (the Tal­so­rian RPG as well as the SF genre), but the po­ten­tial to have a real time HUD strapped to my head is far too ap­peal­ing to pass up. Of course, there are nu­mer­ous, ar­guably bet­ter ap­pli­ca­tions for mo­bile AR as well. Go­ing back to the mu­seum tours I was talk­ing about ear­lier, imag­ine hav­ing ex­tra in­for­ma­tion pop up de­pend­ing on what you look at and where you di­rect your gaze, or an RPG that takes place in the real world and used pat­tern and colour recog­ni­tion from the back­ground to gen­er­ate en­coun­ters and events. So many pos­si­bil­i­ties.

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