The Future is Virtual?


This weekend I finally got around to putting Windows 8 back on my main gaming computer so that I can get the Oculus Rift working on it. The head tracking wasn't working in Windows 10 last time I tried it. I spent quite a bit more time playing around with some of the available demos that are out and playing some of the games that I have.

The thing I actually spent the most time doing was watching a movie in Cineveo. It's a virtual movie theater that puts whatever your watching on an Imax equivalent screen. Also, the movie theater I was in was on a space station, and the movie screen was hovering in space. The movie I was watching was in 3D, and it was the best 3D movie experience I've ever had. Partly because the thing didn't give me a headache like the glasses at the actual theaters do.

I was also very impressed with a program called AltSpaceVR. It's an online virtual space where you can walk around and interact with other people. If you have a leap motion on, it'll even let you gesture and show your arms moving. You have a private web browser that only you can see, and you can beam videos from your web browser to huge screens for everyone to see. I'd actually really like to hang out with friends online in there and do a Youtube viewing party, or just watch something on Netflix. There are additional apps out there that allow you to do extra things inside the shared world. One of them is for playing Dungeons and Dragons.

As you see above, I did let my daughter play around with it briefly. She spent some time just walking around the AltSpaceVR and she watched a couple demo experience things. I don't want her using it much since she's young. The thing was a big hit with her, she loved it and it was hard to get her away from it.

The two full games I have that I played are Elite: Dangerous and Euro Truck Simulator. The first is pretty amazing, but I feel like I need to get a HOTAS setup to really appreciate it. I'll probably end up picking up a cheap entry level one very soon. Euro Truck Simulator is actually way cooler than it sounds. Just driving around the streets of London in a big truck is a lot more fun than I expected.

So, to tie this all back to my previous post about Manufactured Normalcy, I think VR is amazing, and I think there's some awesome stuff happening in here. I don't know that it'll have huge success any time soon. It's just too futuristic right now. I know some people complain that it's not a social experience, I'd argue that most video games today aren't very social for people that are in the same physical room anyway. Most people I know that play games do it with people online. Nothing about that changes with VR. I'm guessing that it'll end up with a strong niche following very similar to PC gaming today. Once we get used to the idea of VR, maybe it'll get bigger.

Comments

  1. Just to be clear here - I don't think a few minutes of time would screw-up anyone's depth perception.

    I'd just be afraid to do like an hour or more a day for a month.
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/06/26/2059205/3d-displays-may-be-hazardous-to-young-children

    At least, if a few minutes of Oculus time did cause depth issues, I would have to imagine something else would be a bigger concern anyway.

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  2. I thought it posted my other comment -

    I was going to ask, did the imax-thing do vision correction? I ask because I could see that being the 'killer app' of the Oculus---except that I would be afraid to let my kids use it because of the concerns about depth perception issues in manufactured 3d experiences.

    There's a writer from wired that absolutely raves about space games with Oculus. I would have to think exploring the solar system with that on would be incredible.

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  3. I'm not sure what you mean by vision correction for Imax. It was more comfortable for me than actually going to a 3D movie.

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