Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Reality in Video Games: Virtual Reality

As far back as the late 40’s video games have existed, albeit not in the same form as they do today, with probably one of the most iconic early videos games ‘Pong’ releasing in 1972.

Since then video games have progressed in leaps and bounds, from the arcade cabinet classics such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong fondly remembered by those older than myself to the 8-bit staples on the SG-1000 or the NES to the fully 3D models many are familiar with today.

However only the software but also the hardware has progressed to allow video games to become the varied form of media that they are today, but even as the types, genres and even uses of video games shift one of the key factors seems to remain present and that’s how immerse the product becomes, and whilst various factors come into play regarding a games level of immersion a large aspect of it is the reality of it all and how it’s reflected in the game world.

One particularly hot topic in regards to how reality plays a part in video games as of late is creating a whole new virtual one, not just staring at the world on a screen but one that the player can feel involved in and interact with. That is virtual reality.

With the idea of a virtual reality being tossed about maybe some people might think of something like the movie ”Tron’ in which the protagonist is digitized and quite literally placed in a cyberspace. And whilst this might seem like a cool idea, it’s not really what virtual reality is about.

But then what exactly is virtual reality, those not familiar may find yourselves asking maybe even those who are. Well virtual reality or VR for short, is a form of computer technology that recreates an environment and presents it to the user in a way that he/she feel a physical presence and interactivity with it. So in essence the idea is to use computer software to make a world in which the user feels is real, it’s basically the pinnacle of immersion.

So what is it exactly that makes this feel real and what is even making this possible? Well there’s nothing like holograms projecting large landscapes for the user to interact with, what’s considered virtual reality at the moment are various models of VR headsets, basically like a large pair of goggles with little screens built in.

But then you might be asking what’s the difference between VR and sitting in front of a monitor? Well built into each headset are a series gyroscopesaccelerometers and magnetometers, which allow camera motions in game to follow the users head movements, that is if you look down in the direction of your feet so does your character pretty neat huh? Well yes and no, so far a major handicap in the current tech is that it still results in a number of users feeling dizzy or woozy after use , something which early attempts at VR headsets suffered heavily from. Another area in question is that scientists aren’t entirely sure exactly on the effects VR has on the brain and possible long term outcomes that this could lead to.

Even in this rather rudimentary form virtual reality has been receiving interest the world over, and as the technology continues to progress various aspects of reality will continually come to light.


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3 comments on “Reality in Video Games: Virtual Reality

  1. jamesmcginley15
    May 1, 2016

    As an avid gamer this technology excites me a lot and i can’t wait to try it once it becomes slightly more economically viable. Being able to be part of the environment i think can add a lot to not only gaming but many other things. I think this sort of technology is perfect for education and training purposes as being able to immerse yourself in what you are learning could greatly increase how much we take in. Imagine not learning history but being able to model it and look around what your textbook is telling you. I know you mention that this has other application and will talk about it in future blogs so i look forward to seeing what else you have found on the topic and I’m excited for what this technology currently brings and how we can improve upon it to make it even better.

    Like

  2. hanhhe
    May 8, 2016

    As much as I enjoyed your post of virtual reality and do think it is something we should concern more about in this fast moving technological age with consequences is a very uncertain thing. I am not quite sure what is your stand about VR in this post. There are many great features of technology that you mentioned but was not very well articulated on the point you were trying to make with the last two paragraph being slightly disconnected from the rest of the article. There is a great flow from the beginning on the development of video from being simple to being more sophisticated.

    Like

  3. roksaa
    May 8, 2016

    Loved the article, as i am a large game enthusiast myself.
    However, i am becoming more and more concerned with the level of immersion the human population is seeing as normal. I fear that one day more and more of the population would want to spend their time in Virtual reality rather than real life. I found a great blog for you to check out as it high lights some of the pros and cons of this ever-changing technology. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/the-good-and-the-bad-of-escaping-to-virtual-reality/385134/

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2016 by in Burwood - Wednesday 12pm.

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