When you think of the word “gamer”, what conjures up in your mind? Do you see a young adult, dressed immodestly with multiple piercings and dyed hair? A new stereotype has begun to form – that of the gamer. As it can be seen on TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, gamers are now obsessing over an entirely new medium: Virtual Reality.
This article will cover four ways the presence of this technology has changed and is continuing to change the gaming world.
It Creates a More Realistic Environment
Let’s face it–not everyone who plays video games is doing so because they want to experience something new and different. Many times, gamers play for the thrill of feeling like they are actually in their favorite game world. VR takes this idea to an entirely new level! Because of this, VR headset manufacturer Oculus has made great improvements in the video resolution quality of their headset. Whether you are choosing a Rift or Rift S headset from this manufacturer, you are assured of impressive graphics. Even though the original Rift has 1080 by 1200 resolution per eye compared to 1,440 by 1,280 or Rift S, you can see the environment around you in crisp detail. Not only does VR create more realistic environments than traditional forms of gaming could ever offer–it makes them feel much more “real” by allowing gamers to be completely immersed in the system.
This technology is not just limited to gaming, though. In fact, a Spanish art exhibition allowed users to step into a virtual world and experience a painting before it was even finished. This allowed people who had never even seen the picture before to get an idea of what it would look like while simultaneously sparking interest in the art community for this new form of expression. As opposed to creating two-dimensional characters and environments (which was more like painting on a flat canvas), VR provides developers with three-dimensional assets that they can mold and shape however they want. Not only can they create worlds more intricately than before, but they can also make them interactive in ways never seen before – such as making it possible to pick up and examine objects (with some limitations such as experiencing nausea similar to motion sickness). It sparks the creativity of many who would like nothing more than to bring their imagination to life in a virtual space.
It Can Be Used to Revolutionize Education and Gaming
Learning can be fun! Researchers have been trying to figure out how to make education more engaging for students for quite some time now–and they may have found the answer with virtual reality technology. The traditional classroom setting has been around since long before anyone currently attending school was born–and it is not going away anytime soon. However, VR technology has been used in some educational settings to create exciting learning programs for children. In addition to being more engaging, virtual reality can also help people get a better visual of what they are learning about. This way, students do not have to rely on words and text to understand a concept–instead, they can see it with their own eyes.
For many years, storytelling in games was limited to two dimensions. Games like Half-Life (1998), would display cutscenes that told the story between levels, but it could only be imagined what characters were feeling or thinking beyond what was displayed on the screen. The player’s imagination allowed them to form their own narrative by combining hints from the surroundings with clues given throughout the dialogue. However, with VR technology, game designers are now provided with the ability to blend both mediums together. They can display what a character is feeling or thinking on-screen while leaving room for imagination.
Control or Enhance a User’s Senses
VR provides an immersive experience that combines all the elements that affect human behavior and response – sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. While it is true that these senses can be applied through other mediums such as movies and theater, they cannot be controlled to such an extent or in such detail. It allows for much greater control than what was possible with traditional filmmaking and it brings about many ethical concerns.
Multiplayer Experiences in Virtual Space
Although current VR technology prevents multiplayer interactions within a single headset (where two players deal with separate screens), there are possibilities for future development where the player feels like they’re sharing the same virtual space with another player.
As technology advances, so do the possibilities of what can be created to allow for more immersive experiences. While VR is still in its early stages, it has already sparked an interest amongst designers and gamers alike. Interested parties are now discussing the ethical implications that come with using VR as a storytelling medium or designing virtual spaces that could harm someone’s psyche. With much potential yet to explore, the future of VR looks promising – even if there are minor setbacks along the way…