Virtual Reality? Game On

GAMING HAS MOVED ON FROM PADS TO PHYSICAL FUN YOU CAN ALMOST TOUCH

For the future of gaming, we have our eyes out on VR, VIRTUAL REALITY, and mobile gaming, especially with the high level of expectations built around virtual reality we can only hope mobile, technology and telecom companies live up to it or lose their potential consumers forever.

Virtual reality gaming is where a person can experience being in a three-dimensional environment and interact with that environment (virtual world) during a game.

Virtual worlds are three-dimensional environments in which you can interact with others and create objects as part of that interaction. How do you do that? You appear as an avatar in the virtual world: an avatar is a virtual representation of you (a ‘virtual ego’) which can take on any shape or form as you so wish.

There are ranges of virtual worlds to choose from which include fantasy, sport, historical and science fiction. Some are loosely based on the real world but others such as fantasy worlds are as the name says: they are completely disconnected from the real world which is also part of their attraction.

With virtual worlds, men appear as women and vice versa. Some people choose an animal as their alter ego. Whatever you choose the aim is to socially interact with other people in new and exciting ways. This all adds to the experience.

In 1935, American science fiction writer Stanley G Weinbaum described something like virtual reality in a short story called Pygmalion’s Spectacles.

“But listen – a movie that gives one sight and sound. Suppose now I add taste, smell, even touch; is your interest is taken by the story? Suppose I make it so that you are in the story, you speak to the shadows, and the shadows reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it. Would that be to make real a dream?”

PALMER LUCKEY AND HIS PROTOTYPEHT

PALMER LUCKEY AND HIS PROTOTYPEHT

Virtual reality returned in 2010, when American teenager Palmer Luckey created the first prototype of a VR headset that would evolve into the Oculus Rift. Two years later, he launched a $250,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to commercialise it – and $2.4m of pledges later, the tech industry’s interest in VR was reborn. Two years after that, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, liked the Rift so much he bought the company for $2bn. Stiff competition has emerged since then, from the

HTC Vive – Thedevice is a partnership between Taiwanese tech firm HTC and the games company Valve. Valve added a dedicated VR category to its existing Steam digital games store, while HTC has just launched its Viveport site for non-gaming apps.

Price: N 243,679/ $799 /£759; It includes the headset, two wireless hand-controllers, two base stations and a link box to connect it to your computer.

Some games to try:

 Job Simulator: a big word-of-mouth hit; its 2050 setting simulates jobs taken over by robots

The Brookhaven Experiment: survival-based horror game with plenty of monsters – and scares

Fantastic Contraption: originally a 2D machine-building puzzler, this works beautifully in 3D and VR

Jaunt VR: a great range of made-for-VR videos, from documentaries to music

Apollo 11 VR: clever historical app that puts you in the moon landing mission

and Sony’s PlayStation VR

VR race is Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, which launched in October 2016 as an accessory for the PlayStation 4 games console. Both the PlayStation 4 and new PlayStation 4 Pro are compatible with the headsets, but the pro will run VR games at higher screen resolutions and frame rates. PlayStation VR will use the PS4’s standard console controller, the DualShock 4, but you’ll need the N18,298 / $60 PlayStation Camera accessory too.

Price: N121,687/ $399 /£350 for the headset, processor unit, earphones and cables.

 to smartphone-powered headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard.

Some games to try:

Rez Infinite: brilliant reboot of classic rhythm game Rez

Batman: Arkham VR: crime-solving strategy with the Dark Knight

Superhypercube: “first-person puzzler” with trippy graphics

Job Simulator: a big word-of-mouth hit; its 2050 setting simulates jobs taken over by robots

We cannot for certain place our hands on where virtual reality is headed even in terms of gaming and outside it. As technology companies and its affiliates are fast paced in the direction of development riding on virtual realities train.

“This is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face to face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg.(Co-founder of Facebook)

Some virtual reality terms:

VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language): this is the earliest VR language for the internet.

X3D: this has since replaced VRML

3DML: this enables someone to visit a website via a plug in

COLLADA (Collaborative Design Activity): this allows file exchanges within 3D programmes.