So I’m sure everyone knows what Virtual Reality is, see my other article: What Can Virtual Reality Do For Us if you don’t. I’m more than a little bit excited about the possibilities of Virtual Reality. The limits are only restricted to people’s imaginations and a person’s ability to use the devices for lengthy amounts of time (which is the main reason we don’t have a consumer version of the Rift yet).
Ok, now onto my Top 5!
When I say simulators I don’t mean games like Farming Simulator, I mean simulators intended to teach you how to actually do something e.g. a flight simulator. This is because it will give you the feeling of you actually being there doing the task. At the moment the are some developments in the technology that would be needed to achieve the true potential, like making it possible to know where your arms are (Control VR are making a device capable of this) so that you are able to flick one of the switches found in the cockpit of some planes.
Also, I’d love to have the ability to pair VR devices like the Rift together with a simulator chair so that you are able to experience the movements of a vehicle and the Rift works out the movements created by the chair cancelling it out so that only your voluntary movements are shown in the game. At the moment, I would say that virtual reality is more or less ready for using in driving simulators to some degree, as seen in Project Cars which has Rift integration, whereas some of the other types still need development in the technologies.
This is something that probably won’t happen, or at least not until you can be fully inserted into the virtual world (a technology that allows you to obtain the senses of the character in the film). There is something interesting about experiencing the film through the eyes of the protagonist, another thing which could immerse you even further supposing the technology allows it is to insert the thoughts of the character into the viewer.
I do not see this happening anytime soon because not only do we not have the technology to support most of these things, also going to watch a film is normally seen as a social activity which will not be possible whilst wearing a VR headset or being fully immersed in the film.
The subject of VR has come up in films before, I have just re-watched eXistenZ (1999) starring Jude Law. In the film, there is a group of beta testers at a meet up with the game’s developer and after an attack two of the characters need to check whether the video game system has been damaged or its code corrupted. The idea of forgetting which world is real is brought up, which is interesting as this might be the case that people get so enthralled by a VR world and forget that it is virtual.
Trailer for eXistenZ
3. Exercise Games
We’ve seen exercise games from the Kinect and Wii U, but what I would like to see is a game where you are immersed in a world which allows you to exercise while you play. The hardware you will need for this is already in development; all you would need is the Oculus Rift and the Omni which will allow you to track both the movements of your head and the movements of your legs allowing for an experience where you could be virtually running from zombies or running on a beach with an exercise partner.
I don’t know about you, but exercise is something I can never get the drive to devote enough time to. If I had a game like this I would be more likely to exercise more if it offers something that will help keep me focused.
2. Cutscene Integration
When the Oculus Rift is stable enough for story driven games, developers of RPGs could alter the conversations in cutscenes based on where the player is looking. Maybe it could be that you are looking at a piece of machinery and someone will explain what you do. Or your view may drift to a female character’s cleavage and you would get slapped by her or she would make a comment. This is something that could add so much interactivity into games and allow you to immerse yourself into your surroundings, while also giving people a way of having a different playthrough to others.
Drum Roll… And the Winner is:
Number 1: Full Immersion
I would love to have the technology like seen in Sword Art Online (see my article: Sword Art Online: Could There be a Real ‘Murder Game’?). In the anime they have the NerveGear which intercepts the messages your brain gives to your body and calculates it and returns false messages tricking your brain into thinking that you are actually in the game. Unfortunately, this will not be achievable any time soon. There are VR headsets that are in development only take the movements of your head using gyroscopes, while only returning visual feedback.
The possibilities with hardware like this are endless even allowing people with paralysis to experience walking again, or just being able to relax on an empty sunny beach with a beer after a long day in the office.
What would you like to see from VR in the future? What are your Top 5?