Great News For Gamers!
The quickly emerging 3D world of virtual reality will soon be receiving one of the most anticipated virtual reality goggles, the Oculus Rift. I hope this article will serve as an overview of what to expect from the latest virtual reality technology on the horizon.
Virtual reality goggles work by mimicking the function of the eyes on perception. The human brain interprets two separate images introduced by the optic nerves connected to each eye. Because eyes are in two slightly different positions on the face, humans see two slightly different images that the brain processes into one 3D image.
VR goggles have two tiny screens (one for each eye) located in the headset. Each screen displays a similar, minimally altered image and in return, the mind is able to perceive a 3D virtual world.
Sensors located in the headset are able to track movement so that when the player turns their head, the game will transmit a visual corresponding to the direction they are trying to look in. In this way, the player will have the sense of being physically in the game.
Oculus Rift has been in development for quite a while and was made possible by a Kickstarter that had thousands pledge a total of almost 2.5 million dollars to aid its founders. The original creator was a teenage college student looking to make and market a better VR headset than the ones that had previously been released for his own very limited audience. His product has come a long way since then and has now been bought out by the owner of Facebook.
The headset comes with detachable headphones so the gamer has options. They can either use the headphones that come with the goggles or they can choose the hearing apparatus that they prefer to use.
Oculus Rift was not developed for any gaming system, so in order to play consumers will need to buy an advanced gaming computer if they don’t already own one. The reason for needing a computer with optimum specs is that the headset will be generating two different images and that can be a lot for the computer to process, not to mention the 3D world within the games will likely be much more technical than the average PC game.
Oculus Rift can be used with almost any gaming controller and even a regular computer mouse. A relatively expensive controller called the “Touch” is available on the market to enhance the 3D gaming experience. This particular controller is designed to better correlate the actions of the player’s hands to how they would be moving and reacting if the game world was the real world.
Even though the first shipments of Oculus Rift will go out on March 28th of this year and the product is now available for pre-order, it may be best to wait before pre-ordering one. The pre-order price right now is $599, but just like most technology, it will probably go down in price after some time has passed.
The $599 may seem like a hefty price tag to pay for playing computer games, but considering other lower quality headsets have sold for much more in the past, Oculus Rift doesn’t seem to be such a bad deal. All the same, it will probably drop in price within the next year, so it may be best to hold off on buying it for a while.
Another reason not to rush into buying it is there aren’t currently a lot of well-known computer game development companies that have games for it. Because of the advanced technology that goes into designing a compatible game, it will take large quantities of time and money to make a respectable game that works with the Oculus Rift.
There are a few games that will be available at the same time Oculus Rift becomes available to consumers, but most are made by independent companies, not the companies that have already risen to prominence in the gaming world, so the quality of the first available games could be questionable.
Jaunt is a cinematic entertainment company that focuses on providing its consumers with a more passive form of virtual reality entertainment. Over thirty million dollars of funding has gone into this business that early on identified the potential demand for non-gaming forms of virtual reality.
Movie makers around the world are creating videos that will make their viewers feel like they are in the middle of whatever they are watching. Jaunt’s goal is not to make movies exclusively for Oculus Rift, but most of their materials will be compatible with the Oculus Rift.
Jaunt is creating content that is 3-D but also offers panoramic only options as well. What this means is some productions will interact with the users; those with the proper virtual reality goggles will be able to move around and manually look in the direction of their choice.
In panoramic-only entertainment, the viewer will be able to have a similar experience, but they will not be able to control the movement of the camera, so it will be more like watching a 3-D movie than interacting with it. Entertainment currently in development for Jaunt includes concerts, shows, movies, and never before experienced exploration aimed at making simulated reality feel true to life.
Because most movies made for Jaunt can be made fairly easily by recording live action scenes with the proper type of equipment, there will probably be a larger menu of movie-type experiences versus games early on. Just like the entertainment, we enjoy now, video games usually require the use of computer-generated imagery, whereas most movies require far less.
Demos that have been released by Jaunt include a concert with Paul McCartney where he sings “Live and Let Die,” almost making the viewer feel like they are on the stage with the musical performer and an exploratory world from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” In this virtual world, the viewer can have a virtual tour of the Shire and get a feel of life in Middle Earth.
As virtual reality rapidly develops, its safe to say the next few years will be revolutionary to gaming and film industries.