It takes a lot of sophistication to fool your brain into thinking that it's inside a virtual world, but somehow, the Oculus Rift has managed to make it work.
The FlyVIZ headset may not make you stronger than a speeding bullet, or faster than a tall building, or able to leap locomotives in a single bound, but it will give you the superpower of being able to see all around you at once. What does this mean? You can dodge balls thrown at you from behind! Take that, evil Throwing-Balls-At-People-From-Behind Man!
Microsoft has filed a patent application hinting to their plans for the future of gaming. It uses a sensor like the Xbox Kinect combined with a projection system that projects gameplay beyond your television to the surrounding room.
Virtual reality was never able to rise above a gimmick. While the technology is used in some pretty impressive ways, one area where it's always appeared a perfect fit but never found any real purchase is powering video game worlds that are immersive like nothing else before them. Why? Well, that's hard to say. Maybe for as immersive as the environments were supposed to be, the graphics weren't there yet. Maybe the engines powering the games of yesteryear didn't have gameplay that was right for an on-your-face display. Or just maybe, you know, people don't really want to wear big bulky headsets while they play a game. Well, all those hurdles look like they can be cleared with today's technology, and several companies are working on VR for gaming in a major way. Here we present our 10 picks for video games perfectly suited for this emerging, quirky tech.
In a journalistic sphere that's prone to hyperbole, the term "game changer" is one we hear too damn often. Then again, the opportunity to play Doom 3: BFG Edition in a 3D VR headset doesn't come along terribly often. At Quakecon, that's exactly what we got to do. Sitting down with John Carmack, id Software's Co-Founder and Technical Director, is an experience in itself. Carmack is a living legend who is credited, along with his team at id, for making first person shooters a thing with Wolfenstein 3D. Even as he approaches his 42nd birthday, his aura is that of a whiz kid whose enthusiasm is unmatchable. At Quakecon, Carmack showed us an engineering prototype of the Oculus Rift, the wildly successful Kickstarter project started by Palmer Luckey and the rest of Oculus.
Virtual reality failed in the 80s because the technology to enable full immersive gaming wasn't ready. With today's high resolution 3D displays, advanced head tracking and greatly reduced latency, VR can finally stand a chance. The Oculus Rift headset is VR's poster child.
Google Glass is only the very first, very clunky stab at a future where our entire reality is augmented by electronics. We're already working on contact lenses with built-in displays, and it really is just a matter of time until such technology becomes the norm. This concept video explores that future, only it takes a slightly sinister turn.
The reason 3D sucks is that it's usually not 3D. It's 2D, plus a token smidge of depth. True 3D is something that you can walk entirely around and seamlessly view from all sides, which is what you'll find in this life-sized telepod that can project an entire person straight into your living room.
Back at CES, we met a company called Innovega, who was busy working on some special contact lenses that could enable previously impossible virtual and augmented reality devices. The BBC is reporting that DARPA has just placed an order for prototypes, and Innovega says you'll be able to buy yours by the end of 2014.
That much-vaunted "retina display" on Apple's new iPad is pretty fancy, but at nearly 10 inches diagonal and weighing 1.5 pounds, you have to deal with a huge piece of hardware. Instead, wouldn't you rather have a display with the same number of pixels in less than an inch of space? Sure you would!