The Star Trek holodeck was pure science fiction, but we’re getting closer to making it reality. Or, to be precise, Virtual Reality. It is no secret that VR is the next big thing in gaming, in the movie industry, in social media, but also for military or medical purposes. Just a few weeks ago, Oculus, the virtual reality company that was bought by Facebook, launched its Oculus Rift System, which is supposed to lead VR into an new era. It includes a game controller, camera and headset. Affordable for most people, it is more than just a gaming device. Mark Zuckerberg claims it will facilitate a whole new way of communication and reform social platforms as we know them.
Scaringly lifelike – Vitual Reality Games
Due to recent technical developments, the computer-simulation of environments has become more and more lifelike. Sometimes scaringly lifelike – if you’re not used to encountering zombies eye-to-eye. At this point, the only thing preventing Virtual Reality games from becoming a mainstream phenomenon are the high prices of the devices needed. Developers and designers keep coming up with new ways of tackling that problem, of making immersion possible and of creating alternative realities. At the indie gaming festival A MAZE, some of the most innovative independent game developers discussed their ideas and recents developments in Virtual Reality.
Virtual Reality, the Dream Machine
Before Virtual Reality, it was only the brain that could be transported into another world, for example by books or movies. VR now makes that experience possible for the body, too. This is why creating interaction and giving feedback is so important. Feedback systems are crucial to make the experience more believable: it can be sound effects, visible feedback or haptic feedback. This is one of the topics discussed in the panel „Imagine VR is a Dream Machine“ at the A MAZE.
Daniel Ernst (The Shoebox Diorama), Niki Smit (Deep) and Sara Lisa Vogl (Lucid Trips) are responsible for some of the most innovative Virtual Reality games out there. Moderated by Thomas Bedenk (Virtual Reality Consultant at Exozet Berlin), they speak about their own challenges and their visions for the future of the technology.
Unicorns and Selfie Tennis
VRUnicorns are a crazy bunch of semi-professional game jammers who are dedicated to making weird Virtual Reality games featuring sports. Sports, as they say themselves, they don’t have any clue about. So the goal is not to have the most realistic experience, but the most fun. As they try it out on stage, you can hear without a doubt that this works. SelfieTennis is now an HTC Vive launch game on Steam and the next game from VRUnicorns, SkiJump was developed for the founder of A MAZE himself. The VRUnicorns are: Horatiu Roman, Milan Grajetzki, Andreas Jörgensen and Julie Heyde.
Foto: Maurizio Pesce on flickr