Player immersion through VR

Player immersion through VR

This research thread allowed me to conduct some user focused research and some technical research. Many developers within the gaming and tech industry are ‘convinced Virtual Reality is the future of horror’ [4](Weber, 2016), therefore, it was essential I carried out some research into the types of VR sets available and what variety of fully immersive systems are out there too.

The first VR system I came across was a fully immersive flying simulator called Birdly. It is a full body contact simulator which keeps users fully immersed from playing with a variety of the user’s senses. The user is led on the platform with a VR headset on and with their hands strapped to the wings so they can make the movement of flapping their wings to fly, the machine itself actually moves up, down, side to side alongside having a fan blowing direct wind at users so it feels more realistic therefore making it more immersive.

From researching into fully immersive VR, I discovered ‘The Vision of Infinite Dimensions’ (VOID). The VOID is an immersive virtual reality gaming centre which has 60ft x 60ft rooms covered in foam, where people can physically play together in VR/ HR (hyper reality). The VOID engages users by offering a real time interactivity VR experience because the VR experiences they choose to play track their actual movements around the VR playground so as they are walking around and moving in real life, they are in the virtual world too.

WATCH THIS…Video of the VOID https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cML814JD09g

I also did some research into the current available VR headsets, this was essential because I’m aiming to developing a horror game for VR and i’ll be needing to do user testing with a VR headset. It appeared that the most popular and most common ones on the market were the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR and the Google Cardboard. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive appeared to be the more high end VR sets ranging from around £750 and more. However, Google Cardboard seems to be the cheapest and most feasible as they ranged from around £15. This then led me into doing some technical research for my project. I’ll be deploying my game to VR so it was key I knew how to implement the VR aspect. It appears to be pretty simple and just a case of downloading the google’s SDK to Unity, developing my game and then deploying it to VR and it should automatically work with the google cardboard VR headset. From downloading the SDK, i’ll receive additional features like head tracking, detection of user interaction with the system, distortion correction, spatialized audio, Daydream controller support, utilities and samples [5](Google VR SDK for unity, 2016).

From researching into what industry professionals have to say about this topic, I came across an interesting article with Jason Kingsley who is the CEO of British video game developer rebellion, he made some very significant points regarding player immersion through VR. Within an interview with CNBC, he stated that “Every form of entertainment up to this point, you have been an observer. With computer games you become the protagonist, but that only takes you so far. VR makes you no longer just a participant in terms of watching but you are present in this story,” [6](Image and Graham, 2016). I feel this reinforces that concept of how immersive VR is. Within this article Kingsley had also warned that there may be problems that need to be considered when developing games for virtual reality, “Will a horror game give you the same physiological reactions as being in a horrific situation for real? Horror movies can be very scary or very cathartic or very terrifying, but horror VR will take it beyond that and do we want to be entertained like that?” [7](Image and Graham, 2016). This was a very significant point to considering as I am developing a horror game for VR. Kingsley had also quoted that he doesn’t allow his developers to drive home for 30 minutes after being in VR. He mentioned a previous experience from when one of his staff members had been playing in VR for over 4 hours and had to ‘reload reality’ after because his sense of self was left behind in the game/ virtual world. This reinforces the fact of how immersive and impactful VR can be on users.

References:

[4]Weber, R. (2016) How VR horror games mess with your head. Available at: http://www.glixel.com/news/how-vr-horror-games-mess-with-your-head-w448049 (Accessed: 23 November 2016).

[5]Google VR SDK for unity (2016) Available at: https://developers.google.com/vr/unity/ (Accessed: 24 November 2016).

[6]Images, G. and Graham, L. (2016) VR could make horror games way too intense: CEO. Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/25/vr-games-could-traumatize-players-warns-ceo.html (Accessed: 24 November 2016).

[7]Images, G. and Graham, L. (2016) VR could make horror games way too intense: CEO. Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/25/vr-games-could-traumatize-players-warns-ceo.html (Accessed: 24 November 2016).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s