Virtual reality (VR) has been the first step in developing a truly immersive gaming experience for players to enjoy. With the ability for players to become absorbed in their gaming environment, whether they’re playing a few rounds of Fortnite or Overwatch, taking on the games for pleasure or profit in an online casino, or playing something personal offline. VR has a prominent future in the videogame industry, but what do we mean when we say that gaming is becoming more ‘immersive’, how is VR, beyond the surrounding of our vision, immersing us?
VR Helping Us To Understand Human Consciousness
While gaming platforms are integrating headsets and full-body experiences, scientists are looking at the possibility of connecting human brains with computers in order to create a form of super consciousness. With VR already having the ability to induce phantom sensations, scientists are utilising VR to gain a better understanding of human consciousness – information which can then be integrated into all walks of life, including the gaming industry. The experience of body ownership can be manipulated with the use of VR meaning the potential for neuroscience application could be game changing in the industry. It is already suggested that video gaming changes the brain’s function and even its structure and gaining a further understanding of how the brain works, gaming manufacturers are able to develop games which will keep their players hooked for longer, making them more immersive.
Stimulate Human Senses
Virtual environments benefit from obtaining a breadth of information which are presented as sensory dimensions. Every time a virtual environment is able to stimulate some form of human sense, it is able to receive this information and act upon it by introducing some form of audio or visual effect to further immerse the player. Touch is also becoming important, with the introduction of haptic systems. It is suggested that the brain engages with the virtual environment in order to predict the cause of these sensations – is something going to make them jump or are they going to need to react quickly to a situation? As virtual technology grows, the way human senses are stimulated will be more life-like.
Alongside standard headsets, the integration of full locomotion within a VR environment is an experience which is set to be released to the public. With Virtuix Omni being one of the first to be introduced to the market, there are still a number of ways that this particular piece of technology can be improved. While it provides an excellent capability for walking or even running during a game, the option to kneel or roll is far more limited, causing the player to remember that they are, in fact, not in-game. However, there are other locomotion-technologies which could be integrated into gaming, such as the Xenoma e-skin shirt which offers full body monitoring capabilities.
While room-scale VR systems are restrictive to the size of the room that the player is in, the Freedom Locomotion Controller Assisted On The Spot (COATS) Movement system is set to overcome this. The controllers and headset bounce are what helps to accurately determine movement in order to ensure that the player remains fully immersed at all times, while increasing speed is entirely dependent on how fast you jog and hand access is never restricted meaning players can fully interact with the virtual world without limitation.
As VR technology continues to be invested in, the way we interact with virtual gaming environments is set to become even more immersive. With better movement systems and some consideration situated with the addition of electric impulse bodysuits to the experience, players are set to feel as if they are in-game more than ever before.