What is virtual reality gaming?

Man holding controller and playing games

Virtual reality gaming is where a person can experience being in a three-dimensional environment and interact with that environment during a game. This is an essential part of the game.

Bio-sensing

ne way of detecting a person’s presence in a game is bio-sensing. These are small sensors which are attached to a data glove, suit or even the body and record movements made by that person in a 3D space. Those movements are interpreted by a computer and trigger a variety of responses within that space.

For example: you wear a data glove which has sensors attached to it. You wear this as part of a driving game. These sensors record the way your hand moves as part of this game, say, when turning the steering wheel in a particular direction.

These movements are fed back to a computer which then analyses the data and uses this to transform your actions into the appropriate responses on the screen.

It sounds a bit technical but it is a clever way of detecting the movements of a player during a game and using these to influence what goes on in that game. This means that you, the player, become a vital part of the game.

This is known as an ‘immersive experience’. If you have watched films such as ‘The Lawnmower Man’ then you will be familiar with the idea of a person exploring and interacting with objects in a virtual world. Technology has moved on since then so the experience is likely to be even better than that shown in the film.

3D internet

And let’s not forget the internet. There are games programmers who like the idea of a three dimensional internet in which you are able to explore websites in a dynamic way. Rather than clicking on a link and scanning the information on a web page you will be able to physically touch that page and manipulate it. Think of a web page as a location which you can explore at your leisure.

This type of interaction is seen in virtual worlds such as Second Life which allows you to socialise with others in a 3D environment. Second Life is discussed in more detail in a separate article.

Virtual reality languages

This is for you hardcore techies. There are several languages used in virtual reality which include:

  • VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language): this is the earliest VR language for the internet.
  • X3D: this has since replaced VRML
  • 3DML: this enables someone to visit a website via a plug in
  • COLLADA (Collaborative Design Activity): this allows file exchanges within 3D programmes.

It has been argued that a true virtual reality environment is based upon the use of a HMD (head mounted display) and/or data gloves. An internet based 3D world does not use any of this and so cannot be considered a virtual environment. But not everyone agrees with this statement.

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