A World within Ours

Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015 (E3) has taken over the scene with all new and amazing advancements in virtual reality gaming. Located in Los Angeles, they have brought a conglomeration of gaming generations to their event.  WT | Wearable Technologies is curious about the expansion of interaction with the body, motion control, and sensing technology in order to produce a successful virtual reality (VR) experience.

Nod Backspin is the first mulitplatform hand-held gaming controller released at E3 Conference this week. The design is top of the line; fitting perfectly in your hand.  Nod Backspin is created for VR gaming with low latency, sub-millimeter accuracy hand tracking, and traditional joystick and analog controls. They have raised the bar on what future immersive controllers must feel like to the user, seamless. It is available for sale at $149.

 Oculus Touch is a head held controller that is designed alongside Facebook and Windows 10. It is compatable with the frontier of Virtual Reality headsets, Oculus Rift. Together they combined into an immersive gaming experience. Oculus Touch recognizes normal hand gestures, like waving and thumbs up, from both hands. Any gesture made by your real body will be mimiced into the VR digital avatar.

The goal is to augment the users experience to include more than just the sense of sight. Therefore, Oculus Touch will allow the user play any Oculus game while standing or sitting. Oculus hopes to release The Touch to market in about 12 months.  They predict it to cost no more than $1,500. The most exciting new is that by that time Oculus will be compatible with Xbox 1.

Starbreeze has been diligently working on Project StarVR. This project is a collaboration with Starbreeze game and entertainment software development skills and InfinitEye’s hardware expertise and capabilities. The intimidation of StarVR headset is what allows them to stand out to the rest of the VR wearables.  The creators specifically designed StarVR to include peripheral vison, meaning they cover 210 degrees of horizontal vision. They have set a new standard to how immersive VR gaming can become. The question is can your senses handle it?

Microsoft introduced HoloLens with a demo in their infamous game, Minecraft. Imagine playing a game while staring at nothing on your table… in the near future it will be common place to do this. They call it: interacting with a holographic world. You can tell HoloLens to ‘Create World,’ and watch a game world unfold right before your eyes. The hologram is 3D and able to provide the user with different perspectives. You can also play alongside other Minecraft users; who might be playing on the basic flat screen. Essentially, any HoloLens user can play the role of digital God. It’s surprisinly simple, just say ‘lighting strike’ and you will see a lighting blot blow through the ground and into a brothel, or to turn a pig into a zombie pig. HoloLens’ ability to provide feedback from audio actions, and display it in front of the wearer is precisely the optimal immersion experience which VR developers and testers are experimenting with.

Fove received an amazing amount of crowdfunding feedback in their Kickstarter campaign for real-time eye tracking VR headset. The first of its kind, you can already see how enthralled the market is to incorporate smarter VR headsets to the gaming industry. They currently have over 1,000 supporters and nearly half of their final goal of $250,000.


Not only does Fove track your eye movement, but it can recognize your emotions. Your physiological data is fed through AI algorithms to enhance positive emotions and decrease negative emotions. Fove has also experimented with integrating Fove headset to assist people with motor disabilities.

HTC RE headset, Vive, announced that their VR headset will be available for sale by the end of 2015, perfect for holiday presents!  Vive is based on Steam VR. HTC has designed Vive to enhance users’ vision, and audio senses. This will allow users to feel as though they have traveled to another world.  HTC was a hot topic at E3 Conference, and is sure to become a huge hit to gamers as soon as it hits market.

Manus Machina introduced the frist consumer VR glove at E3. The gloves contain wireless sensor data transmission, motion tracking, and flex sensors along the fingers. The price for pre-orders is around $280. Desirable for game developers because it is completely open source. Batteries last for around 5 hours with a full charge.

Bethesda, the software creators of Fallout, spoke about their improvements to Fallout 4. For those that are unfamiliar with RoboCo Pip Boy (Personal Information Processor) he is a modern graphic that can store large amounts of information, and transfer data to and from holodisks. This is helpful for the explorer to find their way and to become an all-around survivalist. Bethesda announced for Fallout 4, Pip-Boy will be a wearable second screen system which not only looks nerdy and awesome, but it is compatible with most gaming consoles. The idea is to enhance the logic of RoboCo like stats, items, data, and maps that assist the gamer. This fun addition to Fallout4, is the ability to play game tapes inside Pip-Boy.

A lot of the hardware for VR systems is provided with the appropriate technology. It seems like the next step to prefect VR is to develop specific VR games. This means creating new games that are fun, and filled with beautiful graphical art to enhance the users’ believability. A VR game that was released at E3 Conference is EVE: Valkyrie, an all immersive game where you are dropped face first into a heavily armed fighter. It is said to be the most realistic dogfighting game available on any platform.

 

NoonVR is another second screen VR headset. They did not showcase their headset at E3, because it wasn’t until about a month after the event that they launched NoonVR. The integrated VR experience allows for wearers to upload, share, stream, or download videos with their app. The NoonVR mobile app works for both OS and Android smartphones. Users can browse and watch any video stored on their phones in VR mode. The headset is now available for purchase on Amazon and the NoonVR website for $89.

However, at the moment, many games are violent leading to a lack of child-friendly games. Developers must keep in mind the psychology of gaming ethics, while users should be aware of user etiquette. For example, if you are eating crunchy food while wearing the Oculus Rift and watching a Netflix movie -other people in the audience can hear you munch. There is even etiquette for by-standers watching the user move in a virtual world. The number one rule is: if you get hurt by the person wearing a headset, then it’s your fault.  Nonetheless, the improvement of VR gaming has shot beyond the moon within the last two years. It is exciting to think of the entertainment possibilities available for purchase within the near future.