Interactive Technology: Oculus Rift

Virtual reality, the premise of exploring virtual worlds as if they were ‘real’. It’s an interactive technological medium sought by the masses for decades, with little success in terms of technology. The Oculus Rift, creation of one Palmer Luckey, is a virtual reality headset that promises to turn the tides in terms of this technology and as of recent years has grabbed the curiosity of its onlookers, having a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign and gaining the backing of industry professionals such as Markuss Persson (Creator of Minecraft), Gabe Newell (Co-founder of Valve Corporation) and John Carmack (id Software co-founder, and now CTO of Oculus VR, Inc).

This presents the first noteworthy attempt at such a technology in years and the resurgence of such a notion, gives us a great insight into the levels of interactivity and creation that this type of technology can achieve with the prowess of this generation. Imagine, being able to vividly explore virtual worlds, from deep dark dungeons to vibrant jungle environments and the type of immersive interaction that can occur from being so visually intertwined with a game in such a fashion. The avenues the technology presents extend far beyond gaming as a whole, from immersive product prototyping to visually educational material that could massively encourage learning on an entirely new scale, this technology could be revolutionary.

The games that it tends to support, are primarily those of a first-person orientation that put the player in the eyes of the protagonist. Using this technology on a game that had a third-person perspective, for example, wouldn’t be near as effective because you lose the immersion factor that the first-person perspective games give in terms of promoting realism.

(Gone Home, created by The Fullbright Company)

I think that in terms of interaction, being able to step into a game as immersively as this and to be able to optically experience various worlds within games as if they were real, it brings an entirely new level of play. Games of recent years and of the past were built with a specific viewpoint in mind, whether it be the aforementioned first or third person perspectives, with no real intention of utilising the most out of said perspective, but now you have this technology that will effectively allow players to interact with a gaming world as if it were their own and games being made specifically for this purpose of showing this off. Gone Home, a first-person interactive story adventure game developed by The Fullbright Company, would benefit triumphantly from this with the level of immersive detail in that the game presents in the way of searching through the in-game house as you look for clues to continue the games main narrative.

References

GamesIndustry International. 2014. Oculus Rift and the Virtual Reality Revolution. [online] Available at: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-12-18-oculus-rift-and-the-virtual-reality-revolution [Accessed: 9 Jan 2014].

Kickstarter. 2014. Oculus Rift: Step Into the Game. [online] Available at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game [Accessed: 9 Jan 2014].

Gonehomegame.com. 2014. Gone Home: A Story Exploration Video Game. [online] Available at: http://www.gonehomegame.com/ [Accessed: 9 Jan 2014].

 

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