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Thread: When Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) are Mainstream...

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    Default When Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) are Mainstream...

    Sony has an HMD on the market right now, but from what I understand, it's not quite what we all expected "virtual reality" to be. HMDs still have a lot of shortcomings, but they're getting closer to that grand vision of total immersion. The significance of Sony's unit is that the resolution isn't the laughable 256x160 or so that a lot of other HMDs have had. It's actually 720p, and stereoscopic. It still doesn't fill the entire field of vision, which is the next obstacle that needs to be addressed. When we see affordable HMDs that have wraparound FOV, I think we'll begin to see games designed specifically to take advantage of them.

    I don't think this is far off at all. Combine the mythical "mainstream HMD" with Kinect for head and limb tracking and you have the 1990s dream of virtual reality. When we get there, what kinds of games would most benefit from it? How would achieving that goal affect gaming? How would the control scheme for a first-person game translate, given the fact that you still can't get up and walk around or turn your head all the way around?

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    ServBot (Level 11) jb143's Avatar
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    I've been wondering for years when HMDs were going to make a come back. I know they've still been around, just not mainstream. Obviously games where you don't need to move around much would benefit the most but I'm unsure why you say there would a technical limitation about not being able to turn your head all the way around.
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    Sony has been making small VR type devices since the early '90s, and they still haven't caught on, they're for specialized purposes. I for one would love it if virtual reality came back in a big way, but the sci-fi expectations of the technology just can't compete with the current level of sophistication available with this kind of hardware. At least modern VR helmets aren't the nose-crushing nightmares they used to be. I've got a VictorMaxx Stuntmaster VR helmet for the SNES/Genesis, and I can see why they never took off. The refresh rate of the screens is abysmal, the resolution is painfully low, the head tracking is a joke, there's no stereoscopic vision, and the weight of the unit rests on the bridge of your nose which makes it uncomfortable in less than a minute. And these things cost hundreds of dollars when they came out! You might as well mount a Game Gear on a frame an inch from your eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NayusDante View Post
    Sony has an HMD on the market right now, but from what I understand, it's not quite what we all expected "virtual reality" to be. HMDs still have a lot of shortcomings, but they're getting closer to that grand vision of total immersion. The significance of Sony's unit is that the resolution isn't the laughable 256x160 or so that a lot of other HMDs have had. It's actually 720p, and stereoscopic. It still doesn't fill the entire field of vision, which is the next obstacle that needs to be addressed. When we see affordable HMDs that have wraparound FOV, I think we'll begin to see games designed specifically to take advantage of them.

    I don't think this is far off at all. Combine the mythical "mainstream HMD" with Kinect for head and limb tracking and you have the 1990s dream of virtual reality. When we get there, what kinds of games would most benefit from it? How would achieving that goal affect gaming? How would the control scheme for a first-person game translate, given the fact that you still can't get up and walk around or turn your head all the way around?
    The most obvious ones will be anything first-person, so shooters and Skyrim-like RPGs, air combat games. You could perhaps directly translate flight simulators to them. But I think it would be great for arcade-style gaming of really any kind, even if it's not in first person. Of course a lot of games, at least as a kid, felt like they were approaching "VR" (all around screen) because I wasn't used to the size of screens used like for Star Blade.

    The Sony HMZ-T1 looks pretty good and definitely the best yet. They're using OLED screens and it has decent headphones, I read. I would think playing a lot of games or watching movies would be good with that device. It can hookup to anything with HDMI.

    With an improvement on Kinect-like interface you could implement so many things in a more naturalistic way so that it was like you were doing it in life. The videogamey-ness would decrease more as you lift yourself up a ledge in a naturalistic fashion, while your friends watch with amusement. It may be too comical to ever take off. You certainly can't post about it on forums without people laughing.

    I think though you could have a less ridiculous interfact that used Kinect and VR-situated controls, where you'd point to areas and buttons around your field of view, which would act as different actions in the game (such as blocking), which wouldn't require really trying to act out a blocking move. But it may still look ridiculous.

    Another issue is whether gamers just like to use plastic controls in their hands. They're certainly used to it, but at the same time there's limitations on how many buttons can comfortably be pressed and contained on a single pad during gameplay. Playing Gun Nac tonight on the NES I was reminded of how enjoyable just two button gaming is. I certainly dislike having to think about the controls as I play.

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    Another thing is that games are geared around the fast button mashing that we currently got. Fighters and first person shooters especially. You have the entire game based around the controls, the ability to hit different buttons close together fast and perform sudden changes in movement which don't really translate to any other interface.

    So it will just have to be new kinds of games if this ever takes off. Without tracking body movements, though, I would think it would be mostly superfluous, no more than a vision version of headphones.

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    I could almost see the tech working in a similar way as laser tag in a VR arena of sorts. An indoor area with motion tracking built into the ceilings or walls and actual objects that would provide real tactical feedback for obstacles, weapons, and such.

    The only limitations(in general) would probably be in some people getting motion sickness. I've also heard that you have to train yourself to keep your eyes looking straight ahead or the 3d illusion goes away.
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    I'd never really thought about flight sims, but that's actually perfect. I mentioned the difficulty with turning all the way around because you typically game sitting down, and wires would get in the way of spinning around all the time. In a plane cockpit, you don't get up and move around, so the issue is negated. From that model, the next Steel Battalion would definitely be fun with an HMD.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Leo_A's Avatar
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    Head Mounted Displays are never going to be anything but novelties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post
    Head Mounted Displays are never going to be anything but novelties.
    i kinda agree with that notion... we'll just skip straight to the projected room that turns a room into whatever we are playing (like you see in the movie Jason X)

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    Well, considering that we've gone from bulky boxes strapped to your face that are wired into a PC to sleek sunglasses you can connect to a iPhone....and with Google's augmented reality glasses they just demoed...who knows what will be next. I'm pretty sure even video games themselves were once just considered novelties. Only time will tell.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Collector_Gaming View Post
    i kinda agree with that notion... we'll just skip straight to the projected room that turns a room into whatever we are playing (like you see in the movie Jason X)
    That would be even more of a novelty. The normal person doesn't even have an empty room to dedicate to a 360 degree projector setup for starters. And how would it handle things like corners of a room? And what would be the appeal to start with other than being 360 degrees? Having the cockpit of a racecar being displayed on the walls for instance hardly seems appealing when those walls might be 10 feet or more away from you.

    Head mounted displays make much more sense than that. But I'm quite sure we're going to have tv's and be playing games on them for many more decades to come.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 04-17-2012 at 05:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post
    That would be even more of a novelty. The normal person doesn't even have an empty room to dedicate to a 360 degree projector setup for starters. And how would it handle things like corners of a room? And what would be the appeal to start with other than being 360 degrees? Having the cockpit of a racecar being displayed on the walls for instance hardly seems appealing when those walls might be 10 feet or more away from you.
    .
    not simply a projector that beams a image on a wall.. but more so a hologram that fills a room. So everything looks like its actually there.. So even if your in Chicago you can feel like your in tokyo without being there.

    And it will happen in the future.. and you ask where the hell you gonna put something like that. Well as we all know when a demand shows for something. People will create adaptations to accommodate that demand.. even if it means tearing down apartment buildings and then rebuilding those buildings just for the purpose. (look at vegas always changing its casinos just to keep up with what people expect out of a vegas vacation)

    IN THE FUTURE!!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Collector_Gaming View Post
    not simply a projector that beams a image on a wall.. but more so a hologram that fills a room.
    The problem with that scenario is that holograms do not project...at least not in the way we think of as seen in movies and such. Almost everything we think we know about holograms is a lie.

    That's not to say that some other volumetric display technology couldn't fake the effect you're after but it more than likely wouldn't be a hologram.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Never putting something on my head just to play a game. it even bugs me to have sunglasses on or headphones. Nor will I jump like a moron in front of a TV (also would kill me and get my pacemaker going)
    head displays always have and always will be a novelty gimmick that will never take off

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    ServBot (Level 11) jb143's Avatar
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    By the way...here's the sunglasses style ones I was referring to...
    http://www.vuzix.com/home/

    The Sony hmd's I've seen are a bit bulkier...though probably a bit more immersive.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Collector_Gaming View Post
    not simply a projector that beams a image on a wall.. but more so a hologram that fills a room. So everything looks like its actually there.. So even if your in Chicago you can feel like your in tokyo without being there.
    Like jb143 said, that's the domain of Hollywood film makers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post
    Like jb143 said, that's the domain of Hollywood film makers.
    anythings possible when given time

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    There are definitely better possibilities for VR than in the 90's, but I don't see it catching on. Why would I want to stand up while playing an FPS? It would be nice to have goggles for a flight-sim, but then you would need a better control panel to get the feel. I'm hoping AR becomes more prevalent. The tech is already there, and the "google glasses" add a whole dimension. I'm picturing a scenario in which those glasses are used in a laser tag arena. The glasses would project and highlight features (reload, armor, bonus areas) and show a HUD of your current stats. Sure it's not amazing, but the tech is already there. Once a company like Lazertron makes the glasses in a rugged design, it's basically done.
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