Edit: on reflection, the sensation was remarkably similar to how it feels when dreaming. Signals from the real world can intrude on your experience (e.g. running into physical objects can cause pain in dreams), but it doesn't break the feeling of immersion. There's that strange mental transition point in a dream where you get dunked under water but realize that you can still breathe; the same thing happens in VR.
I often wondered whether you could truely resent someone after having dreamed of him doing something horrible for example.
I wonder if the world of VR circa 2018 will be a bit like the state of mobile dev in 2008. It makes me think there will be a huge demand for 3D artists and programmers as companies suddenly decide they need their own VR experience, as they did with mobile apps 6 or 7 years ago. If so, now might be a good time to start getting some experience with 3D design and development.
required viewing: existenz
For a second there, we may have actually had to worry about revolt.
Yesterday, the Gates Foundation annual report was linked to from HN. It explained how the world is getting better fast and that extreme poverty could be a thing of the past in a few decades.
So please, go ahead explain and try to justify your claim that the world just gets worse!
The only way this could be resolved is with the middle and lower classes doing something, and these VR things are probably going to be the most effective bread and circuses we're ever going to see.
The oppression is either there or coming, soon.
Ready player one!
(comedy answer: It's like Payday!)
As far as I know, Valve does not currently plan to make it into a product (though they leave the door open if they feel it becomes necessary, as with steam machines). From what they've said so far, Valve's intention is to work with Oculus for consumer VR products.
That is a interesting topic because from the interviews with Palmer that I have read there seems to be a big disconnect between Oculus and Valve. It would make sense though because Oculus's success would help line Valve's pockets.
Interesting times ahead.
On the other hand, if you do actually plan to do development then by all means get a dev kit right now; don't wait for the next release. You need to try it as soon as possible because it's going to take a lot of time and experience to figure out how to convert your ideas into usable VR games and interfaces. Any development done now will transfer directly to the final consumer product.
The main difference to non-VR 3D programming work is that getting latency down is much more important, so your priorities shift a bit. The real difference is in thinking of whether you can do cool new user interface stuff.
So in that sense, your question is a bit misplaced. You need to know about 3D development in general. Once you know that, the delta of what you need on top of that is very small, and everything you need can be found on the Oculus developer site.
Now, what decade is Gabe Newell obsessed with?
Maybe a dedicated-room version like an Omni with curved tracks and padded walls. You buy a 4x4m base and install it in a room in your house?
Colleague suggested a frame that suspends you off the ground, then mechanical boots or splints on your leg that give your feet feedback and convince you that you're running and jumping.
End game is a direct feed to the brain to convince your limbs that they're moving?
Or maybe Thalmic Myos on each limb to track the intent of your limbs? That would lack feedback unless you wore a tactile suit.
I think like any technology it has multiple uses, good & evil; its up to us to decide how we use it.
It's strange; I have not yet found an actually useful support forum for this stuff.
Real life is obviously the benchmark for immsersiveness, but we don't consider it possible to be addicted to living in the real world. We might consider some to be "adrenaline junkies" for pursuing dangerous aspects of real life, but we say they are addicted to a certain chemical the body produces rather than life.
Books are one of the least immersive forms of entertainment widely consumed in that the interface is through abstract symbols. Still, they allow us to experience things that we are unlikely to encounter in our own lives. They engage our imagination and are indeed addictive. A good book lets you almost live another life.
Theater and film are, in most ways, more immersive than books. Instead of forcing us to construct everything in our own minds, much of what we experience is constructed externally, just as in real life. An actor's performance may be completely different from how we might imagine a character to be, just from reading his or her lines, and this really fools our minds into thinking characters are more real. However, as in books, we are almost always passive observers. We have no agency.
Video games are now capable of offering everything that film does, but while granting the audience agency. We can perform tasks, affect the outcome of the story, etc.. As with film, technical limitations mean that suspension of disbelief is necessary for us to buy into a video game world, but when a game does make us buy-in it can be a place we'll live in for many hours before exhausting the content. It can be grueling to sit through a 180 minute film, but a 180 minute game would be considered far too brief. We also respond very differently to challenge when we have agency. Many films that challenge the viewer too much are considered "confusing", and rapidly tire audiences. A game that doesn't offer challenge is unlikely to be fun at all! Many of us enjoy conquering games where challenge crosses the line into frustration!
Many video games made today are modeled after books and film. You play a truly exceptional protagonist who is easily capable of things beyond anyone else in the universe. The game-world pivots and changes around this character, even if the user doesn't have a lot of control over it. These are highly entertaining, but probably the least immersive. Other games take a much more realistic approach, most notably MMO's. Users, by technical necessity, cannot change the world radically because other players share the world. Users become just one more player in the crowd. MMO characters have little power in the simulated universe, but users have complete agency over their own characters. The unpredictable nature of interacting with real humans, the necessarily insurmountable challenges of the game (in terms of time required to "beat" the game, if nothing else), and total user agency make MMO's the most addictive form of video game known.
If you're with me this far, kudos for being patient! VR is a means to interact with both pre-recorded films (think google-street-view cam on a snow-boarder) and video games that has been largely neglected to date due to technical barriers. Oculus and Valve are clearly on the verge of shattering those barriers. We're probably going to see media running the gamut from pre-recorded VR videos offering no user agency (other than turning your head) to MMO's where humans can interact with each other in simulated environments with complete agency. The level of addiction posed by these different recordings and games is going to vary wildly, just as the addictiveness of current games and media varies. VR is an exciting step forward for immersiveness, but we shouldn't expect anything VR to be an addiction problem!
I don't think its far off to consider a world in the not-so-distant future in which VR expands the possibilities of the universe, and therefore our agency.
Think of the limitations we have now in reality. There is one currently livable planet, clogged highways, limited resources, way too many people, the inability to jump up and fly across the world, etc. I can see VR shattering the boundaries of our current agency in reality, just like Oculus and Valve are certainly on their way to doing with technology.
And with such a highly immersive environment and increasingly interconnected world, I imagine it might even be nice to just plug-in and exist almost entirely in a virtual world. I don't think it is as much a matter of addiction as just, what might be better in the future.
I even kind of hoped that in the sequels, Neo would uncover that as the truth, and that Morpheus would be the one struggling to accept that his prior existence was a lie.
If humans really just got fed up with the general awfulness of life, and made their own Matrix, surely they'd have come up with a better one.
What wouldn't be possible is slowing the perception of time down so much as to create immortality. The sheer amount of processing necessary would put a theoretical limit on how slow you can make time, while still providing a fine-grained enough experience to be seamless.
1) VR by direct neural input, instead of by enveloping the senses (think more Johnny Mnemonic than the Star Trek holodeck)
2) Manipulating perception of time, which we already know is pretty mutable.
Why even dream about going to Mars? For one, it's probably not going to happen to us in our lifetime anyway, and second, we could do it much faster and cheaper, by using some remote-controlled robot and experiencing it through VR, Avatar-style.
I mean, if someone isn't enjoying their real-life, and they can spend all their free time living their dreams, going on VR adventures exploring vast landscapes and caves, sky diving, looking like adonis, being a superstar singing infront of millions of VR fans, racing through the streets of italy, etc, then why shouldn't they?
Wouldn't it be interesting to just jump into VR and spend your evenings exploring alien worlds like the above, with a handful of friends online? You might even bond closer than your friends in real-life, because you're experiencing a lot of new things together.
Also, as you grow older, this could be a great way to improve your quality of life. If you're 70, you can jump in the VR world, and you look 20 again, and your VR double can run and jump like an Olympian. Meanwhile, you might be in a wheelchair, but you get a sense of youth and adventure.
Only downside, how do you motivate people to return to the real world? They need to make money, they need to pay the bills, they need to form real relationships with their spouse and children. I think a lot of people would see it like a drug, they just want to get their next fix of VR. Don't interrupt Grandma, she's at the VR home now, and doesn't want to come back to reality. I think it has the potential to make life much more entertaining, but I think it also has the ability to destroy people. Like the poster above me, if people just want to be born, have an IV and live in VR, what do they contribute to the world? Or is that the future, 1% of people work and balance life, 99% live and breathe VR?
Anyway, big business, exciting as hell, and coming soon. I'm all for pushing technology, let's see where this goes, good or bad.