EARN EXPERIENCE POINTS
level up your knowledge of virtual reality gaming
Virtual reality gaming refers to an interactive gaming experience that takes place in a simulated environment. It incorporates both auditory and visual feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory feedback. This immersive environment can be similar to the real world or it can be fantastical.
The current technology most commonly uses virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to "look around" the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items.
Popular games like EVE: Valkyrie, Arizona Sunshine, Beat Saber, and The Climb model the potential of VR gaming, with full immersion detailed experiences. Favorite PC and Console games, like Mine Craft and Batman: Arkham, can also be redesigned to create a more stimulating experience with VR technologies.
To learn more about VR gaming at Wilmington University, I sat down with Scott Shaw the Chair of the University’s Game Design & Development for an exclusive interview:
Since the release of first prototypes of Oculus VR and Samsung Gear VR, a new age of gaming has started. Virtual reality gaming is on the rise; its use, popularity and revenues continue to grow. Do you feel as the technology becomes more time tested and the associated costs stabilize that it will surpass console or PC gaming?
Interesting question. VR has been the pipe dream for content creators since 1968, but I do not think VR will ever really displace the console/PC platform. The HoloLens by Microsoft would get close since it is a self-contained computer on your noggin’ but there’s still a long way to go in terms of what it can and can’t do compared to things like the HTC Vive. We teach our students to use best practice no matter what platform they are going to develop for, and since we have been utilizing the Unity engine we have been creating VR projects almost since the start of the program. We had gotten the first Oculus SDK in 2012 and had done some experimentation with it then, mostly games that pushed the user’s tolerance for motion - which was easy to do.
Students today will need to know a variety of skills and programs to be competitive in the game design and development field. What sort of classes/course work do we offer that would help students develop the skill set to become successful in virtual reality game design?
The whole Game Design and Development Program is geared to do exactly that. GMD 401 & 405 this semester is creating both a virtual campus and a VR version of the CSI Simulator. The VR version allows students to explore a few different environments to gather evidence, document their findings, take measurements of the scene, make decisions on whether to process on the scene or in the lab, and the instructor can view their report. They have also been developing a virtual campus where students who have VR equipment and are located in very different physical locations could collaborate and share experiences and course discussions. To answer your question in a nutshell, our program makes them ready for VR, AR, MR, game design, simulation, and whatever new technology comes out because we constantly research and monitor what is happening in that space.
What unconventional ways do you think VR technologies and gaming could be applied to in the future? For example, I recently read that VR technology could provide terminally ill patients with the experience of travel or help students with sensory processing disorders learn with controlled stimuli.
Funny you mention that, my contact at Microsoft recently did just that for the Make a Wish foundation. Microsoft has also been doing some wonderful work with accessibility and gaming with their universal game controllers- the possibilities are truly endless with how we can adapt gaming technology, not just VR, for a variety of solutions. Our Game Design and Development students have the opportunity to be the most robust students we have, skills they acquire may include: digital asset management, 3D modeling/texturing/animation, 2D and 3D art and environments, Ideation and presentation skills, programming, UI/UX, video and audio editing/recording/design/production, computer security, databases, graphic design, and the list goes on and on.
Please check out the new subscription of Game Informer magazine at the library for more information about gaming, game design, and market trends.