Inside Virtual Reality
Updated: May 9
Today staying connected to loved ones has never been harder. Homes are beginning to feel more like prisons, and it seems as though COVID-19 may never end. Although not a solution, virtual reality may be a welcomed escape from the monotony of day to day life. With consumer headsets getting more and more affordable and the catalogue of games and experiences growing each day, this is the perfect time to get a foot in the door.
For anyone who doesn’t know what virtual reality (VR) is, “Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment, education and business” according to Wikipedia. These simulated experiences can be accessed through a pair of goggles with two screens (one for either eye) and two lenses to help project the generated imagery into the user’s retinas. Once on, the wearer’s real-world position is tracked through the headsets onboard cameras so movements like walking, crouching, and jumping are all mirrored into the virtual space.
VR headsets came along way from the first prototype VR headset made in 2010 by a 17-year-old in his parent’s garage to the Oculus Quest 2 the new top of the line virtual reality headset recently released by Facebook. One thing is certain VR has come far from being some gimmick to try once at a friend’s house. With recent headsets becoming very user friendly anyone could find themselves at home, in a world of their wildest dreams.
Facebook’s Quest 2 provides an easy to use experience requiring only that it is charged and that there is a little space to walk around, this makes it a much better alternative to the last-gen wired PC virtual reality. When worn, a virtual reality headset is like looking through a pair of ski goggles into another world. First-time users are prompted to set a boundary in their physical space. This is done quite simply by drawing out an area with the provided hand tracked controllers. Once enabled you are ready to walk, skip and jump around in virtual reality (just be careful not to trip over the cat).
There are countless amazing experiences to download and try, from sitting under the sea with whales, to shooting zombies in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Even the most mundane things while in Virtual Reality can reveal new excitement. In the Job Simulator game, the user is tasked with performing a variety of jobs. The beauty of virtual reality is if you intentionally fail these jobs there are no real-world consequences, so something like replacing a client’s washer fluid with gasoline is a perfectly viable way to play. Although these experiences are great alone, there is something amazing about jumping into the Gorilla Tag game with a bunch of friends and chasing each other through the treetops. When shared, VR becomes the perfect way to connect with people from a distance. With social apps like VR chat, connecting with family and friends feels more interactive than something like Facetime.