More often than not, and as with most anything, a thing, force or idea, has the tendency of traveling in the direction of where it's looking; therefore, because of this, I'd suggest that as a whole, the gaming community decides on what it is that they want from the virtual gaming experience, and from there, developers and industry will have a map of where to go and what to put efforts and focus on. If we do that there'll be less stumbling around in the dark on where and what the end goal and purpose of video gaming should be, as well as what the consumer wants, and from the simple step of setting our sights on what the next level of virtual interaction should be, we can move towards that direction in a more logical and organized manner, collectively and as a more well organized unit.
Were I'd personally like to see the realm of virtual simulations go is in the direction of a more holistic experience, where the body in its entirety is able to partake in the visions of worlds created by the artists and where the gamer can live through different situations in 3d, in the true sense of the word by, and through, complete and total emersion within a virtual created world, and by experiencing circumstances and situations normally not allowed nor desired in actual meat space, there'd be a greater amount of physiological and psychological growth and development of the gamer and their skills because of this, which will in turn will create better and more adaptable minds which will be able to handle any of the challenges that life may present. Additionally there’ll be a much greater demand for more talented 3d artists to build and construct these virtual worlds as well as writers and dreamers to create the stories held within. There’ll also be a great influx in better designed physical items manufactured in the real world because of this, because by being able to experience whatever it was virtually before it was manifested and produced in the real, the item would be tested by many and any adaptations discovered by this testing would ultimately discover the best possible variant of whatever the thing was, and make it the best it can possibly be; this will, more likely than not, be utilized by manufactures because they’d be able to sell the product virtually and find products that people actually want and produce their real world counterparts according to this information.
As of the time this was written, there’re at least two methods of technological implementation that, at least at my current level of understanding, could be fostered into a new era of sport with a vast and wide pool of players and fans to back it. There’re, of course, many different branches and avenues that could be utilized in either of the two methods, depending upon which technology is employed, but for the sake of simplicity and understanding there’re at least two general means of going about making virtual reality a physical one.
The first one is one that’d be based on the union of reality and the virtual by merging the actual landscape of the surroundings with that of a virtually overlaid augmented GUI systems designed to be capable of achieving a realistic sense of user centric synchronicity with an entirely new landscape created by artists for gamers to immerse themselves in, and learn from; which would have to implement the use of, durable waterproof visual and audial augmentation systems, digitized landscapes, kinetic sensors, (or some form of determining gamer location) and dependent upon the nature of the game, weapon tagging systems; of which, can be the initial beginnings of making video gaming a sport. This would be the easier of the two methods because it utilizes the preexisting landscape for the player to tangibly experience, which is what is required in order for a more realistic and holistic video game experience.
I say this because by making it a physically based game, where the player is participating both mind and body, it not only demands that a player be mentally prepared and clever, but also that they be able to do hill sprints as well, which will make the match be entertaining every time guaranteed and be a way of determining who is the best player in both mind and matter, and it’d also be encouraging physical exercise as well as social cohesion and would be something quickly adopted by paintball fields once paintball field owners notice how popular kinetically based virtual augmented gaming is and as players wanted more levels to play on, and in addition to paintball fields new locations such as leasable commercial centers, abandoned city districts and user designed fields and towns which can have textures, backdrops and bullet holes virtually augmented to them will start to pop up as well. Creating this would be profitable; jobs would be created by scanning things and locations to be imported into the game, building the gear, suits and systems durable and rugged enough for the gamers to use in game and providing the digital and land based social hubs for networking and knowledge and the accommodation, for the new breed of players, for a new breed of game.
To elaborate more upon some of the current technologies that can be implemented in this endeavor that will greatly help in accelerating it forward at a much faster pace than if not, are 3d point laser scanning systems such as the HandySCAN 3D for smaller applications and vehicle or aerial mounted LiDAR systems for bigger areas, which will benefit most from using the SOLIDSCAN software by Elucideon in order for seamless and fast integration into the virtual experience and which will be needed to keep latency down to a level where fast and fluid gameplay is achievable. By that method of virtual mapping the physically augmented levels are palates for the artists imaginations, where anything is possible and new visuals can be implemented instantaneously and with mappable objects and objectives. Furthermore, a physically mounted VR system needs to be developed by developers that is durable enough, as mentioned previously, so that it can withstand prolonged gaming in many demanding situations and environments; I like what Oculus is doing with their VR technology and feel that a company devoted specifically to a user centric immersionary gaming has the best chance of developing such as system, though there are many bright entrepreneurs who may develop a VR system suitable for all stated requirements. As for how the system would be powered, it’s likely, that battery technology will continue to evolve longer and longer charge times as time progresses, but it would also help substantially if kinetically based charging systems were also employed and utilized and, as luck would have it, a system that does just this already is in existence; it is called PowerWalk by Bionic Power Inc. and it is a wearable system that harnesses the walking motion of the wearing to charge anything, which means it can easily be implemented into any wearable augmentation system to be developed, and should be. As for the augmented sound system; it should be something that takes the gamer to a greater level of emersion by augmenting sounds for the specific level, game and location of the gamer and should also allow for seamless COM chatter during the match.
This physically augmented method would, of course, require gamers to meet up in meat space at a specific time and location and would require physical land to play on. This will ultimately be a good thing because it will promote tourism and revitalize areas that would otherwise be unused and dialect, and as the sport of land based virtual augmentation evolves, entire sectors of rundown abandoned blocks can be repurposed into game arenas, televised and promoted to bring life to where there was only ruin. This, of course, will be very advantageous to locations where there’s nothing really going on and bring about an increase in revenue to the surrounding locations and local, which means the sport will eventually be welcomed anywhere it goes and promote physical fitness as well.
The second method of a more virtually holistic experience, though much more elaborate, would be through the use of force feedback systems, providing tactile sense to a virtually created world that the occupant experiences as if they were there themselves, being able to participate with the entirety of their being in a virtually created environment, simulating any scenario without having to have the gamer move from a fixed location which will, of course, require a larger amount of effort to bring about; although there’s already a system in place that’s headed in the right direction and which allows the wearer to experience 3dimensional objects tangibly has already been created and thus could be adapted and integrated to the rest of the body; that system is the ExoHand by Festo, which looks very promising, though there’re other systems that can also be looked at for possible implementation.
This force feedback that Festo has developed can be expanded to encompass the entirety of the human body, thus providing the wearer with the experience of direct physical feedback though a mechanically augmentation system. I’d suggest that systems be developed in such a manner to limit the movements of the system to the natural limits of the human body so that any programing errors within a game don’t rip the wearers limbs asunder. Additionally the system should be designed to fit within a 10ft-shipping container so as to keep the unit portable and easily implementable into future locations; a 10ft-shipping container should be an adequate amount of space for a system and would allow for total mobility for the wearer of the system. The force feedback system should also be designed to measure biorhythmic patterns of the gamer, for statistical data collection purposes and for the ability for game designers to have their games reflect the state of the gamer as they game. This, in my opinion, would be the best way of implementation between the virtual and the physical and would be extremely valuable at training anyone for any new experience and would greatly accelerate all forms of progress.
I can see the both physically interlaced methods of video games being implemented by entrepreneurs, who by using the practice of crowd funding can obtain a large enough quantity of resources, intellectual and monetary, to build the prototypes centered around the creation of the initial gaming systems for the new sport; from there organizations can be established providing the manpower to initiate centers of operations wherever best and from their globally. These groups’ objectives, depending upon which augmentation method is decided upon, would be finding playable areas, such as, preexisting paintball fields, abandoned buildings, blocks, cities, or suitable buildings that are being leased. The point is to find areas for the sport to grow and of which are visually attractive, safe and suitable for player movement and that provide memorable experiences for those participating. Each synchronicity center would be digitized prior to any matches and provide the foundation for digitization of the structure itself as well as any additional visual queues that may be desired by the coordinator, although there’ll probably be one basic platform that each of the locations implement, each will uniquely reflect there’re own individual spot as well as the designers preferences, and will evolve and adapt over time, given the technological nature of the system. Each virtualization will need boundary areas mapped by the hosts and because each area will be mapped into the virtual plane it’ll provide level designers with real world models to work with and adapt to there own levels and visualizations, if the organization decides to go that route; it could be based on a subscription, or membership, method where those who’ve subscribed can have access to the database of scanned locations to build their own virtual landscapes with, which can be implemented into the second force feedback project. Having the scanned locations available for members will tap into the immense pool of creativity that the internet allows, which will guarantee new level designs and novel and exciting forms of gameplay to be created by those inclined to do so, contests could also be created to foster the competitive spirit and provide incentive to developers to create the best game for each specific location, or in the force feedback system, anywhere where the system is, meaning anywhere at all.
Continuing thoughts on the future of VR augmentation by reminding readers that the system hasn’t been created as of yet, means that the sky’s the limit on how development will actually commence. My general inkling, and beneficial suggestion, is that matches need to be publicized by every means available, and that rounds need to not only be recorded as is, but also made into a cinematic adventure that the organization itself creates to spark interest in the sport and to attract revenue and investment. I hope that reading this as sparked an interest in what the future may hold and will ultimately be determined by the demand of gamers and developers alike.