VRTGO – Virtual Reality

“An annual Conference & Expo that explores the future of VR for both entertainment and serious applications”

On the 12th November 2015,  the VRTGO annual conference arrives at the Baltic Mill, Gateshead. The expo will be attended by the UK’s and International leading Virtual Reality developers including nDreams, Playstation VR and CCP Games. On the agenda is the exploration of the future of VR in both entertainment and serious applications, and being someone who has never had the chance to experience virtual reality first-hand, I hope to be there!

EGXSony
Simon Benson, Director of SCE’s Worldwide Studios Immersive Technology Group at EGX

Recently, at EGX Birmingham, I was lucky enough to witness a developer talk from Playstation VR, Sony. Immediately I was struck by the incredibly immersive experiences Virtual Reality can provide, having the ability to trick your brain into believing you are living a moment, rather than playing it.  Also, how it is more accessible to an audience with little experience of using a device, compared to someone using a game-pad who can easily become disorientated which I have witness numerous times first-hand.

Most commonly, people associate gaming with virtual reality, however, lately my attention has been drawn to the more serious uses.  There is great potential for use in educational and learning environments, having the ability to provide interactive simulations where students can re-enact situations which no other medium can boast. I have often read that VR is used in medical, military and aviation etc, and has been for many years and I would like to use this experience to learn how far VR has progressed. Further using this experience to learn where VR is going and the potential situations in which it could be utilised. A great article I found lists a number of industries currently using virtual reality in various capacities is linked below.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/9-industries-using-virtual-reality/

Closer to home, my grandmother has been a sufferer from Dementia for a number of years now and her time out of the house is always decreasing.  It saddens me to think that she will never experience the joy of things such as travel ever again, things which ultimately invigorate your senses, giving you the feeling of life. Again, VR can help mimic these activities and sights, having the ability to bring these joys to those less fortunate and able. On a personal level, I would love to learn more about the uses of VR in this field and the processes behind them to recreate it.

This reminded me of a heart-warming article I read last year, where a terminally ill grandmother used experiences provided by the Oculus Rift as therapy, which further iterates the potential of these devices and how it can positively affect its audience.

PSVR
Sony Press Conference – Virtual Reality section at Paris Games Week

Back to games, Paris Games Week has just been around and VR was a strong part of the Sony press conference.  It is evident that VR is here to stay, and will be a major part of the industry I wish to be involved in, in the coming years. Whether it be Sony VR, Oculus, Valve, HTC or even Samsung, many developers are now taking the plunge into VR, including long running franchises such as Gran Turismo and Tekken. I would love to take the opportunity to learn the differences in developing for VR than conventional games, and the potential pitfalls you may come up against. Also, to ask about current projects developers are working on, questioning them upon their experiences with the hardware and how to get the best out of it.

As mentioned above, I still have never experienced virtual reality, therefore I feel I don’t quite understand its full potential. As they say, you don’t know until you’ve tried it.

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