The Virtual Reality: Prosperities and Adversities
Virtual Reality (VR), a computer-generated environment with objects and scenes that can be similar or completely different from the real world, making people feel immersed in their surroundings. It is an evolving tech having applications in flight simulators, games, and surgeries. So let us hop into Tim Maughan's experience of VR.
VR Short Story - Giant
The author and journalist - Tim Maughan, back in 2016, was sitting in a dark room with a VR headset, where he could see a small girl and a woman in a pitch-black room. The woman was confronting the little girl, who was scared of the sound heard around the city. After a while, the electricity was restored, and the author could see a basement surrounded by everyday life items and a Time Magazine dated 2017 March.
He could see a man, presumably the husband, very shaken to see what was happening around him. The adults were trying to calm the daughter and themselves as the noise from a distance came closer and a terrifying sound of an air raid siren. Maughan added, "They became deafening, and I glanced up just in time to see the ceiling falling in on top of me before I'm plunged into darkness again..."
He pulled out the headset, and for a split second, he wasn't able to recognize where he was. He was in a studio in the New Inc building in New York, watching VR short story - Giant.
Promising Potential of VR
The VR short story was based on a real-life incident of one of its creators - Milica Zec, who with her family sheltered from Siberia during Nato bombing raids in the 1990s. She said to Maughan that the decision to set Giant was to amplify the emotional experience of the plot. For example, it is always good to identify oneself better when the characters dress and speak like us, and people might have heightened emotions if it looks like a mirror of one's own family.
It was Zec's first experience working in a medium with everything seeming different and having to learn VR from the start. One of VR's promising potential is to have the ability to drop people into a scenario and force them to react emotionally in ways that regular filmmaking might find hard to do.
Next-Generation VR Camera Rig
Another VR experience of Maughan is with Google Jump's next-generation 360-camera rig. He was standing at an entrance of a building surrounded by steel and glass design. The corridor of the building was crowded with a colossal amount of people snapping pictures of him. It's a cramped scenario and faced a similar situation to a celebrity mobbed by fans.
Once removing the headset, he was in a modern meeting space in Google's NY YouTube offices. The VR rig has 16 cameras recording each angle, and like videos on YouTube and Facebook, we can change those angles by tilting the smartphone.
Immersive VR Experience with 'Blackout'
Maughan said Blackout is a different, more immersive VR experience than Google 360 rig and Giant. He stood in a NY subway car, where the glimmering glow was replaced by a dim light of emergency lighting. As walking through the train, Maughan paused next to a guy because of the inner monologue hearing. When moving away from him, the voice fades, and going near to him, it returns.
He continued with his walk and approached a woman, where he could hear her thoughts of worrying about NYC living costs and can't be stuck on the train as she would be late. Maughan pulled his headset, and he was in the NY subway car in Brooklyn, experiencing an interactive VR story - Blackout. The co-creator of Blackout - Alex Porter, said that the person experiencing the VR story can read people's minds and motives.
Battlezone: Atari Arcade Classic's VR Update
Not only did Maughan experience short VR stories, but he played the VR update of the 1980s Atari arcade classic – Battlezone in Rebellion. In this game, he sat in a tank's cockpit, with controls around him. When trying to reach the control panel, the tank moved to a narrow tunnel where other tanks either slide or floated past him. Finally, the tank was on a lift, and the ceiling doors slid apart for the tank to go out. Looking at a radar on the tank's dashboard, he could see enemies approaching, and he was preparing for combat.