If you’ve managed to find your way to this site and want to get started, but have less than no idea about how to get watching, you have clicked on the right blog post to get you started. Read on to find out how to get started with virtual reality.
The good news is that by only getting started with virtual reality now, you are able to take advantage of some new advances (yes, already!) and you will also benefit from better prices as manufacturers perfect their processes and can offer better products for less than the earlier, slightly glitchy models.
Broadly speaking, for very basic virtual reality, you only need a headset into which your smartphone will fit. This will enable you to enter the virtual world and look around, but you will not be able to interact with other characters or objects. These headsets, such as Google Cardboard, are aimed at the lower end of the market to allow everyone to be able to afford to access virtual reality, and will be adequate for most people to see what it is that virtual reality has to offer.
There are higher-end headsets that fit better, and offer higher resolution imagery; making the virtual reality experience a more comfortable one. These headsets still need a smartphone to be fitted inside them, and sometimes come with one or two hand-held controllers. These controllers allow you to interact with the virtual environment, touching people, picking up objects and so on.
Controllers can be swapped for sensor rich gloves that allow your natural hand movements to be translated through into the virtual world. They can have (as can the hand-held controllers) vibration-enabled responses to in-game stimulus which make it feel more authentic when touching things.
The next best headset is one that is tethered, by a long cable, to a powerful gaming computer. The superior graphics make the virtual world very ‘real’ seeming to the user and there is little intrusion from the real world as can happen with the lower end headsets – light can leak into your field of vision, glitches can disrupt the reality of the world you’re inhabiting, and the brain can pick up small distortions that reveal the ‘trick’ played on it by the small screen. The latter can cause a form of motion sickness because of the disconnect between what you think is happening and what is really happening.
The best type of virtual reality headset though, is still something of an innovation – a standalone headset that is connected to the internet without needing to have a smartphone or PC connected to it. These are still in development, but it is believed that once perfected, they will exceed even the very best virtual reality system on the market at present – currently the HTC Vive is garnering rave reviews, despite its slightly higher price.
Some systems come with sensors to place around the walls of the room that will be used. These sensors can help to keep you safe, warning you if you are about to walk into a wall. The more sensors you have, the better your virtual reality experience will be.
In the future, it will be possible to buy full-body suits, embedded with sensors wherever they are needed. These suits will make the virtual world even more realistic, allowing you to ‘feel’ with your whole body.
Virtual (and augmented) reality are the entertainment medium of the future. Join up now and ride the crest of an exciting wave into the future!