We know how difficult it can be to tear yourself away from the screen when a game is going your way. And now a new invention is set to make gaming even more addictive, plunging you right into the heart of the action.
An Icelandic firm has developed a new headset to give gamers the feeling of stepping straight into their favourite game.
Made by developers EVR, the Oculus Rift device allows gamers to control their console in the usual way with their controller. But, rather than looking at their TV screen, they will see game images through the visor in stereoscopic 3D.
The technique gives the gamer the impression they are playing from inside the game.
Fitted with a seven-inch screen, the visor tracks a gamer’s head movements by using sensors. It also makes use of a new technique known as low-latency mitigation, which makes the game seem more real to a player. It means the delay between what the eyes see and the processing of the image is smaller so it all appears to be happening closer to real time.
The display screen of the Oculus Rift shows gamers two different images – one for each eye. But, the brain merges the images into one single 3D view of the game.
David Gundry, a programmer at EVR, explained that while traditional gaming offered you a fixed forward-facing field of view, the Rift allows users to look around the game as if they are actually in it.
“This makes the experience much more immersive,” he added, using the example of a space fighting game that was developed especially for the Rift. “You are no longer sat at home controlling a computer spaceship, you’re a pilot sat in your fighter, rocketing around space.
“The decision to create a dogfighting game in this setting came from a couple of places; influences from older games such an X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter were a big part, but there was also the inner 12-year-old in all of us screaming ‘I want to be a space pilot!’. Virtual reality is such a perfect fit for this style of cockpit-based game.”
So far, however, there are no details about when the Oculus Rift could be rolled out for widespread use among gamers. Or, indeed, how much it would cost.
Nate Mitchel, vice president of product development at Oculus Rift has already said he would love the gizmo to work hand-in-hand with next generation consoles set to come onto the market. And, he said there are no technical problems to stop this from happening.
He hinted EVR was currently in talks with console companies.
But, for those who simply can’t wait for such a gaming experience, the ZEISS cinemizer OLED is based on a similar concept and is already available.
It’s a head-mounted display which has been used for gaming along with other purposes such as by architects who use them to walk through virtual buildings.
While it doesn’t have the same large field of vision as the RIFT, it does have a sharper image. Costing around £599, the ZEISS cinemizer also has a headtracker attachment for an extra £189.