Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill, Gaming of the Future!

Friends, Wondergressivers, Gamers. The future looks very bright for us all! 720p virtual reality bright. Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill are paving the way for exciting future developments in games and virtual reality.

Both Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill started on Kickstarter where the projects were eagerly accepted! The gaming community said YES and the projects exceeded the funding that the companies expected, allowing for the projects to fly into full development. I am getting ahead of myself though, let us explore each individual item before we begin to experience both together!

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Before we can begin to walk, let us open up our eyes and experience the world around us. Oculus Rift consists of virtual reality goggles that will bring high definition sight to your gamer eyes! Yes,they will open the door to that which we have dreamed of since we first played pong. It is finally coming, the gaming era we have all been waiting for. Although it is still in its beta (testing) stages, and mostly useful to developers, the Oculus Rift can be expected to fully open up the role playing world of Skyrim, enhance your first person shooter sensations when playing Call of Duty, and immerse you in your strategy as you micro manage your troops in Starcraft. Units misbehaving? Get up close and in their face as you dictate new commands. Characters need resurrecting? Finally a way to spot the corpse without trying to click on the pixel stuck between the mountain of characters destroyed in a raid. You know it well WoW players.

While still in development stages, it comes compatible with only a few games and is specifically dedicated to a computer. The price tag is set at $300 which isn’t too steep, but since it is still in developmental stages it may drop or rise depending on demand and how much more it is augmented.

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Now that we are used to the light and we understand the world, let us begin crawling. Or rather, let’s skip the crawling and begin walking in virtual reality! Omni Treadmill helps take the virtual reality experience one step further by giving gamers the ability to not only percieve the virtual world, but also the ability to roam in it!

Let us suppose that you are playing a competitive first person shooter. Wouldn’t that shooter become more intense and more fun if you were able to walk and run in the game by the use of your feet rather than by the use of a gamepad? Of course it would! We gamers thrive off of the competitive edge, the rush of the kill streak, the rhythmic pulse of our heartbeats syncing up with the beat of the rat-tat-tat of our semi automatic as we spray and pray our bullets onto incoming bogies. A treadmill to release the intense rush and to fuel the competitive strategic play. Oh what fun!

What’s more, the developers behind this are very gaming community minded! I simply love developers like this. Their goals are to make the gaming world better, to create a new idea that will explode into a million other new ideas. Reference Omni’s motto:

The Omni is the first omni treadmill that is focused on the household consumer and achieves three objectives: being affordable to household consumers, fitting in a living room, and above all, enabling the user to walk freely and naturally, as he or she would in real life.

For $500 you can purchase the Omni Treadmill, packaged with the shoes, the belt, and hardware/software needed, all of which is set to be released March 2014.

For more on Omni, check out the video below! I am sure that this will one day be standing in my living room. I am willing to accumulate much debt for something like this!

 

Related Article: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

What endless possibilities, what endless worlds to explore, what endless things to experience. And why not, there is a lot of good that can come from these developments as well! Terminal cancer patients can travel the world in their household, people in wheelchairs can walk again even if only virtually, and most importantly, those disabled may now have a chance to experience the world as others do! Apart from all the different benefits, it still is amazing and super exciting the direction the gaming world is heading in!

Cheers to the future!

Research:
Oculus Rift

Omni Treadmill

Kickstarter

Skyrim

Starcraft 2

Call of Duty

World of Warcraft

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Starcraft as a Model for Future Interstellar Warfare

 

Starcraft and its sequel Starcraft 2 are wildly popular real time strategy computer games made by Blizzard Entertainment.  They are played by people from all over the world. In fact, Starcraft 2 was the top selling computer game of 2010 and continues to be played by millions of gamers, even being featured in highly publicized worldwide tournaments. It has recently come under the microscope of legitimate science as researchers tout it for the incredible expertise required to become a master of the game.  While chess was historically used as a major measure for cognitive speed and power, Starcraft is now used as the true measure for cognitive fortitude due to its added complexity, fast pace, and rapidly changing infinitude of variables.  There is even research being performed by the SFU Cognitive Science Lab on the extreme mental capacity required to compete with the Starcraft elite.  The set of abilities is called Skillcraft. The chess masters of yesterday are like bumbling children compared to the Starcraft masters of today.

Drs. Thomas Targett and Duncan Forgan, both of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, wanted to know how humans would fare in a cosmic battle between other space-faring alien races.  War and destruction are after all what humans do best. The problem is that the only space-faring species we’ve ever seen is, well, us, and we’ve just barely left our own rock.  What would an alien race look like? What would their capabilities entail?  What motives would they have? Are they as insanely militaristic and imperialistic as us? Are they so technologically advanced that they can remain invisible and spatially aloof to the point that they could be standing over your shoulder reading this without you even realizing it?!

None of these questions can be answered with certainty, but they can certainly be modeled.  Theorizing and modeling are the foundation of all sciences.  The theory is that one day there will be a war of the worlds, so how do we properly model this war? By using Starcraft, of course.

Starcraft has players choose one of three races of alien beings: the hive minded Zerg, the technologically advanced and telepathic Protoss, or Terrans, which are humans with technology based on our own present day capabilities. The pair of doctors set out to learn what they could from the endless stream of results from battles waged in Starcraft day after day.  They stated that:

In a classic example of citizen science, we found that the general public had generated a vast dataset of (admittedly fictional) alien behaviour, which we could use to drive our simulations. So, we created a population of stars similar to the local Solar neighbourhood, and seeded it with six different races, each representing one of the three [Starcraft] civilizations.

Each of the six races in the simulation carried out one of two primary strategies, a macro or micro strategy.  The macro strategy is one where a species builds up a vast number of resources before engaging in battle, while the micro strategy involves rapid movement of smaller military forces used to quickly eliminate developing opponents.

This gives 30 possible combinations of combatants.  As we had access to user data showing the outcome of each combination rehearsed many times in StarCraft 2 games played online, we could soon develop a probability that Race 1 defeats Race 2, and so on and so forth. This allowed us to do two things: i) we could see if there was a preferred strategy for StarCraft 2 users to adopt, and ii) How does the balance of power change when these alien races are placed in a Galactic context?

The results were intriguing.  If humans were to go to war with a hiveminded alien race, or an ancient telepathic alien race, we would be pulverized if we took the macro economic approach.  However, the micro strategy grants us a great amount of advantages.  While the model revealed that a micro strategy is favorable across the board for all races, a human type alien race has the upper hand when it comes to smaller, fast paced battles and guerrilla tactics. According to the Starcraft model, as long as we stick to the micro strategy, our only concern should be how to spend our time on the beaches of all our new colonized worlds.

The researchers point out that

we don’t intend to claim the Zerg and Protoss are real! We were interested in seeing how the video games industry can help scientists understand difficult topics like life in the Galaxy, where actual data is so thin on the ground.

Starcraft players of the world, you may be Earth’s only hope for successful interstellar dominion!

While it’s true that we still haven’t found life outside of our tiny stellar neighborhood, remember, life is all over the place; it’s only a matter of time!

 

 

Sources:

Starcraft

Real Time Strategy Game

Blizzard Entertainment

Top Selling PC Games

Battlenet World Championships

Scientific American: Starcraft the New Chess

SFU Cognitive Science Lab

Skillcraft

Dr. Thomas A. Targett  

Duncan Forgan

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The War of the Worlds

Starcraft Science

Starcraft Science Model

 

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