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VR and REALity

Captain’s Log

Virtual Reality


Author Christian Kallias


VR and Connecting with People

Captain’s Log – Stardate 71845.4

VR and REALity

VR and connecting with people.

So the day after the Oculus Go was released, I acquired it. I already own the full-blown Oculus Rift and the Gear VR. But I loved the idea of a self-contained VR platform. I knew since the hardware was little more than a glorified mobile built into the headset, I shouldn’t be expecting amazing graphics like I have experienced on the Rift. But, you know what, it’s okay. The Go serves another role in VR. Because of its low price point, it’s a perfect gadget to enjoy content like Netflix and others. You get to watch your show in virtual theaters that you can tweak to the point where you feel like you’re watching the last Star Trek episode in an IMAX Theater. Something no TV under 20k can achieve, and even then, it will still be a TV, and with a TV you won’t be able to experience that lying on your bed, your head facing upward to the ceiling. The image quality of the Go is amazing. I easily forget I’m in VR and I feel like I’m watching a super high-end projection system, except I’m not, I’m doing this on a $199 headset. The Go isn’t perfect. Gamin is limited, but can still be fun. Scary/Horror experiences are plenty and if you want to scare yourself silly, chances are you’ll find an app for that. Even simple rollercoasters in VR can be fun and provide sensations you may not have thought possible. The only thing I think Go is lacking at is battery time. At 3h max, 2.5h more realistically, it’s a little short. But then you can use the headset while charging it, so in most cases, that won’t be an issue.

I’ve surprised myself seeing how much more I use my Oculus Go for content consumption than I do my full-blown Rift. The Rift forces me to my chair, with cables running to the computer. I stay completely aware I’m attached to it. The Go feels like it provides one more degree of freedom in that way. Of course, when I want to play a kick ass immersive game, then I fire up Robot Recall on the Rift and get a bit of a workout as well in doing so. But it requires more empty space, or you could start damaging your stuff.

So the one thing I absolutely adore doing with the Go is watching a show before sleep. But already being in bed, teeth brushed, ready to stop at any time, put the headset aside, and fall sleep. Sometimes I fall asleep during the episode. Though that’s not very frequent.

VR has enormous potential and I think we’re just scratching the surface so far but it’s a good indicator as where it can go. Of course, it’s also a technology that, while allowing you to connect with the outside world and share a VR moment, it has the potential of being something people escape to to not face their real life. When VR becomes so potent that you can’t tell it from real life, then we’ll have a Ready Player One scenario, where you may prefer living in the virtual world than in the real one. This has happened on a certain scale with video games and MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online) and we hear the name “nolife” for people who spend all their time in these virtual worlds. The attraction is understandable. If you hate your neighborhood, your work, why bother and just jump into a fantasy universe where you can be whoever you want to be. The idea of escapism is understandable. The big question is, can it derail a civilization when the virtual content is as good if not better as the one in the real world? Many books & shows have pondered these questions. Like the aforementioned Ready Player One or the excellent Sci-Fi show Black Mirror.

As a writer, it of course raises a lot of question if this kind of tech will be beneficial for the human race, or in contrast, if it could potentially bring its downfall, like many think AI can. And truth be told, while I hope we can build AI that helps us become a better civilization, the risk of said AI evolving beyond the human level of intelligence, might result in the end of humanity. When was the last time you worried because you stepped on an ant? That’s how a super AI would see humans. As bugs.

But I digress. I find the presence in VR to be super cool. Today I tested VTime, an app that has a virtual environment and chat rooms up to 4 persons. And I thought to myself: 4 persons? That seems limited. But you know what, already with 3 in the room, it can be challenging to have a structured conversation. But it also was a lot of fun. Speaking from a virtual space station or from a virtual space ship seat felt so cool. And I’m considering trying to meet with you, my readers, on the platform so we can have a chat beyond the limitations of the comments on FB.

What do you think of VR? Do you own a headset? Would you consider buying one now that the Go starts at only $199?

How would you like us to hang out in VR and talk about books? Would you be interested? Want me to set that up? Oh, and the good news about Vtime, even if you don’t have a VR headset, you can come in the virtual chat rooms with your phone, so that’s also cool and one more point for this particular social app. I want to take time and try other similar apps, and if any of you have tried one that you enjoy, please let me know in the comments below.

Also, let me know if you’d be interested in meeting in VR (or just via the smartphone app). I’ll set up a room in space, and we can talk Sci-Fi, books, or anything else you’d like. Let me know in the comments if you’d enjoy that.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. In case you’re looking for me on Vtime, my handle is KalliasX.



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