Hardware hacker rigs up VR for Skyrim
Immersive Dragonborn experience
Bethesda's Skyrim is an immersive experience as it is, but combine it with a set of Sony VR goggles and Microsoft's motion-sensing add-on, Kinect, and you get one of the most fun-looking gaming rigs I have ever seen.
In the video below, one PC gamer shows how to turn the Elder Scrolls into a virtual reality experience. His expensive setup makes use of a Sony HMZ-T1 for head tracking, a Microsoft Kinect for body movements and action correlation, and a stack of PC apps to tie it all together in a 3D stereoscopic adventure. Super badass.
If you fancy giving the kit a go yourself, and have a wad of cash to pick up all the ingredients, the full list of what is needed can be found below. Further details and instructions on the Skyrim VR experience can be found over on Zookal. ®
- Skyrim, PC version
- Sony HMZ-T1
- Microsoft Kinect
- TrackIR5, for Head tracking
- TrackClip Pro. Used with the TrackIR5 for more accurate head tracking
- Shoot, command-based speech recognition software
- FAAST 0.9, software used to map Kinect gestures to the keyboard
- Windows 7
- Nvidia Graphics Card with Nvidia 3D Vision Support
Am I the only one who saw the walking action and felt tired, saw the first sword-swipe and thought "That's proper gaming out the window, then", saw the total equipment / cost and the overall result and thought "Why bother?"
Seriously, I've been waiting DECADES for a proper Quake / VR / Laserquest / Paintball tie-in, where you run around a real blue-background game arena and interact with / shoot your pals while the VR overlays a realistic 3D background over the whole thing and handles things like bullets so you don't *ACTUALLY* shoot your mates. It would be a great laugh to match up in de_dust against each other "for real". But since the late 80's, we've made ZERO progress on VR even with fancy gesture-recognition systems and orders-of-magnitude increases in computing power, etc.
i refer you to the gadget show:
10:15 for 1st playtest
14:49 for Andy McNabb (sp?) giving it a whirl
This is progress, but its still not quite a fun game...
Back in the early 90s a VR LCD (I think) headset controled by a hand controller cost in excess of $100,000. And the 3D graphics were rubbish and weren't even steroscopic.
This guy has knocked up his own system for around a couple of grand. Which is huge progress.
There are still two major hurdles that need to be overcome:
1. The walking is bloody ridiculous. This problem was solved by the gaming rig built on the BBC's gadget show, but that multidirectional Swedish treadmill cost tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds. So until someone makes one of those for around 800 pounds you can forget about VR home gaming.
2. Neither Wii MotionPlus, Sony Move, or MS Kinect can achieve proper lag free 1 to 1 tracking on the players hand in order to properly control the sword. Until this happens all the player is doing is effectively pressing an attack button by waving their arm. It is anyones guess how long it is before we see someone achieve proper lag free one to one tracking. But given that there is now a lot of competition and innovation in this space, I'd bet on years rather than decades.
If you get those two things sorted, and improve the body tracking and speech recognition a bit then you could have a pretty fun VR game (although improving the body tracking and speech recognition may prove much more difficult than either 1 ro 2).
Re: The pursuit of flabbiness
Bah! stop ruining their USAian bashing fun with your "facts"!
Reverse Augmented Reality?
Here is Theregister's original article about the Sony VR Goggles at http://www.reghardware.com/2011/10/21/sony_3d_goggles_get_priced_up_for_uk/ (sorry I can't put in a link till I have 100 posts).
In this article the author stated that a big problem with the goggles was that he could no longer see the gamepad, which he needed to look down at occasionally to find some of the buttons.
Sony might be able to get around this problem using augmented reality. But rather than overlaying a virtual object over real world video, they would overlay a video image of the gamepad into the virtual world seen by the goggle wearer. They would have to do the same for the wearers hands. Or if they could create a virtual image of the gamepad in the virtual world that the wearer could look down to see. Of course this would probably require pretty accurate and lag free tracking of both the gamepad and users hands... which doesn't seem possible at present.