How Real Does It Feel?

I've been thinking about this question for some time now and after watching a video on this very topic (link below) I'm inspired to ask this question to anyone who is qualified to answer it: after using the Omni in addition with a good, high-res HMD for an extended period of time in an immersive game like Fallout or Skyrim, how real does it feel during and/or after you take the HMD off? Did the experience got to the point where after you disconnected you could recall moments in that virtual world in a similar way as to real world memory recollection? Thanks.


  • sutekiBsutekiB Posts: 1,069
    It's a good question @Sponge101. I've spent up to an hour at a time playing games with the Omni at tradeshows where I've helped to demo it, so I can confirm that the immersion is amplified. If you've used an HMD I'm sure you already know that the longer you spend in there, the stronger the sense of presence becomes. It's the same with the Omni - your mind connects the steps you're taking in real life with the ones your character takes in the game. Unnatural controls such as using a gamepad to move, prevent you from reaching that 'deepest level' of immersion. When you can move on impulse as you do with the Omni, then it really is like being there. I do have memories of playing games that are like my real memories. I can recall running, jumping, chasing and avoiding characters in Team Fortress 2, not as a game I played or a fantasy I had, but as a place I went to and experienced myself. The NPCs become like friends (at least, rude ones who don't respond when you talk to them). That level of immersion will become even deeper in the years to come, as resolution and FOV improve, and as we add other layers to the experience such as haptics. Importantly though, the core ingredients you need for an immersive experience are about to land - the ODT and the HMD. Without these you can't have a comfortable first-person exploration game or experience. The Omni is not a luxury that makes VR better, it's a minimum needed for that kind of content to work without compromises. It's a paradigm, like the keyboard and mouse. Regardless of whether they are bundled together or not, you will need them both to get the most out of VR.

    As for how I've felt when taking the HMD off after a session on the Omni, it was a bit strange at first (it does seem like you're teleporting from one place to another after all) - there's a moment of surprise and readjustment as you remember the world you belong to, but I soon got used to it. Now it's more like the transition as you go in or out of a building. At the moment, the visuals are still not hyper-realistic, but that will soon change. Also, the laws of physics in the games I've played tend to be similar to real-life, but potentially they could be very different. If I were to play a game where I could walk up walls for instance, and then I came back to reality, it would be interesting to see how that affected my perception of the real world. Would I see the real world as somehow inferior, and by extension less real than the virtual one? How will the real would be perceived when you can do all these incredible things in virtual reality, that you can't do here?
    Community Manager at Virtuix
  • @sutekiB. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I know you're uniquely qualified and are very accustomed with HMD and Omni. I'm excited to trying this out for myself and seeing if the level of immersion is the same for me as it was for you.
  • xxann5xxann5 Posts: 593
    at least, rude ones who don't respond when you talk to them
    HA! I love it. I can totally see myself walking up to an NPC and getting offended when they ignore my hello before I realize they're not going to respond.

    That being said I wonder how difficult it would be to set up a framework to get NPC's to adequately respond to our voices? Obviously not looking for it to pass a turing test. but just something than can appropriately respond to you. such as walking up and saying hi, when you interrupt them or walk away mid conversation or start cursing them out or ask a relevant question like...
    • who is FOO?
    • where is BAR?
    • can you explain that again?
    • what did you mean by BIZ?
    • who are you?
    • do you know BAZ?
    Just a couple hundred phrases that could then apply to all NPC's with there own tree of responses. I think we(the player) would quickly trane themselves without even realizing it. Not sure how feasible it is but i bet it would be pretty damn cool.
  • Even a basic (albeit a modified one) Eliza engine would give you enough functionality and be able to respond to all sorts of questions - it could even ask you how you are et al. would be kinda fun to sort out (and I'm sure someone out there is already working on something like this :) ). given how much of normal human interaction can be tree'd out if you bolted on a text to speech engine you might not eve notice if a given avatar was an NPC (I expect it'd be easier for a smart system to pass a Turing test in VR-Space because of the ability to get an avatar to move around and to seem to interact with the environment (I know, a Turing test is not really a true test of AI anymore but it'd still be cool)
  • xxann5xxann5 Posts: 593
    Hope your correct and we start seeing this soon. Very exciting times!

    A colleague of mine once told me that computers have been able to pass turing tests since the late 70's, they just realised not to let on. It's hard to convey over text but with his demeanour we all took a moment to realize that he was joking around. It was quite funny.
  • @xxann5 Are you sure you want to start seeing this soon?

  • xxann5xxann5 Posts: 593
    But i may have to "Man Up"

  • sutekiBsutekiB Posts: 1,069
    Imagine an AI that could understand the game's plot, characters, and default dialogue, and then improvise (while staying in character) for each of the NPC roles, responding coherently to anything you said. I believe that's achievable in the immediate future. Longer-term, AI may be able to re-write the game on the fly - make things happen that were not scripted, build and animate models by itself... all with the single goal of entertaining the player. If the AI can read the player's emotional state through voice, body language and brain-waves, in addition to creating a profile (we would say - getting to know someone) it might be able to tailor the game to suit your personal preferences or mood. We're in the realm of sci-fi now, but with VR finally about to become an actuality, it's time to start pondering the next technological milestone!
    Community Manager at Virtuix
  • xxann5xxann5 Posts: 593
    @sutekiB taking it to the next level! I like it!
  • The more and more I think about this I guess the type of immersion I'm thinking about is related to time. I spent over 300+ hrs in Oblivion and Fallout 3 and New Vegas and while immersion kept me in those worlds, it's strange that I can't recall vivid specifics. Oh sure, I can remember >Spoiler< the plane dropping bombs on Caesar's soldiers at the end of New Vegas or Emperor Uriel Septim being assassinated, but my fondness of those games seems to be dependent on all those times I spent just walking, sightseeing, experiencing those worlds. For example, in Fallout I would just be happily exploring through the desert or road and then seeing a building and be like "Wow, I just discovered something new and I want to go inside and explore what goodies it has for me." Once I got inside and searching room by room and wondering what dangers await me or, experiencing the one-of-a-kind horror of hearing the howl of a ghoul, that is the flavor of immersion I want to feel.

    Which then brings in the factor that is the Omni. If you think about all the demo videos shown they are restricted in time and therefore doesn't quite fit the immersion I was thinking. The closest I've seen is the Fallout 4 walking video which while not super long or explorative , is faintly representative of what I'm trying to argue. Of course I'm only going by what is publicly available and the Virtuix team probably have already experienced this. Which then begs the question of how much does the Omni add to the intensity of the immersion I described in the above example? The simple answer is probably a lot but I think that answer doesn't do it justice because how do you describe/explain/quantify immersion? We're trying to describe a highly subjective/abstract idea into logical understanding--it's like trying to explain a piece of art-work. It is this unknown that has me so excited for the Omni and HMD because in my mind the experience I'm expecting is indescribable and limitless. Is my expectations too high? Maybe, but for me the idea is worth it.

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