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Virtual Reality and Game Design

Virtual Reality and Game Design

Coming in summer 2018: try Virtual Reality headsets in the Media Lab and at special events! To stay updated, sign up for the Library newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Virtual Reality

What is virtual reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) allows you to experience and explore 3D, 360° simulated realities. Using a headset, you can virtually visit places all over the world, explore fictional worlds, watch films and music videos in 360 degrees, experience immersive storytellingplay video games in a completely immersive, real-time environment, and more.

How does it work?

By immersing you in a simulated environment, virtual reality tricks your brain into thinking you’re someplace else. A VR headset shows you a 360° image and when you move and/or use a controller, the device changes what you are seeing accordingly. A mobile VR headset works with a smart phone and a computer-connected headset works in conjunction with a high-performance computer. The first versions of VR came out in the 1980s.

Do I need a VR headset to experience VR?

Yes. Popular headsets include the Oculus RiftHTC ViveSamsung Gear VR, and Google Daydream. The Playstation VR headset works with Playstation 4 consoles. Google Cardboard is a more affordable VR headset option that can work with a mobile device.

Check the Library's online calendar for opportunities to experience virtual reality.

Do I need to use headphones to experience VR?

No. Headphones often enhance a virtual reality experience, but they are not necessary.

What do people use VR to do?

Virtual Reality is often known for immersive gaming and entertainment, but also has a wide range of uses in many fields, including education, health care, research, and more. Colleges have created virtual reality experiences of their campuses to use in recruiting efforts.

Can VR make people sick?

Some people experience motion sickness and/or headache from their VR experience. If you don't feel well, remove the headset until you feel better. Next time, try a game that doesn’t involve as much up and down and/or rapid head movements.

How old should a child be to experience VR?

Ultimately, it is up to the parent/guardian of a child to decide if their child is old enough to experience virtual reality. Most VR headset manufacturers set age limits. For example, the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR headset have a 13+ age rating. Digital Trends published an article covering this topic. Common Sense Media provides six tips to keep VR safe and fun for kids

What should I do if the video is blurry or doesn’t look right on my mobile headset?

Make sure your phone is positioned flat against the viewer, with the center of the app screen aligned with the center of the viewer. If you have your phone set to zoom, turn this function off in your settings. You may also want to remove your phone case for a more snug fit. If your headset has vision adjustment wheels, adjust the viewer until the content is no longer blurry or doubling the image.

What is the difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)?

Virtual Reality immerses you in a completely simulated world. Augmented Reality is an overlay of digital images, sound and/or video that add to your experience of the real world.