Future entertainment platform. Real virtuality vs. virtual reality?
The modern entertainment industry is focused on creating a virtual reality to make it as realistic as possible. The greatest success has been achieved in the field of visualization and sound environment. Tactile sensation, taste and smell simulation remain as difficult to realize as before.
We think we can look at virtual entertainment from a completely different side and modern technologies allow it. Why try to create new virtual worlds and make them look realistic, why not take existing real world and make it a little virtual? It is even more interesting. Let the players have their real tactile, taste and smell sensations, and let computer synthesize the video and audio – this is what it can at the best.
The outfit of the players consists of the virtual helmet, camera, sensors, detecting body, hands, feet position and a mobile computer device. All components are merged together in a network, and made in a way that provides maximum mobility for the player without hindering his movements.
The object detection software processes the picture from the external camera and executes replacing of the real objects by virtual ones according to the game specific algorithm. The players' computers are connected into a wireless network and send each other the information about the status of players' sensors; this information can simplify the process of image synthesis and control the game flow.
In order to play English football, with the use of this technology, we need only a real flat floor, real players and a real ball. The computer itself synthesizes the images of the lined football field, goalposts and tribunes full of fans. Even the judges are not needed. The computer itself will monitor observing the rules of the game: out, offside, corner, etc. Players will have the illusion of the game, Real game!
The role-games the elements of which are concerned with magic can be even more impressive (e.g. role-playing games based on "Lord of the Rings"). It will be possible to become invisible, to turn into a dragon, to stroll inside of the terrible castle of Mordor. The computer will synthesize the image of the game objects as accurately as possible according to the game scenario. You'll be able to walk on them, touch, break and repair them. Total immersion in the playing process! Naturally, the game should be carried out in the area with the presence of objects (buildings) suitable for the game scenario. The computer will change their appearance, but the tactile form of the objects will remain the same for the players.
Someone may be interested in romantic role-playing games (à la rendezvous DiCaprio and Winslet in "Titanic").
By the way one should not forget about the fans (e.g. in football)! They have a unique opportunity to see the game on behalf of any party! This opens a new direction in interactive television during sport reporting.
It should be noted that this technology beyond entertainment can be used as a platform for learning, since it can be very easy to create simulations of almost any human activity.
Existing technologies allow implementing the idea today. It looks similar only at the first glance. Maybe we are wrong, but we think that the only thing in common is the virtual helmet on head of the user. In US Navy case we have a certain set of video and audio sequence, where the computer synthesizes the image according to the prescribed scenarios. In our idea a computer requires information from video cameras located on the user's helmet for image synthesis. The object recognition, based on this information is followed by the replacement of the real objects by the virtual ones. Of course, this would require substantial computing power, but the result is worth it .