Just spent a couple of hours in the “3Sixty” which is a room in the Ron Cooke Hub at the University of York (see photo below).
photo source: http://www.york.ac.uk/ctc/3sixty/
The 3Sixty consists of four walls in which digital images are projected onto from a computer. In my session today myself and peers were immersed actually inside a 3D visualisation of a French Cistercian monastery in Greece (created by Dr Anthony Masinton, University of York) which was based on archaeological data.
Although the room is named the 3Sixty, we actually got a 180-degree view and we could look around us as though we were actually standing inside the monastery. I found this exciting as I could get a real sense of scale of the monastery’s interior though it would have been nice to have had an additional screen on the ceiling to further enhance the immersion. We also listened to some chant music and found that the use of auralisation in a 3D model enhanced the sense of place compared to being just a representation in “cyberspace”.
This got me thinking- can technologies used in the 3Sixty be utilised for gaming? Before experiencing immersion in a computer generated environment I would have said “definitely yes”, but with hindsight I left the 3Sixty feeling amazed at what I had just experienced but also very disorientated and a bit nauseous, so now I’m thinking yes but it will need a lot of work into making it more user-friendly. I only spent around two hours in the room, sat down looking at the static image of the monastery that surrounded me.That was fine, until we started “walking” through the monastery like on a computer game, and that’s when the dizziness hit.
It would be amazing if the computer games industry could utilise these technologies so you, as the character, could navigate actually inside another world and fully interact with other players (perhaps in a World of Warcraft style) in a more unencumbered manner, so no peripherals such as a headset, or mouse, keyboard or controller. It may be the future of gaming, or it may not due to motion-sensitive people like me…