the xVRM manifesto
a reasonable take on virtual reality
What is xVRM?
My original plans for virtual reality,
code named VRM (virtual reality for the masses), outlined a simple virtual reality
system. Featuring a homebrew magnetic tracker and a
cheap projection screen, it would allow full virtual
reality potential while staying flexible and
inexpensive. However, not everything works as planned;
the magnetic tracker turned out to be next to impossible
with what I had at the time, and the screens were far
from cheap. Alas, virtual reality seemed rather out of
It is from these ashes that xVRM was
The first tenant of xVRM is that the
typical ideas of what virtual reality should be
are rather unreasonable. The expectation of large
screens or a head mounted display that projects a
perfect virtual world is rather difficult to meet; a
virtual reality tracking system requires an insane
degree of accuracy over a wide range, while the displays
require a fairly high resolution at a large viewing
size, all requirements that are currently available at a
rather ridiculous price. Not to mention they're mostly
old technology that's probably not even available
* Ascension Space Pad Tracker
("affordable"): $1500, and runs off an ISA
* Ascension Flock of Birds Tracker:
~$25000, or something like that
* head mounted displays: $500-$10000+,
and probably aren't that healthy
* digital projector: $800-$2000+, and
you'd most likely need more than one
Which, quite frankly, sucks.
The second tenant of xVRM is that real
life handles reality much better than computers. The
laws of physics react instantaneously, meaning there is
no lag; let them handle rendering, collision detection,
sensory feedback. Leaning more towards being a
simulation than a "virtual experience", xVRM
offers a chance to realize virtual worlds, now.
What do I need for xVRM?
As of writing this, xVRM doesn't
really exist in any form past an idea; however, if it were
to be done, a few things would be required:
Otherwise known as a fairly large open space. Be it
outside, inside, or both, some sort of staging area is
necessary for an xVRM simulation. Which kind depends on
what you're simulating.
xVRM is generally suited toward some sort of game;
instead of AI, you need real people to play with you. Unfortunately,
it's a bit harder than adding bots to a game, but fortunately,
real people are trickier opponents (well, most of them).
To make the simulation come alive, you need some
form of simulation technology. Be it in the form of
something like laser tag, some sort of wireless fencing,
or a vehicle simulator, the technology brings it all
together. In fact, it's essentially the whole thing
would an xVRM game be like?
most part, it depends on what you're trying to simulate.
realistic laser tag weapons and rules, some sort of
objective gear (bombs to be diffused?)
Tournament -esque: insane laser tag guns, less
realistic suits, capturable flags, respawn points
Combat: cableless fencing-like gear, perhaps some
type of siege engine / base system?
Combat: simulation capital space ships with flight
hangers and miniature fighter plane simulators,
mech simulators and futuristic laser tag gear for ground
missions, tie in with mission support from capital ship
they'd all use some sort of universal protocol, not
unlike the proposed Grab and Go protocol for laser tag
version 2.0. Maximum hardware compatibility would allow
for reusabliity between simulations, which would save
quite a bit of development time, meaning more extreme
xVRM fun time.