It was barely Ready Player One premiere, and texts from my friends and colleagues in the VR community began pouring in…
“How was it? ”
Those of us in the mixed reality industries have been waiting for this film like the VR messiah that will deliver us to public mass adoption. And the breathless prayer? “Please, oh please, let Ready Player One make VR looking cool.”
To many, VR inventors build expensive content that few will ever experience or have interest in experiencing. I have read dozens of articles in the last year announcing either the end or the beginning of VR.
I have ascertained VR portrayed as a portent for humanity’s most solitary, basic, and evil instincts over and over again in television and movie. Most of all, I received questions put by people that are confused by what this technology is and moreover, why it even has value.
Because of Ready Player One , there are now giant billboards on streets around the world where someone is wearing a VR Headset. For those of us who have lived and inhaled this technology for years, this movie is everything.
And so, I was excited to find that yes, this film portrays something that I’ve known and seemed in my bones for a while now — VR is in fact cool.
I’m imagining that people will now want to suit up, run to THE VOID or the Imax Experience Center and try VR for themselves. But here’s a word of caution to the uninitiated: VR is currently not the OASIS. Please do not expect VR to feel, appear and behave like the OASIS, because we are not there yet. But I’ll be damned if we’re not close.
So dedicated this, here’s an overview of what’s present in the film, where we are today, and what the future might hold.
NOTE: Some minor movie spoilers below . strong>
At first glance, the headsets in Ready Player One seem surprisingly like generation one Oculus Rifts in size and shape. However, the cinema claims that Head-Mounted Displays( HMDs) projection in 2024 is composed of harmless lasers beaming directly into your retinas- far from our present display-based HMDs. The film’s headsets appear to be inside-out tracking, lightweight, wireless, and can render images indistinguishable from reality with minimal or no processing slowdown. Other sci-fi-based headsets appear afterward in the movie, when Wade upgrades his HMD to a modeling with semi-transparent glass. In the book, there are allusions to OASIS’ massive servers in Columbus, so all the processing power is probably not coming from the headsets themselves but rather sent via 5G( or higher) network to each user.
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Off-the-shelf HMDs are tethered to powerful PCs, and those going afterward in 2018( Vive Pro, Oculus Go, and supposedly Oculus Prototype Santa Cruz, among others) are either a mobile-based power/ resolving or are in need of PC wireless showing relate. While we don’t have lasers entering our retinas( yet ), we can assume someone’s working on it.
Tomorrow : em>
When it is liberated, Magic Leap promises to be a very close thing we have to a complex mixed reality headset. It beams information immediately into your eyes that utilize your appreciation of depth, which should make for a more comfortable experience than hours in a headset look at this place pixels; yet, it’s imperfect as the field of view will in no way be full resolution like in the OASIS. Right now the design is somewhat clunky- there’s still a walkman-like battery pack to deal with and a FOV of 40 degrees at best. Other than the freeing of Ready Player One , the launching of Magic Leap One is likely the most anticipated event in the brief history of VR. As a side note, the term “VR” may no longer be applicable, because it’s predicted that AR and VR headsets will coalesce and become one device.
The haptic suits in RPO are aesthetically gorgeous. As described in the original volume, an interwebbing of sensors and substance encompass the user’s body — it looks like a slim-fit wetsuit but with gloves and boots. When characters get shot or made in VR, they feel the pain on their bodies, which thematically ups the bets during the battle scenes. There’re likewise a few instances of “pleasure” haptics.
In the VR nightclub, Art3mis dances against Wade and the crotch region of his suit, ahem, “activates.” Other scenes contain a few cheeky allusions to some risque things people might be be up to in the OASIS.
Our villain Nolan Sorrento wears a haptic suit on his bouts in the OASIS, but usually confines the haptic experience to an ornate leather chair that allows him to feel excitements/ preserve a patriarchal technical overlord vibe.( Cool .)
Sorrento’s chair feels reminiscent of the Positron rig that has been dotting cinema celebrations and hotels lately. They’re quite comfy and are great for first time VR consumers. In words of romantic haptics, the teledildonics and VR porn industry is alive and well, and new products maintain being developed. Haptic gloves like Haptx VR Gloves do exist and maintain to be good! So far, texture, shape, and cold/ warm sensations are all achievable by individual systems and products.
Complete sensory VR immersion is years away, but is one of the most oft requested and dreamed about advances in service industries. Teslasuit appears to be the next product to marketplace that aims to let you feel it all in VR, and it looks a inferno of a lot like Wade’s suit.
One of the first scenes in the film features Wade navigating the OASIS on a simple omnidirectional treadmill. As the film progresses, motion mechanics get into completely new territory. The “sixers”( the film’s enemy legion against the Gunters) stand upright in individual husks with treadmills beneath them; if needed, they and can sit down to “drive” vehicles. On the Gunter side, in Aech’s truck the “Hive Five” are tethered to the ceiling via cables for unobstructed opposing moves.
Omnidirectional treadmills exist today but the cricks are being ironed out. Many are designed similar to ones in the film( micro- and macro-treadmill arrangings ). User motion tracking is done via external sensors, and for maximum movement a very close thing we have to a tetherless VR experience is location-based experiences a la The Void, and that still requires knapsacks.
A Virtual Reality where your physical motions match virtually in a 1:1 ratio without the necessity of achieving wires. Inertial Measurement Units( IMUs) are already in use for motion capture in cinemas and plays, and these systems can be integrated into next-next-gen haptic suits for full-body existence.( That being considered, some folks will always want to play from a couch or chair .)
One universal currency exists in the OASIS, and its value is more stable than real-world currency.( Is FIAT even real currency some might ask? Don’t start with me, boy ). In the OASIS, currency is more trusted than in the actual world. Wade receives bonuses for leveling up in the race to catch the egg, and uses digital currency to ordering real products via drones in the real world. In the OASIS, users can go on quests that require run that are actual proof-of work.
So cryptocurrency today is a bit of a mess. Between ICO’s is inadequate to launching or completely made up advisory board, people are doubting the security of a digital currency. That being said, millions of people are eager to learn more about this currency revolution and its claims to strive for financing of the equalization of the world.
Democratizing cryptocurrency is paramount. Some companies, like Robin Hood, are doing a great job by providing cryptocurrency to the masses via easily available mobile apps. Some “re saying that” Ready Player One actually predicted the rise of cryptocurrency; nonetheless, it did not predict alt-coins such as Ethereum, Monero or Ripple.
As Wade proclaims in the beginning of the movie, in the OASIS you can “be whomever you want to be”, whatever appearance, ethnicity, background, gender, sex, or species. It’s all up to you as a consumer and denizen of the OASIS. For instance, Wade dawns a haircut which is then corrected by Art3mis to be cooler( more spikey ). Wade’s best friend Aech is an African American girl but is able to be a male muscled warlord in the OASIS. There’s a glorious beauty to avatars in this film for the free folk that is contrasted by the monochromatic Sixers in their Loyalty Center. This is a free and open internet — be who you want to be.
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It would be lovely if who we are in VR is a direct representation of our real egoes — however current methods used to duplication leave out facets of what induces us human. For example, Facebook wouldn’t let this VR user be fat. Scanning technologies such as Windows Mixed Reality capture stages can scan your likeness — but it will cost a pretty penny.
In the future, avatar creation is gonna be a democratized process where users can scan themselves( either face or torso) to importation into the cloud, or simply be whatever figure suits their predilection. Think of this as a VR Chat-level of character selection but with customization to the nines.
We are at the cusp of a media revolution: New definitions of reality develop every day, and Ready Player One is giving these technologies mass market exposure.
At the same time, this film speaks to the morality surrounding how we equip ourselves with immersive tech in the new digital frontier. Will the OASIS be well protected and well propagated? Should we look to artists or business people to be the curators of this space?
If we are to avoid the advertisement-laden virtual realm that RPO ’s 101 Industries desires, we must take steps in this early adoption stage. That is the core of the film’s premise: virtual reality has as much impact on the world as real reality. Choose wisely.