VirtualReality.net.au is going to be used to document and share the development of a complete Virtual Reality system designed primarily for entertainment. Virtual Reality has been around for many years, and while the development of VR hardware and software has gone in leaps and bounds within the military, medical and scientific research fields, it has stalled when it comes to entertainment based VR systems. Most existing entertainment based Virtual Reality systems are using both hardware and software that was developed back in the last century and these systems are few and far between. Within the scientific and reasearch industries the developers that are working on VR systems are continually raising the bar of what they want to achieve. Their expectations and the purpose of their VR systems is often changing to encompass new areas of technology and new demands from the companies willing to invest in the research. So along the way the people at home, like myself, that were expecting to see VR systems become part of the home gaming industry, have missed out. What we need is a gaming company willing to invest in VR, but even that would be difficult as most people do not realise how great a VR gaming system could be. I am sure one day home entertainment and gaming systems will start moving into directions that even I could not imagine, and will become even better than what I imagine a VR gaming system can be. But until then I have decided to work on my own home built Virtual Reality system designed purely for fun.
This project is a huge task for me, especially as I have very little formal training in computers, but I don't
think it is beyond me. Hopefully I will find other people with a similar passion along the way which can help
speed it up. Please note that most of what I am documenting is pretty basic stuff so please excuse my excitement if
I achieve something that should be simple. I am learning most of it as I go and am writing it down with the hope
that it may help someone else with their project.
Note:- To see any of the images or videos on this site in their full size, just click on the smaller thumbnail image.
If someone has any suggestions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact me through the Contact page.
This project will be split into two main areas each requiring many stages. The two main sections of the project are hardware and software. The details of each of these sections will have their own pages but first I will give a general outline of what lies ahead.
One of the main reasons existing VR entertainment systems have not taken off is the lack of intuitive and realistic controls. You usually have to tilt a joystick to move, and the headtracking is the sole form of directional control, usually emulating a mouse. With this VR
The hardware requirements for this VR system will include a Head Mounted Display, 2 Data gloves, 3 x trackers for head and hands and eventually some type of omni directional treadmill. The Head Mounted Display is not something that can be easily made as a DIY project so I will be using a commercially available one for the project. For the data gloves, to begin with I will be building 2 simple data gloves with 5 bend sensors on each. This should not be too difficult. With regards to the trackers, there are many commercially available trackers, but they are ususally very expensive. The components are not that expensive these days and the plan is to build my own 3DOF trackers using accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers. Once I have achieved that the plan is to move on to develop 6DOF magnetic trackers.
Code that I think may be useful to other people will be posted on the site, keep your eye out for the
+ Code SnippetSample code.
The software will be the key to this projects success. To begin with I am going to start with a simple FPS game, just so I can have a bit of fun as I go, but eventually I want to be able to enter a virtual world and be amazed by the surroundings. To do this I need to learn to build 3D worlds and use textures and effects that create a very high end visual experience. The starting worlds
Further extensions on this software will allow the user to browse the internet as though it is made up of 3D objects where moving from one website to another will require movement through the 3D world. Something similar to browsing the internet as seen in Johnny Mnemonic. And a further extension will incorporate the ability to do just about any normal PC function from within the virtual environment. Quite a big task but I thought we would already be doing this sort of thing by now and I can't wait any longer. I'll just have to develop my own.
Please browse the Hardware and Software pages to see the progress of each stage of the project.