CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On VR and the Importance of Collaboration

InPark Magazine: On a recent trip to China, I was surprised to find three distinct VR experiences available in one small shopping center in the city of Rizhao. It seemed as though mall operators had walked the show floor at the Asian Attractions Expo in Shanghai and said “I’ll take one of these, and a few of those, and I’d like to buy this also.”

6 comments:

Rebecca Meckler said...

I never would have thought of a water park as a good match for VR but after reading the article, I can see why it would be appealing. Personally though, I feel that though you go on a ride by yourself, you’re usually at the waterpark with someone and the memories are not about the ride but talking with my friends before and after the rides. We normally talk about which ride was our favorite and which ride we want to do next. We bond over screaming at the same part of the ride or looking tough and trying not to scream. I feel that even though the VR would make it so that you could be “together” on the ride, you would be stuck in the VR and not look up and talk to people about the experiences. To me, VR in this situation would not make waterparks more group oriented but rather more isolating. It would be like when you are sitting in a room with a bunch of people, but everyone is on their phone and no one is talking to each other. Though I think VR would be a cool addition to water parks I worry that it would hinder the person-to-person connection and make waterparks more isolating, rather than inclusive.

Sabrina Browne said...

With VR technology becoming more real and also more accessible, I think that it is overused. VR, in my opinion, should not be used to replace experiences that one could have. There are VR programs used for historical research that are quite remarkable. Historians and architects have used VR to see what, for example, the Roman Colosseum looked like when it was first built. This application of VR is not replacing going to the Colosseum, but instead is a way of learning about a time that we cannot travel back to. Applications of VR that replace real world experience is where I become concerned. Using VR to experience a waterpark when one could just as easily go to a waterpark is an improper and unnecessary use of the technology. When VR is used like this, it replaces real experiences, and the chance to interact with people face to face (my biggest problem with the issue). In an age where at times FaceTime feels more normal than taking to someone face to face, VR applications like this is unnecessary.

Katherine Sharpless said...

I have never heard or thought of how VR could be part of the water park or amusement park industry, but am so excited to see how and if VR takes off in so many ways. Usually it seems that VR is considered only in a gaming or tech specific context. So it is interesting to see how it can be applied to other parts of the entertainment industry. I'm skeptical that VR will take over every commercial or educational experience in a Bradbury-like fashion, as some have predicted, but I can especially see it thriving in the themed entertainment industry (of which I know little and hope to learn about much more). I've read that VR can be used in military and surgical training as well, which are certainly more noteworthy than a water park application. As the article mentioned, if innovators work together and consider VR's lifesaving and necessary applications first, the fun will follow.

Madeleine Wester said...

Although I wouldn't have thought about connecting waterparks and VR, I see how the two could make an interesting pairing. I have used a HTC Vive VR system multiple times and I have often thought of how VR will impact the amusement park industry. However, I think VR will not be as prominent in the waterpark industry as it will be in Disney parks, etc. I agree that the solitary experience of VR technology fits well with the experience of sliding down a waterslide alone, but I see challenges such as creating a wireless VR headset and purchasing VR headsets in bulk. For now, I think VR will continue to develop and change the entertainment industry in a unique way which could be used for educational or therapeutic purposes as well.

Emma Reichard said...

Though short, this article brings up many good points about the future of entertainment technology. Virtual reality is the newest trend in enhancing an experience, and is being applied everywhere, from performing arts, to video games, to theme parks. It’s an experience that allows to user to fully submerge themselves in the world of the storytelling, which has been the goal of art since the beginning of time (mostly). But in order to utilize VR to the fullest, it becomes a highly collaborative process. There are traditional storytelling elements that must be addressed, as well animation, sound, voiceover acting, and many more. Creating a VR experience is as complex as creating any other large scale piece of art. I do think this will allow new forms of crossover between artists, perhaps bridging gaps created by intense artistic specialization. VR can also be used in very specific ways to suit a particular experience, like the waterpark example given in the article. VR could take a largely movement and touch based experience and instead stimulate all 5 senses at once to maximize the experience. VR is a new and useful tool in the artists tool bag.

John Walker Moosbrugger said...

I think it’s time we stop using VR as a blanket term, the interesting part about this article is that I can’t actually tell what the author is writing about because he, like so many others don’t bother to define the type of VR they experienced when talking about it. The range isn’t small, and the differences are extremely important. “VR”, just in the consumer spread, ranges from a video playing on your phone in a special headset to high end $700 headsets which also require a high end PC in the $1000-$1500 range to run them. The incredible thing is however that the high end experience might just be worth the price tag too. It is a completely difference more immersive world which using technologies like high resolution displays and high refresh rates often pushing between 50-100% more frames per second, reducing motion sickness. There is more interaction available, better motion tracking and better content. So to call these two experiences by the same tagline “VR” introduces needless confusion and convinces people they have experienced all VR has to offer, without even scratching the surface.

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