Real & Virtual Worlds — Week 3 (Viewing/Reviewing)

This week on Real & Virtual Worlds I spent the majority of my time for this unit on the PowerPoint presentation we are due to present on Monday. This one was a particularly interesting situation for me, as the topic options we were given related to a project I was already working on in my spare time.

Of the options we were given, the theme I ended up deciding on was primarily that of Autonomous vehicles and future transportation. For this purpose, the idea of a logistics game where you manage a science fiction space station seemed to fit well, with automated vehicles coming in and out of the station as you gradually improve the station.

I did struggle to try to find some references and research for this idea specifically, as there aren’t a lot of logistics games specifically in virtual reality, so instead I looked more towards traditional video games for inspiration, and using some virtual reality games as more of a visual inspiration than a mechanical inspiration.

The key thing I had issue with here was creating a “message” for my idea. Something I realised last term was that I find it easy to come up with a mechanic or idea, but then struggle to translate that into a story. My goal isn’t to be a writer, so it’s not the biggest issue, but it’s something I’d like to be better at. I think the final message for this project is more of a positive one — Technological advancement isn’t necessarily bad or scary, we just need to be able to understand it more to make it appear less so. People of past generations had the same fears of video games, the internet, etc, so I can easily imagine themes like these being ones we see within our own lifetimes. I tried in the concept I came up with to reflect this attitude, keeping the game slow paced and enjoyable, to show that in some ways technology like this can be elegant and somewhat mesmerising to watch.


Outside of this project work, we were also asked to read, watch, and listen to a few things.

The first I watched of these was that of “The Matrix” (Specifically the first movie, in my case). If I had more time, I’d love to watch the entire trilogy to see how it expands the story, but it was still a fun and thought provoking film to watch standalone. Despite how dated some of the CGI now looks in the film, a lot of its messages and pivotal themes still hold up, especially with the world becoming more focused on technology and the internet as time goes on.

The second reading I had the opportunity to listen to was that of the Voices of VR podcast. I’d actually listened to a couple of other episodes of this podcast following this course introducing me to another episode, so being able to listen to more of this was interesting. This one in particular interviewed Kai Reimer, his research into virtual reality, and how it will affect daily life as it becomes more adopted into the societal norm. Mainly they discussed the philosophical implications of virtual reality, talking specifically about phenomenology and embodiment issues within virtual spaces.

I found the discussion about the fundamental connections between mind and body really interesting, as (at least for now), one can’t exist without the other. Particularly he mentioned how the body is used within language, with bodily metaphors, body motions or actions, or other things that help with communication. This brings me back to things I studied in psychology back in school, how things like how your body posture affects peoples attitudes towards you, and I can easily see how virtual spaces can remove this aspect of communication, which may be potentially re-introduced within virtual reality spaces due to the inclusion of bodily movement.

The last reading for this week was “From Illusion to Immersion” by Oliver Grau. I have some thoughts on this reading that I’ve not yet fully thought out, but have notes on. I will amend this part of the blog to add to this part with my thoughts, as with the powerpoint work going on I didn’t have time to fully actualize my thoughts here.



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