I remember the first time I tried a virtual reality simulator. It was during a 1995 trip to Osaka, Japan and it was overwhelming. I got inside of this pod that mimicked a roller coaster and I wanted to hurl. At the time, I blamed it on the motion of the seat.
About eight months later, I was exploring downtown Montreal between classes at college when I stumbled upon a virtual reality café. Curious, I bought a session and donned the headset. This experience was actually worse than the one in the pod. Granted, pretending to walk around is a bit more challenging than just passively experiencing a virtual environment but it was terrible. So terrible, in fact, that I vowed to never try anything like that again.
I’ve been wary of any technology that looks similar ever since. I was scared of the Wii and the Xbox Kinect (both safe) and I still haven’t been willing to put on the Google Glass gear. I swear, I was scarred for life by those experiences.
I am intrigued, therefore, that Cloudhead Games is claiming to have created a virtual reality experience that will not cause nausea. Based out of Vancouver Island, the team is comprised of former workers from Bioware and Relic which, of course, is promising in itself.
They have created the Blink VR locomotion mechanic that, supposedly, delivers a “100-percent nausea-free play experience” by using an “elastic VR playspace.” I’m not entirely sure what that means but I do know that the nausea caused by these devices relates to the fact that the inner ear isn’t happy and doesn’t respond to fake movement. Cloudhead’s solution is to have players “blink” or teleport across short distances.
The official press release explains that the company relies on three systems - Cinematic Blink, Precision Blink, and Volume Blink – to ensure “player safety, deep traversal and complete spacial [sic] awareness in both the virtual and real world.”
Gamers wanting to check out Blink technology will have to wait till later this year when Cloudhead Games releases their first title, The Gallery: Call of the Starseed. It will be launched alongside the HTC Vive later this year.
So far, the company has not provided an official release date and we have no solid information about how much it will cost but I doubt it will be cheap…