The term has become so familiar now, and while it may not be the “buzz-word” it used to be Virtual Reality still a rapidly growing technology.
Computer 3D is the basis for it all now. Scenes, objects, effects, sounds and everything else the viewer sees or hears are created piece by piece, coloured “textured”, animated and then rendered.
Virtual Reality started back in the 1980s with some very simplistic scenes. These had very little resemblance to what we would consider as “reality” but they were still impressive in that they could represent perspective, distance and shapes. Today the quality has improved to a level of near perfection although now there is a bottleneck in the presentation.
Near perfect real time Virtual Reality requires massive amounts of human work and computing power to produce, not just in the studios but also in the actual presentation. The closer we want the scenes to be to reality the more computing power is required. There are many solutions now for real time playback on affordable hardware but still there are limitations in quality and the work to create them is considerably more than that required for linear presentations. The use of the interfaces for these presentations also exceeds the ability or patience of most people.
Archiform 3D has a solution called Meander that solves the quality vs real time interaction dilemma, which is getting a lot of attention. It’s a hybrid system that provides perfect quality with instant gratification.
Software for the creation of Virtual Reality scenes has almost blossomed and now it’s a matter of computer hardware catching up as well as the interface between the human and the presentation. Every year brings more but the progress has been slowing.