Real Life Engine

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Project Logic Model

For my SIP, I combined the concepts of augmented reality and virtual reality. This was a natural progression of things if players interact in an MMOG environment. However, the portion of this progression that does not occur inside fictional universes (virtual telepresence interaction in the *real* world) will not be included in this phase of the RLE. I shall place it on the proverbial back burner for research, design and eventual implementation later at some time TBD post-graduation. I have chosen "one technologically innovative element to focus on for [my] SIP" because there are in fact "many technologically innovative components that all need to come together simultaneously in order for the entire vision to manifest itself." Ergo, the following is the PLM for my SIP: The RLE, Version 1.0.

Project Logic Model for My Student Innovation Project: The Real Life Engine

  1. Goal ("Why?")

    • The goal of this SIP is to create a system that will allow players to travel into the infinite worlds of fictional universes as if those realms were no different than physical places they might virtually visit through telepresence technology.

  1. Objectives ("What?")

    1. Current Objectives – Phase 1 (Undergraduate portion of SIP)

      1. Players should have a sense of sight as if they were seeing through their own eyes

      2. Players should have a sense of sound as if they were hearing through their own ears

    2. Current Objectives – Phase 2 and Beyond (Post-Graduation portion of SIP)

      1. Players should have a sense of touch as if they were using their own hands

      2. Fluid interaction between players and fictional characters within a fictional universe

      3. Fluid interaction between multiple players within a fictional universe

    3. Future Objectives ("What will we do in the future? Where will we go from here?")

      1. Emulated sense of smell – to be implemented later [well in the future]

      2. May also emulate the sense of taste, if useful applications for this are invented

      3. Secure Means of User Identification – important to prevent fraud

  2. Activities ("How?")

    1. Current Objectives – Phase 1 (Undergraduate portion of SIP)

      1. Light-weight (almost unnoticeable) head-mounted mini-displays can sense the player's movements and adjust the camera position accordingly. Alternative setups could consist of large arrays of cameras and monitors to provide a user with a large field of virtual vision. Either of these methods should deeply immerse the player such that they can easily ignore their physical surroundings or have them completely blocked out. Players should be able to momentarily forget that their interactive environment is, in reality, a fictional construct. The quality of sight output provided to players should initially produce an expression of awe (“I can't believe this isn't real!”) and then gradually allow them to shift to a willing suspension of disbelief. It should assist their minds in pretending that the fictional universe in which they play is reality – at least until they finish their gaming sessions.

      2. As with the immersive virtual vision, a high quality, high-fidelity, and (optionally) noise-canceling head-mounted audio system (example: anything from simple ear-buds to virtual 7.1 surround-sound headphones) can produce extremely realistic sound. It is with technology that the RLE can transport a user to gentle meadow, a rushing waterfall, or the eerie silence in the dead of deep space.

    2. Current Objectives – Phase 2 and Beyond (Post-Graduation portion of SIP)

      1. Virtual sensors for physical contact within the game can interact with force feedback devices used by the player. Current technology only provides vibration-style force feedback through a cumbersome controller. The RLE should have the option of an extremely light-weight body suit that replicates a tightly-sanctioned (sex games, to put it bluntly, are against the EULA) set of events in the game. This can include safely emulated events such as shaking a character's hand, feeling radiant heat or cold, and holding or manipulating an in game object such as a baseball, football, car keys, door handle, weapon, etc... FPS games could (also safely) allow the player to feel something that resembles the impact of a bullet or shrapnel, or the push back force of an explosion. Touching moments in a game could simulate a hug or a farewell kiss on the cheek. (Current technology is too cumbersome to provide feedback to lips without restricting breathing or food intake.)

      2. Interaction between players and the fictional controllers in the game would not be much different than how games now interact with a player character's fictional persona. The difference for RLE would lie in how the input is sent to the game to control the player's character. This could be done through the aforementioned body suit, via optical sensors, and spatial sensors such as found in the Microsoft Kinect device. Again, this activity simply entails combining many pre-existing technologies.

      3. Interaction between multiple players is a technology that has been tried and tested since the original MUDs of the '80s. RLE will go beyond current technology via the near-perfect representation of a player (if desired) or otherwise ultra-realistic in-game persona look. Alternately, a player's facial expressions, body gestures, and other such real-world movements should be perfectly mirrored by his or her in game character. This level of representation is currently not actualized within any known games.

    3. Future Objectives ("What will we do in the future? Where will we go from here?")

      1. Smell – The complete how to is as of yet undetermined, hence its place in the future objectives list. However, this much is known: Several theme parks have short interactive movie attractions that include bursts of “smells” at certain points in the movie. Through the use of an airborne delivery system, laboratory-engineered particulates designed to smell like whatever the designers have dreamed up are dispersed to the audience from the backs of the seats in front of them. A similar 4 to 5 scent cartridge-based system (with set amounts per cartridge and the need to purchase refills for commercial sustainability) could be developed for almost any purpose. FPS games could contain the smell of hot lead from a machine gun, the acrid smell of a mortar launch, or even the stench of gore if a studio really wanted to go for that sort of thing. More interestingly, cooking games could contain smell packs for fresh fruit appetizers, fresh bread, meat and potatoes entrees, chocolate deserts, or anything a chef could dream up. The possibilities are endless. Again, someone just needs the wherewithal to bring this technology to fruition and give designers the power to run with it!

      2. Taste - The complete how to is as of yet undetermined, hence its place in the future objectives list. Because taste is so closely linked with smell, this one might surely become easier once “smell-o-vision” is 'unlocked,' as it were. Still, designers would have to come up with something really clever to justify the need to employ this sense.

      3. Secure ID – The complete how to is as of yet undetermined, hence its place in the future objectives list. There are many methods for confirming that someone is who they say they are. Perhaps something such as heat signatures, retinal scans, or other biometric feedback in combination with a password phrase could be utilized.
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