Virtual Reality was the up and coming Big New Thing 15-20 years ago and then it kind of just faded away. You’d hear the odd bit of info about it here and there but tit didn’t transform our use of computers and how we could interact with manufactured environments like games.
The thing is, we’re still really only figuring out Virtual Reality, the kind of controllers it needs (headsets or bodysuits, etc) and how you can move around in it without walking into walls or falling down holes (because you can’t see where you’re going in the real world). Then we have to work out if this will fit into real life and, if so, how. While games are an obvious choice for propelling virtual reality (VR) into the mainstream (eventually), maybe movies can be made and experienced in that space too.
That’s not to say that VR doesn’t exist today. It does, and it’s great for exploring full 3d versions of fictional places.
Star Trek had the ultimate virtual reality device – the Holodeck. This pretty incredible VR-ready version of the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation should make your jaw drop. It’s the next best thing (well today, anyway)!
Unfortunately, CBS filed copyright infringement claims against the VR video on both YouTube and Vimeo and the video is no longer available. If you know fo a copy of it online, let me know.
This VR model – the Enterprise 3D project – was built in the Unreal Engine by a guy known only as Jason B. and is totally Oculus compatible. He started building a version of the Enterprise-D in two years ago, and recently ported it over to Unreal Engine 4.
Jason’s aspirations don’t stop with the above tour. He has 80% of the ship’s exterior modeled along with 60% of the ship’s first deck. Eventually, he plans to model every aspect of the ship and (though this is up in the air) possibly even populate it with a crew.
This is just a hobby for Jason B. It probably needs to remain that way for licensing reasons. So progress is likely to be slow. But if CBS (who own the licensing rights to Star Trek) were to fund a professionally created VR tour of the Enterprise-D (and other ships), just imagine what the possibilities! If they could take it a step further and build a full-blown simulator, you could be an actual crew member on the Enterprise-D, if not its Captain. 🙂
Here’s an older VR Enterprise-D bridge (if you can cross your eyes to get the left and right images to align in the centre of your vision, you’ll get a 3D effect):
…and here’s a VR version of the Voyager bridge:
Filed under: Star Trek: The Next Generation