Developer Blog – What is VR and What Makes It Awesome? Part 1

By | May 10, 2016

On May 3rd I linked to a brief history of VR. It wasn’t comprehensive enough to be considered accurate. I’m researching and writing a slightly less-brief, kind-of more comprehensive history of VR. About a chapter’s worth. Here’s part 1.

What is VR and What Makes It Awesome?

Virtual Reality has long existed as more of an ideal than as something real, virtual or otherwise. For many years it has been an unfulfilled promise that dates back to early flight simulators. Like most things computer related, the invention of flight simulators (and by extension, VR) arose from military necessity. The reality for test pilots and fighter pilots has always been a grim one; on-the job mishaps can have fatal consequences. Safer virtual environments were therefor created to train pilots and test planes. Such simulators typically consisted of instrumentation, physical input and feedback (such as pitch, yaw, and roll), and configurable flight scenarios. Eventually cockpit videos were replaced by real-time computer graphics. People began to see an application for computer driven simulation beyond its use in flight sims; they saw the possibility of an everything and anything simulator.

The first two such people, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland and student Bob Sproull, created “The Sword of Damocles,” widely considered to be the first Virtual Reality system…

To be continued…


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