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[Xmca-l] Re: Semioticians, parse this VR



Having been to my first Games conference today, I can, perhaps, add a bit to this conversation. My understanding now is that VR -- at least within the gaming industry -- is seen as something of a sideline, at least for now. The technical (and other) difficulties, vs the 'gains' for an immersive experience (not the same as a 'dynamic point of view'), remain too high. However, in terms of narrative function, the immersion that is enabled by VR is seen as a generally good thing. But the idea of VR enabling the protagonist/1st person POV to determine their own experience (?dynamic POV?) doesn't seem to work -- while there might be visual immersion, there are capacity limits to scope of 'view' and to choice of narrative.And, yes, while VR is currently articulated most prominently to games, I agree that VR is something separate, that is something to do with digitally created alternative 'worlds' that enable an other-to-corporeal experience. Second Life, in this sense might be considered more of a predecessor to what we now think of as VR?It was a stimulating day!W

> From: glassman.13@osu.edu
> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 05:03:09 +0000
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Semioticians, parse this VR
> 
> I worry a bit about conflating the idea of dynamic point of view (which is controlled by user/actor) with virtual reality.  The idea of user controlled point of view I would say is descended from Ted Nelson and his ideas on hypermedia.  It's a really interesting exploration of how media technologies might evolve to give the user control of the narrative.  There is a really interesting company called Interlude which I just discovered which is trying to play with this idea, but they really don't have any ties to virtual reality (look up the video of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" if you have a chance).
> 
> Virtual reality  I would suggest is more of a technical terms where users are capable of having experiences in an alternate (usually digitally transferred) environment.  You can then create scenarios in this new reality while experiencing something completely different in you corporal reality.  Some think virtual reality and augmented reality are part of the same continuum, and some don't.  I have been struggling with whether you can consider Pokemon Go to be virtual reality (it is and it isn't, right?)
> 
> There are a number of attempts to combine hypermedia with virtual reality, but from what I can see it is really, really difficult, because we are humans and crave the certainty that comes with an established point of view, that omniscient point of view.
> 
> The relationship between virtual reality and gaming is also complex.  The virtual reality platform I am most familiar with right now is Second Life - but they are adamant they are not a game or a gaming platform.  However recently some of my students have shown me new game creating engines which may push that (does World of Warcraft and other mmporgs  massive multi=player role playing games (I hope I got that right) push that as well - but the early game designers did not seem to be working within a virtual reality framework.
> 
> All of this technology and techniques is coming so fast and furious now that it becomes do difficult to sort everything out.
> 
> Michael
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
> Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 4:12 PM
> To: Wendy Maples <wendy.maples@outlook.com>; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Semioticians, parse this VR
> 
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> The discussion of VR is intriguing, and the closest my understanding to it would be digital gaming, though I realize that isn't exactly the same.
> But! if gaming is of interest, which the thread seemed to turn, then I thought I'd suggest Alexander Galloway who is at NYU, but he seems to be going other places lately.
> Here's a link to his site and books:
> http://cultureandcommunication.org/galloway/books
> 
> In regards to this thread, I was thinking about his book "Gaming" but you all may also be interested in Protocol, and The Interface Effect. I've read Protocol, but haven't laid eyes on The Interface Effect, but that may be of particular interest because: Galloway "builds on the work of Marxist critical theorists such as Frederic Jameson, and new Media scholars such as Wendy Chun..." and "an interface, for [Galloway], becomes a technique for thought: an 'allegorical device' that makes the social world accessible in an age of information."
> Here is a review of that book:
> http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/reviews/individual-reviews/the-machine-is-an-ethic
> 
> It seems to fit with the idea of narrative in VR.
> 
> One of the ethical questions I have about VR, is whether it is just a matrix of control made to appear that it is offering freedom of exploration. Talk about a wall paper of appearances!
> :)
> 
> Kind regards,
> 
> Annalisa
>