Yesterday at E3 a childhood dream came one step closer to (virtual) reality, as John Carmack, co-founder of id Software, showed us what he's been up to since the launch of Rage last year.
Constructed from gaffer-tape and science, he's been building the virtual reality gaming headset that seemed just around the corner back in the 1980s. Now, perhaps, we are finally approaching viable VR for the masses, as Carmack explains in the videos below.
After just ten minutes of Doom 3 with Carmack's future-goggles on, we were truly blown away. Blocking out all other stimuli from the room, they offer an amazing degree of visibility and control within the 3D space. Whilst moving bodily with a traditional gamepad, you look around and aim by moving your head. At first, a false move in the wrong directional plain gives you a serious jolt of seasickness, but you very quickly adjust, begin confidently exploring the space and shotgunning lost souls in the face - BLAM!
Perhaps the weirdest part of our hands-on was when we had to remove the headset and return to the bland reality of the interview room. It was a surreal, sharply sobering moment. Even after such short period of time within the game, we found ourselves entirely absorbed; a gaming experience with a level of immersion genuinely unlike anything else we have ever encountered.
Will it catch on this time around? Tough to say, but Carmack certainly believes in its potential, and is pushing the industry and community alike to engage with, and help develop the technology. Our brief encounter has simply left us wanting more.