I’ve been learning a ton about virtual reality these days. Especially because of technical complexities, the main challenge of transporting a person’s consciousness to a virtual environment is obviously figuring out the necessary details that will make it real to the user’s brain/ body. Currently, there are certain tradeoffs that need to be made. For example, making all those rocks on the left there look perfectly detailed may take away from effective rendering – how the rocks are generated as the user looks at them – especially if this is running on a bad computer (most of our computers are bad because the average person takes horrible care of them, myself included). Anyways, poor decisions on design tradeoffs detract from the overall experience.
Thinking about such tradeoffs made me reflect on some experiences I had last summer. Certain things fell into place, and somehow I was blessed with the opportunity to explore parts of California, Idaho, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Afterwards, I drove alone across the country to move from Jersey to San Francisco, seeing everything from Cleveland’s hipster-ish-blue-collar-rock-and-roll streets to the Martian plateaus between Denver and California. I tried to take detailed notes in my journal each day because we forget most things. Haven’t read them since, but what I took forward from each of the stops were feelings, memories (if you can call them that) of emergent sensory experiences. I would describe Denver, for instance, as “muted.” Much harder to describe the Philippines, but I’d say the sensation of unfiltered auto exhaust sinking hooks into my heart to pull it up between my lungs is most salient.
My experience of those places is extremely different from someone from Colorado or the Philippines. So I doubt there is a set framework that some brilliant storyteller will discover to effectively boil down the essence of experience. It is contextual and dependent on what the creator is trying to convey and what the user takes away. It is what Denver is to me. It is what you take from me showing what Denver is to me. This advancement in the blurring of consciousness between “individual” beings is part of what makes VR so exciting to me.