Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
and the meanings commonly accepted by the international scientific community. The
editorial committee offers French translations for certain English terms or expressions
typically used in the domain. Even if similar definitions continue to exist, there is a
consensus in the current international scientific community as regards virtual reality.
A number of major international scientific events organised on the theme of “Virtual
Reality'' is a proof thereof. Purpose of virtual reality
Before elaborating its functions or techniques, it would be wise to first determine the
purpose of virtual reality shared by all practitioners. After having studied the objective
that is common to all its applications, we can claim that Fuchs (1996), CRTRV (2004):
The purpose of virtual reality is to make possible a sensorimotor and cognitive
activity for a person (or persons) in a digitally created artificial world, which can
be imaginary, symbolic or a simulation of certain aspects of the real world.
Two elements are described and specified on the basis of this purpose. The first is
the nature of the user's interaction with the environment giving access to an artificial
world. The term “sensorimotor activity'' is used to signify that the idea at the root of
virtual reality is that the person perceives and acts physically with the entities and ele-
ments of the virtual world. It is quite obvious that the person also performs an activity
at the cognitive level. However, having a cognitive activity in a virtual environment
without in turn having a physical activity (sensorimotor) is outside the scope of virtual
reality. These basic concepts will be described subsequently. The second element is the
diversity of origins of the worlds represented in the virtual environment. It is in this
element that this definition proves to be different from a simplistic vision, of virtual
reality being a “mere copy'' of the “real'' world. The three main origins are described
one after the other.
A simulation of certain aspects of the real world : These aspects are to be determined
at the time of designing the application. You will realise that this initial phase of
designing is fundamental and thus must be analysed clearly. Errors, which are found
often, are of the designer who tries to reach the highest “degree of realism''. This
incorrect approach is taken without trying to understand precisely which aspects of
reality are necessary to be covered in the application. It is completely absurd to naïvely
expect, if possible, that the behaviour of the virtual world would be exactly identical
to that of the real world. If we want to create a “virtual'' reality, modifying the aspects
of the “real'' reality is well within its purpose. For instance, it can be used for training
in a virtual environment, without real danger for the trainee, for the study of future
products which have not yet materialised.
Technical difficulties are thus not the only reason why the virtual simulations are
different from the reality. Similarly, virtual reality also makes it possible to simulate
the phenomena differently, a realism that “goes beyond'' the reality. We thus obtain a
simulation of the real world, which is “enhanced'' by more adequate, though unreal,
representations of physical phenomena or objects, for example, wireframe or exploded
display of objects, virtually represented invisible physical phenomena (radioactivity,
infrared rays, etc.).
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