Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm not the biggest afficionado of gaming systems, so I missed the Kinect.

The previous excitement was over the Wii, which allows the gamer to direct their avatar's motions with their own by using a remote that contains motion sensors. Similar technology is used in smartphones and almost all smartphone games are based on it.

The Kinect allows the gamer to direct their avatar's motions with their own...

without a remote.

This is, of course, one of the key developments needed for the Star Trek style 'holodeck'. In fact, we could *almost* build one right now.

Envision a decent sized room, located in the back of a video gaming arcade or in an independent location. The walls, ceiling and floor are back projection screens, the floor, of course, under a layer of heavy duty glass (it exists, it's expensive, but could be done). The gaming environment is projected onto these screens. Players, with suitable props such as ray guns that fire infra red beams (harmless to the eye, but able to be detected by sensors behind the screens) or boffer weapons, enter the room and are immediately surrounded by the game. Technology similar to that used in Kinect would detect their motions and interactions. Hidden microphones would pick up the words spoken, with the NPCs reacting accordingly.

Essentially, this would be video-supported LARPing and the next step from laser tag and from games such as the TerrorWerks games (if they're at a con near you, check them out, it's pricy, but really, really good). Victory would be determined by real shooting skills. Or, of course, your group could schedule a non-violent game. Perhaps you could hold your party in the holodeck against a backdrop of your favorite celebrities. Or get married with the screens programmed to reflect Notre Dame cathedral. Needless to say, the administrators of the facility would be raking in the dough.

So. Who's going to try it? You'd need a warehouse type building or maybe a larger store front. And a lot of capital.

And in a few years, perhaps, the technology will exist to project the NPCs amongst the PCs... We WILL have the holodeck. It's only a matter of time.