Simulation vs. Reality

I was playing Dirt 4 as this idea entered my deeply focused mind. As you might know, as a gamer and reader of this blog, Dirt 4 is a rally game that has said to be somewhere in between a simulation and a totally arcade type of driving game. Of course I am once again playing with a game pad instead of a driving wheel. So, that makes it more of an arcade style of play. But what I actually wanted to represent and deal with this blog post is that how can playing something, be it simulation or not, to actually give you a perspective on how to approach a skill or some activity in real life and in reality?

Games can give you an idea of something, for example driving a car. This activity is not real driving. It is something a bit similar. Of course there are no risks. If you would really actually drive a car over 160 kilometers an hour on a road somewhere in the shore of lake Saimaa, Finland, you would have to really have some skills and know-how to even operate the car. There is this thought of driving and kind of a fantasy that are combined when you play a rally game.

Can playing games give you some skills that you can actually use in real life? Yes. Definitely. Sometimes these matters are technical details of the computer and what it does when you play one of your favorite games. I am many times thinking about technical and programming related matters when I am playing a game. I might think about how this particular game works, how it collects your input and keeps, sort of, count of the total progression of the player.

Sometimes, like when I play a basketball game, I start to think some matters that are related to real life basketball. There are lots of facts that you can connect to a video game. A game is always some sort of a representation of what it is trying to model. These models come from real life. Of course games can represent an idea of a game, also. There are types of games that you like to play and there are these genres that tell us about what kind of a game it is.

Playing games is an activity for mind but also for the body. This is why we have eSport events and it is completely understandable, today, that you can compete in playing games. Some games, like chess, are purely for mind and some games even test our nerves and reaction times. That is why some games you can compete in as a professional only if you are a young person.

There might be a way to think through your physical performance in some activity with playing a game about it first. If you think about basketball or driving you have to be able to explain to others what you are doing and how. For example, if you are a coach, you have this vision that no one in the team doesn’t have. You know how players in your team are feeling, what are their skills and you have also an approximation of how they will perform in the game that you are about to participate in soon.

It might be easier to make a game out of some sport than it would be to create a sport out of a game that doesn’t have anything to do with reality. Are we actually always modelling real life when we create a game? We definitely talk about games a lot. There is lots of going on in a game and in a real life. These all things kind of keep mixing up in our minds. Definitely games brings us a way to express things. Sometimes we mix reality with fantasy.

I am really into Java programming. This programming language has a lot to do with models that are made out of real life objects. It is called object oriented programming. If you are interested in this type of thinking I encourage you to seek more information. I don’t have a degree or a deep knowledge in psychology or philosophy. I still wanted to write about this matter. Maybe you got something out of this blog post. I will write a post again, soon.

How Far Are We?

I had an idea of a text in which I would be describing how we are kind of tricked to being inside the world that a particular game we are playing is providing us. Could computer and video games bring us someday to worlds like in the movie Matrix? If that would be possible – how could you trick your mind in to believing that you are, definitely, in that fantasy world?

I will approach this subject with thinking about your senses. You basically have different kinds of inputs in your body that can determine what you see and feel and hear and so on. We are far in that we can bring you some visually and aurally pleasant sensations. What if you could add your sense of touching to these? We could probably get to some really odd situations inside this kind of gaming world. Could it be that only these three senses could flip us in to believing that we actually are in some other world? Could there be a way to trick also our sense of balance?

Our efforts in bringing virtual reality have lacked to this day something that would actually make your dreams into reality. You can totally make your vision virtual. Your hearingĀ  can also be tricked. Balance could be tricked also. This leaves us to the ultimate question – how do we make our decisions and interact in this kind of world? Fantasy has a way that can make you feel like you are in a different world. I recently played a game that took me to a different world. And it had me make decisions and actions that defined how I proceeded in the game. It isn’t so important to think about what game it was, but let me tell you that it was actually Skyrim that I was fiddling around with as I had this idea of this blgo post.

But here’s something you can think about – what if we could dream in some kind of virtual environment that would completely capture our senses and make us feel like we are free of our limits iin this real world? Could we find something within our consciousness? Could we discover something this way that we aren’t discovering as we are awake in this reality that kind of captures us physically?

There’s certainly lots of questions in that last paragraph I just wrote. Dreams are very interesting if you start to think about it. I don’t have so much experience about dreams in sense of psychology. But I can think about it. When you dream you basically mix things that you were thinking about with your memories and your subconsciousness that I don’t actually know or understand. I think it’s somewhat what you fish and what you desire mixed with what kind of personality you have. Something like that.

So if we could dream inside virtual reality like that would it help us to heal our kind of injuries that we have in our psyche? Or what kind of an experiment would it be? Would it be pleasant or unpleasant? Would it have any value as entertainment or could we open doors to our minds and our deeply wired brains? Could we discover something that hasn’t yet been discovered? Now there’s something to think about.

I think today we are very far away from this kind of an experience. There is a sharp video picture that captures our eyes. There can maybe be a helmet in your head that captures your vision completely. You have a game pad that you can use to interact in game. Our minds are captured with stories and discussions that we can be involved in. Could there be something more? Are we actually in this kind of situation that we were in when we didn’t even have graphics in games and could this be something that could be possible in the future? Maybe? Maybe not? Would you like this kind of virtual reality in which we could dream our surroundings and even decide somehow when we would want to quit the game? We might be there in maybe 30 next years and this could be an improvement that we are facing just like graphics were back in the 80s.

Is virtual reality flopping?

Virtual reality was once said to be the next big thing in console gaming. Years have gone and VR hasn’t gained as much attention as was predicted. This may have something to do with todays graphics as they aren’t yet so realistic. VR as experience falls short. Maybe advancing to PS5 brings some change to this situation.

As VR glasses price is several hundreds of euros it is uncertain that they would bring that extra value to hobbyists gaming experience. Some games that come to mind that are using this feature are Resident Evil 7 and Gran Turismo Sport. Those can be played also without VR functionality.

Game types are yet to form inside this technology. Sony isn’t the only one on the markets as Oculus released their device some years ago. Even companies that have been usually associated with smartphone development are looking to get to this market area. Those include HTC, Samsung and Google. There is also a finnish company Varjo. Valve has been developing VR glasses also. Future tells if increase in graphics processing power brings VR closer to customers.

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