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How Close Are We To The Game Of The Anime Sword Art Online And The Technology?


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To me, the pop-up menus shown in SOA are pretty crummy interface. Having gone to all the trouble of creating a near perfect, realistic, immersive VR experience, they immediately break the immersion, reminding the user that they are not really in the simulated reality.

 

Even in present-day, keyboard/controller + screen games, I think the strongest designs are one that preserve the immersion in the simulated reality experience. For example, a carried object doesn’t simply disappear into an other-dimensional “inventory slot”, to be retrieved via a GUI menu screen, but appears on a sensible in-game place, such on the game avatar’s back, belt, or in a bag or pack. Retrieving it involves a realistic action, such as rummaging through a pack. Similarly, rather than the action of quitting the game being performed by selecting the logout action from a pop-up menu, to preserve immersion, it can be the act of going to bed and sleeping.

 

I’ve not seen this design approach much realized – I recall a few forgettable 1990s games – but much of this is, I think, because of the limitations of keyboard/controller + screen interfaces. These limitations wouldn’t be present in a truly immersive VR system.

 

I think they're kind of cool personally, but I agree they destroy immersion. A good idea to build off of (in my opinion) would be something similar to what is seen in the anime "Konosuba -God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!" In the show, after arriving in the new world, the protagonists are given player/ guild cards, which they use to see available and current skills, status, titles, etc. If VR games followed this idea and adapted it, although it would still essentially be a menu, it wouldn't break immersion as badly as just a blatant floating menu.

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I don't think it would be "immersion breaking" at all. This tech exists today within the Micro$oft HoloLens. Plus, there is no "immersion" to break if what is said in SAO is to be believed, the game so accurately replicates real word visual fidelity that even if a "pop-up menu" would be immersion breaking elsewhere it simply doesn't apply in this case. Plus Accel-World(by Reki Kowahara who wrote SAO and in the same universe many years later) has the exact interface seen by players in SAO for use in everyday life replacing a cellphone. and visible to nobody else.

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I don't think it would be "immersion breaking" at all.

...

Plus Accel-World(by Reki Kowahara who wrote SAO and in the same universe many years later) has the exact interface seen by players in SAO for use in everyday life replacing a cellphone. and visible to nobody else.

“Immersed”, as I’m using it, means “a state of unawareness that one is performing actions in a game rather than in actuality”. An “immersion break”, then, is anything that reminds the player that they are in a game universe, not the real one.

 

Because the Sword Art Online virtual universe is a magical fantasy medieval one, having cellphone-replacing augmented reality floating-before-your-eyes-only menus, which are out-of-place in a medieval setting, “break” the medieval virtual universe.

 

Many if not most present day screen-and-controller video games have menu systems, because the limitations of this kind of interface don’t allow the tasks performed via the menus to be done in a more realistic way. For example, in a present-day world setting, when I need to get something I am carrying into my hand, I must locate it, which may simply involve reaching into a pants pocket and feeling around until I find it, or a more involved activity such as opening slipping off, opening, and searching through a backpack, then closing and slipping the pack back on. A typical video game replaces this with a menu which may show the location of items against a diagram including my pockets and backpack, but more commonly shows simply a list or grid of cells. Using this menu system breaks my immersion in the video game, because I am no longer controlling my 1st-person view.

 

An example of a popular video game series where its makers made an effort to reduce this immersion break is the 3rd-person perspective Dead Space, where the pop-up menus are “explained” by showing them being created by a visible piece of equipment worn by your avatar. Because the setting of Dead Space is a space traveling science fiction world where such displays are the norm, floating-before-your-eyes only menus aren’t out-of-place in it, although some of the actions it allows you to perform, such as pausing or quitting the game, are.

 

An entirely avoidable immersion break free interface would not permit the play to pause of quit the game via a menu system, because you can’t pause of quit a real universe. Some game makers have made efforts to minimize the “quit immersion break” by linking the quit function to an something analogous to “quitting the real word”, such as steering your avatar into a bed, triggering a “going to sleep” effect. Examples: Red Dead Redemption; the Far Cry series (where you must set your avatars wristwatch alarm for the amount of time you wish him to sleep).

 

A practically perfect VR interface like the still fictional FullDive would provide game makers the ability to avoid practically every kind of immersion break. Rather than popping up a menu to find a possession, the play would actually have to look for it in whatever place it was. With its direct-into-your-brain interface, the “go to bed to quit” game mechanic could actually feel like going to sleep (in the game universe), then waking (in the real one), and vice-versa.

 

This raises the question of whether players would want the game to avoid every kind of immersion break. For example, in a non-magical, present-day game universe, if your bedroom is a filthy mess, do you want to actually have to clean it in a perfectly realistic manner, or break immersion with a “magic button” that does it for you? A common example of present-day video game makers intentionally providing optional unnecessary immersion break are fast travel systems which allow players to avoid the monotonous task of walking or riding a long distance between places in the game. (See this article for an anti-fast travel opinion. See practically any gamer forum complaining about a lack of fast travel for pro-fast travel opinions)

 

The fictional FullDive SAO game depicted in Kawahara’s manga and anime has many avoidable immersion breaks in it, more, I think, than many present-day video games. The actual game mechanics of one of its core activities, sword fighting, is one. As described in the manga, “sword skills” are not actually learned athletic skills are they are in the real world, but acquired “abilities” that the player triggers, and your avatar then performs “automatically”. Thus a SAO player may be an excellent sword fighter in the game, while having no real knowledge or skill of it in the real world. In game SAO fight mechanics are “magically” unrealistic – avatars can jump/fly distances impossible in the real world, smashing and cutting thing impossible to smash or cut with melee weapons in the real world. Injury of player avatars and enemies is “PG rated”, a hit point gauge lowering to zero, then the figure vanishing in a sanitary, pixilated way.

 

I suspect that some players would prefer game mechanics like this, while others would want ones more real-world like. Players who prefer as little immersion breaking as possible might be rare.

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That is true CraigD. We do not necessarily know how real the customer wants the game to be. Take not only the sword skills but the cooking in SAO. It is simple so that someone who has maxed out cooking can make amazing dishes while not having ever cooked in their life. Some people would like this, while others would prefer a more immersive method. Asuna even comments on how simplistic it is, which leads to her being more of a full immersion kind of person. We won't know every persons preference but there should be some sort of way that we could incorporate all of them. Maybe have some sort of switch that tells the game which interface or method the game should use when doing something like cooking or smithing items based on that switch.

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That is true CraigD. We do not necessarily know how real the customer wants the game to be. Take not only the sword skills but the cooking in SAO. It is simple so that someone who has maxed out cooking can make amazing dishes while not having ever cooked in their life. Some people would like this, while others would prefer a more immersive method. Asuna even comments on how simplistic it is, which leads to her being more of a full immersion kind of person. We won't know every persons preference but there should be some sort of way that we could incorporate all of them. Maybe have some sort of switch that tells the game which interface or method the game should use when doing something like cooking or smithing items based on that switch.

Or better yet, different servers. Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty have hardcore for players who prefer more realistic bullet damage and greater punishment for death, a FDVR could just have a hardcore and a regular so that players who want the real thing can have it while players that don't won't.

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That's also a good idea. With the switch, it gives everyone the option to be on the same server though. And if we have a more expanded list of switches you could customize your playing experience. For example, a switch for cooking and a switch for smithing and a switch for combat/sword skills. The player could choose to turn full immersion on for cooking and not combat or smithing and cooking. That would give them greater customization as to how they wanted to play the game, making it more appealing to the customer.

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As long as this subject is up, I would like to mention the possibility of the game being too immersive. The case of "Kyoji Shinkawa" could happen in the real world too. It could happen in any game really, but still, if we were to make a game that parallels the real world, the likelihood of this happening becomes much greater.

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As long as this subject is up, I would like to mention the possibility of the game being too immersive. The case of "Kyoji Shinkawa" could happen in the real world too. It could happen in any game really, but still, if we were to make a game that parallels the real world, the likelihood of this happening becomes much greater.

Well, considering I will be playing this, and already have enough bodies in my basement for two lifetimes, I think the real world is too immersive.

edit:

Also, when I looked up who that was one of the front page results was a "fan-fiction" detailing a different course of events fallowing the end of the GGO arc in the second season... Weird.

Edited by NotBrad
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P.S. By the way, right now im making a document where i put together all pices of information, technology and discoveries for the past to years, which will may, or may not, lead the humankind to the VR, i hope it will be handy to someone who really trying to make this technology out of nowhere.

Hey MrDonaldCrack do you mind sending me said document. I can message you my email.
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Says you... My goal is to COMPLETELY recreate SAO... I will also be changing my legal name to Akihiko Kayaba and moving to Japan, then learning fluent Japanese.

 

Blast. It seems I have a rival.

 

As long as this subject is up, I would like to mention the possibility of the game being too immersive. The case of "Kyoji Shinkawa" could happen in the real world too. It could happen in any game really, but still, if we were to make a game that parallels the real world, the likelihood of this happening becomes much greater.

 

I second this.

 

 

Or better yet, different servers. Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty have hardcore for players who prefer more realistic bullet damage and greater punishment for death, a FDVR could just have a hardcore and a regular so that players who want the real thing can have it while players that don't won't.

 

That is a very good idea. But keep a mandatory immersion-break like the pop-up menu.

 

BTW, there's actually a topic for things like this: http://www.scienceforums.com/topic/28208-ethics-safety-and-security-concerns/

 

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Hi everyone!
 

I'm hoping to make a collaberative document (E.G. Google docs, but not Google because I don't trust it much) so that we can all discuss the Ethics, Safety and Security of the Nerve Gear so that we can reach a solution regarding that issue. (Instead of going round in circles, which I've been told we do many times)

 

But obviously there's no point in making it if no-one is going to participate. So if you want to participate, can you please PM or notify me somehow because I'll also need to send the link to you.

 

I would have posted in the Ethics, Safety and Security topic, but it seems I'm the only follower of that topic so there's not much point.

Edited by weamy
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I'm going to be plain honest here; while the dream of having a fully immersive VR world sounds great,there's no use trying to plan all this out before even creating something usable for medical reasons. This device is going to be expensive, and may not be affordable for consumers until many years after it has been made.

 

I'm not one of those saying it'll take 50 years until we get there, because I don't believe so, but trying to sort things out already now, before the technology is making much progress, is a waste of time. I think.

 

You may of course create the document to sort things out for the future, but I believe it really isn't going to have any impact on the future devices, as huge companies will probably be funding them, creating their own rules and ethics.

 

Learn to crawl before you can walk. Learn to walk before you can run.

 

Do more research and create the device before making the game. If you do a bit of research, you'll see that there are literally no progress in this field as of now, making the rest pretty much unusable.

 

Just my 5 cents, correct me anywhere if I am wrong.

Edited by xTcHero
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I'm going to be plain honest here; while the dream of having a fully immersive VR world sounds great,there's no use trying to plan all this out before even creating something usable for medical reasons. This device is going to be expensive, and may not be affordable for consumers until many years after it has been made.

 

I'm not one of those saying it'll take 50 years until we get there, because I don't believe so, but trying to sort things out already now, before the technology is making much progress, is a waste of time. I think.

 

You may of course create the document to sort things out for the future, but I believe it really isn't going to have any impact on the future devices, as huge companies will probably be funding them, creating their own rules and ethics.

 

Learn to crawl before you can walk. Learn to walk before you can run.

 

Do more research and create the device before making the game. If you do a bit of research, you'll see that there are literally no progress in this field as of now, making the rest pretty much unusable.

 

Just my 5 cents, correct me anywhere if I am wrong.

 

You do make a good point.

But I for one would like to know what we are walking into. If it could be used for 'bad' things then we may have to be more careful with who funds us.

And anyway there's no harm in thinking of the ethics.

 

Regarding your point about the research, I can't agree with you there. Well, we're closer than you think. This particular article excited me a great deal:

 

http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2015-09-11

 

The outline: We've written to the brain. Enough said.

 

P.S. To be honest, I was hesitant to post this article public due to...well, I'm slightly paranoid when it comes to the NerveGear.

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I am well aware that we're able to write to the brain, we're even able to write non-invasively: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0060410

 

This sounds great and all, but it's waay too inaccurate, which renders it pretty much useless until we get advancements allowing us to do it with much more accuracy.

 

Of course, someone has to study the ethics and use of the product; however, I do not believe we're the first ones thinking about this. More and more people become interested in this, and to be blunt, I don't think just any professor would just join anyone here without a clear goal and without anything to show.

 

That being said, I don't want to discourage anyone; we have to do what we can to accomplish this, just don't start in the wrong end.

 

Lastly, don't be afraid of linking source material here. These articles can be found on google with a quick search anyways, so it makes no difference.

 

Sorry if I seem a bit negative and discouraging; I just want to point out it isn't that easy.

Edited by xTcHero
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I am well aware that we're able to write to the brain, we're even able to write non-invasively: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0060410

 

This sounds great and all, but it's waay too inaccurate, which renders it pretty much useless until we get advancements allowing us to do it with much more accuracy.

 

Of course, someone has to study the ethics and use of the product; however, I do not believe we're the first ones thinking about this. More and more people become interested in this, and to be blunt, I don't think just any professor would just join anyone here without a clear goal and without anything to show.

 

That being said, I don't want to discourage anyone; we have to do what we can to accomplish this, just don't start in the wrong end.

 

Lastly, don't be afraid of linking source material here. These articles can be found on google with a quick search anyways, so it makes no difference.

 

Sorry if I seem a bit negative and discouraging; I just want to point out it isn't that easy.

 

Well, DARPA did allow sense of touch on seperate fingers. The only problem I find with their method is that it is invasive.

 

Took me quite a long time before I found that article. But then again, I didn't know about DARPA then.

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