GTA IV Virtualizer demo brings games one step closer to holodeck

GTA IV Virtualizer demo brings games one step closer to holodeck
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

December 5th 2013 at 3:20PM

Locomotion tech works in tandem with Oculus Rift and Wii remote to immerse players in Liberty City

Austrian firm Cyberith has shown off its virtual reality tech the Virtualizer, enabling players to walk through the world of Grand Theft Auto IV.

The locomotion device, recently featured in our Develop 100 profiling Europe's top game start-ups, works in tandem with VR tech such as the Oculus Rift and the Wii Remote and reflects the players real-world movement in-game.

This is achieved by integrated sensors for motion detection, which allows players to move, run, jump, crouch and strafe in-game.

The video below shows the tech being used to walk through Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Cyberith co-founder Holger Hager told Develop the use of VR headsets and the Virtualizer helps trick the human mind to believing they are actually inside Liberty City, instead of sitting in front of a monitor or TV screen.

"It's just like travelling to Liberty City and going on a sight-seeing tour," he said.

"You no longer play a game, you are in the game. You no longer control the character Nico, you are Nico."

Hager added that the tech helped developers increase immersion, and hoped it could later be used in horror titles to ramp up the scares.

"We want to deceive the human mind in a way that one really believes the virtual world is reality and thus first-person games are best suited," he said.

"The Virtualizer works outstandingly well with shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield because the immersion and atmosphere of fighting a tense battle is enhanced dramatically since you are able to jump, crouch, strafe and walk backwards in this device.

"Personally though, I am most excited about horror and survival games. Usually I'm not frightened or shocked easily, but once I walked around in games like Dreadhalls, Slenderman, Nightmare House 2 and the like, I experienced a whole new level of fear and anxiety."

Despite a gaming focus, Cyberith also hopes the Virtualizer can have an impact on fields outside of just the game industry.

"We believe the Virtualizer is going to change the world," claimed Hager.

"Not only will it impact the area of Gaming greatly but also fields like architecture - visiting a virtual building), training - police, fire brigades, ambulance service etcetera, therapy - anxiety, physiotherapy etcetera, and many more."