Need help with virtual reality descriptions

MemoryTale

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#21
Another story you could read for virtual reality is Otherworld by Tad Williams. I only read book one, but it contained several different levels of virtual reality, depending on the budgets of the users. That said I don't want to seem like I'm actually recommending Otherworld by Tad Williams as I found it very dry and overlong.

I also came across a book called Trading Reality by Michael Ridpath. I don't remember too much about it other than it used the more "low tech" jacking in version.
 

Martin Gill

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#22
If you are that far in the future could you just go with direct neural interface? Either hardwired, or slap a spider on your head?
 
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#24
It depends on the level of the VR technology your writing, If it's near the present day it's probably going to be a clunky system. But if its advanced Virtual Reality were the system is interacting with the player's mind/thoughts then the menus might just be thought activated and not really need much of a physical description. Personally, I like the idea of visual overlay screens which can be overridden by voice or mental commands. depending on circumstances and the individual player's preferences. Customizing your player/game interface should be an option in most games.
 

Penny

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#25
My VR tech is pretty advanced. beyond matrix stuff. it is able to work beyond light speed limits, and just requires the equivalent of USB for your neural implant a device on the back of the neck

The hard part is figuring out the in and outs of the world, how people log in and out, how you travel long distances in vr, do I have annoying popups and adverts or did we solve that stuff?
how do I approach viruses and security and alll that stuff :p

I am stealing liberally from quite a few different anime and movies, ghost in the shell, the matrix, sword art online, Log Horizon, Accel World to name a few.
trying to create my own unique mix that i like and trying to inject some originality if i can think of any.
 
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Martin Gill

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#26
I like the idea of ads, pop ups, etc. We did some far out future of marketing scenario planning for work last year and one crazy idea was firms would pay consumers to watch ads. Kind of privacy plus controlled, curated media environments means people see less ads, so you could have a whole class of people who live in VR and just watch ads all day to make a living. It kind of goes with a post-scarcity vibe as well, where people don’t necessarily need to work.

There’s a one liner in (I think) Walkaway by Cory Doctorow (I may have the wrong book) about a guy who committed suicide because he had cheap ass optics fitted that played the same advert over and over and over to him. There’s a ton to riff on there.

I guess it all depends on what kind of world do you want? A bleak, distopian one where VR is a saviour (kind of Ready Player One), one where VR is just a tool? What are you trying to say about the technology and peoples’ relationship to it? That, as much as How the tech might work, can drive the details.
 

SilentRoamer

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#27
My VR tech is pretty advanced. beyond matrix stuff. it is able to work beyond light speed limits, and just requires the equivalent of USB for your neural implant a device on the back of the neck
I love this thread! Just to nitpick - the human brain doesn't work beyond light speed limits and neither would your tech if you are basing it on any possible known science. Now as you are asking sensible questions about VR interface - physical and sensory then I assume the tech level to be something recognizably human. Adding in something that can FTL with data opens up a huge amount of potential questions - also FTL interfaces with the human brain might cause all sorts of issues. Cause and Effect mashups anyone!

I have read and would recommend reading:

Hyperion
Ready Player One
Armada
Enders Game

which all deal with AR/VR to some extent. RP1 is an absolute gem if you haven't read it and want something VR specific.
 

Penny

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#28
yeah well, I know a human brain doesn't work as fast as light speed, but data in my VR networks can.
All the computers in my universe make use of quantum speed processing units, now I don't understand quantum theory so I am essentially saying It can do what I want because of quantum! but as they are all basically super-fast quantum computers and they communicate via FTL networking which exploits some glitches that happen in physics at the quantum level. I can do magic. so there.

Kind of spoiler to go much more into detail of how the mechanics of my VR works because its pretty core to what I am working on. suffice to say. Reasons! and you'll have to read it when I'm done ;P

Enders game was good. many stories seem to take the approach that you don't describe exactly how someone is navigating menus or activating things or hacking something just that they are. it makes it feel half thought control and half magic to me.

for example (this is written for this thread so yeah not an excerpt or anything)

Bill opened the menu and scrolled through to find his hacking app. Activating it he kneeled behind the flipped table for cover as the progress bar filled. Shots spat all around chewing great chunks from the wooden table.
You don't know how he is doing it just that he is, there's no explanation of gestures, controls or anything.

Or a more explanatory one.
Jane flicked her wrist bringing up the menu system, she flicked through apps with a finger. Searching desperately for the hacking app. She yelped as a bullet singed her leg. She found the app triggering it with a jab. The progress bar filled as tracer fire bounced around her from the other end of the room.
On this one we see the gestures, it takes a little longer but its less like magic

I think if you went with the bottom one from the beginning you could drift into the first example later as its stuck in your mind but. if you started with the first example its like. wheeeee i have mind powers!
 
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Martin Gill

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#29
Again I think this depends on what's good for the story.

Neil Stephenson is good at making the tech to what he wants to tell a story (Snowcrash and Reamde in particular). Ready Player One went that way as well, playing up on the nerd heritage of Oasis so normal users all buy into geek culture. Do you want VR to have a magic-like feel? Or more of a gritty noir-tech feel? Could users customise their interface, so they use "spells" via hand-gestures, magic words, etc? Is it the same for everyone? Are your character hacking an oppressive corporate controlled VR environment, in which case maybe the standard interface works one way but they are hacking it to get around controls, so they need to get deep into command lines, custom menus, etc.

I'd think through what role VR plays as a storytelling tool, then base stylistic decisions on that.
 

Penny

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#30
Yeah, I am building a bunch of rules similar to the way you design game mechanics to explain how the virtual world works.
that way it essentially builds its self as I write, I follow the restrictions I've placed upon myself and create within their bounds. occasionally changing a rule if I really have to.
 

SilentRoamer

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#31
yeah well, I know a human brain doesn't work as fast as light speed, but data in my VR networks can.
All the computers in my universe make use of quantum speed processing units, now I don't understand quantum theory so I am essentially saying It can do what I want because of quantum! but as they are all basically super-fast quantum computers and they communicate via FTL networking which exploits some glitches that happen in physics at the quantum level. I can do magic. so there.
You are perfectly entitled to use Handwavium but I'll be totally honest (as someone who is your ideal reader and the sort of person to buy this book) the whole FTL thing doesn't make any sense.

Light speed and FTL are different, you can move data about as 1s and 0s at the speed of light now - or close enough. The point is that human beings have to interact with the VR, if the VR is FTL or not has no importance whatsoever for the human interaction.

Quantum computing has nothing to do with speeds, it's essentially using indeterminacy so that a single bit can be a 1 or a 0 or both, which means a bit can be used in more than one calculation at any single time. This would be useful in your world for massive amounts of data processing but again it wouldn't really be required as classical computers could scale to that function (arguably their generality would be better suited to those sorts of tasks anyway).

I think one of the problems writers face when writing about tech is that techies love to read stuff and pick it apart, probably one of the reasons a lot of authors write in generalities, ie: we are told Ender hacks the networks, we are not shown how it is done. This is essentially the science problem with a tech twist.

With regards to interface management - Ready Player One has one of the best descriptions of this I have read, it essentially becomes so baked into the story and physical actions once the framework is in place you don't need the specificity, very easy to imagine Wade doing what is described and also the how of it.

You can always wave the magic wand but I would just caution against using Quantum Computing just because it sounds cool, it draws attentions to the science and also might age badly.

Anyway these are just my opinions. I work in the tech field so if you ever wanted any specific advice I would be happy to respond to a PM!

I don't want this to sound critical I promise I am only trying to help. :)
 

Penny

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#32
Well. the reason the VR network is faster than light is so that people on mars, Io, pluto, and beyond can access VR networking in real time anywhere.
another reason is, we have faster than light communication so it may as well work in VR as well.

Oh I understand roughly how quantum computing works at least, how wiki describes it ;P. I don't understand Quantum physics though... im not sure physicists do either.
There is a good reason I am using quantum computers and an effective quantum loophole for VR networking speeds, but its suuper plot related >.> but it makes sense in my mind at least :p I could tell you but it would spoil things if you read it. and I won't be going into the nitty gritty of how it works in the story.

Although naming everything quantum I agree could be dating later... ill think on it.

I do have a rough idea of what I am thinking with this FTL thing though. I mean Im picturing in my mind, the structures we cannot see yet that make up the structures at the deepest levels of atoms, somewhere in there we discover a twist in space time, wrench it open for a single unit of planck time. send our info through, only all it does is come back out at the destination because the atom is quantum entangled.
I mean roughly, it probably breaks a billion physics laws buuut. eh.
essentially a galaxy-spanning quantum network composed of entangled particles.
 

Edward M. Grant

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#34
essentially a galaxy-spanning quantum network composed of entangled particles.
You can't pass information between them at faster-than-light speeds, except by magic. 'Entanglement' is just an artefact of trying to retain classical quantum mechanics in a relativistic world. Check out the Transactional Interpretation if you want to understand what's really going on.

That doesn't mean you can't use it in a story, but I think the future is far more interesting if you believe in physics and realize that we live in the first and last time in history (*) where any human alive can, at least in theory, instantly communicate with every other human alive. A few weeks after the first person heads for Mars, that will be impossible again... and, once the first group decides to colonize Mars, it will never be possible again.

(*) OK, maybe there was a time millions of years ago when the first two humans evolved in the same jungle, but I suspect our ancestors were more spread out than that.
 

Penny

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#35
ER=EPR - Wikipedia I am going off this interpretation because it makes waaaay more sense and uses language I understand easily

But I try to couch my magic with a little bit of generalized science talk. so it at least seems like it could be legitimate... to someone not versed in physics.
And seeing as I set the rules in my universe. mauhahahahah!! physics does what I want!! *pokes a black hole*
 
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