Firm tests huge, high-definition screens that envelop gamers
HAMPTON, N.H. – Ever wish you could experience the "holodeck," the 3-D virtual environment aboard the Starship Enterprise? There’s a company that believes it’s come close, letting video game players play with huge, high-definition screens that envelop the user.
The company’s test site features 42 gaming stations with high-speed personal computers and high-definition screens ranging in size from 17 inches to 13 feet.
Then there’s the "half-pipe," which features a screen that is 20 feet wide and 12 feet high. Another creation is a sphere, which is 20 feet in diameter and eventually will offer a 360-degree wraparound gaming effect. The gamer sits inside the sphere on a robot that rumbles, banks, and spins out, providing many of the same effects as a flight simulator.
Pricing will be $5 an hour and slightly less for people willing to pay a $40 annual membership fee. McKittrick said he expects to charge $1 a minute, or $60 an hour, to play the sphere or half-pipe. Training on any game is free. Target markets include long-term gamers, businesses and exotic educational uses — McKittrick noted that an engineer working for race car driver Roger Penske spent a week exploring whether the sphere could be used as a training site.