Disappearing into a world of virtual reality

Harleen Kaur, Staff Reporter

One student was on a mission to save the galaxy from being destroyed. Another student was fighting off evil advanced robots and machines who were after their life. Virtual reality is a whole new world, where imagination comes to life in the Bistro.

Virtual reality is a headset that covers the eyes and the head. Through technology, a student can step into a 3-D world where they can play video games. 

Cody Boothe, a sophomore majoring in information technology and administrative management, has been working with virtual reality for two years and has been covering the virtual reality event every Tuesday and Thursday. Boothe was interested in virtual reality because of his fascination with technology. 

“Oh man, this is what the future is going to look like and now the future is actually here. You know, it’s sort of crazy to actually see this stuff,” Boothe said. 

Riel Hanson

There are different video games available on virtual reality, such as Apollo 11 and Minecraft. There are also realistic games available such as hiking trek, rock climbing and other natural world games that look similar to our world, according to Wisdom. There are 12 different options of games students can choose from. 

“We do have different applications that users can try,” Boothe said. “We cater to all levels of experience with our events. You know, we’ve had people you know, ages from as young as say 10 to say as old as 80.” 

Virtual reality is a very realistic experience, according to Boothe. People get shaky legs. With certain games that require jumping or flying, people can actually feel and react as if they were actually jumping from a real building. 

“Like it was extraordinary man when I first tried it, you know, I was extremely shocked on what I could do. The first thing I ever did was a roller coaster application,” Boothe said. “At first I felt nauseous because like, ‘wow’, I’m actually on a roller coaster. This is crazy. But after a while, you know it really felt like it was real.” 

Virtual reality is a physical activity. It requires space to move around and be active. Students are required to sign a waiver before participating. 

“We want to make it a safe space for you. My main focus is to make sure that anybody that wants to try this and experience what the future’s like gets the opportunity to do so,” Boothe said. 

CWU has been putting the virtual reality event together for the last four years. Just recently, new upgrades were made. There are wireless headsets with full body tracking and a new software update. The equipment for virtual reality is expensive, although the event is free to all students and staff. In 2019, there were 622 students who participated in the virtual reality event. 

The Academic Technology center can also be booked for private reservations for free. Typically the cost of the technology can range up to $3000, which can be expensive, according to Boothe. According to Brandy Wisdom, a junior majoring in cyber security, students who make appointments typically like to play by themselves. If there are females who want to try out virtual reality and feel uncomfortable trying it in public, they can ask for Wisdom to set up a private session.  

The only issues that Boothe and the team run into are game updates and the time given to students to play. When the games are being upgraded, Boothe has to reinstall the modifications into the games. 

Typically, students get 10 minutes to play, so everyone can get a chance but sometimes that can be an issue for some students. 

There is also going to be a virtual reality event happening for students who are interested in creating their own world in Unity on March 5. Unity is a basic game building software along with the program Blender, which is used for 3D modeling. Once the world is created, students can put on the headset and enjoy what they created.

Zach Hollway, a sophomore majoring in computer science, comes to the event six times every year. His first experience with virtual reality was at Microsoft. At first he was nervous but now he thinks it’s a fun activity. It’s not completely unrealistic because there is movement involved, it’s like being in the game, Hollway said. 

“What you are seeing is not actually in front of you but it feels like it’s in front of you. It’s very interesting, almost kind of like an out of body experience,” Hollway said.