Trimersion HMD takes First Person Shooter games to a new level of reality
By Mike Hanlon
October 30, 2006
October 31, 2006 The global success of First Person Shooter (FPS) games was catalysed by the launch of shareware phenomenon Doom on December 10, 1993 which was downloaded by more than 10 million people in its first two years – a remarkable number given the number of people online at that point. The game lived up to iD Software’s promise that it would become the "the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses around the world" by hogging bandwidth on office networks and defined this popular gaming genre. The FPS format evolved and massively multiplayer online games subsequently created a new way to misspend your youth. Given the genre is characterized by an on-screen view that simulates the in-game character's point of view, the massive global following of FPS games is ripe to move to a logical next level of realism by offering greater immersion inside the game via the head mounted display (HMD) … and the HMD most likely in our book is the new Trimersion from 3001 AD. The wireless Trimersion head tracking HMD and tracking gun replace the mouse/keyboard or gamepad controllers with a realistic and natural interface (for killing things).
The Trimersion is now in full production and a vast improvement from the initial prototype shown at the E3 2005 show. The new units have been completely redesigned from scratch. The new features are a double rocker trigger for main fire and alternate fire. The gun also has all of the controls of a standard Xbox or Playstaion game pad. The tracking device has been simplified and miniturized to a fraction of it's former self. This means better performance, less cost and less weight. The most significant improvement is the freedom of movement. Once you put the Trimersion on, you can move and turn around freely without worrying about wires or connections. The headset and gun are powered by a standard 9v battery. The wireless connection goes back to a base station that has a video and VGA input. This is sent to the headset and displayed in a new optics module.
The outside design has become even more streamlined with built in headphones and a new headband system. Other headsets use ear buds, while the Trimersion headphones are built into the supporting structure of the headband offering a much more natural ambient sound. Tests have shown that having the speakers away from the player's head makes the sound appear more realistic and more surrounding.
The Trimersion is the only consumer Head Mounted Display to have a built in mask around the optics. Most visors have either no way to keep external light from coming into the line of sight of the player or they offer uncomfortable eye cups that make the player feel they are wearing swimming goggles. The Trimersion mask naturally curves around the player's cheeks with soft rubber and cradles the face in a complete lightless enclosure allowing the video to wrap around the player.
The Trimersion is the culmination of many years of development and progress in the virtual reality field, and although development will continue at a frantic pace, it is a landmark system.