If you get a booboo in virtual reality, you get a booboo in real life.
During my 7.5-hour virtual reality livestream yesterday, I sustained my first injury while wearing a head-mounted display. I booted up the game Unseen Diplomacy, which is an excellent room-scale experiment that developer Tirangular Pixels originally built for the National Videogame Arcade in the United Kingdom. Now, it is out on Steam for just $3 (it’s over very quickly but easily worth that much money). Unseen Diplomacy puts you in the role of a special agent who must break out of a series of rooms by solving puzzles in your environment. My problem came when I crawled through a ventilation shaft that was on the boundaries of my play area — the same area that contained the table I was too lazy to move. As a crawled through the vent, my hand grazed against the edge of a table and scraped off a chunk of my skin.
Learn from my mistakes:
When you set up the HTC Vive, it asks you to draw an outline of your play area with one of the Vive controllers. As I did this, I fudged it a little and put the controller over the table to give it a few more inches to ensure it would let me take advantage of my full living room. So this was all my fault. My table is the only thing in the play area that I really needed to move, but I just didn’t because it’s kinda heavy. Instead, I played with virtual fire and got real-life burned.
But I’m surprised that this is my only ouchie so far. Walking around my house with a screen over my eyes and a cord dangling by my feet seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Instead, I’ve played for more than a dozen hours now without issue. I’ve also seen my wife and my father walk around in VR like a couple of pros. That’s not to say you are totally safe, but it seems like most people adapt quickly. And when something does go wrong … well, it’s because some butthole didn’t feel like shifting some furniture a foot to the left.