Webster on Lockdown
Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus everyone has been self-isolating and staying at home. This has had quite an impact on the whole atmosphere of the Webster campus. There are barely any people present on campus, which has resulted in making this place feel abandoned.
The Webster van covered in dirt and pollen as it has not been used in months.
The lounge that used to be busy with students and music is now empty and quiet.
The commons room that used to host events and seminars. Neither the chairs nor the backdrop have been put away.
A locked door leading to the IT lab, media lab, and the study room.
Tables and chairs outside the cafeteria have been put aside as there is no one here to use them.
The admin building with all the shutters closed, even on the front door.
A Walk in Bellevue
Webster University Geneva’s campus is located in the lakeside village of Bellevue, surrounded by vinyards and beautiful vistas. In this vlog I want to show you some of the surrounding area and just give you a sense of what there is to see around here.
The New Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that is currently still in its infancy. Most forms of VR that are now available to the average consumer have only been publicly accessible for about four years. Due to the novelty of VR, most people are not exactly familiar with its functions, the technology behind it, and its potential real-life application.
VR is a simulated experience that attempts to immerse a user in a completely computer-generated environment. This is most commonly done through the use of headsets and controllers that are being tracked in real time allowing one to not only see a virtual world in 3D, but also to move around, and interact with objects within that virtual space.
Currently, the most popular and well-known use of VR is in entertainment. This can range from video games that allow for full immersion, to movies and videos shot using 360-degree cameras placing the viewer right in the action. In addition to that there are also other forms of VR, such as Augmented Reality (AR), which adds digital elements on top of a real-world environment in order to enhance what we see, and Mixed Reality (MR), which combines elements of VR and AR so that physical objects in the real world interact with digital objects. Companies and independent business are also prototyping and experimenting with a variety of ideas, such as gloves that provide haptic feedback allowing the user to actually feel virtual objects and their texture, or treadmills that allow you to comfortably walk and run around in an environment without needing to worry that you will hit a wall in real-life.
However, one use that is becoming more popular and potentially more important due to its real-life application is VR’s use in education and training. Due to the sheer limitless possibilities that VR provides it can not only provide entertainment to people, but it can also be used to simulate scenarios that would otherwise be too dangerous, too expensive, or even completely impossible to create without VR. For example, in medical school they can use the different forms of VR to teach anatomy. Students are able to see a 3D model of the human body and can manipulate it and dissect it. This allows them to get a clear view of bodily functions without needing to either dissect physical bodies, or work with real models that might lack the same level of interactivity. In addition to that, it can save money as trying to get a cadaver to dissect can be pricey and is not as easy to come by as a virtual one. Furthermore, it can also be used to train surgeons, allowing them to get familiar with the operation procedure in a safe and controlled environment whilst still maintaining a high level of realism.
On the other hand, VR can also be used in high schools. According to Paula Dias Leite, a professor at Webster University Geneva, who is currently working on a PhD in VR/AR/MR Story Telling, schools began using this technology in order to “engage students in subjects that they might not be interested in”. She has seen VR being used in science classes to show students the concepts that they are studying. For example, in a chemistry class they could enter VR and look at different molecules and elements to see their makeup, and how they might bond with others. This can help the students make sense of what they are studying as visualizing it in an interactive environment can help reinforce what they see in class and in their textbooks. However, there are some issues that could arise when using VR. Leite said that one main concern when using VR is that it has a tendency of making people motion sick. This is mainly caused by a disconnect between what is being seen, and what the rest of the body perceives. A sense of discomfort and nausea is more common in younger people as their bodies are still developing, therefore experts advise against the use of VR for people under the age of 20.
Overall, VR is still undergoing heavy development as it has not been around for a long time. There are still new devices and technologies that are being worked on in order to improve the overall user-experience. Virtual Reality is the most immersive technology available at the moment, allowing users to experience almost anything, anywhere, and at any time. As the technology becomes more sophisticated the amount of possible applications can only increase.
Which Games to Play and Which to Avoid?
Video games have become a massive industry with immense popularity. Every year there are thousands of games being released from large publishers and small independent developers. With the current lockdown many people have decided to spend some of their newfound free time by digging out their consoles and PCs to get back to playing some games. If you are one of those people you might be wondering what you should be playing. To help with that decision I conducted a survey to see what games people play, and also what games they would suggest you don’t play.
To begin people were asked what their favorite genre of games is. 88% of respondents have said that their favorite genre is Adventure, followed by Open-World, and Action in second and third place respectively. If these are the genres that are the most enjoyed by people, then those might be ones that you could look into. I think that this comes from the fact that these genres are usually tied to games with rich stories and worlds that can really immerse the player, allowing them to escape into another realm. This is also evidenced by the responses given when asked what genres they enjoy the least. The bottom genres in this case were Sports, Racing, and Simulation.
What genre of games do you enjoy the most?
What genre of games do you enjoy the least?
If you are looking for more concrete game recommendations instead of just genres to guide you, then you might want to look at the respondents’ favorite games of all time. Now, the sample size of this survey was fairly small, and this question is an extremely subjective one, thus almost every single answer to this question differed from person to person. However, there was one series of games that was mentioned more than once. The Uncharted series was the only game series that was mentioned by multiple participants. Uncharted was developed by Naughty Dog, interestingly they also have another game that is in this list of favorites – The Last of Us. The fact that they are the only developer that is featured multiple times in this list probably says something about the quality of their games.
What is your favourite video game of all time?
Despite this, we cannot ignore the other games that are mentioned here as they each are iconic in their own way. Minecraft has become the best-selling video game of all time with its procedurally generated worlds and intuitive gameplay. Mario is potentially one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time and has defined platformers since his debut in 1981. I would say that every single game listed here is worth checking out.
On the other hand, there are some games that you may have heard about, but they could have been disappointing and lead to less than enjoyable experiences. Whilst I think that everyone should be free to play and enjoy whatever they want, when asked about games that they think are overrated and should be avoided, there was a much more unified opinion among the respondents. Despite its massive popularity, Fortnite was the game with the highest amount of people suggesting it be avoided, followed by Fifa, and League of Legends.
What game would you tell people to avoid?
Looking at the previous responses regarding genre it makes sense that FIFA is among this list, as it is a sport simulation game. When looking at the favorite genres however, it is surprising to see Fortnite and League of Legends on this list, as they are both very popular action games. However, the respondents said that they don’t recommend these games because they are overrated. For League of Legends, they also mentioned the idea of toxicity and how terrible the player community is.
Ultimately, the decision about what to play is your own. Some of the participants seem to agree with this sentiment, as 10% of them did not list any game to avoid, and instead wrote that games are about fun, and that everyone should be able to make their own choice.