|Food. It is tricky to recreate this sloppy, messy substance with so much variation in VR graphically. We are just beginning to conquer it, in prerendered VR scenes; never mind interactive VR. Beyond the graphical element however, food in VR is a very valuable and frequently underused element. It can add real depth and variety to a VR gameworld. Hooked up to sensory stimulus, allowing the person to taste it as they eat it, it adds the possibility of real social life, and trips out, through VR.
Eating and Drinking in MUDs
Food in virtual worlds. It is not required to sustain a physical body, yet we often find our characters have to eat it, to 'sustain' their virtual forms. No balanced diet, eating is all that is required. What would happen if our characters' health was directly affected by what they eat? What if foodstuff could be combined by some core set of values to bring the cooking skill to a whole new level?
A Sterile World
Smell is a sense often overlooked in a virtual world. Developers discount its importance, as a minor sense, when in truth we rely on it as an input channel to flesh out the world around us. Scents carry on the breeze, and they are with us all the time: from the perfumed odours of pollen blowing in the wind, to the pong as you pass a full dustbin, to the aroma of freshly cooked food wafting out of a pub.
A Bland World
Walking through the orchard on a warm summer day, the smells of nature in your nostrils, the soft padding of grass underfoot, you reach up a hand, and grab a juicy red apple from a tree, plucking it delicately. You bring it to your nose and smell the fragrance, then you bite into it. It is like chewing rubber. Completely tasteless. No juice, no sweet flesh, you cannot even detect it in your mouth.
Replicating Foodstuff Virtually
This article from the BBC, examines one of the core topics of the SIGGRAPH 2007 conference ? the real difficulty of recreating the movement of food, in even a prerendered virtual world.