Holo-Dek - A Unique Real-World Virtual Venue

The Holo-Dek center in Hampton, New Hampshire, may not quite have the same features as the holodeck from Star Trek - but when you see your favorite computer games unfold at human scale, you might just buy into their business.

The object at Holo-Dek gaming theaters is to combine the experiences of large-screen presentation with multiplayer gaming as experienced online - but better. No long waits for downloads, no screen lag - more like you might experience in a LAN party in which everyone had a $5,000 screen and PC rig. And, even better, you can fortify yourself with food and drinks, all ordered onscreen and delivered right to your seat.

"Basically, this is a video gaming theater... like a movie theater for gaming. Everybody gets a state of the art PC and at least a six-foot screen," says Mike Fortier, cofounder.
There are 16 of the 73-inch screens, three 100-inch screens, and the big 13-footer. All can be connected to PCs or Xboxes, and players can play singly, or against each other, or online.
Open for only three weeks, the dimly-lit rooms are peppered with teenage and 20-something gamers playing Half-Life 2, or Halo 2, or Far Cry. Yet despite the massive carnage and techicolor sci-fi action exploding on the walls all around, Holo-Dek is quiet, since the gamers are playing with headphones on. The space feels civilized, clean, and relaxed.
(From Life at the dawn of the gaming century)

The developers are not content with flat screens - even in a 180 degree set-up. Coming soon - at a Holo-Dek near you, the gaming sphere: a twenty-foot diameter spherical screen with a robot at the center featuring 360 degrees of gaming excitement.

(From The Gaming Spherek)

The Star Trek holodeck is a virtual environment that provides infinitely varied participatory, interactive entertainment in a very small space. On Federation starships, stressed crewmembers need to have some sort of outlet for exercise and entertainment. (After all, they face certain death every week - every night in some markets!)

(From Holodeck)

The holodeck combines several key technologies to create an environment in which crewmembers can physically participate and interact in a staged drama in which they are the main characters:

  • The walls of the holodeck are covered with millions of omni-directional holo diodes (OHDs) that can project full-color three dimensional images and force fields. The force fields allow people to have a physical experience of running, climbing, pushing or pulling in a very small area; participants "move" from one cell to another in the virtual scene.

    (From Holodeck)

  • The transporter can create and destroy physical props at will, in the same way that it can materialize people and objects at a distance.
The ST:TNG holodeck is the ultimate in gaming environments. But Holo-Dek might actually bring you something you can use in the next year or two. Read more at the next world: life at the dawn of the gaming century from /.. And the company site at Holo-Dek.

And don't forget the original holodeck - the first sf interactive, participatory environment - Ray Bradbury's The Veldt, in his Happylife Home.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/25/2004)

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