By: David Yu
An immersive environment, as mentioned in the previous posts, involves the user submitting and accepting the data supplemented to the digital environment. As mentioned in Alex’s post in the comparison of video games to virtual reality, we can see video games don’t truly immerse users into the environment, due to many dangers and emotional responses of real life not truly existing in the game’s world. True complete immersion however, is simply more than just suspending one’s disbelief, but it is truly placing themselves in the situation, personally and fully. An example written by Bertol and Foell is that of comparing 2-D medium to 3-D medium. While drawing on paper gives a general idea of some concept, a three-dimensional rendering enables the concept to be more than simply a representation to people; it becomes the object itself.
An immersive environment appeals to more than merely the physical senses, as mentioned in the previous posts. It would go so far as to simulate spatial awareness, emotional responses, and other real-life feelings. Tamara also mentioned that total immersion involves losing a true sense of the world, in which time and perception itself is distorted. This could be seen as creating a new ‘world’ in itself, far beyond a simple interaction or interface. Not in the sense of virtual reality, but more of a psychological illusion in which the user believes what they are experiencing is authentic based on acceptance rather than delusion.
Beyond the digital realms, we can see this in real-life examples such as LARPing (Live-Action Role Playing), in which people throw themselves into ‘characters’ they’ve made, even going so far as to making costumes, and in essence have made themselves a fantasy world. This can be seen as beyond a simple video in which people simply interact with controllers; people, for a short time, literally see themselves as the characters they’ve made. Added with the other ‘players’ in this game, it can be seen as a truly immersive environment, in which interaction with others is supplied with a façade of an actual world, in which people accept for a time as the real one.
In our world of expanding technology, networking, and new media experimentation, immersion has become that much easier.
Bertol, Daniela. Foell, David. Designing Digital Space: An Architect’s Guide to Virtual Reality. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.