DragonCon 2016: Garriott and Hickman explain THE VOID’s live VR


Have you ever wanted to play literally in your favorite game? Ever since my first tabletop pen and paper campaigns, I have wanted to be in the action, flinging the fireball when I see the monster coming instead of just describing it as I rolled my dice. When I found MMOs, I felt one step closer to that ultimate dream. Now, after listening to Richard Garriott and Tracy Hickman talk about THE VOID at DragonCon 2016, I feel yet another step closer to that reality.

Filling THE VOID

What is THE VOID? VOID stands for The Vision of Infinite Dimensions. It’s a project that Hickman is working on with his son, Curtis, that involves creating large physical spaces where people can play games in Virtual Reality. They are literally virtual worlds built over physical environments, with tactile additions (steam, strings for webs, lanterns to carry) to add to the realism and immersion. Although this project isn’t new, if you haven’t seen the first look at the VOID, you really need to.

If this all seems to out of reach, know that there is already a VOID experience folks can partake in: The Ghostbusters Dimension in NYC. Another will be opening in Lindon, Utah, next year, and yet another is in the works.

Where did this idea spring from? That’s actually the tie to Garriott. Garriot and Hickman met at the very first DragonCon and had been looking for a way to collaborate together since then. There have been a couple, most recently on Garriott’s MMORPG Shroud of the Avatar. At one point, Hickman took his son to Garriott’s personal haunted house, and the experience stuck with him — the entertainment of a visceral, physical experience and interactive storytelling. As Hickman put it, “My son was so impressed with the haunted house, so blown away by the haunted house, that when we went back to the hotel that evening, we spent hours writing down the sequence of events in the haunt so we’d remember.” From then on, Curtis was fascinated with destination entertainment, and that inspired him to do THE VOID.

What do you think about THE VOID? If it could be converted, which MMORPG would you be most interested in playing through in this environment? Share your ideas in the comments below!


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