Now we can begin to imagine going on a retreat or attending a conference or course in Virtual Reality! Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has just introduced his company’s vision of “building great software experiences” that are social. This means that in the nearish future, new tools will be available to us that we can adapt for the mission of Christ.
Here’s how it would work:
Good News Ministries sets up an Oculus Room on Facebook. We design the environment using real world scenes shot with our 360° camera.
Next, we invite you to come to the retreat. You design your personal avatar, which will represent you. Everyone else who signs up will create their avatars, too. (Initially, this will be limited to seven people per room.)
When you enter the retreat room, you see all the participants represented by their avatars. Using the Oculus Rift headset (which was released on March 28, 2016), you are completely immersed in the experience, transporting you mentally to the Good News Virtual Retreat Center.
Your avatar’s arms and body move freely, all tracked positionally by your head and hands. Your avatar even displays emotions, such as smiling, confusion, and amazement. Your voice triggers lip motion on your avatar. You can see and hear what others are saying.
During the retreat, we watch a video on a TV screen window, as a group. And we pray together, listen to an inspiration speaker, ask questions, reflect on the topic as a small group, etc.
Facebook developers are trying hard to take the lead in Virtual Reality. But it won’t be long before other developers compete for a share of the public’s increased interest in the world of immersive Virtual Reality. At Good News Ministries, we are taking the lead in the Catholic/Christian world for exploring and utilizing the tools as they become available. Stay tuned! Sign up to receive notifications when we publish new posts on this blog.
© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries