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3D virtual reality is a type of video game or similar computer software and hardware setup that allows someone to experience three-dimensional (3D) graphics and sounds in an all-encompassing way. This is typically created through a combination of different pieces of hardware, which can include goggles or some other type of visual display, headphones, and various input devices. Computer software then creates images for the display and can track motion and head movements to make the images respond to the motion of the wearer. 3D virtual reality can be utilized in training simulations, though developments have been made in numerous ways to try to utilize this technology in gaming.
The basic idea behind 3D virtual reality is the creation of a virtual 3D space in which a person feels immersed and that he or she can interact with in some way. This is typically achieved by having a virtual avatar for a person exist within a 3D environment, which someone can utilize through first-person perspective. The avatar then acts as the person within 3D virtual reality and moves according to the input from the user or player.
A number of different types of hardware are often used to create 3D virtual reality, beyond the computer equipment needed to run the software for this type of program. Some form of visual display is needed to allow someone to feel as though he or she is within the virtual environment. This can be anything from a series of large wall displays around a person that emulate an environment around him or her to the use of goggles or a headset with displays within them. Headsets are quite popular, as they block out other environmental factors and can include speakers to allow someone to have both visible and audible engagement with the virtual reality.
Some type of input device is also typically used with a 3D virtual reality program, to allow someone to interact with the virtual environment. Headsets can include motion detectors that change the displayed images to reflect movements by the wearer. This allows someone to look around at a virtual landscape by moving his or her head. Handheld input devices can also be used to move the virtual avatar within the space and to interact with objects in the virtual world.
The software used to create 3D virtual reality can vary quite a bit, though it usually renders out 3D landscapes and objects to create a world around the user. Training simulations, for example, can allow someone to learn to fly a plane or perform other tasks in a way that more closely resembles actual conditions. Video games have been experimenting with 3D virtual reality for some time, and continue to try to develop software that would allow for game playing within such a virtual space. Problems have existed in most of these developments, however, which have included everything from poor control and inferior graphics to headaches due to eyestrain.