Much has been made about the rise of virtual reality and how it might change the video game industry. Indeed, the chance to step into virtual worlds to experience games from a first person perspective and in a fully immersive manner is new, and incredibly exciting. But it’s not without its challenges. Most notably, there are concerns about the space required to physically move around a virtual environment. Oculus, one of the biggest names in VR, has made it clear that it doesn’t think users will have room for what’s called “room-scale” VR.
I’m betting differently.
If you think back on how homes have always been designed, there’s usually space for entertainment. Once upon a time, it meant sitting rooms and libraries. Then we evolved to “TV rooms,” home theaters, and basements and dens adapted for weekly poker games. Many homes with children have dedicated “bonus” or “play” rooms, where kids sometimes have their own televisions and gaming systems. It may sound silly with regard to VR, but we’ve never been shy about dedicating spaces in our homes specifically for entertainment.
That’s why I’m betting the rise of VR will make way not just for “room-scale” VR rooms, but for a rise of gaming rooms in general. It might ideally look like a blend between a bonus room, a den, and a brand new concept specifically designed to facilitate VR. It’s almost a new type of room, so it’s hard to imagine exactly what it would look like. But if the idea sounds convenient and interesting to you, I have a few DIY tips on how to design just such a room.
Make The Walls Soft
If you’re building a room for VR, you probably shouldn’t plan on recklessly running and jumping around in it. But you should count on bumping into a wall or tripping occasionally. For that reason you’ll need the borders of the room to be soft—seriously. That’s easy enough where the floor is concerned, but with the walls, you might need to get more creative. I like the idea of installing fabric wall tiles, which can be a shockingly easy process. You can find foam tiles that have one adhesive side. You then just pick a fabric that you think will look nice in the room, wrap it around the tiles (sticking it to the back using the adhesive) and then stick the decorated tiles up on the wall. It can look pretty nice, and it gives you a soft cushion on the walls for when you accidentally wander into them wearing a VR headset.
Mount The TV
This is a simple step. But any modern gaming room needs a television, even if the primary purpose of the space is for virtual reality. If you’re into VR you probably already have another high-end console, and you’ll need a TV in the room to keep it useful. But plopping a TV onto a heavy dresser is just a poor use of space, especially if you’re trying to open up the floor for VR exploration. Instead, mount the TV on the wall so that it’s out of the way (and consider getting a thin quilt to lay over it when you’re roaming around in VR mode).
Go Digital For Casino Games
As with a TV stand, a clunky poker table in the middle of a modern gaming room just won’t do. That said a complete modern gaming room should combine aspects of versions of the same idea from the past. That means including some casino options that have always been popular in dens and bonus rooms. It’s not cheap, but instead of buying chips and a table, consider buying a few smart tablets that can hook up to the internet and connect you to digital poker and gaming platforms. You can usually play multiplayer card games against others in the rooms, but you also have additional options. For instance, slots are among the most popular and alluring online offerings from casino platforms, and give you an added dimension to your gaming room that you wouldn’t ordinarily have.
Build Risers For Seating
If you’re building a room primarily for VR, but also for other games, you want as little clutter as possible around the floor. So you should also consider a way to take your seating and elevate it so that it kind of becomes a fourth wall when you’re in VR mode, rather than furniture you might stumble over. You can easily build a wooden platform for comfortable seating, ideally against the wall opposite your television. You can then place a couch, chairs, or recliners on top of the platform, and pad the front of the platform so that your legs don’t bump into the wood.
I realize this all sounds sort of strange and new, but consider the total effect. By taking the above steps, you set your room up for VR, console, card, and online gaming, all without even using a table—or any standing furniture on the floor. You set the perimeter of the room up for soft impacts if you’re walking around with a headset over your eyes, without too many sacrifices. This may well be the gaming room of the near future, and it’s something you can easily design on your own.
Trevor Bridges is a freelance writer and aspiring journalist. He covers topics relating to entertainment, lifestyle, and gaming. He hopes to launch his own website relating to the same topics.