If you’re an EverQuest II fan then you will probably already know about the new (and let’s be honest bit weird) technology that’s now available to you: SOEmote. In case this one has got past you, I shall explain.

SOEmote is a new technology that allows your in-game avatar to mimic the facial expressions you are sat making at your PC. Pretty much, you pull faces at your webcam and your character does the same, or some sort of approximated pixelated type effort. So if you want your Ogre to grin like a nutter on the bus who’s just spotted the empty seat next to me, you can! (seriously, I always get the bus nutter!)

And that’s not all, you can also alter your voice to make it sound more like that of the character, or how you would expect them to speak. Grinning BusNutter can also yell out ‘Ooooh a seat’ in a deep Ogre-like manner, should you so wish.

[youtube width=”560″ align=”center”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cde01HNKQVw[/youtube]

This new feature will no doubt add to the ‘emergence effect’ that many MMOs have, pulling you further into the game and adding to the escapism that many people look for. How far could we take this? While this is quite exciting, what other advancements towards the holodeck are going on elsewhere?

In May last year the US army announced that it was looking to Intelligent Decisions Inc and Crytek’s CryENGINE 3 to create a fully immersive virtual training simulator. The DSTS (or Dismounted Soldier Training System) will allow the US army “to increase the quality of instruction and combat preparedness, while at the same time reducing traditional training expenses associated with large-scale instruction facilities.” This system is now being shipped across the world.

While we don’t all have a spare $57 million at hand, there are developments closer to home that could be hitting us soon. Microsoft have recently patented a new ‘environmental display’ which will turn the walls of your home into an Xbox 360 screen. The technology is similar to that of the Kinect in that it uses infrared light to work out where the player is and adjust accordingly. Coupled with the ‘Kinect Glasses’, which were leaked earlier in the year, the set up would offer a player the chance to be in an interactive holographic world.

It’s not just Microsoft that are looking into virtual reality, the Oculus Rift VR headset has already been shown at E3 and PAX Prime. While the model is a prototype, it’s still a step forward from the headsets of the 80s and 90s.

What do you think about all this? Would you like to play Modern Warfare 42 in virtual reality or are you happy on a beanbag with a controller? Drop me a message in the comments below!