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May 24, 1994|Times staff writer Dean Takahashi

A Different Reality: Gemini Technology Corp. in Irvine has stopped doing work for Visions of Reality. But Gemini, a defense simulation software company, is still in the virtual reality business.

Chris Morrow, vice president at Gemini, said his company began launching other virtual reality game projects after San Francisco-based Visions of Reality project stalled earlier this year.

In virtual reality, players can immerse themselves in a three-dimensional computer-animated world. Wearing headsets, they can look around in any direction and see a computer illusion. Gemini's technology is based on military projects, such as F-15 fighter simulations.

Visions of Reality, which planned to open a virtual reality amusement center in Newport Beach's Fashion Island, received wide press coverage, including articles in Time magazine, Wired magazine, The Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and a segment on the Oprah Winfrey TV show.

But the company said last week that its project is stalled because of a legal dispute with Irvine-based Black Diamond Group, which was hired to launch the initial entertainment center. The two companies blame each other for the delay.

Gemini made game software for one of Visions of Reality's subcontractors, defense contractor Kaiser Electro Optics in Carlsbad, which has also decided to forge ahead without Visions of Reality.

Among Gemini's creations is a car racing game hooked up to a motion simulator, which shakes the player around like a real race car. Morrow said he hopes his games will hit the market soon.

"This delay is bad for the whole industry," Morrow said. "We want to see virtual reality get off the ground."

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