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Locomotion in VR (Gear VR)

motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
edited March 2016 in Game Design
I finally tried 3 games - Dreadhalls, Herobound and Smash on Gear VR. While I was planning on using a gamepad to move around in my VR experience, after playing those games I think I have to rethink whole controls scheme all over again.

After trying Dreadhalls, I can say that moving in VR using gamepad is a no-no (maybe it depends on movement speed too). No side stepping, no moving backward, no fast movement. I got sick almost immediately playing Dreadhalls. It's a beautiful and atmospheric game, but I don't think standard FPS locomotion is valid in VR.

Smash and Herobound were pretty cool all around.

I think moving inside VR world is the biggest obstacle to overcome when it comes to comfortable experience. What do you think about this subject ?


  • nilstasticnilstastic Posts: 140
    It's an interesting topic and it's one of the many elephants in the room when it comes to VR.

    The evolution of locomotion in VR goes something like this.
    1. Let's do superman games it'll be amazing!
    2. Ugh.
    3. Let's do first person shooters!
    4. Ugh.
    5. Let's try linear motion from point a to b
    6. Ugh.

    .. (time spent playing games that do not move or cockpit games) ..

    100. Let's do short burst of linear motion, or teleportation, or blink.
    101. Ok, kind of works. Let's build from there!

    So, there is a lot do do in this area. Bullet train use teleportation and that worked well, Dead Secret uses bursts and Cloudhead (and Technolust?) are using Blink. I'll be submitting a game to the GearVR store (tomorrow) that uses jumping as a locomotion technique and it seems to be working fairly well.
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    Yeah, I am thinking teleporting player as in Bullet Train (I thought it was meh at first, but now I think it's a very legit method :oops: )

    As for flying, SMASH does a good job (at least until stage 2, since I haven't gone father and haven't experienced higher speeds)

    What is "blink" and what is "burst" ?
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    "Blink" looks like phasing/teleportation locomotion. I think that's the best system for me and those who get sick when using gamepad to move in all directions.

    "Burst" looks like "Blink" except instead of instant location change player actually moves from origin to destination on the rails. I think it's fine, but also depends on movement speed. I tried Cardboard Design Lab, which uses same principle and didn't get sick. However, in Dreadhalls, even if I move linearly with gamepad, I get sick. I don't know if it's movement speed issue or something else going on there.

    Thanks for the links!
  • wilcoboodewilcoboode Posts: 32
    I've been looking at some possibilities of nausea free movement in VR and created a little system last week where the player walks by looking at interactive "buttons"


    By looking at the "Button" the circle will fill, and once it is filled entirely the player will automatically walk over to that position. After a bit of testing, mostly with colleagues who don't have a lot of VR experience, I found that this seems to be more intuitive, immersive and less nauseating than using a controller would be.
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    Cool stuff, that works too. I think movement speed plays a role in nausea onset too.
  • wilcoboodewilcoboode Posts: 32
    I think it is a combination of Movement Speed, Acceleration, Clarity of Direction & Overall Camera Effects.
  • I suspect some VR nausea is related to the way our brains compensate for real world movement (especially vertical and x-axis rotation). The whole world doesn't move as violently around us when we move/jump in real life compared to games. It was always okay on a monitor but the contrast between visceral immersion and this unrealistic surrounding world movement is quite limiting for VR, concept-wise.

    I've been thinking about the 'dolly zoom' from the movies. This is when the camera is moved forwards or backwards while being zoomed at the same time. It is used to hold the size of items/characters in frame but create interesting scaling of background/foreground detail to create an unnerving effect.

    Here's a quick dolly zoom from Jaws:

    The dolly zoom itself is not a solution but I'm wondering if anyone has tried dynamic camera lens/zoom tricks to mitigate the perception of movement of the surrounding space during sharp/larger movements in VR, essentially trying to simulate real-world brain compensation. Does anyone have thoughts on whether such a thing would be possible (in Unity or otherwise)? Or am I'm barking up the wrong tree completely??

    What does the forum think? Do we need to create a 'lens jump'?
  • Two_Eye_JackTwo_Eye_Jack Posts: 8
    Here's a great article with different approaches from a few days ago:

  • Just received promo free VR Gear. What a cornucopia of reactions I have been reading here and experiencing on You Tube. Guess I will just have to jump and find out for myself.
  • KarmingtonKarmington Posts: 49
    Brain Burst
    My opinion is : always give the player a choice. If you are making a game with any form of artificial movement, and using the gamepad, please let the user decide whether they want to blink or snap-turn. I have extremely solid VR-legs + tummy after developing Kumoon for two years, and I hate being forced to use comfort modes.

    It is sadly true that artificial locomotion in VR is not for everybody, but that doesn't mean it should be totally forbidden. Huge issue though, no question of that. Last game I played, they set the movement speed to be so slow that I was seriously getting annoyed with it.
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    That's why there are devs that will make your gamepad driven locomotion as in conventional games, and there are devs that won't do that. Just like not every game includes mechanics from all other games.

    If I can't test my game with locomotion that makes me sick, I won't implement such locomotion - I won't be able to test the game properly.
  • brantlewbrantlew Posts: 540 Oculus Staff
    FiveEyes said:
    The dolly zoom itself is not a solution but I'm wondering if anyone has tried dynamic camera lens/zoom tricks to mitigate the perception of movement of the surrounding space during sharp/larger movements in VR, essentially trying to simulate real-world brain compensation. Does anyone have thoughts on whether such a thing would be possible (in Unity or otherwise)? Or am I'm barking up the wrong tree completely??

    What does the forum think? Do we need to create a 'lens jump'?
    This perception of movement is called vection.  This dolly zoom creates vection all throughout your periphery and none in the center.  You really want the exact opposite - less vection in your periphery.  That's what happens in a cockpit.  You see vection only in the window while your surroundings remain stable.  With that in mind, yes I have experimented with this concept.  You can see the result here (although I haven't yet updated the build to 1.3 yet)


  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    Finally got my initial locomotion mechanics working (still raw):

  • bbagnallbbagnall Posts: 124
    motorsep said:
    Finally got my initial locomotion mechanics working (still raw)
    Have you tried dimming the screen and moving the player at a set velocity? (no acceleration) Smash Hit Plunder uses this technique I believe.
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    There is no acceleration when teleporting player (there should be no acceleration with any locomotion since that messes with our vestibular system; at least until Samsung releases their "headphones" that trick your brain).

    I am planning on testing it with fade in/out effect, but I don't think it's necessary. Plus it makes navigation around the map slower. If it adds to the comfort, I'll keep it. If it doesn't, I'll leave it as-is, without fading effect.
  • movoballmovoball Posts: 1
    Have you thought about using a motion sensitive seat where the user uses there core muscles to move the character. If this is done in realtime and there is accleration in the movement this should reduce motion sickness and enable locomotion to be contained within a small seated area. Games have tradionally always been played seated in front of a screen why change. You can do this with MOVOBall
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    I am not sure it's a great idea for various reasons. For example, I hurt my back last week. I can't really tilt to the sides or twist. So what good is it going to do to use such chair? It's not possible for me (or anyone else with this condition) to use. Also, 99% of the gadgets for Gear VR are prohibitively expensive and require layers and layers of either software or hardware (Vive's Lighthouse for example, although it's not applicable to your chair) or both to get it really working with Gear VR.

    All in all, I think using touchpad and optionally gamepad are the only options for input at this time. Once there is positional tracking and had tracking that doesn't cost small fortune and preferably come standard from Samsung, then it's going to be something to be utilized. Any big thing like chairs and whatnot are narrow niche products at this time (and for the next 10 years for sure).
  • BloodyBastard69BloodyBastard69 Posts: 33
    Brain Burst
    First two games I've tried since getting my Rift have been Lucky's Tale and Kumoon. Both made me nauseous. Took about 10 minutes in Lucky's Tale, but Kumoon did it in less then 2 minutes. 
    Takes about 15 minutes for the nausea to go away each time. UGH
    Does it get easier the more you play?

  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    It certainly does. Just take it easy, don't force yourself.

    It took me months to get stronger VR legs in experiences / games deemed "comfortable for many".
  • BloodyBastard69BloodyBastard69 Posts: 33
    Brain Burst
    Thanks, that's good to know. Everything else has been fantastic. I've played many demos and have been blown away. It's just when I can move using the joystick and also look around freely that I seem to get sick.
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    Here is another wip of my locomotion implementation:

  • FulbyFulby Posts: 184
    Nice video. Is the granular dissolve (not sure if that's the proper term) just for style or does it have a functional purpose?
  • motorsepmotorsep Posts: 1,445 Oculus Start Member
    Thanks. Just for show. Can be just plain fade.
  • I am wondering if someone tried mechanics of pendulum. Not exactly pendulum but type of motion when you try to stabilize stick on a finger. The idea is to move body in space but to always have down force paralel to central axis of the body which represents central axis of player perpendicular to the floor. I think this kind of mechanics is used in "Ripcoil" and that has positive efect:
  • Drunken_PirateDrunken_Pirate Posts: 18
    edited January 2017
    I find it doesn't make me sick as long as I have a static point of reference. hence why cockpit games seem to be fine even when moving erratically. There is potential for a movement based system using your hands as anchor points. or using your hands to directly operate your movement with a wheelchair or some such futuristic device.
  • hassankhassank Posts: 45
    Brain Burst
    I don't get sick from click to teleport or free motion in VR. It's really frustrating because it makes it harder for me to understand the end user.

    It's a tangent but I looked into all the ways to implement click to teleport. Here's a great post: https://developer.oculus.com/blog/teleport-curves-with-the-gear-vr-controller/. I also created a video and tutorial on the first approach, would love to make more if people are interested: 
  • hassankhassank Posts: 45
    Brain Burst
    @nilstastic how did the jumping go? Would love to try that out!
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