One of the most effective ways of walking or running within a virtual reality environment is using a VR treadmill, but very few gamers have the space or the money for such devices.
A simpler solution is to use a control stick to virtually move while sitting or standing still. But with many experiencing motion sickness, one game maker has been working away on a vomit-free and space-saving way of realistically running around within a game.
While working on his RIPmotion (Run-in-Place) idea for the HTC Vive headset, Ryan Sullivan discovered that the key is to focus on the user’s hips.
“The first thing I did was decide that it was too hard to automatically detect when the user was intending to RIP as opposed to simply moving around their room-scale space, at least in the short term. What I did find though, is that gripping the grip buttons on the controllers while running (holding them like a baton) was surprisingly natural feeling and actually gave good use to those buttons. Being able to define intent to RIP made it much more reliable,” Sullivan said in a recent blog post.
“Using the head movement for measuring running always made sense, but having it tied to direction was only out of necessity when it was the only means of input. Having it tied to your hands didn’t really work either though because you can move those things all over while running. If your head doesn’t determine direction and your hands don’t determine direction, what does?”
He continued: “Your hips always point the way you are running, because that’s how legs work.
“Basically, my thinking was that someday (hopefully soon) we will be able to have additional trackers from Valve, whether that’s pucks or something else, so that’s what I would emulate. Since all I had for trackers at the moment were my controllers I configured it so that the direction of the trigger on the left controller indicates the direction you are going to be travelling. I securely mounted it front and centre on my waist and we were ready to run.”
So, all you have to do is stuff the left controller down the front of your pants, making sure the sensor is positioned front and centre on your waist, and you can jog on the spot to run about.
Don’t worry lefties; you can also use the right controller if you wish.
Arstechnica tried out the demo for itself, and it looks like it works a treat. Check out the video below:
Find out more about Sullivan’s RIPmotion demo at smirkingcat.software