You only need 10 minutes with a keyboard and mouse set-up to find out that moving around in VR is completely different from anything else in gaming. Here we take a look at some of the techniques developers are using to put you into VR, not only so you can feel like you’re somewhere else, but so you won’t be nauseous when you start exploring.

Unfortunate to say, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for locomotion in VR games—at least not the kind we’re used to when playing games on monitors or TVs. While clever hardware solutions like the omni-directional treadmill Virtuix Omni, or entire VR parks like The VOID do an excellent job of approximating endlessly walkable terrain, VR developers are thinking about the average user—the person with some room, a headset, and controller(s)—and they want that user to be able to explore expansive spaces in virtual reality comfortably.

Developers have been experimenting with just how to do this, and there’s now a number of different virtual reality locomotion techniques that provide comfortable experiences.

Roomscale Locomotion

So far there’s nothing better than dancing with your own two feet, and Valve’s Steam VR platform takes this to heart in the soon-to-release HTC Vive.


Creating a large-scale tracking volume means you’ll be able to walk right up to in-game characters, look under desks, hide behind mounds of treasure – truly experiencing virtual scenery like never before. Provided you aren’t tangling yourself up, you’ll definitely be surprised at the level of immersion you can achieve.

Valve's 'The Lab' is a Wondrous Playground Full of VR Toys on HTC Vive

Both Oculus and Sony offer large-scale tracking volumes, but are emphasizing a balance in standing and seated gameplay for now. Our multiple experiences with both Rift and PlayStation VR have been a positive one, and we hope to see more opportunities to engage in more standup gameplay.

See Also: Following Oculus Rift Price Reveal, HTC Thinks Vive Customers will be ‘happy with their investment’


A good cockpit makes a world of difference, because there’s something innately comforting about having a solid feature in your foreground while you screech around corners in Project Cars, or blow up enemy wraiths in EVE: Valkyrie.

A vehicle not only adds a weightiness to your movements (which ought to be restricted by a physics engine), but also allows you to assume your natural sitting position, making for an easier 1-to-1 match-up that your brain really wants when its turning in directions it’s not actually going.

This is a boon for both developers currently making racing/flight/space sims, but also the players who will automatically step in needing nothing more than a chair and their smattering of peripheral goodies.

Roomscale Vehicles

Vehicles are nice. We like them. But when you have a room big enough for a boat, why not … have a boat?

StressLevelZero’s upcoming title Hover Junkers is a ‘VR only’ post-apocalyptic shooter that lets you hunt down your friends online using the game’s junk-encrusted hover boats. Although these sorts of ‘roomscale vehicles’ are still underused in current VR games, they not only address a problem, but actively use it as an integral game mechanic.

The game comes out first for HTC Vive in April and in Q3/Q4 for Oculus Rift, and we’re hoping other devs follow suit.

NASA Looks to PlayStation VR to Solve Key Challenge of Space Robot Operation

See Also: ‘Hover Junkers’ Pre-order Now Available on Indiegogo


All three major headsets (HTC Vive, Ouclus Rift, PSVR) suffer a similar problem regardless of how much tracking volume they provide: when you hit the wall in the real world, you’re going to need a way of getting past it in the virtual.

Teleportation is a novel way of addressing a number of things that induce nausea in VR, like the dreaded ‘yaw stick poison’ – or when you use the right stick of your controller to turn your POV.

Virtual spaces like AltspaceVR, Cloudhead’s Blink, Epic Games’ FPS Bullet Train, Convrge and many more use teleportation to excellent effect, often including either a line-of-sight cursor or a ghostly outline that can be controlled by the player. Newly revealed title Budget Cuts directly uses teleportation as a gameplay mechanic with their unique portal system.

Next Page: Flight, VR Comfort Mode and Floating Head

  • user

    “While clever hardware solutions like the omni-directional treadmill Virtuix Omni […] do an excellent job”

    i havent used one but when i see how hard it seems to be to move in this thing then i dont think it’s a “solution” to the problem.

  • Kyle Nau

    It’s interesting because snap movements and teleportation are also game-y elements that can break the sense of presence in VR – but it’s the unreality of those actions (that they don’t happen in the real world) that likely prevents them from causing nausea. Like your brain is briefly snapped out of immersion in order to re-position your view and then presence is quickly restored.

  • jlschmugge

    I am worried I will miss the open world experience that we got from games like Skyrim. When Oculus was first introduced three years ago, a game like that is what I was hoping to play in it, where I can walk around for miles. Telling me I have to stay in one spot, or limited to a 15’x15′ space, or stuck inside a vehicle feels limiting, no matter how much presence I would have. I imagined all you needed to do was disable the vertical look on the right stick, but that is not going to be a thing for now, I think, until the general public gets its hands on VR hardware and becomes accustomed to it. The cardinal rule is that you don’t take the camera control away from the player. I still see thumbstick movement as player control. I understand why the right stick has an issue for the general public, but I think just disabling the vertical look is all you’d need for many seasoned gamers whose brains are accustomed to translating the manipulation of little nubs into player movement. Your POV would turn you like you are rotating a tank in a cockpit game. Your VR body is your cockpit.

    At least software like VorpX exists, but I’m not sure if that is CV1 compatible yet.

  • Stan C

    Hi Scott. Interesting article.
    You should check 3DRudder (, our feet-based VR motion controller, used while seated. Most people who tried it make two comments:
    – It brings dynamism to the overall experience by getting the feet involved and by disassociating movement from where your head is looking (as it is the case in real life),
    – it significantly reduces the nauseous feeling experienced by some people. The feet are active. The experience becomes similar to driving a car in a winding mountain road. As a driver having your feet involved you won’t get sick while the passengers will.

  • Chris Malone

    You’re actually missing info on “The Void” and the idea of untethered VR experiences. While these experiences are custom built as of now, it’s possible a future combination of teamed lighthouses, project tango optics, and power efficient CPU/GPU design could allow this within the consumer space down the line.

  • Bob

    1:1 locomotion is the ideal way to explore in VR and the only way to achieve this as naturally as possible and infinitely without hitting yourself against walls and other obstacles is to use an active omni-directional treadmill. No other more practical solution exists.

    • Steve Biegun

      Room-scale seems like a better solution. Omni-direction treadmills don’t apply G-forces to the user.

      • Xilence

        They will as they progress. We need to help them take off.

        • DarkCarnage

          read a story where they had a gyro scope exercise machine so the more you rain in game the more you ran irl, suddenly gaming nerd getting buffed up after the first moth lol.

          on a side not, why bother with controllers, dig up the powerlgove blueprings so we can at lest have fine hands control ^^

      • DarkCarnage

        well room scale good for somethings i want to one day play a VRMMO and that not really work with a room of walking space. i want to move acorss huge worlds ^^

    • DarkCarnage

      true sadly nothing practical yet. i think something like those exoskeletons that being developed but instead of being used to move, have it geared to resist so when arm being pushed against, it pushes against you arm when locking swords. maybe a big base or ceiling mount so it not go anywhere so you a little off the ground or something maybe, likely not see anything good till 10 more years thought.

  • Harry Ball

    I’m going to be using one of these

    • DarkCarnage

      i goign to say no, not want to wear a skin tight suit lol

  • Augure

    Room scale is a ridiculous solution for theme parks and rich people. The vast majority of people who will adopt VR starting in big cities don’t have a “room” to move in, and it won’t get better with time and as VR is getting mass adopted.

    While the solution with threadmill are not ideal and kind of goofy, it’s the best solution for the future. Meanwhile a movement joystick on the controllers, and vehicle/rail games are the best way to go for VR entertainment. I hope to see a cheap consumer haptic/gravity chair out there, as it doesn’t exist but in experimental/garage prototypes.

  • Jason Frank

    Anyone who wants to move your body in VR, check out this motion capture suit being released from a company in SF. EnfluxVR – It’s an IMU suit, dev kits are going for $249 right now!

  • Pui Ho Lam

    people have been playing dark souls, elder scrolls and walking around without sickness. I don’t see why there is no game around that let you move in the virtual world