‘Tornuffalo’ Shows What Full-body VR Gaming Could Look Like with Vive Trackers

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Using HTC’s Vive Trackers, Tornuffalo—named after a combination of ‘tornado’ and ‘buffalo’—has been given a ‘Full-Body Action’ mode, an early example of full body tracking in a VR gameplay scenario. This simple action game involves dodging flying debris (which occasionally includes buffalos) heading towards your body, while trying to smash crystals for points.

Launched in December 2016 for SteamVR, Tornuffalo is an active, roomscale-only VR experience (and just $1 to boot). The concept of dodging flying objects through headset and motion controller tracking attempted to give the sensation of full body movement; thanks to additional tracking points on the waist and feet via the Vive Tracker, the player’s body comes much more significantly into the game, allowing more nuanced dodging, and kicking of incoming objects. Check it out in the video heading this article.

Photo courtesy RealityRig

Following the same principle as HTC’s own Vive IK motion capture code, and IKinema’s Orion animation software, three Vive Trackers are attached to the body (on the waist and feet), combining with the existing motion controllers and headset for six tracking points. Using inverse kinematics, a reasonable full-body pose can be generated in real-time.

In the case of Tornuffalo, this enables more precise dodging, and makes jumping over low objects a more reliable technique. You can also kick objects out of the way with both feet. As stated on the game’s news page on Steam, the full body mode is currently available in a beta branch, and will soon become a free update. The developer also notes that the feature works with just two Trackers (without one on the waist), but it isn’t recommended.

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