Flight

Flying is legit. In fact ‘too legit to quit’ some might say. Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight takes you high into the air, and impresses with the ability to simulate smooth, gaze-based forward motion without a hint of dizziness.

Olivier Palmieri, game director at Ubisoft’s Montreal office, told us at Gamescom that “… I’ve been studying a lot on what causes nausea and what could be the solution. One of the key elements is to make it comfortable even if you have a lot of action like we have, and with this prototype we wanted to prove that we could have a lot of action and still remain comfortable.”

Windlands from Psytec provides some convincing soaring-jumps, a feat made possible by a pair of grappling hooks that let you go from cliff-to-cliff while maintaining a constant, predictable speed. Much like a cockpit, the grappling hooks act as solid items in the foreground while keeping you anchored in the 3D space as you drop from the skies in futility.

VR Comfort Mode

Standing VR experiences are an incredible way of creating immersion, especially if you’re meant to be walking on your little virtual feet. But from time to time we all need to sit down and take a rest, and that’s where ‘VR comfort mode’ comes it.

We know that using the right stick on a controller is hazardous to immersion, and while convention has us sitting straight forward and not moving our heads around, VR comfort mode gives us the opportunity to slip back into old gaming habits without too much detraction from the experience.

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Featuring a sort of micro-teleportation, VR comfort mode disables the smooth, world-shifting pan you might make with the right stick, and replaces it with a ‘snap-to’ turn. Snapping your view, sometimes with a black frame spliced in-between to bridge whatever shock there way be of instantly changing your POV, provides the user with a quick way of turning around without tangling up cords around a swivel chair.

Gaze-based locomotion – i.e. ‘look there and go there’ – is also a popular choice among devs that include VR comfort mode in their first-person games, but is less natural than ‘snap-to’ turns.

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Floating Head (Third-Person)

Third-person games like Lucky’s Tale, Chronos, or Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games afford great VR gameplay without the locomotion issues seen in first-person titles—potentially giving VR-newcomers something a little more familiar to deal with.

In traditional 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie, your POV will oftentimes trail comfortably behind your character. The same is true for Lucky’s Tale, Edge of Nowhere, and likely more VR 3D platformers to come, and is a logical extension of the genre.

In the case of Chronos however, your POV is teleported to a number of a fixed-position 360 vantage points. Playing the demo, it was a almost overwhelming to change scenery so quickly at first, but it eventually became a part of the game’s ‘wow factor’ as entirely new areas are splayed out in front of you.

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe explained in an interview with Gamasutra at E3 2015 some of his thoughts on third-person games.

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“I think people are underestimating the third-person viewpoint a little bit … There’s a ton of great content that’s in third-person, and it plays best with the gamepad,” Iribe said.

Gamers of all ages can appreciate the easily recognizable genre, and step into it regardless of experience.


It’s possible for a poorly designed VR system to make you motion sick when you shouldn’t be, but beyond a certain threshold, motion sickness is fundamentally a human problem, not a technical one. Even if we had the perfect VR headset, which showed us a virtual world that is indistinguishable from real life, there’s still potential for motion sickness. And that’s because humans get motion sick even without a VR headset. Driving in a car, riding a rollercoaster, sailing in a boat, or pulling negative Gs in a stunt plane—all of these things can make is motion sick, and some of us are more sensitive than others.

At this point in the development of virtual reality, making a nausea free experience is largely a design problem, not a lack of technological capability.

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  • 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 (www.3drudder.com), 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

  • OgreTactics

    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 – http://www.enfluxvr.com. 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