‘Budget Cuts’ Uses Portals to Solve Room-Scale Locomotion Problem


Large tracking volumes, like the type afforded by Steam VR’s Lighthouse system, are a godsend for fans of virtual reality. But what about when you reach the edge of the wall? Where do you go then? Neat Corporation, an indie game and tool development studio, are using portals to address just that, and the results look like a blast.

Budget Cuts, a game that has you spying deep in the heart of an office undergoing budget cuts, may seem like the bastard lovechild of both the Portal and Hitman series, but the built-for-VR game’s main mechanic—its unique portal system—is cleverly sidestepping one of the problems with current room-scale tracking systems.

Although there are several ways to create what we’ll call ‘world-scale’ in-game locomotion, like Hover Junker‘s use of floating hovercraft or the direct teleport function seen in Cloudhead Game’s Blink system, portals – or more specifically portal guns, offer the user a fast-paced, nausea-free way of getting around a virtual world with the added benefit of getting a live preview of exactly where you’re going before you go there.


Valve’s Chet Faliszek tweets “[i]f you ever heard me talk about an amazing stealth game on the HTC Vive, this is it – Budget Cuts!”

Budget Cuts is currently a finalist for ‘Best Game’ in Unity’s 2016 Vision Summit VR/AR Awards in Hollywood February 10-11.

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Still considered a “very early build,” the game slated to ‘come soon’ to HTC Vive and the Steam platform. The devs have clear interest in Oculus Touch support, but currently lack the necessary Touch developer kit to get started.

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    Please give these guys a oculus touch, this looks like an amazing title!

  • towblerone

    With games like this I’ll have to flip a coin on whether to get it on Rift or Vive.

    • Kaylin Minx

      vive does everything oculus does, and alot more.. hows that even a coin flip worth?

      • towblerone

        I don’t play the fanboy game. I’m getting both, hence why I’ll need to flip a coin for games like this as far as room-scale/motion controllers are concerned.

        • Kaylin Minx

          All the current “exclusive” games will end up working on all HMDs according to palmer, oculus doesnt have functional motion tracking or touch yet (end of the year?), vive comes with it out of the box, along with that chaparone system & mixed reality camera, imo it comes out the box more superior due to functionality. As for software, rift has some sick looking games for launch, i dont see many good ones for Vive yet.. (but valve?).

          • towblerone

            My decisions for getting both are simple: I just can’t wait for VR anymore. I’ve waited for it my entire life and the top PC-based VR systems are the ones I’ll invest in. I don’t want to miss a SINGLE piece of software for either system so I’m willing to own both.

            I’ll want Rift more for polished games and the social aspects but I’ll want Vive for dedicated room-scale experience, access to SteamVR and its library of what will undoubtedly be cheap games and for more experimental experiences.

            I pre-ordered Rift within five minutes of the pre-order page launching on the 6th and I will be pre-ordering a Vive ASAP on Feb. 29th. Then I’ll do the same for Touch as soon as it launches.

            I don’t want to pick one and then potentially miss out on something that happens to be on one headset and not the other.

            Personally, I’m excited for both, but as far as applications go, I will be using it more for room-scale like virtual sports so the Vive may have the edge there. I don’t know yet. Ask me in a year after I’ve used Vive and Rift/Touch and I can make an informed comparison.

          • Kaylin Minx

            yeah i know what you mean.. if i could afford both and if oculus had my country on the list id likely be on that side of the fence, i have no choice but vive now

          • towblerone

            Vive will be an awesome choice. High-end PC-based VR across the board will be awesome.

            I’m more excited for it than I was for regular video games in the 80s and then the Internet in the 90s.

            My wife is worried I’ll lose too much weight because every title I show her is usually a room-scale exploration or sports game.

            I’ll get to combine my love of fitness and gaming together. The next few months will be punishing until I get a headset on my face.

          • Kaylin Minx

            alot of potential for fitness & weightloss yes, if its raining outside i can play tennis indoors against strapanova for instance hehe. and dancing rhythmic games.

          • towblerone

            I had a PS Move around 2009 and, while it was crap, I would sweat bullets after 30 minutes of that table tennis game. But what I didn’t like was having to watching a little avatar in third person mimicking my movements on a small TV. In VR, I will be on that court and it will be my arm holding the paddle that’s smacking the ping pong ball, rather than a tiny avatar on a screen.

            Mini-golf, baseball home-run derby, basketball, boxing, maybe even virtual weight training(motion controllers make for good dumbbell/barbell handles). The sky is the limit.

            So much value in even a $600-800 headset. I think Vive will be closer to $800, but I don’t care.

            I just have to build a new rig before April, when both headsets should arrive, just in time for my birthday!

          • Kaylin Minx

            The best part of cardio is when you aren’t aware you are doing cardio, i normally an 45mins a day on a tredmil with a steep incline, if i dont have my ipod playing my daily podcasts i dont think i could do it, i suspect VR will make it alot easier, especially if its something fun while doing it.

          • towblerone

            “The best part of cardio is when you aren’t aware you are doing cardio”

            EXACTLY. I’ve always said this. I spend 30-60 minutes a day on an elliptical machine in front of my PC and put on a playlist of movie/game trailers and wear headphones while I workout. Half an hour goes by like nothing.

            In VR, you can do almost ANY physical activity, to varying degrees, and be burning calories. Games that were once sedentary experiences like shooting gallery games can be very physically beneficial because you’re aiming, crouching, ducking, turning, all on your feet.

            Arizona Sunshine looks amazing and it’s a shooter that you’ll actually get some health benefits from playing.

          • Full Name

            Maybe my treadmill can finally stop gathering dust! ;) I’d probably need some kind of sensor to let the system know I’m running forward though. (unless they do like the wii and just record your arm movement with the motion controllers). I think that would be great for exercise.

          • Snowman815

            How do you know that the Vive will ship to your country?

          • Kaylin Minx

            all of there phones have come here on launch, there is a HQ here up in cape town

          • Full Name

            Yes, definitely the way to go for those that can afford it (or justify it ;)) I’ll go with the Vive for now, but if the Rift comes down in price, I might pick that up along the way as well.

          • towblerone

            That’s a good choice. They will come with the motion controllers.

          • MasterElwood

            “All the current “exclusive” games will end up working on all HMDs according to palmer,”

            WRONG again. Palmer said they are not restricting it – but its the developers decision if they want to port their games or not. And with the rift outselling the vive 3x – 5x (what most analysts expecting) – why would they?

          • Kaylin Minx

            “And with the rift outselling the vive 3x – 5x (what most analysts expecting)”

            considering none have launched, this is pure fanboyism assumptions.

          • brandon9271

            Don’t listen to that guy. All he ever does is shit on the Vive. He’s a major Oculus fan boy. Oculus got lucky that Vive was delayed that’s for sure but either way there’s zero reason to think Rift will outsell the Vive. Especially when you consider the power that Valve has in harnessing Steam to promote VR games and the Vive hardware.

      • Deithwen Addan yn Carn Morvudd

        I’m trying to decide on the right headset myself, so what does the Vive do that the Rift doesn’t, besides having a slightly larger tracking space and a front-facing camera?

        • Kaylin Minx

          The hardware is basically the same according to countless test reviews. difference is Oculus is currently limited to a seated experience unless you want to walk into walls with no touch controllers, that could very well change when touch launches… Vive out of the box has the same seated experience, good tracking system with the chaparone system & mixed reality camera so you can see the /real/ world. so imo vive comes with alot more functionality on launch. I think it will come down to price.

          • Deithwen Addan yn Carn Morvudd

            Price will definitely mean a lot to me. Personally I’ve liked the look of the Oculus touch controllers *much* more than the Vive’s controllers, but that’s just personal preference (give me physical analogs any day ^_^) Right now all I’m really interested in, though, is the seated experience (gotta have my Elite: Dangerous), but I could definitely see myself getting into the more physical experience, and fortunately both headsets will support that (even if the Rift will require a bit extra stuff; but at the same time, that’s fair to those people who *don’t* want anything besides the seated experience)! The lack of a front-facing camera on the Rift is it’s biggest downside versus the Vive at the moment, in my opinion, but besides that, they seem pretty on-par. As you said, the hardware is almost identical. Although I’ve heard a lot of people say that the Rift’s build quality is overall much more solid feeling than the Vive, although, I think, that is subject to change.
            What’s the chaparone system, by the way?

          • Kaylin Minx

            The chaparone system is when you install your vive it sets a layout / play space. and when you get close to it , it shows a blue grid to warn you & mixes reality into the virtual reality, so you dont walk into walls, standing on your cat, trip over shoes ect.

          • Deithwen Addan yn Carn Morvudd

            Ah, that is neat! Thanks! Obviously I need to read up more on the Vive :P

          • Kyle Rybski

            Just want to note that Chaperone is a SteamVR software feature, not a Vive hardware feature, and the Rift works with SteamVR.

            Just gleefully making your choice a little harder.

          • Deithwen Addan yn Carn Morvudd

            Haha! Thanks for that. :P

          • Full Name

            The platform support is still confusing. There is SteamVr, then there is OpenVr. Oculus has their own stuff, so in that case Chaperone may not be available, and if the tracking on the Oculus Rift is sub-par (which it will be at least until they get the extra camera & motion controllers), I don’t think the Chaperone will be much help for the Rift. Anyways, I think in 6 months or so, it will all be much more clear :)

          • MasterElwood

            And now you are just making stuff up! LOL….

          • Alex McCarthy

            My main concern with the Vive is if Lighthouse will work at my place. You may need the perfect room shape for it, my apartment has very high ceilings and the room i want to use it in is very large (Old fashion European building). So even though Vive is better on paper, how well will it work in different places? At least with Oculus I know its gonna work, even though I do want the Vive more.

          • Kaylin Minx

            once you get it set up you set your own diameters “play space” by literally connecting the dots in your room. you could have a triangle room and the chaparone system will still work fine since you allocate yourself what type of space you delegate to being your “safe space”. we have been using a dk1 model for the last 7 months & found we do not really need much space for it to work well. 6×6 would be perfect due to numerous methods of locomotion, which just makes design alot easier and functional, you will spend the most of your time standing still or taking a few steps in either direction, not running for miles.. games / experiences wont be made like that.

          • Alex McCarthy

            So your saying that the size and shape of the room itself doesnt really matter much since you create the play space inside of that? But I thought that the tracking point pick up the lazer markers from the walls and that if the room is too big then the lazer markers will get too dispersed.

        • NoxWings

          – 360° controller support. Constellation may be capable but the setup is yet to be officially supported.

          – Chaperone system integrated with the camera.

          And a few extras like no extra wiring needed from the tracking system to the PC.

          On the other hand we still don’t know the price nor the final design so we’ll see.

      • Foreign Devil

        If you are an audiophile or even hold audio to be important I think Rift will be better for that aspect. . Vive does not even come with built in headphones as far as I’ve seen. . another thing to plug in and more wires.

      • MasterElwood

        Wrong! What kind of troll are you? Working for HTC, you do?

        • Kaylin Minx

          very big fanboy i see, are you trying to justfy your purchase or something? how is it not superior? oculus is limited to a sitting experience, doesnt even have motion controllers or decent motion tracking. Oculus comes gimped right out of the gate.. unless you think sitting in your chair with a Xbox controller gives more immersion in a virtual enviroment?

  • Aux

    The outro music is so chill <3 Love the sax and reverbed piano.
    Give'em Touch dev Kit already !