‘Freedom Locomotion System’ is a Comprehensive Package for VR Movement


Moving around comfortably and immersively in VR remains a hurdle for VR game developers. VR studio Huge Robot has created the Freedom Locomotion System which brings together a number of VR movement systems into a comprehensive and functional package which allows for comfortable walking, running, and climbing in VR.

Since video games have existed, traversing great distances in large virtual worlds has been part of game design. In games like Halo, players run, drive, and fly across hundreds of virtual miles. But in VR, while driving and flying is usually pretty comfortable, running and walking often isn’t. So many developers have had to experiment and implement novel locomotion techniques for games which require traversal beyond the player’s available physical space.

freedom locomotion systemThere’s a bunch of different techniques out there. Many of them are completely comfortable, but not necessarily immersive. The common method of ‘blinking’ from one place to the next makes it hard to maintain a firm mental map of the space around you.

'Ninja Run' May Be the Craziest VR Locomotion Technique Yet

In an effort to tackle the challenge of comfortable and immersive VR locomotion, studio Huge Robot has created the Freedom Locomotion System, a comprehensive locomotion package that Director George Kong boldly believes is “as close to solving the issue of immersive VR locomotion as we can get within the current practical limitations of VR.”

caots-freedom-locomotion-systemThe system is underscored by what Kong calls CAOTS (Controller Assisted On the Spot) movement. It’s a sort of ‘run-in-place’ movement system of Huge Robot’s own design. Kong says it lets players comfortably and immersively move while leaving their hands free for interactions with the virtual world (especially important for games where you might regularly wield a weapon like a gun or sword).

In addition to CAOTS, the Freedom Locomotion System, also includes a number of subsystems which offer different modes of locomotion and methods of smart interactions between the player’s movement and the virtual world.

For instance, with the Freedom Locomotion System, players will move up or down in elevation along slopes and stairs if they walk along them in their physical space (instead of clipping through the geometry). There’s also a climbing system which detects ‘grabable’ geometry, providing a procedural way for making models climbable for players. There’s also a smart method for dealing with players clipping into walls and over edges. Kong offers a detailed breakdown of the package and its capabilities:

When combined with the CAOTS system, the VR movement provided by the Freedom Locomotion System looks intuitive and immersive. It isn’t clear yet if or how Huge Robot plans to distribute this system as a foundation for VR developers, but Kong says an extensive VR demo will be available soon on Steam and we’re excited to give it a try.

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  • Steve Biegun

    George Kong announced this earlier today on the UE4 forums: https://goo.gl/wXBi9M . In that post, he says “But as far as selling code goes, still evaluating options – which will be dependent on feedback and contact. If nothing else, would definetly like to start working on a game with this serving as the basis for movement.”

    In this Reddit post ( https://goo.gl/jvLfnZ ), he says that he would not be interested in just giving out the code. “I do know that releasing it wholesale is an irreversible option for me though.” Makes sense.

    Also, I think we as consumers and developer should keep in mind that there will probably never be a *perfect* VR locomotion solution. What we should want is the most comfortable and fitting option for a given situation.

    • Raphael

      “What we should want is the most comfortable and fitting option for a given situation.” << Not we… you and other nausea sensitive people. Percentage.

      • Steve Biegun

        I would argue that a developer should focus on marketing to as many people as possible so as not to exclude people from their product. It’s hard to justify making a game on an already shoe-string budget when you know that only 30% of your users will be comfortable with the movement. Options are always going to be important.

        • Raphael

          There we are again with the lies. Show me where you get this 30% data from… See the steam feedback for VR games more likely to induce nausea shows that negative complaints about nausea are a small minority. So your 30% source is at odds with that. So I’m gonna call your 30% a lie.

          80% of nausea sufferers lie about the percentage scale of VR nausea.

          Onward developer was under pressure before his game was released to make it a teleport game. He resisted that pressure. So by your lie he was making his game for 30% of VR users.

          See the thing is I’m not suggesting nausea sufferers should be ignored. It’s just that while nausea was much more of an issue early on… the situation has improved with current gen VR. Nausea isn’t a majority problem but so long as it’s a problem it still needs to be addressed. Problem is that for a long time it become mass hysteria and non-nausea users were completely ignored and many devs ran the other way or simply pandered to nausea players.

          Finally we have some hope of no longer being ignored and it’s great to see games like serious sam first encounter have multiple options.

          You do not represent the majority of vr users with nausea and those who do suffer have varying degrees and a percentage of those develop and overcome.

          • David Herrington

            Firstly, different people not only have different tolerances to artificial VR locomotion in general, they also have different tolerances to the different types of locomotion options. One person may be fine with teleporting but not with sliding. One may be fine with sliding but not with dashing.

            Secondly, there has never been a study to quantify nausea affected users, so ANY number ANYONE throws out will be unbased. The only thing we can say about it presently is that there is a significant portion of the populace that experiences some level of nausea with more extreme anti-vestibular forms of VR locomotion.

          • jlschmugge

            But how many of those would ever care to play VR or any video game in the first place? That’s where I feel the impression of the percentage of easily nauseated players gets skewed. They might be a potential market if VR gets better for the average person, but hopefully that doesn’t alienate the existing gamer market.

          • David Herrington

            I’m sorry, but are you assuming that only people who are less likely to be affected with VR induced nausea are interested in VR or video games in general, where is your citation for this?

            I could just as easily assume that more of the population who buy into VR are less likely to be outgoing outdoorsy athletic people and hence would have a higher incidence of vestibular problems in general.

            Please don’t make unbased assumptions just because you believe the world should be a certain way.

            Likely the average person is the SAME person that buys into VR, or video games for that matter. Which means that there is no physical difference between those that buy VR systems and those who do not have the money to do so.

          • Steve Biegun

            Wow, sorry – I really didn’t mean to pick a fight here. I’m speaking very generally when I say 30% as that is what I have found in my own personal experience with non-gamers.

          • Raphael

            No, don’t worry. I always have a bee in bonnet and underpants about VR locomotion. It all began one day when I was told that I couldn’t play HL2 in VR with mouse and keys because it would make me and everyone else sick (was told that on a game website forum). Since then I’ve been in constant therapy to try and get past it.

            And yes, I think perhaps most non-gamers exposed to VR may feel dizzy/sick with some games. I refer more to gamers who are familiar with FPS games. I think non-gamers suddenly exposed would certainly need some time to get used to it. So I guess teleport in that case is an option or perhaps some of the new types of full locomotion (Onward).

          • David Herrington

            So I assume you have some research to back up your assumption that FPS gamers have higher tolerance of VR induced sickness?

            I’m an AVID first person shooter fanatic and wouldn’t you just know it, I also have VR induced nausea… so your assumption doesn’t really have a basis.

          • Ailuropoda melanoleuca Nineone

            well his sampling method is off yours is to since you could be a an outlier 1 doesnt not make a good sample size

          • David Herrington

            That’s what I’m saying! Am I an outlier? Who knows, because there is no official research here. It’s all just speculation and opinions.

            (By the way, from my experience most people I have shown VR have felt uncomfortable with any aggressive locomotion. So I do not believe I am an outlier.)

          • Bryan Ischo

            This is a much more measured and reasonable response. You can ignore what I wrote above in my other response to you because I think you must ‘get it’ more than you let on above.

          • Croon

            Nausea or dizzy/sickness has nothing to do with the amount of FPS games you play.

            I’ve been playing FPS games since the early 90s, played Quake, CS on national level, and probably clocked some 20k hours in FPS games throughout my life.

            I get nauseous in cars easily when I’m not driving, and I have a Vive and get nauseous depending on mode of locomotion.

            The reason I (we) don’t get nauseous from FPS games is twofold:
            * The peripheral view of anything outside my monitor doesn’t trick my mind into thinking I’m moving while my body is sitting in a chair.
            * I’m only looking at a flat screen, so there is no mismatch in perceived distance and perceived focus depth. VR headsets currently have the same focus on all virtual objects regardless of portrayed distance to your avatar.

            One solution to the latter is variable depth displays, or light field displays. Another is AR instead of VR.
            There are many potential solutions to the locomotion issue. Any solution that works is a good one, even if it’s more exhausting or less immersive.

            What we’re dealing with is (likely, since it’s not conclusive) our reptile brain interpreting conflicting sensory inputs, where the eyes observe movement and the body observes standing still, thus the brain concluding that you have been poisoned, and should evacuate your bowels.

            While there are no official studies of the phenomenon, the air force has worked with HMD:s for F**-fighters for decades, and obviously a lot of commercial startups have tried tackling these issues as well. Roomscale and 6DoF is the first step in that evolution.

            Stop believing that this is somehow trainable, or has anything to do with experience with games, because it is:
            * Frankly offensive to me as a lifelong gamer.
            * Unproductive when searching for a solution.
            * Non-inclusive from a market perspective, which is of detriment to you as a consumer, since the market would be smaller.
            * Detrimental to progress.

          • Raphael

            “Stop believing that this is somehow trainable” << Some nausea sufferers are able to overcome their nausea. One said he did so by playing HL2 with keys and mouse. He stated that he can play anything in VR now.

            Sure there are muppets with extreme nausea sensitivity… You spew in cars, planes, boats, walking down the street. Understand that not everyone who has nausea suffers to the same degree. You cite your own experience and arrogantly believe everyone is the same. And yes… An FPS below the target causing judder can trigger nausea for those who are sensitive. I also have a friend who suffers game nausea without any VR. After a number of years we determined it was triggered by games running at 60hz. 120hz no problem for him.

          • Croon

            I actually never suggested that everyone is the same, which was the entire reason I responded to your comment. You said:

            “And yes, I think perhaps most non-gamers exposed to VR may feel dizzy/sick with some games. I refer more to gamers who are familiar with FPS games. I think non-gamers suddenly exposed would certainly need some time to get used to it.”

            Which suggest you believe it’s only a matter of experience, which isn’t the case. But nice job projecting, accusing me of painting everyone with the same brush.

            The benefit of this (and SS VR which you brought up) is that each person can choose the mode of locomotion/transportation that works for them. But even in games/software when there is no choice; Catering to the most sensitive makes a platform for as large an audience as possible, which is the sound business decision.

            “Problem is that for a long time it become mass hysteria and non-nausea users were completely ignored and many devs ran the other way or simply pandered to nausea players.”

            Are you going to complain that there’s one less bathroom at venues because they keep pandering to disabled people when an accomodating bathroom takes up more space?

            You can still use non-nausea inducing VR, just like regular people can use bathrooms for the disabled when there’s no one in line who needs it more.

            What you’re basically complaining about is that no one on the (still extremely small) VR market caters to your specific (non-complete) group of people with a less sensitive area postrema, and instead going for a wide audience of as many people (read: paying customers) as possible, as your group can still use that experience.

            While your enjoyment may not be maximized, that is just market forces. When the market gets larger (like we’ve seen in regular games) we get better and bigger indie games, catering to smaller audiences with more interesting/niche concepts, which is the majority of games I play nowadays, as AAA games rarely interest me.

            * Everyone is different.
            * There is no reason to believe that your group is bigger than mine, and either way we don’t know.
            * The market of VR software is small and will adapt to a way that works for as many in that market as possible.

          • Raphael

            Muppets buying VR and spewing everywhere damages the VR industry and ruins it for the non-spew players. Your families perhaps get sick of you spewing or complaining about feeling you’re gonna spew too. I know I get sick just reading about it all the time… “VR made me spew”, “I consider myself as having VR legs (no you don’t you muppet) but this game made me spew…”

            What I find hilarious is that even when Croteam cater to nausea players and non-nausea… they can’t win! Some twat posted a negative review on Serious Sam First Encounter VR because the Teleport made him sick!

          • Croon

            And here I was trying to have a constructive argument. My bad.

            “I know I get sick just reading about it all the time…”
            Maybe you should have someone look at that.


          • Raphael

            Lighten-up Mr Croon. Kidding but with dark undertones…

          • Ailuropoda melanoleuca Nineone

            i don’t suffer from nausea at all in any of the vr locomotion methods though i am liking how freedom does it since i find touch pad movement kills immersion for me. freedoms system looks like really awesome movement system that isnt using the touch pad or waving your arms like your a speed walker

          • Bryan Ischo

            You may not know this, but you don’t actually have to get to nausea to have an unpleasant experience with motion in VR. I’ve never actually gotten nauseous but it definitely doesn’t “feel good” to do certain things, to the extent that I am strongly inhibited from doing them.

            It’s pretty clear that he pulled 30% out of thin air as an example of the kind of percentage which might be reasonably expected to be uncomfortable with simulated motion in a given game. Obviously it depends upon the game. For some “intense” games maybe it’s 90%. For other gentle games maybe it’s 10%. But 30% actually seems pretty generous to me because discomfort with simulated motion appears to be very common to me. And although you may not realize this because you don’t seem to be very good at stepping outside yourself and seeing how the rest of the world feels about things instead of just how you feel about them, but most people are quickly turned off by anything that is uncomfortable. If there is any pain or discomfort involved, most people simply will not participate.

            Nobody is trying to assail your right to have raw locomotion options in games. Yes developers have hedged their bets and sometimes erred on the side of safety up to this point. But that’s a separate issue from whether or not there is an actual factual basis to the notion that simulated motion is in general uncomfortable to the majority, and whether or not more efforts are needed to find novel ways to overcome this.

    • He may ant to sell it even if it’s irreversible. he can sit back relax and let the cash flow in and he gets royalties and in this stage of VR, it needs as many options as possible.

      So if someone replicates this in the far future when if he patents it,the last thing VR needs is someone waving around lawsuits turning locomotion into a patent battleground.

      No patent wars.

    • jlschmugge

      Is “wholesale” like what we see with game engines already? I imagined that he would sell it as a module for developers. We would then see a Huge Robot logo in front of games like we already do with Bink Video and Havok. If this is not what he is doing then he should. Creating a game of his own is a good start as a proof of concept, like what many game engines have done, but the VR industry as a whole will be better off if he sticks to improving his locomotion, while other developers focus on using his locomotion to make immersive VR games. It’s a win-win as developers would be released of having to try experimental methods, and Kong’s pocket would be better off as he wouldn’t ever have to worry about creating a game, just selling his product to practically everybody instead.

      • George Kong

        I like the way you think. I wonder if I can actually pull it off though. I did want to push forward VR by making VR interactions as a whole awesome, and quite frankly, I hadn’t considered middleware development.

        • jlschmugge

          I hope your Steam demo goes well. I’m certainly interested in trying it. Like you said in your video, even a 100m2 warehouse still limits you in VR. I worry that people will get bored of VR when game after game keeps you stuck inside something the size of your living room, shooting at things from one spot. I’m one of those who got excited when VR was making its comeback that you could walk around a game like Skyrim, then deflated at the reality that these types of games get you sick in VR. If there is a real possibility that traditional first-person screen games are not only comfortable to play in VR, but also enhanced by the extra immersion you get with motion controls, then I think VR has a good foundation to transfer relevance from traditional screen gaming. VR can be it’s own thing, but I think if it wants to stick around, it has to be a better version of what you can get on the screen.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Watching VR ninjas demoing stuff never gets old… seems like a cool system though.

    • DougP

      It does look interesting. I’m glad to see multiple/new methods of VR locomotion being tried.

      It seems to be a tough nut to crack for a majority of users.

  • I think Smooth Movement and Teleporting pretty much cover what people want. Jogging in place just makes an uncomfortable VR experience both uncomfortable and exhausting.

    • Bryan Ischo

      Smooth motion requires significant effort in acclimation (i.e. spending time getting your “VR legs”) and still can induce nausea, and teleporting is extremely immersion breaking. Both are fine and maybe the majority of people would be happy with them, but I’m very happy that developers are still trying to find better ways to move in VR.

      That being said, I expect this particular technique would benefit greating from tracking the feet instead of having to rely on tracking the jiggling of the hands that happens when you move your feet, which obviously is only a rough approximation of what your feet are doing.

      • Raphael

        I didn’t spend any time getting my VR legs. I’ve never had nausea with any VR situation.

        • J.C.

          I’ve never gotten seasick. So by your logic, no one should, and everyone should be ok out on a boat and anyone who doesn’t is holding back boating. Staying on land is SO IMMERSION BREAKING ZOMG.

          You seem to have zero concept of “public perception”. If ONE person tries VR and has fun, they’ll tell a few friends and those friends may try it out. If that one person gets sick, they’ll tell their friends, who will avoid it and then tell THEIR friends to avoid it.

          It doesn’t matter if the “skating locomotion adverse” are a small number of people right now. The number of people who have even TRIED VR, much less bought in, is a very small percentage. VR can’t afford reports of experiences making people sick.

          • Raphael

            Nope. Don’t go insane now. See that extreme conclusion you just made whereby you think because I don’t get sick that I believe no one else does? Well that’s how nausea people talk all the time. Their statements are generally along the lines of they get sick and so everyone else does too.

            Of course a percentage get sick to varying degrees but a percentage don’t. Now I know that the next thing a nausea sufferer will say is that most people suffer nausea. A lie.

          • J.C.

            If most people suffered from motion nausea, we wouldn’t have boats. The only game I got any nausea from was Project Cars, and that was likely a mix of crap framerate and the insanely fast stop/go of the go-karts it forces you to play first.

            VR can’t afford the bad press. You definitely don’t want to be the developer of a game that got someone sick at a demo station in a mall. I’m not against locomotion, I’m against it being the only option. While I don’t like the game itself much, Raw Data’s dash-port is a pretty decent compromise, keeping you aware of your surroundings while not making people skate around.

            No movement type is ideal yet. How many years did console FPS games exist with a crap control method? It took until Halo. I don’t like skating, it feels stupid. It like that there’s no disconnect from the surroundings, but it removes feeling Human from the game.

          • Bryan Ischo

            Most do, some don’t, in my personal experience, and also in all evidence that I have read anecdotally. That’s the whole point here. Immersive motion mechanisms that can be used with comfort by the large segment of people who are prone to VR motion sickness is still a topic that has to be addressed.

            I have never heard anyone say that “becuase I get sick in VR everyone else must”. Never. You are misrepresenting the opposing position because it’s an easier argument for you to make. This is called a straw man argument.

        • Bryan Ischo

          Sorry, I guess I need to spell everything out for the baby.

          Smooth motion requires significant effort in acclimation FOR MOST PEOPLE. Additionally, even people who believe that they are naturally immune to VR sickness are likely to experience it in extreme situations that they have never tried yet.

          • Mike

            I’ve been doing VR frequently since the Oculus DK2. I’ve owned the DK2, Gear VR, Oculus Rift (briefly), and Vive. I’ve never ONCE gotten any sort of nausea from slide locomotion. Artificial rotation, sure that’s a little uncomfortable, but most people don’t play that way anyway – slide locomotion is best using manual rotation but using the forwards/backwards buttons.

          • jlschmugge

            So that I’m I the same page, what is slide locomotion?

          • Mike

            Slide locomotion is how some people refer to locomotion by holding forward on a D-pad, similar to WASD in a PC game. I don’t know if there’s a standard term for it.

          • jlschmugge

            yes, that’s what I thought. I so far have never found that to get me sick, and think it is the way to go. Slide locomotion sure is easier to say than forward/backward/strafe motion.

          • Bryan Ischo

            You’re in the minority. Which is basically my point.

          • Mike

            What’s your source? I’ve seen at least as many people advocating for non-teleport locomotion as against. And regardless, it’s not hard to add it as an option.

          • DougP

            Re: “What’s your source? ”
            I’m waiting on the same source.

            People quote made-up stats & make claims based on their anecdotal “evidence” (ignoring the equal sample of opposing anecdotal “evidence”) about the affects of VR on people.

            Options –
            Agree completely that more *options* = good thing.
            However, that needs to be a decision taken by devs, as it can be more burdensome on a small team, depending on game design/mechanics, to support multiple locomotion methods. In this case – ea dev just needs to decide what suits the game best.

          • Mike

            I agree, except that it seems like it wouldn’t be burdensome at all to add fowards/backwards motion ability – especially if there’s a standard software framework to handle it, which I’m pretty sure there is, at least in things like Unity.

            It seems like 95% of the time when devs choose one to the exclusion of the other, they go with teleport. In that case, it should be simple to tack-on the other option.

          • jlschmugge

            Yes but do we need to worry about MOST PEOPLE, or the people actually playing? It feels like there are games that play it too safe when they didn’t have to, and alienate those who want and can handle a full immersive experience. Games that actually become uncomfortable for those acclimated because it breaks their immersion. The best thing I ever hear is that people just want the option not to be put on the bunny hill because that’s only what ‘everyone one else’ can handle.

          • Bryan Ischo

            You only need to worry about yourself; developers need to worry about all, or most, of the people who will want to buy and play their game. It’s my understanding, borne out from personal experience both of myself and everyone I’ve demoed to, that motion sickness is something that most people are susceptible to in VR.

            There is absolutely zero reason that a game can’t support a variety of movement mechanisms, all the way down to raw simulated movement for those who have little or no motion sickness and prefer that approach.

            But that doesn’t change the fact that in order to make compelling, non-immersion breaking simulated motion that can be used by MOST people, there are still difficult challenges to overcome.

          • DougP

            Re: ” It’s my understanding, borne out from personal experience both of
            myself and everyone I’ve demoed to, that motion sickness is something
            that most people are susceptible to in VR”

            See, that’s the problem with anecdotal.
            My anecdotal experience is exactly the opposite of yours. Doesn’t get us anywhere.
            I’d like to see actual studies, particularly when it comes to these claims of “acclimating”. My anecdotal experience says that that’s 93.2% pure BS. ;) hehe

      • Doctor Bambi

        I’m pretty excited to get my hands on this demo he’ll be releasing on Steam. In theory, the jostling of the inner ear should help fight vection induced sickness. Will it be enough to matter? Just gotta try it out and see. I’m totally with you though, I hope developers continue to experiment with free movement ideas. I’d love to find solutions that are comfortable for everyone.

        I don’t think his head bob technique is quite as compelling as the Telaria VR demo, but given that this solution works with no extra hardware is very exciting to me.

      • I think we might have to just “Call it”. Throw in the towel! There’s been so many brilliant people, for several years now, trying to find the “Perfect” solution for movement, and so far, there hasn’t been one. I’ve seen hundreds at this point.

        This is a hardware problem. We need those Omni-Treadmills, or some kind of elevated leg harness. Software solutions are easy to implement, so hundreds of avenues have already been tried. Hardware is alot harder to create, so I think we’ve barely begun to see solutions on that front.

        • Bryan Ischo

          Have you seen that video of that device that you put near your ear and it stimulates something in there to simulate the feeling of motion? Who knows, maybe that idea has legs …

        • There is one you put somewhere on your head and it gives you the feeling of movement in that inner air :)

      • DougP

        Re: “i.e. spending time getting your “VR legs””
        I’ve not seen ANY actual study backing this up.
        Mostly VR gamers, who weren’t particularly bothered by motion in VR, making this claim.

        Whilst I suspect there might be *something* to this for a limited set of people bothered by artificial locomotion in VR, it seems unlikely that this is the case for a majority of them.

        Anecdotal (as I’m guessing your claim is also) …for myself –
        I didn’t spend time getting my “VR legs”. Vive owner here since last April. Day1 blasting around Windlands & trackpad artificial motion & just about everything else in-between. 200+ VR titles & hundreds of hours.
        From Day1 until now – zero nausea.

        I’ve also put several dozens of others in VR, demo’ing a variety of games, including fairly frequently Windlands & others with rather extreme motion. People varied from: zero computer game experience, from 6yo to in the 80s…I’ve had exactly one person who expressed discomfort – same person on 2x separate occasions, BOTH times inside a game where there was ZERO artificial locomotion.

        I believe that it’s:
        1) unfounded
        2) patronizing
        To make this “get your VR legs”…. “just tough it out” claim, as I don’t believe it will help a majority of people.
        Most likely, & very similarly to actual real-wold motion sickness, some people or just affected more than others.

        I had a scuba diving buddy friend who would get motion sick every time in a car on winding roads, as well on boat rides out to dive sites – this persisted with her for years & didn’t “get better” just by driving down more winding roads.

        Again – there’s probably *some* % of people who are only moderately affected that benefit from “spending time”, as for the majority …this is not sound advice & doesn’t solve anything.

        • jlschmugge

          The idea behind “VR legs” is the same behind “sea legs”. The terms to explain VR sickness reflect the familiarity of sea sickness which is very very similar, speaking from personal experience. So yes, while there is no actual published study (as far as I know) on VR sickness, I think it is assumed that you can relate the same effect of sea sickness to what is happening in VR. It is accepted that the same parts of the brain and vestibular system are undergoing a similar stimulus, the disconnection of what the eye sees and what the vestibular system feels..

          Just as how some people can be on a fishing boat in the ocean the first time and not get sick, some people can take a lot of motion in VR and not get sick. Some, if not a lot of people who get sea sick the first time can get used to it, acclimate, so that is where “sea legs” and subsequently the “getting your VR legs” phrase comes from. I’m sure like your friend, there will be some who can never get over any type of motion sickness.

          I would be interested if you or someone like you, someone who says has no experience of VR sickness to step on a boat the first time and not get sick. It is curious how related the two experiences are.

          A more natural locomotion control helps all of us. This Freedom Locomotion is trying to kill two birds with one stone: to let developers create a game that is comfortable enough for the easy VR sick people, but also give us acclimated people what we wanted the whole time: an immersive traditional open world experience without any immersion breaking. Think of the real possibility that if a game uses a system like this for those on the bunny hill, it makes no gameplay difference to keep in a slide locomotion for the rest of us gamers like what you have in Windlands. Those who always or easily get sick would be able to play the same game, and not even have to worry about acclimation, or make the acclimation process a smoother transition.

          • DougP

            I understand the idea behind VR legs. As well, realize that it’s likely that some % of people can *improve* their experience by repeated exposure.

            What I was mostly challenging is this notion that basically *everybody* can just “toughen-up & get used to it”, when I don’t believe the evidence supports this, so it becomes an incorrect & almost derogatory (“you just haven’t put the effort into playing enough”….”power through the vomiting – it gets better!” BS).

            Re: “Some, if not a lot of people who get sea sick the first time can get used to it, acclimate, so that is where “sea legs” ”
            Again, what I’m questioning, & in doubt of, is the “a lot of people” part.
            Can you point me to a source, preferably a scientific study on motion sickness, which indicates that “a lot” (more scientifically, a *majority*) get over motion sickness through repeated exposure?

            Re: “I would be interested if you or someone like you, someone who says has
            no experience of VR sickness to step on a boat the first time and not
            get sick.”
            So speaking to my “sampling size of one” hehe … I can tell you that I NEVER got seasick. And I’ve spent a LOT of time on boats (& own a boat).
            I was actually concerned the 1st time where I was spending several days at a time on a rocking boat (a “live-aboard”) out at sea, and I did take seasickness pills as a safety measure. It was a scuba diving & spear-fishing/lobster catching trip, so I didn’t want to wind up in my bunk sick the entire time.
            However, no issues & didn’t take after day 2 or 3.
            Note: previous to this I’d spent a lot of time on much smaller boats, going out in big waves for long enough to get sick….never had an issue.

            On the motion sickness front – again, anecdotal evidence here… but a good friend (dive buddy), she would get sick driving on the windy road to the coast, sick again on the boats (only fine once in water). This went on for years for her & never “got better”, never “got legs” (on land or in water).

            Drifting further afield here it brings to mind people’s pets in cars. Some pet owners (myself included) have had pets who love the car & never have an issue. Whereas I know of ones whose doggies cry & get sick every time (year-after-year) they’re in a car on a windy road.

            I do wonder if there’s some correlation between those prone to motion sickness (land/water…in “real life”) vs those who get nausea in VR.
            My hunch is that it’s rather complex & that we know there are various *causes* in VR titles.
            I’ve had only TWO people complain of feeling sick after VR, of the several dozens I’ve put into the Vive since April.
            1 was a teenage boy who is very physically active (motorbikes, on water) & had spent much of a day playing hardcore VR games, artificial locomotion …& I recall it was Windlands that might’ve done him in.
            1 was a mature adult, very physically active, who had felt weird/nauseous ea time she tried VR. In her case there was ZERO artificial locomotion – she felt bad in TheBlu. Another time nearly ripped the headset off once there was motion going on “around her” (Old Friend, music video) & said she didn’t feel well.

            Anyways, it’s seems quite varied for people.
            I just find that it’s not constructive & probably completely incorrect (for a decent % of people) to tell them “just power through it”, without putting major caveats – “this may/may not get better…some people report repeated exposure helps.”
            I’m genuinely interested in knowing the causes & what % of people can/do improve. However, I’m not convinced that it’s some very large % nor a majority. Anecdotal but I’ve just heard reports from too many die-hard VR fans who WANT to enjoy artificial locomotion & try & try again…only to feel sick & beg for dash/teleport.
            Lastly – options are a good thing.
            Until this is all better understood, including multiple options for locomotion, whenever possible/not overly burdensome on/limiting for devs.

          • jlschmugge

            I agree with needing options. By reading comment sections in UploadVR and RoadtoVR, that “seems a pretty universal want.

            I did find a study. I can access it thanks to still being in college.

            Alireza Mazloumi Gavgani, Keith V. Nesbitt, Karen L. Blackmore, Eugene Nalivaiko, Profiling subjective symptoms and autonomic changes associated with cybersickness, Autonomic Neuroscience, Available online 18 December 2016, ISSN 1566-0702, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2016.12.004.

            They took 14 people, 8 female and 6 males. All participants were new to VR. They put them in a Rift over three days and had them run a roller coaster ride. Only one of them managed to finish each session every day, the rest had to stop at some point for nausea.

            “It is currently well accepted that motion sickness (MS, or kinetosis)
            develops when conflicting signals are received from the spatial
            orientation senses – vestibular, visual and proprioceptive. Such sensory conflict can be initiated within a single sensory system such as canal-otolith interaction during Coriolis cross-coupling, or between two or more sensory systems such as visual/vestibular/proprioceptive
            interaction when on a boat in rough seas.”

            “While there was no change in mean ride time on the second day, compared to the first day, there was a substantial (66%) and significant (F(2, 22) = 4.787, p = 0.0188, η2 = 0.12) increase in ride duration on the third day (Fig. 1C). There was also a significant reduction in the “nausea rating vs. time” slope on the 3rd day compared to the first two days (1.3 ± 0.26, 1.3 ± 0.20 and 0.7 ± 0.1 units/min, respectively; F (2, 24) = 6.4, p = 0.0059, η2 = 0.13, Fig. 1D).”

            “… repetitive provocations resulted in shorter (< 2 h) persistence of all
            symptoms. The major difference here was found with the “just after the
            ride” time point: while the intensity of sopite and central scores
            remained stable across the three days (Fig. 3A & C), there was significant habituation in the peripheral cluster, and a trend for such habituation in the GI cluster"

            For clarification: "gastrointestinal (GI) (stomach awareness, nausea, vomiting); central (fainting, light headiness, disorientation, dizziness, sensation of spinning); peripheral (sweating, feeling hot) and sopite (annoyance, drowsiness, tiredness, uneasiness)"–I've certainly felt some of these at points.

            "… we determined that repetitive exposure to provocative virtual reality content results in slowing down the speed of nausea development and in reducing other symptoms of cybersickness. While existence of cross-desensitization requires vigorous testing, it may be that virtual reality-based technology might represent a simple and cost-effective way to reduce sensitivity to other types of nausea provocations."

            Your challenge is "this notion that basically *everybody* can just toughen-up & get used to it". Basically this study says *everybody* can, but to your benefit of the doubt, it doesn't go so far to show people completely overcoming sickness. This study wasn't long enough to show that, and showed only one person to successfully complete the ride.

            I do believe telling people to "toughen up" is inappropriate, and won't get people to come back a second time to make that happen. But there is hope for those determined to say it can get better if they chose to "toughen up" on their own.

    • Kyle Nau

      Agreed. Your locomotion system should be always dictated by *gameplay* or what the user is supposed to get out of the simulation.

      IMO Grandma doesn’t want to navigate virtual Tuscany by stomping her feet any more than I would want to traverse a virtual sci-fi battlefield doing the same. It fails as both game locomotion and experience locomotion.

      Regardless I’m sure some dopey venture capitalist will dump $50 million into it :)

    • Mike

      Exhausting is a good thing – running SHOULD be exhausting. And then people get their exercise automatically while entertaining themselves. Maybe it could even put a dent in the rising obesity epidemic.

      • DougP

        I just love this idea & potential aspect of VR.

        Can you imagine a mom/parent in the future:
        “You kids need to get some exercise, get up off that couch & get into the VR room & play some games!” :)

        • Mike

          Haha yep, exactly. Sounds funny, but it’s entirely plausible.

  • James Friedman

    I could see this being used for a few games marketed as an exercise experience, but not practical for shooters in general.

    • wheeler

      Agreed, it is quite awkward to step or jog in place (or “bounce” in place from leg to leg as he is–clearly to compensate for this awkward motion). The presentation itself is well executed but I can’t see the actual concept being practical for too many experiences.

      I’m also confused why this is something that the developer is going to sell. All of these ideas have been done before and it seems like he’s simply refined and amalgamated them. I could see someone whipping together a free and open source alternative if he tries to sell this–e.g. in VRTK. Hope to god he doesn’t try patenting anything.

    • Shawn Blais Skinner

      We have a similar system implemented in-house, and it’s extremely practicle for shooting. The ability to run, with both hands shooting is pretty damn fun.

  • Raphael

    So last night I played Serious Sam first encounter for the first time.. Movement was hideous… it defaults to teleport and I got the feeling I was playing the original Myst. So I went to options and enabled full locomotion… wow… amazing! Wonderful to have the smooth motion and the trackpad response was great.

    The freedom video above looks pretty good. Can’t see any nauseating teleport present. Actually it’s interesting to note that teleport and blink teleport I find far more disorienting than full locomotion. I experience absolutely no dizzy head-spinning vomiting while playing SS VR but when it initially defaulted to teleport it felt odd. I detest teleport.

    • AndyP

      Agree – I had the same experience in SS. Also hate teleportation.

    • NooYawker

      I’ve tried playing Doom3 and HL2 but full locomotion just doesn’t work for me. But then again I haven’t play a game designed from ground up for VR with full locomotion yet either.

  • Funny thing is that I was thinking about developing a similar package! Anyway, seems that he has made a great work…

    • You may still have to do it yourself unless someone gets him to release his code :)

  • OgreTactics

    Looks interesting, would like to try.

  • jlschmugge

    The trick I’ve noticed is to make sure a players’s virtual spatial movement matches the expectations of a player when manipulating a physical input. It’s why gamers can acclimate quicker. Gamers have been using thumbsticks forever, so we know when we push a little, we move a little. If we push the stick all the way we run. If that matches what we see in VR there is no problem. Non-gamers do not have that wiring, so this does offer new solutions to create an input already familiar to a non gamer: full body movement. There absolutely should not be any smoothing or acceleration of any type though. The virtual speed should match 1:1 with the value of the input, so the brain understands the direct relation of input to movement. That is where taking the level of physical excitement of fake-walking/running seems it would work. Luckily as a gamer I can stick to thumbsticks and not get worn out.

    The best locomotion I’ve used so far is forward/backward/strafe mapped to one stick, turn equal to HMD direction, and forward/backward/strafe direction always relative to the HMD’s facing direction. It’s used in some games I’ve played like Solus Project and Windlands, and it works very well as a gamer for semi-extended plays. I had my non-gamer wife try Windlands with this and she did pretty well for a while until she started confusing controls and forgetting she can turn with her real body. That is where her expectations broke down as she had no trained reference for how her input should make her do the things she wanted in a virtual space. I imagine something like a fake-walk to move forward instead of thumbstick would have worked well with her.

    I agree with his last statements. Hopefully we can get past all the blinking and teleporting in a confined virtual space to fit our confined living rooms (or warehouses), but open up an infinite virtual space that doesn’t need more room than a arm’s length.

  • AndyP

    Looks great. When can we try it?!

  • jlschmugge

    I wonder if this is able to be translated into VorpX to walk around in Skyrim.

  • DonMac

    Although I do applaud the author for his hard work,many of the mechanics are small variations on existing techniques, for the Unity developers amongst you, I would strongly advise looking at the Virtual Reality Toolkit ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH5zHo6qI84
    That is free (available here https://github.com/thestonefox/VRTK) has various locomotion systems (including walk in place) and has a great support community.
    I am not associated with the group but have used VRTK in my own projects with good results.