Locomotion is one of the most fundamental elements of any VR experience because it directly influences the sort of experience the user can have and how comfortable the experience can be. Since the inception of the medium, academics and developers have created a staggering number of ways to move around in VR, all with their pros and cons. The Locomotion Vault is a research project which catalogs more than 100 locomotion techniques to help the field codify the space and identify gaps for innovation.

Researchers Massimiliano Di Luca (University of Birmingham), Simon Egan (University of Washington), Hasti Seif (University of Copenhagen), and Mar Gonzalez-Franco (Microsoft Research) created the Locomotion Vault, an interactive database which catalogs 109 VR movement techniques and categorizes them with a range of attributes, like Posture, Speed, Multitasking, Energy Required, Embodiment, and more. The Locomotion Vault welcomes the submission of new techniques to the database, which can be done through the ‘Enter a New Technique’ button at the top of the website.

The attributes, which are also used to compare the similarity of different methods, come from an overview of VR locomotion literature, which the researchers detailed in their paper. The paper also digs into the method for calculating similarity, with the researchers noting that an automated approach was chosen so that the database could scale easily over time.

Similarity representations between VR locomotion techniques | Image courtesy Locomotion Vault

The researchers say their goal in creating the Locomotion Database is to document a wide range of VR locomotion methods while making them easy to explore and to identify gaps in the current methods which could present opportunities for new methods to emerge.

“In the hands of researchers and practitioners, the tool can further grow the field of
locomotion, support the discovery and creation of new locomotion methods, and help researchers cope with the large set of attributes and techniques in an area in constant innovation, and eventually create new techniques that address the grand challenges in VR locomotion in the years to come,” the researchers conclude.

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Naturally we’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about VR locomotion here at Road to VR. We recently shared a glossary of VR comfort settings to help developers communicate with customers about what kind of locomotion and comfort options their games include.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
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    World grab is the only way I move in TTS and works well for a fixed focus seated experience. And I hope Decamove makes arm swinger more viable.

  • wow none of those are good for seated vr gaming outside of sims. i am shock but not so much that all forward or forward locked to playspace only turning using the thumbstick is the best way to play seated. the fact it’s not even in their research is sad and show why gamers like me have a hard time enjoying vr games

    • psuedonymous

      You clearly did not visit the site, as that’s already covered under the (multiple!) ‘Sliding X’ entries (differentiated by motion direction selection method).

      • i clearly did and it had forward lock to head and hand on the list but not forward locked to playspace (also know as always forward). if u’re a seated vr gamer and i don’t mean racing or space sims i’m talking fps. if it lock to ur head or hand while you are seated it has a higher chance to make u sick. So i stand by what i said none on there is good for a seated vr gamer.

  • Tarzan André

    This is excellent work and a great resource for interaction designers. VR is really in need of a vocabulary to define the spatial interactions as opposed to 2D based schemes. This tool helps the discussion and can inspire the design process at an early stage.

    I think one of the main challenges for VR designers in the years to come will be how to immerse the user by activating their embodied memories in a cohesive manner. The Locomotion Vault seems like a tool that can really help to put together the right body based interactions for each use case.

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