Survios’ New Title ‘Sprint Vector’ Could be a Watershed Moment for VR Locomotion

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When it comes to VR, best practices say that the player’s in-game movement should be static, and if the player needs to move, it should be within their physical space, or through some locomotion method that’s comfortable in VR, like blinking or teleportation. Then along comes Sprint Vector, the latest title from Survios, the developer of Raw Data, which smashes those best practices with surprising success.

While there’s generally recommended rules for how to let players move inside of VR to avoid nausea, every once and awhile someone comes along and changes our expectation of the limitations of VR locomotion with some inventive thinking.

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Lucid Trips is one such app. Using a combination of players physically ‘pulling’ themselves through the world with their hands, and then pushing off the ground for short bouts of flight, the game’s locomotion—that by all accounts seems like it should be a recipe for instant nausea in VR—works surprisingly well, and made fluid navigation across large spaces work in VR.

Now comes Sprint Vector which takes this idea and throws it into overdrive with a system the developers are calling the Fluid Locomotion System. Instead of pulling your body through the world, you’re swinging your arms quickly to achieve a fast sprinting motion as you dodge, wall jump, veer, and occasionally fly through the air as you guide your motions with outstretched arms like superman.

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The studio calls the game an “adrenaline platformer that merges the physical thrill of high-octane athletic competition with the unhinged energy of zany interactive game shows, all powered by a proprietary motion system that allows for a new level of immersion.”

From what we’ve seen so far, Sprint Vector turns VR locomotion on its head. Moving from the norms of static, cockpit, or blink-based movement systems to a full-speed virtual dash. The game didn’t invent this type of locomotion (and for that matter, neither did Lucid Trips), but it certainly looks to have pushed the approach on locomotion into all new territory, and found a way to build gameplay directly around it.

Now, having built up some skepticism about VR locomotion after watching this space for many years, we wouldn’t trust just anyone to tell us that they’d trashed the generally accepted rules of VR locomotion and gotten away with it. However, Survios, who is behind the popular Raw Data, is one of the most senior and now the top funded VR studios in the industry. That is to say that we have a bit of faith that Sprint Vector is more than a little indie locomotion experiment.

We’ll be trying the game for ourselves soon and are eager to find out how it feels to move this fast through VR. If Survios has really made it work, it could be a watershed moment for locomotion in VR, opening up new fast-paced VR gameplay opportunities and, self-evidently, entirely new games.

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  • Me

    The gameplay looks fantastic, but I hope there’s also some depth in this title. I tried Raw Data, but i was bored after only 10 minutes.

    • Raphael

      Raw Data is actually good apart from the ugly teleport. Can’t get an accurate picture of Raw Data in 10 minutes.

      • Me

        Teleport doesn’t bother me that much, but the gameplay is just extremely generic, and so is the story. I get it that there must be some purely arcade titles out there, but this wasn’t how the game was presented.

        On the technical side, I find it quite ugly too, but it’s hard to find pretty games on the Vive at the moment. The Blue is beautiful for something approaching photo-realism, and so was Vanishing realms in the more cartoonish category. Everything in between looks ugly as hell. Even Arizona Sunshine looks terrible, so much aliasing… I don’t even speak of John Wick.

        It will be a while before we get something as nice as what the FB money buys on the Occulus side.

        • Raphael

          Have u considered that u may not be suited to VR? I get that Raw Data isn’t your thing but VR isn’t about photo-realism.

          The original DOOM or Quake are stunning in VR… the textures look like crap, the polygons ultra-low detail… and yet I am fully immersed and everything is life-size.

          From the way you talk it seems you only want photorealism.

          I haven’t tried Arizona, the blue is pretty but I didn’t find it remarkable visually.

          Oculus titles don’t interest me. The only Oculus game I wanted was Eve Valkyrie and now that’s on Vive too.

          • Me

            Ouch. That must be dumbest thing I’ve ever heard about VR. I am not suited ? Come on, since when do people have to suit a media ? It’s the other way around, because if not then then VR has been designed from the ground to fail, and it would be deserved.

            No. I am convinced that the VR industry wants to touch the largest population it can. It’s not an elitist club with select members.

            What I was talking about is that good experiences already exist, the know-how is there. The problem is the will to invest enough time, people and money to create a full experience, a complete game, and not only some proof of concepts or technical demos.
            Experienced studios have in majority signed exclusives with Occulus. But even then, they only deliver mini-games, nothing you could spend dozens of hours just to finish the main arc without side quests.

            The Gallery was a good start for exemple with a nice scenario, but to minimise the risks it’s an episodic title. And on the tech side it looks OK but the aliasing and the overall design makes it meh.

            Now on the other hand you have very pretty games, quite polished, like Fruit Ninja, Carnival Games VR, Selfie Tennis, even Vanishing Realms. All these games take into account the very heavy load VR represents but compensate with very nice, very clever game design. The problem is there is no depth to them.

            Look what Nintendo was able to do with very limited hardware resources compared to the rest of the industry: Mario, Zelda and the likes where all hits, not because of their realism or technical prowess, but because of excellent design, artistic direction, and innovative gameplay combined with a decent amount of original content.

            You say you only wanted Eve Valkyrie. Why ? Because it fits the above conditions I have mentioned: it’s beautiful not because it’s realistic be because it has some talented artists, the gameplay is well implemented, and it’s part of a universe with a strong narrative that’s constantly updated.

            See my point ? I would have also bought Eve Valkyrie if it weren’t so darn expensive. With what I know now, I would have skipped a lot of despicable crappy games and saved for it. But there not many Eves on the Vive store right now… they’re all on Occulus.

          • Raphael

            What I meant was… If you see jaggies and pixels everywhere… typically that comes from expecting current VR to match desktop monitors in pixel density and then being disappointed.

            Are you using super-sampling at all?

            I do agree about the quality of games… I’m sick of seeing short games bragging about having 2 hours of gameplay. I’m sick of seeing people rave about Superhot… a game that can be completed in 45 minutes with no real replay value.

            You got it wrong about Eve Valkyrie being expensive… if Eve had the depth of play of Superhot or other short games then I’d agree. The reason I paid full price was because it’s a game I can still be playing a year later. It has no end in the same way that Elite D or DCS World have no end.

            I disagree about this oculus having superior titles… That’s another trendy myth circulated by delusional octopus users.

            Oculus has some good games coming and some average to mundane. It’s all very subjective. Yes they bribe some developers only to release on their locked-down platform… those games aren’t necessarily superior. Superhot is a locked-down title and it’s a 45 minute ride. Hardly superior.

            The Climb is pretty… it’s not a superior title.

            Laughably people have included Palmer Luckey’s Tail in their list of superior octopus games. I LOL at that one.

            Octopus is no different to Vive in the quality of titles emerging. Each platform will have good and bad.

          • Me

            So we agree: I’ve said that not every pretty games on Occulus are worth buying, but they are pretty.

            I’ve tried Super Hot, and it’s not my type of thing, but it seems to be a very nice concept. The gun fight is just a pretext, it quickly becomes very tactical. That’s the kind of games that is not AAA but is worth buying.

            On the other hand, the climb without was just another nice VR tour, and Robinson seems desperately empty.

            I’ll keep an eye on Eve, I still find the price steep, but heck, I need something to play with my Vive. Do you use a regular controller or a HOTAS ? This is also something I need to add to play Elite in acceptable conditions.

          • Raphael

            I will have to try superhot if it ever comes to Vive.

            I hate eggbox controllers. I use a Saitek X52 Pro Hotas for all flight games and sims.

            Battlefield 3 is the game I spent most money on back in 2012. 156 hours so I guess that’s not a bad price per hour ratio,

            Same with Eve… $60 for a very immersive space dogfighting sim. Elite is great for detailed space sim gameplay but nothing comes close to Eve for fast and furious dogfights.

            Updated with new modes and content.

            In general I avoid paying full price for games but I do make exceptions.

            Yes, you need HOTAS… absolutely essential. I can assign every function to HOTAS switches so I never have to reach for the keyboard.

    • hyperskyper

      I don’t know how you could possibly find Raw Data boring. If you quit after 10 minutes, then you are very impatient. Even if you are amazing at the game and can beat each level one after another, it will take many many hours to beat the game and unlock all of the amazing abilities. I have played the game for like 8 hours and I still haven’t beaten the fourth level. Also, playing with friends is an awe-inspiring experience. I never knew I could have so much fun with a video game!

      • silvaring

        Anyone who thinks Raw Data is boring has no appreciation for action games or the evolution of games in general. Its a awe inspiring VR shooting gallery probably exceeding anything that had come before within that genre.

        • Me

          How old are you to say something like that ? You must not have seen much, or you genre definition is very restrictive.

          • silvaring

            I could be 10 years old and it wouldn’t matter because consumer VR has only been around for a few years and my opinion was about VR shooting galleries not general fps games. Correction: I was also referring to action games as a whole and yes I stand by that statement even a 10 year old following VR would be able to tell the difference between a mouse shooter, a light gun game, a bad VR shooting gallery and Raw Data. Maybe action games just aren’t your thing.

      • Me

        I find shooting at things boring in general. Since my early FPS days took place when the first counter strike came out, I already had my fair count of point and shoot.
        I need a more compelling reason to pay for a game now than explode random waves of ennemies. Heck, if I ever wanted to release some steam, Serious Sam VR would be much better suited anyways.

      • ra51

        Some people actually don’t like exciting games but rather boring stuff.

        Jokes aside, Raw Data while one of the better VR games out there isn’t for everyone. I personally do enjoy it very much however it doesn’t quite have that quick arcadish quality to it like Space Pirate Trainer. But I still get on Raw Data every now and then. Nothing is better than dodging bullets and blowing up killer robots.

  • OgreTactics

    So Fotonica VR? I wish Santa Ragione had made it VR.

    Also see that Score Board? That’s how every short VR challenge game should be for social VR gaming, puff-puff-pass. Well that is if the put-n-lock design of the PSVR instead of those crap head strap was granted.

  • Eelke Folmer

    Basically just walking in place.

  • Totally Magical Unicorn

    I’ve seen locomotion using arm movements in a VR game before, and it was very strange to use. Like Eelke Folmer said – it’s just walking in place. That action alone certainly didn’t negate the nausea effect, and it was actually rather annoying to use. But I’m not against the idea if it can be utilized decently.

    • Eelke Folmer

      Studies actually show arm swinging is just as effective as walking in place: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3014010&CFID=733982108&CFTOKEN=95907666

      • Totally Magical Unicorn

        Not going to read all of that, but in the abstract it says; “In an experiment that compares the spatial awareness, we show that walking in place is not as good as walking on foot, but it is is better than arm swinging. “

  • Pieter Smit

    Pocketstrafe seems very cool! Like to see more reviews of this. http://pocketstrafe.com/