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.
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.
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.