‘Tornuffalo’ Shows What Full-body VR Gaming Could Look Like with Vive Trackers

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Using HTC’s Vive Trackers, Tornuffalo—named after a combination of ‘tornado’ and ‘buffalo’—has been given a ‘Full-Body Action’ mode, an early example of full body tracking in a VR gameplay scenario. This simple action game involves dodging flying debris (which occasionally includes buffalos) heading towards your body, while trying to smash crystals for points.

Launched in December 2016 for SteamVR, Tornuffalo is an active, roomscale-only VR experience (and just $1 to boot). The concept of dodging flying objects through headset and motion controller tracking attempted to give the sensation of full body movement; thanks to additional tracking points on the waist and feet via the Vive Tracker, the player’s body comes much more significantly into the game, allowing more nuanced dodging, and kicking of incoming objects. Check it out in the video heading this article.

Photo courtesy RealityRig

Following the same principle as HTC’s own Vive IK motion capture code, and IKinema’s Orion animation software, three Vive Trackers are attached to the body (on the waist and feet), combining with the existing motion controllers and headset for six tracking points. Using inverse kinematics, a reasonable full-body pose can be generated in real-time.

In the case of Tornuffalo, this enables more precise dodging, and makes jumping over low objects a more reliable technique. You can also kick objects out of the way with both feet. As stated on the game’s news page on Steam, the full body mode is currently available in a beta branch, and will soon become a free update. The developer also notes that the feature works with just two Trackers (without one on the waist), but it isn’t recommended.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Raphael

    I likes it.

    • Caven

      I dunno. It seems like a wave shooter, with the twist being that you’re the one getting shot at. Definitely looks like a good workout though.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Any game with airborne cows gets my vote!

  • NooYawker

    I’m gonna need a bigger play space.

  • Totally Magical Unicorn

    Looks dodgy