VR Movement Techniques

Introduction

So, lately I have been working on trying to get player movement in VR completed before trying to work on more AI stuff, mainly because I cannot properly test my AI’s unless the player object can move around. Now, implementing player movement is quite easy in a regular game, but when it comes to VR you need to take into consideration the motion or simulation sickness you can develop as you play, the previous post was of big help in this.

In order to find the perfect player movement for VR, I did some research into the different techniques that have been development already and some that are in prototype development. I may have spent a little too much time on player movement, I have already implemented my player movement as well, I will be doing another post on how that was done, but for now this post will talk about the different techniques and some dabbling I did.

Techniques

Artificial Locomotion

As I was coming up for a way for my AI’s to traverse inside of an environment, as well as thinking about the behavior I want them to have, I knew the type of movement I needed would be artificial locomotion, artificial locomotion is basically they classic move forward by pressing a button, this one is considered to be not a gold standard for VR implementation, because of the mismatch of perceptions, which I have talked about.

It is however the more realistic moving technique compared to teleportation which I think breaks immersion, the point of VR is to have the feeling of moving around a big environment as you would in real life, not teleporting everywhere. In saying that this way of moving is likely to cause motion sickness than teleportation. I implemented a very easy moving artificial locomotion, and the motion sickness hit me after a couple seconds of being inside the environment, which is what caused me to research VR sickness.

This method was still the one I wanted to implement, but I continued my research in hopes of a better way to implement it.

Teleportation

Teleportation is the gold standard for moving around in VR environments, but I think that depends on the type of game, in like a open world kind of situation I don’t think it would be ideal to have to blink everywhere. However talking more into the technique itself, teleportation is less likely to cause sickness, I think this is more because when you teleport it’s like blinking so the screen will go black for a second and you will be somewhere else, like your blinking.

Teleportation has numerous versions of itself, there is the common reticle teleportation, which is basically press a button and a reticle will appear on the ground for you to decide where you want to teleport. (Example below)

Reticleteleportation.jpg

Teleportation technique number 2, Re-align teleportation, this one was a bit more interesting to look into, its basically like the last but you can also orientate the scene before you teleport.

Re-alignteleportation.PNG

The third one, involves throwing an object and teleporting to it, I thought this one was pretty cool, it would make for a good switch through movement type thing fun.
objectteleportaion.PNG

All in all, the teleportation technique is a great technique for traversing through environments, but with the kind of prototype game that involves running away or running after an AI not so much.

Walkabout Locomotion

The walkabout locomotion is a prototype movement system although I didn’t take into account how old the research was, but this movement technique was very interesting, as it requires you to have quite a large play area or at least and area you can walk 5 feet. The walkabout technique, has the player move the edge of their play area, then with a button pressed they turn around in the real world while the player game object stays in the same direction facing the same way then the player in the real world can do more walking inside their play area and so on!

I think this technique would cause less motion sickness as it is requiring you to walk in real life so their isn’t much of a mismatch while in the VR environment, however it would require you to walk a lot and keep in mind what your cord to the headset is doing. I think a lot of users prefer the lazier versions of movement like artificial locomotion or teleportation. I was also able to find a Demo of this being implemented just in case I want to mess around with it.

RIPmotion (Move-In-Place)

This is also another prototype movement technique but it is also the perfect ideal movement technique I could ever hope for!! This technique requires you to run on the spot, it allows the player to move by taking in the y-movement of the headset or controllers. In this particular version a man by the name of, Ryan Sullivan, used the VR controllers to implement this movement, basically what he has the player do is place the controllers by your hips and run/walk on the spot the motion of the controllers causes the player to move forward.

I thought this technique would suit the prototype of my game perfectly, because it causes the player to get physically involved, which means the mismatch in perceptions is decreased. The player also just has to turn his head for directions he wants to go instead of using the touchpad, which caused me to get motion sickness, and by modifying your movement speed in real life, will determine how fast you move in the VR environment. So naturally I think this was a winner for me. I also thought it was a lot of fun.

Their are other versions of this and it is called Move-in-place locomotion.

Doggy paddle locomotion

This is not actually called the doggy paddle, but they didn’t have an official name for it when I looked it up, so doggy paddle it is. This technique is similar to the Move-In-place technique, except it doesn’t require you to run on the spot, instead all you need to do is shake the controllers up and down to move forward, I actually implemented this thinking I was implementing the move-in-place technique :/ .

World Movement

Also not the official term, but this one was a little bit weird, you walk in real life so walk around in you play area and instead of the player object moving in the VR environment, the world moves instead, that is how I understood it anyway. I’m not quite sure what to think of this one, but it is a prototype technique so it could be useful depending on the environment. I personally think it would cause a lot of motion sickness.

Skier Technique

This is pretty self explained, but this technique has the player move around by doing the actions of skiing. Also a prototype technique, so I’m not sure what to think of it at the moment, it kind of reminds me of the teleportation technique, just the actions to move are different.

Unseen Diplomacy

This is actually a game that I observed being played but it was actually such an amazing locomotion technique, I couldn’t not include it, this technique guides you around your rooms play area by creating hallways, then when you reach the boundary of your play area, it turns you into another hallway, so it has you move all over your play area but in the game it looks like you’re moving through a building and everything is changing, they’re different rooms you enter with interactable objects, was just amazing.

Conclusion

Basically there are A LOT of different techniques that can be used and some that are still being developed. But for what I want for my prototype, I will be going with the Move-in-place locomotion, because when I tested it, I didn’t get the feeling of motion sickness, so I think it’s pretty good, plus it fits in with the games criteria and I think is a lot of fun to do the actions.

The reason I put so much effort into the player movement is because even though I’m just making a prototype game, the movement is important for the AI to react specific actions while the player moves around. The AI will be able to work better if I can get the player movement going good.

 

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