VR Locomotion

Virtual reality (VR) is getting more popular by the year, and is often seen as the next step towards immersion in the gaming industry. However, based on a study from University of California “A User Experience Study of Locomotion Design in Virtual Reality Between Adult and Minor Users“, VR locomotion that mirrors real-world movement exclusively is the least preferred by all users. Unlike most games that we play on a screen/monitor, VR would require a new way for players to traverse in game before being widely accepted by the consumers.

One way to reduce the player’s discomfort in VR locomotion is to have the player move along with the character in the game, but such technology is still not widespread and can be too costly for most. Time is still needed for these devices to mature.

A much simpler and quick way is to use teleportation-based movement for the time being. The “Blink” mechanic has already been used in multiple VR games, such as Half Life: Alyx, to allow comfortable locomotion within. The drawback is the reduction of immersion when the game setting do not fit the mechanic.

Of course, all limitations can be utilised well with the right application. A game that revolves around teleporting the player character would easily turn the blink into a gameplay feature. The Dishonored series already has a teleportation skill, coincidentally known as “Blink” too, and such mechanics can be used in conjunction with the VR mechanic to create a much more immersive in-game environment. What’s more, the blink mechanic can be tweaked to suit the game setting too, such as the “Dash” shown below, which does the same thing with an added flair. With all these possibilities, current VR games need not fear to sacrifice too much immersion while waiting for a better solution to the VR locomotion problem.

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