Omni + Vive/Lighthouse: Full Freedom of Movement
Omni + Vive/Lighthouse Demo
We are excited to present to you our most fun and addictive game demo for the Omni to date: TRAVR – Training Ops played with the HTC Vive and its included Lighthouse controllers.
This integrated setup results in a fully decoupled first-person shooter experience with two independent pistols. Players can walk forward, backwards and sideways in 360 degrees on the Omni independently from their looking and aiming directions. Just imagine, now you can take out your targets while running backwards, looking forward, and shooting left and right at the same time! This level of freedom of movement in VR is a new milestone for us and creates the fun VR experience we always dreamed of.
Road To VR published an excellent article about our Omni + Vive demo, which you can find here.
Locomotion and Active VR
We have talked in the past about the importance of locomotion for Active VR. Active VR includes any VR game or application that requires first-person navigation, like walking or running in a first-person shooter or exploration game, or moving around in non-gaming applications like virtual tourism or architectural walk-throughs.
For many of us, Active VR is how we envisioned VR to be. Our recent backer survey revealed that most of our community wish for content like Half Life, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout in VR. Others envision exploring a foreign city. Those popular Active VR experiences, however, are difficult to have with just a head mounted display and a pair of hand controllers due to space constraints, safety issues, and simulator sickness.
When your brain perceives that you are moving around in the virtual world but your body is not actually moving, your brain gets confused and induces simulator sickness. Most players get uncomfortable in such a setting. Standing up in VR helps, like room-scale VR, but standing up blindfolded by a VR headset with a dangling cable introduces safety issues. Such a setup also does not solve for the space constraints you have as a player: you are not able to run and gun in a first-person shooter, because you will run into your wall or coffee table.
As a result of these challenges, developers are experimenting with novel navigation schemes for VR such as ‘point-and-click’ teleportation, blink movement, and tunnelling (in which locomotion only occurs within a small window in your field of view). Alternatively, some first-person VR experiences are stationary or on rails. That is, sadly, not how we envisioned VR a few years ago, and far removed from playing Half-life 2 or Skyrim in VR (or, for those who read Ready Player One: walking around in the Oasis).
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. We hope our Omni + Vive/Lighthouse demo illustrates that first-person shooters are not only possible in VR, but they are also an absolute blast. The Omni enables Active VR content safely and comfortably without simulator sickness. By adding the impressive Lighthouse technology and controllers, full freedom of movement in VR has arrived, and we believe it has set a new benchmark for immersion, freedom, and enjoyment in VR. We can’t wait to build upon this experience and continue to push the boundaries of what is deemed possible in this long awaited medium.
The Team Behind The Demo
Our team continues to grow - now 31 men and women in total - and this week we’d like to highlight a few of our team members who worked on the Omni + Vive demo.
Hey everyone! I'm a South African/Texan who obtained an Electrical Engineering degree from Texas A&M University. Startups are in my DNA, and I joined Virtuix about 18 months ago. My job: to build, design, and work on the hardware, firmware, and software of the Omni. One of my biggest contributions so far is our Omni Motion Library, which is the software that analyses real-time IMU data and enables you to walk forwards, backwards, and sideways in virtual reality. My number one goal has been to make our Motion Library as responsive and as accurate as possible-- allowing gamers to be extremely competitive. Our library supports a decoupled mode that enables you to move independently from where you are looking. This decoupling, combined with the Lighthouse gun tracking, has given me the most immersive experience in VR that I’ve had to date. The team and I are beyond excited to share this with the world.
Hi everyone! I'm Patrick, game programmer and the guy behind the Omni + Vive integration. On a daily basis, I work on the game mechanics of our TRAVR games, including our Omni game controller and the AI programming of the various enemies in our games. The integration of Vive/Lighthouse with TRAVR: Training Ops has been the most fun I’ve had in VR so far. I plan to share a more technical write-up for our developer community soon!
As always please join us on our Forums if you’d like to discuss this update or anything VR related: http://forum.virtuix.com
Jan and the Virtuix Team