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Fast experiences in VR have to tread a thin line when giving players freedom over control. Locomotion is a fickle beast in the virtual ecosystem as developers continue to experiment as they seek a perfect balance of movement of comfort.
Survios has established itself as a leading VR developer with its game Raw Data, but now the studio is trying to propel even further with a title that pushes what is perceived to be acceptable when it comes to fast locomotion. It’s called Sprint Vector and we got our hands on it at E3 2017.
Before getting put under the hood for this high-speed experience, the mechanics were broken down for me. Forward propulsion is managed by swinging your arms in a natural running motion with you pulling the Vive controller trigger at the highest point of each swing and releasing at the base. The direction of your sprint is controlled by the direction your head is turned. There were buttons for jumping, where you press and then swing both arms toward the ground and release to push yourself upward, and there are special points on a map that allow you to climb. Climbing can be managed normally by grabbing and reaching out for the next point, or you can kick it into high gear by grabbing and using the same motion as a jump to send yourself flying up a wall to grab a much higher point.
When we first reported on Sprint Vector’s reveal, a Survios rep had this to say about the game:
We kept hearing that natural locomotion is impossible in VR. It makes people too nauseous. So instead of giving into that, we decided to prove them wrong. In this game players are not just walking or strolling, they are running jumping flying on the ground through the air using our fluid locomotion.
Once I got the headset on and the controllers in my hand, I learned that they accomplished just what they wanted. I played a solo run at first and did a pretty solid job moving through, over, and around all of the obstacles toward the goal. There’s a newly implemented ability to shoot beams from your hands and a portion near the end of the course was designed to take advantage of that, but I was so engaged with the running motions that I weaved through all of the large vases instead of shooting them.
Once I was done, I watched another journalist play after they’d just watched me and he took things up a notch with how fast he swung his arms and tried to climb up walls. He didn’t best my time, but the stage was set. The Survios team gave us a break and then pitted us against each other in a race. I got a chance to check out their special power-ups for the versus mode and I kept blasting my opponent with an item that slowed him down a great deal, though I wasn’t 100 percent sure of how I was deploying it. It ended […]