2015 is looking to be the year that some consumer versions of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays are finally released. Despite this, a definitive input solution for VR videogames is yet to be revealed. Oculus VR, the creator of the Oculus Rift PC HMD, has said that it was still working on its own solutions that will effectively replicate human movement inside an experience, but is yet to reveal any of that work. However indie developer Filipp Keks has recently released a small VR videogame that uses just the Oculus Rift itself to register movement.
That videogame is EvilMech Runner, a first-person experience that features support for the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2). As the name suggests, players are tasked with escaping a mech that pursues them through a linear level. Rather than simply using a gamepad to move, the title registers the position of the Oculus Rift itself for input. Players stand up with the DK2’s user-facing camera positioned 1 – 2 metres away from them. Any small steps the player makes will then be replicated in-game, with a tracker range mapped out in the title so as players don’t step out of place.
The developer recommends using a tripod for the camera. Players can also run by jogging on the spot and even crouch under obstacles. Once they reach a certain point in the level, the mech will be stopped. This is certainly an interesting alternative to input for VR, and not having to rely on third-party controllers is a definite plus. EvilMech Runner is currently available for free over on the official Oculus VR Share Beta for both PC and Mac. It’s not yet clear if a Linux version will be arriving.
VRFocus will continue to follow any and all applications of VR, reporting back with any further updates on their development.