Virtual reality (VR) can empower, amaze and enlighten, but it can also leave users feeling sick. Simulator sickness is one of the biggest issues facing the technology as it heads towards the consumer market and everyone from Oculus VR to developers working on VR software are looking at ways to reduce it. One such developer is Cloudhead Games, the studio behind upcoming HTC Vive launch title, The Gallery: Six Elements. Today the company is revealing ‘Blink’, its new VR locomotion system that aims to completely eliminate any feeling of nausea. The developer can be seen explaining the system in a video below.
As Creative Director Denny Unger explains, Blink is separated into 3 systems: Cinematic Blink, Precision Blink and Volume Blink. Cinematic Blink allows players to look at the location they want to travel to, push a button on the HTC Vive’s controllers and then be transported to that location. Judging by the video, this still allows players to use the head-mounted display’s (HMD’s) Room Scale tracking, letting them walk around in these environments once they have teleported there.
The next option, Precision Blink, allows players to ‘project’ their destination point. This essentially enables a marker that displays exactly where the player will arrive when they teleport. Finally, Volume Blink adds another layer on top of this, actually displaying the area that players will be able to walk around in with Room Scale tracking once they have teleported. This will allow them to move without getting too close to a virtual wall. Should players try to walk through one of these walls they will experience a ‘dense blur’ warning them to move out. If they don’t, then the screen will fade to black and transport them back outside.
The company also uses Blink to highlight important areas within The Gallery: Six Elements. These are called Blink Hotspots, and transport players to the exact preferred position when utilised.
But that’s not all there is to Blink. Cloudhead Games has also come up with an ‘elastic play space’ system that accommodates the varying areas of player’s own homes. The HTC Vive supports tracking in an area of up to 15 feet by 15 feet, but Cloudhead Games’ system allows for scaling of tracking within these limitations. The result is a dynamic system that allows titles to be played in areas of varying sizes. ‘Balance persistence’ also shows player’s their balance within the environment, allowing them to comfortably move around within it.
“At the end of the day what that means is your Mum or your Dad or your young son can pick up the game quite easily,” Unger explained.
The Gallery: Six Elements will be on display at PAX Prime towards the end of this month, giving players a first glimpse of this system. VRFocus will continue to follow the title closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.