When it comes to VR, room space is always a challenge. Sometimes you have plenty of space, and want to utilize it as much as possible. Sometimes your space is small, and it is easier (and safer) to be standing in one spot and teleporting yourself within the virtual environment using hand controllers. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two biggest competitors within VR, and have taken different approaches with their use of space tracking and movement options.
HTC Vive have designed their tracking system to allow users to map out a space they can move around in, and then it tracks your physical movements within that space using two infra-red 3D tracking ‘lighthouse stations’ placed in opposite corners. This means users can turn 360 degrees while playing, and they can physically walk around. They will also be notified in-game if they are getting close to the edge of your mapped space. The maximum tracking space is 15×15 feet; however, you can map out a smaller area. There is a down-side to this though; not all users will have a suitable space, and not all games will allow for this kind of movement.
Oculus Rift have designed their system for users with a smaller playing space, where they are unable to move around a lot. Currently their system uses a single positional tracker that you place in front of you, that tracks your sitting/standing location. The Rift comes with an Xbox One controller but Oculus will be releasing their Touch hand controllers soon, allowing players to get more involved and move around. The Touch can be set up for room-space tracking by adding a second positional tracker and setting them out in the two front corners of your playing area. There is limited space though (maximum 5×5 foot area), and the tracking of the controllers only allow for 270 degrees of motion. Most games for the Oculus have been created for the player to face forward though, so this is not an issue.
Some developers have been creating content to utilize the best features of both systems, and cater to all users. We have been designing our Engage platform to be compatible with both, allowing players to explore the environments by either physically walking around or using their controllers to move/teleport. You are able to choose to sit or stand, and are able to adjust your height. This makes for a comfortable experience, and you feel like you are physically in the world. It also means you can tailor your experience to your available space, without compromise.
You can find Engage available for free download on Steam.
Header Image: ibtimes.co.uk