Survios Announces ‘Sprint Vector,’ Introduces New VR Locomotion Technique

Raw Data creator Survios revealed its next title, Sprint Vector, during the AMD Capsaicin and Cream event at GDC.

Sprint Vector is a first-person VR head-to-head race on “interdimensional courses” (whatever that means) that are meant to “challenge you both mentally and physically.” You’ll scale “skyscraper-height” walls and dive off of giant towers while approaching 300mph. That sounds like a recipe for a motion sickness-induced disaster, but Survios said that its Fluid Locomotion system makes it all possible.

Locomotion in VR is a big problem that many developers are trying to solve. If implemented poorly, movement systems in virtual reality games can induce nausea and dizziness, commonly referred to as VR sickness or motion sickness.

The standard thumbstick movement that we’ve enjoyed on consoles for more than a decade doesn’t translate well to most VR games because acceleration can trigger vestibular disconnect. There are a handful of cases where thumbstick locomotion works well (Onward, Arizona Sunshine, and Resident Evil VII come to mind) but you usually move slowly in those games. Moving fast in VR is a different ball game.

VR developers often use teleportation methods to navigate virtual spaces quickly, but some people find that teleporting breaks the immersion for them. Most other VR locomotion techniques, of which there are many, fall short of solving the problem. Survios thinks it might have cracked the nut, though.

Sprint Vector is a multiplayer parkour-like first-person footrace in first-person VR that Survios calls an “adrenaline platformer.” For the game to go from idea to reality, Survios needed to find a locomotion system that could allow players to travel great distances at breakneck speeds, without spewing all over themselves in the process. (Our apologies for that mental image.) Such a technique didn’t exist before Survios started building Sprint Vector, so the developer created one for its purposes. Survios calls its locomotion system Fluid Locomotion.

“Survios is always creating unique solutions to tackle VR’s biggest challenges,” explained James Iliff, Survios’ Chief Creative Officer, and co-founder. “With Sprint Vector, we’ve taken one of the biggest challenges in VR right now—realistic motion—and created a smooth, intelligent locomotion system that not only feels comfortable but can also read the player’s intentions.”

Survios said that Fluid Locomotion is a natural and intuitive arms-driven movement system that uses natural “intended motion” to drive and steer your avatar. If you pay attention to how your arms move when you walk, you’ll notice that they swing back and forth each time you take a step. Survios used that observation to its advantage and mapped the movement controls to that swinging motion.

Fluid Locomotion resembles ArmSwinger locomotion, and its hard to say what’s different between the two before we get a chance to try it out. Just like with Arm Swinger locomotion, Fluid Locomotion lets you swing your arms to move, and you can reach out to grab onto objects to thrust yourself into the air. We’ve never tried ArmSwinger locomotion to travel at the speeds you’ll reach in Spring Vector, though.

Survios didn’t say when it plans to release Sprint Vector, but the developer is on-site at GDC this week giving demos of the game alongside the latest build of Raw Data.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.