Virtuix announced that it has formally partnered with HTC so it can improve its hardware--the futuristic Omni treadmill that lets you walk, run, and strafe with 360-degree freedom of movement tracking--and the VR experiences to accompany it. The company also announced that Vertigo Games will add Omni support to its popular Arizona Sunshine game, which should give the relatively few people who own the system a little more to play.
Arizona Sunshine is all about trying to survive a zombie apocalypse by scavenging for supplies, rounding up other survivors, and shooting the undead until they go back to being dead-dead. It offers a variety of movement options already: Vertigo Games released an update in January to add thumbstick and touchpad locomotion to the game's existing teleportation-focused locomotion. Now you'll have yet another movement option to try out.
That is, of course, if you've managed to get an Omni for yourself. Virtuix raised $1.1 million on Kickstarter to develop the product in 2013. Pre-production units reached some backers in December 2015; other backers were supposed to receive production units around November 2016. The company then canceled pre-orders from international customers and offered U.S. backers full refunds because of the unexpectedly high shipping costs.
Omni sales are currently limited to commercial entities such as VR arcades, game centers, shopping malls, and the like. Those sales require software--who'd want to pay for a movement-tracking VR system without any supported games? Virtuix has filled the gap a bit with its own titles, such as the Omni Arena esports FPS, but it's up to other developers to incorporate the Omni SDK into their VR experiences going forward.
Arizona Sunshine could be a natural fit for the system. What's scarier than teleporting away from zombies? Having to run away from them with your own two feet. Being more directly in control of your own movement could make VR more immersive. That could explain why another game to recently include Omni support, The Bellows, is all about scaring you. (Another title, Quell 4D, is a fast-paced shooter that uses Omni for free movement.)
Virtuix also included an update on the Omni's production. "Our production continues at a steady pace without hiccups," the company said on Kickstarter. "In addition to driving forward our production and shipping output, our main focus now is lining up awesome games for you to play." That isn't a lot for backers to go on, but if you're still waiting for your Omni, you can perhaps take comfort in knowing at least a few games will support it.