Travel Without Moving: TF2 VR On A Treadmill

By Jim Rossignol on April 22nd, 2013 at 8:00 am.


I am increasingly anxious about of the pointlessness of videos of virtual reality. Nevertheless, you can sort of imagine what’s going on in this Oculus Rift plus Virtuix Omni (a multi-direction treadmill platform for moving about in VR) as a chap plays Team Fortress 2, below.

I am not sure if it would make me feel a bit giddy.

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60 Comments »

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  1. InternetBatman says:

    People definitely don’t look really stupid with that setup.

    • monkwon says:

      I think the pinnacle of VR will be when they put a screen around you while you are on it.

      edit: to clarify I mean to hide you from view, not to view the game on.

  2. staberas says:

    Noobs with expensive hardware D:

    Now i really want an occulus rift

    • DeathByToast says:

      Yeah…you’d think they would find someone a bit more…skilled?…at the game to demo the tech…he really seemed like he didn’t know how to play TF2.

      That or he was so disoriented from the VR that he didn’t know what was going on. Either way…not a good PR move imo

      • skittles says:

        Some guy having fun, why is that bad PR. He is bad at the game, so what?

        That said with this setup I can see some prime opportunities to destroy hardware from getting cables tangled and tearing them out as he spins around.

      • DerNebel says:

        Look, if he knew how to play TF2, he’d be rocket jumping all over the place. You try doing that with that setup. TF2 is probably one of the worst games to demo with this tech, since it has so much unrealistic and frankly disorienting movement. It works really well in a keyboard-mouse setup, because it’s designed to feel natural in such an environment.

        A game like COD might have been better to show off the (really cool) tech, simply because there wouldn’t be so many obvious limitations to the movement in that game.

        • soundofsatellites says:

          This. I think I would be puking all over trying to play tf2 the way it’s meant to be played with VR

        • theBezerKing says:

          If we’re being honest, Oculus Rift’s strengths probably won’t show themselves in full power until someone makes a game designed specifically for Oculus and VR. Most games don’t really care about precise movements, due to the digital input of WASD.

          But when games that exploit the immersion and flexibility Oculus gives, I think Gaming as a medium will step up to the next level. What better way to tell a story than to put the audience inside the story itself? Right now, we’re either reading stories or watching them on a flat screen in front of us. I think immersion will be king.

          But I might just be optimistic.

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          FriendlyFire says:

          Unfortunately, I don’t see Activision or EA doing something as innovative as this. “REALISTIC” manshoots tend to come from extremely unoriginal and conservative companies, so you won’t see that and the Rift at the same time.

      • Bahoxu says:

        I find that the key to enjoying TF2 is to stop trying to be skilled and win matches. At first i kept trying to work with my team, push the cart, play a medic and so forth. Usually ending in frustration.

        For me, TF2 is a game about howling like a maniac while i burn half the enemy team to death in an ambush or stomp a particular sniper over and over again.

        While i set that up, i’m sure someone else has done ten times as much for the team and won us the game. Good for them, i’m having fun.

    • HisDivineOrder says:

      Team Fortress 2 was always a really stupid game to make the demo of Oculus Rift. Especially for Valve who has a ton of single player games, including Portal 1 or 2, that would be far more interesting.

  3. mxu says:

    I was waiting for a rocket jump the whole three and half mins, it didn’t happen.

    • Spengbab says:

      Actually, I didn’t see any jump. I gues you can bind it to a button on the controller/toy gun, but if youre doing something silly like this, I expect it to go all the way and make you do an actual jump. Fun for the neighbours downstairs, too.

      • skittles says:

        Given from what I can see the treadmill has a harness and uses Kinect for head tracking, I think the fact may be that you simply can’t jump in that harness.

        • stache says:

          The guy definitely can’t jump, he’d tear himself out of that setup.

          Equally important is that he shoots where he’s looking, not where his gun is pointing. It would make more sense to use a normal gamepad with this, but I guess it wouldn’t look as “cool” (not that anyone could look cool doing this).

          As much as I like the idea of VR, this setup would be better for something more exploratory and less actiony.

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            Surlywombat says:

            There is another video on their youtube channel where he jumps. He’s not actually playing a game at the time though, its just a movement test.

          • dsi1 says:

            It’s weird that they’re using that setup, TF2 has plenty of better options for VR usage.

        • InternetBatman says:

          The FAQ says you can jump.

          • Drakedude says:

            I look forward to seeing a setup that could handle Prey 2, if it’s ever released. Couple that with a sight that moves independently of your vision and I’ll be giddy.

  4. thecat17 says:

    It is possible to run and shoot at the same time on a VR treadmill, right?

    • staberas says:

      Not really he aims with his *Eyes/Face* the gun controller doesn’t seem to have any positional sensor..

      • Aardvarkk says:

        There are several sight settings for TF2 with the Oculus. One follows your head tracking for aiming, another follows your mouse cursor. THere are others that are a blend of those two and then some experimental ones.

        Here’s a video of the tested guys going through the different settings, but without the gun or treadmill.

  5. TechnicalBen says:

    So when those clever people ported Chess to the push up bench… no, just… I don’t understand this!

  6. SandmanXC says:

    I want too see someone play Quake like this.

    • staberas says:

      So you want to see a person vomiting all over the place ? :P
      I guess that would be funny like that crystal pepsi video D:

  7. Simon Hawthorne says:

    I wonder if this kind of virtual reality will save games arcades – or bring them back if they’re beyond saving. It’s hard to play this with friends watching though – less of a community feel than a traditional arcade box which could be 2 player or at least could be spectated.

  8. TheSplund says:

    Hmmm, I noticed that he’s only shooting from the hip, and rockets-only seem to indicate a certain lack of accuracy, but I still want one.

  9. Curly says:

    Videos of virtual reality aren’t pointless. As long as you can see both the user and the game, you can see which actions map to which inputs and, through the magic of empathy, get a feeling for what it might be like to use the system. This one looks like a lot of fun, although I wonder how durable the treadmill and ‘specialized Omni shoes’ will be.

    • The Dark One says:

      I think at least half the pointlessness came from his choosing to play on Dustbowl.

  10. Pangalaktichki says:

    Hats extend life. Hats expand consciousness. Hats are vital to space travel.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Hats exist on only one planet in the entire universe

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        P7uen says:

        What if, out of a billion of those planets with life, just one developed sentience?

        And what if, out of a billion of those planets, just one species evolved heads?

        And what if, out of a billion of those species, just one put something on their head?

        That’s an awful lot of hats.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        So… He who controls the hats controls the universe? What if you had the power to destroy the hats?

  11. fuggles says:

    When do we see syabh running on this?

  12. Yargh says:

    Looks utterly exhausting. I might try this in a gym if it was there, but I generally play games to relax.

    • phelix says:

      If my local gym had a setup like this I’d definitely go there.

  13. Kitsunin says:

    That looks sooo cool…although also completely unfitting to TF2’s gameplay. I think we’d need a game that was actually designed for such a device from the get-go.

    Also, no tracking on the gun kind of makes its existence pointless.

  14. rustybroomhandle says:

    As completely redundant as this may be, I would love to see mouse&key vs. controller vs. Occulus Rift in a deathmatch.

  15. madeofsquares says:

    Why is he not wearing a hat?

  16. perfectheat says:

    He playes Skyrim in another video. A more fitting game. Would not mind getting some exercise through such a game.

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      samsharp99 says:

      Which would be great….until you have to try to figure out how to mount/ride a horse with such a setup :D I can picture it now, you’ve just walked/ran for miles across Skyrim but then don’t even get a break when horseriding – unless there’s a VR horse that you can then climb on with reigns/stirrups!

  17. Christo4 says:

    IMO, if you just use Occulus with the virtuix omni without the kinect head tracking and use a mouse/controller instead it would work much better.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHrdBWP01J8 look at how much his head wobbles, i think i’d get sick just from that.

    • Koshinator says:

      You forget that the view on the screen is always going to look shaky from our viewpoint, but from the viewpoint of the player the view is exactly what your brain thinks you should be seeing, when taking head bob, tilt etc into account. You get the same video viewpoint if you attatch a camera to someone’s head and have them run or move briskly.

      • Christo4 says:

        I know, but to me it doesn’t seem like he is actually running on that skyrim video as he was on previous one with TF2 and in that one there was alot less head-bobbing. Also i looked at his head and it didn’t seem to move that much aswell, also the view in the game was pointing mostly downwards but his head was titled upwards.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    I’m reminded of this (warning, hour long movie approx 15 rating)

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    amateurviking says:

    So VR then. Only good when you avatar would be sitting down anyway: Confirmed.

  20. uh20 says:

    um
    is he… confused about what game he’s playing.
    hes probably wondering when he is going to get a kill-streak reward.

    + how the heck do you rocket jump

  21. Michael Fogg says:

    This treadmill gizmo should give the user a nice jolt of electricity when he gets fragged… or accelerate suddenly, knocking the ground from under him. A bit of extra motivation.

    • uh20 says:

      or to simply blast him into tiny gibs.
      Im done with this article, lets just hope we get a response out of it.

  22. pupsikaso says:

    I wonder how you would do a rocket-jump on that thing…

  23. Bhazor says:

    Instaspawn server? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  24. Svant says:

    Really is the wrong game for that setup… now if that had been a more tactical fps like ARMA or similar would have been pretty darn cool.

  25. Brun says:

    Reply Fail.

  26. sharkh20 says:

    This just convinces me more that a mouse/keyboard is still the most precise setup for an FPS. Also, for the person who said this should used on ARMA, I feel like that would be the best cardio workout ever. Imagine running from one side of the island to the other, not even thinking that you are working out because you are playing a game.

  27. Stevostin says:

    Well if this comes to the market I am gonna loose some weight. Now what about Gabe ?

  28. Blue_Lemming says:

    Perhaps this might work for arma, but you need a treadmill you can crawl on.
    I still think these things would only be useful for flight sims, its hardly the lawnmower man…

  29. HisDivineOrder says:

    I can’t help thinking a bunch of start-up’s are going to be doing Oculus rift-alikes and omnidirectional treadmill-alikes and soon those companies will be bought up after they go out of business by companies like Razer or Corsair with key people being brought in to facilitate their efforts.

    For example, imagine Razer takes their Hydra technology they already have, rejiggers it with Oculus Rift and an omnidirectional treadmill? Sweet.

    Problem is, Oculus Rift support is going to be hard to come by. Imagine how difficult getting developers and publishers to make a game with support for the Oculus rift, motion control, AND the treadmill, too? Seems unlikely unless these guys get together and make some kind of DirectX for exotic control methods…