Gold Rush

MJoMJo Posts: 36
Hello Everyone!

I’m the designer/developer behind the Gold Rush demo that debuted at GDC a few weeks ago. Just wanted to share some thoughts I had during the design process that might help other developers interested in creating games for the Omni (specifically those considering developing a game to be displayed to a TV/monitor rather than a head-mounted display).

The Gold Rush demo was created for two purposes - (1) train new users to walk on the Omni, and (2) demonstrate the Omni’s capabilities for use without a head-mounted display. We wanted to train users without wearing the Rift because we wanted to be able to explain and demonstrate the required movements before throwing them into a full virtual experience.

When creating an Omni game for TV display, it may seem obvious but one of the most important things is to make sure the user is always facing the TV. The simplest way to do this is to only use the front half of the sensors (effectively making it a 180 degree treadmill) as we did with Gold Rush. Another option is to allow the user to walk backwards (while discouraging turning to face the other way) but this would require a more skilled user and would not be ideal for a first-time experience. To further simplify our experience for the demo we allowed only 5 walking directions - directly forward, 45 degrees right and left, and 90 degrees right and left - however I would not suggest this functionality in general.

For Gold Rush we chose to create a 3rd Person experience, but since we wanted the user to be always facing the TV this limited the gameplay to be always moving forward. Using peripheral controllers or in-game triggers might allow the player to change the looking direction during gameplay, but without having tried this myself my guess is that it would be somewhat disorienting.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about this demo or suggestions for improvement if you played it!
- MJ -


  • giroudfgiroudf Posts: 127
    You could try to map a bigger arc (let's say 270 degree) to a smaller one (lets say 90) so user is still moving facing front the screen, but allow to turn a lot faster.
    this mapping would be not linear so , the first 60 degrees (30 deg left and right) would be more precise then the extreme 15 left/right/
  • giroudfgiroudf Posts: 127
    you could also link this to the travel speed, the faster you go the faster you turn.
  • MJoMJo Posts: 36
    @giroudf, wow that is a really interesting idea! Thank you for posting, I hope to have some time to try this out. I feel like this might reduce the user's perceived control over the character, but that might actually add an interesting challenge.
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