Slopes and Ledges

The Omni is possibly the most innovative solution to VR yet to come but there is a feature which I feel is currently missing which is depth.

When it comes to games like Minecraft where everything is flat this is fine, but when it comes to games like Call Of Duty or Tomb Raider there appears to be a lack of depth, imagine you are on the edge of a cliff(IRL) and your foot gets too close to the edge, or if you are walking on a muddy slope and starts to slip, this isn't currently possible. If there was a possibility to allow the games to communicate back to the omni to dynamically change the ground based on the ground in game then you would be able to feature climbing up steep slopes and going down stairs.

A key problem right now with the implementation of this is the low friction shoes, which would make players constantly slipping on an uneven surface, but the use of an omnidirectional treadmill which could be adjusted in height(similar to a moving swimming pool floor) would allow players to walk up and down and adjusting the difficulty of movement on the treadmill would allow you to implement slippery surfaces compared to say a carpet.

Naturally this is extremely complicated but is something to think about in the near to far future.


  • sutekiBsutekiB Posts: 1,069
    The success of VR really does depend on the Omni IMO. Just being able to walk around in 360 degrees is essential, and doesn't work any other way (keyboard, point and click teleportation, etc). Looking ahead to elevation and surface simulation (provided VR does become popular); I think the most cost effective way to do this will be through direct stimulation of the skin and muscles with VR suits and clothing.
    Community Manager at Virtuix
  • I would say the next step would not be adjusting the platform but perhaps adjusting the shoes - different textures underfoot representing different surfaces etc. Equally, and I'm not quite sure if it would work, inflating the front or back of the shoe (so you are walking on a triangle) may be able to simulate up and down hill?
  • NoblueBrutus: Equally, and I'm not quite sure if it would work, inflating the front or back of the shoe (so you are walking on a triangle) may be able to simulate up and down hill
    This ^ is fantastic.
  • I gave some more thought to this idea.

    Initially I decided it would not work as your feet would still only make horizontal motions, just at a slant, however I then had a realisation :smiley:

    By 'inflating' the front of the shoe you would have to lean backwards. This would make your feet naturally rest on the inclined part of the dish allowing potentially for up hill motion. Vice versa would be true for downhill.

    This illustration might make this concept easier to grasp:

    Looking forward to hearing any comments, flaws or suggestions!

    I wonder if there is a way we could prototype this? Would probably require a larger 'dish' than the Omni? But perhaps even just a slight change (inflation) could trick you into thinking you are running up or downhill even if the inclination is not simulated 1:1 allowing for use on the Omni.

    (@sutekiB , I hope to hear your view given your experience using the Omni.)
  • blazespinnakerblazespinnaker Posts: 235
    edited January 2016
    Yeah, small elevation motors underneath the dish might be interesting to raise it up when you're going up an incline. It probably wouldn't take much of a rise to give the sensation of going up something.
  • xxann5xxann5 Posts: 593
    that's...... that's actually a pretty damn good idea. I don't know if it would put any more strain on your leg muscles like it does going up or down a real hill but it would at least feel that way on your feet. I like it. I am thinking two small air bladders on each foot to raise and lower you as needed with supports so they don't wobble.

    I could see the following being tricky but not impossible to over come.
    • Getting the show to feel 'normal', especially what the user is walking on flat ground. Walking on two inch platform shoes just feels odd.
    • Raising and lowering the incline and decline so the user does not feel the change in the shoes. You want he illusion that the ground your walking on is changing and not your shoes.
    Good idea.
  • TomekTomek Posts: 76
    That would not work very well. Remember, the thing about the bowl shape, and what makes Onni best IMO, is that your feet slide back to the middle. But this makes tilting the bowl have opposite effects to a real world tilt. In your example, Walking up would be extremely slippery and potentially easier compared to walking down where you'd have to force your feet to slide upwards. Additionally, the current bowl is too small for this idea to work.

    What could work better is some way to increase / decrease friction / resistance between downhill and uphill walking. This could be done with moving grooves on the floor or magnets. Still not perfect as there would be no sense of tilt but as long as we are sliding our feet without restraint, uphill will always be easier than down hill when tilting the surface, The Virtualizer (which looks dead) would also have this problem. The only other way is to have a moving ground solution that tilts but that would be VERY big, VERY expensive and VERY prone to breaking down.
  • sutekiBsutekiB Posts: 1,069
    It's an intriguing idea @NobleBrutus. I think it might be very challenging from an engineering perspective though. @Tomek's approach also sounds good!
    Community Manager at Virtuix
  • This works very well when trying to cover up any corners of a slope. Try placing a right edge at the bottom of a right slope. Like just place it on the edge of the slope. You get a result of... a sloped edge!
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