Valve and HTC’s Vive won’t be the only VR headset to allow players to move around in real-world space.
The Vive uses the ‘Lighthouse’ system – a combination of two sensors placed diagonally in the corners of a play space – to keep track of the user’s position and translate that to virtual movement.
It’s a boon that its competitors – namely the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR – have lacked thus far. The Rift does provide a level of spatial head-tracking thanks to the included webcam-like camera, but can’t match the Vive’s potential for room-sized experiences.
The PlayStation VR had been considered to be in much the same boat – but that appears to have been a false assumption.
Speaking at GDC, senior staff engineer Chris Norden revealed (via Polygon) that the PlayStation Camera, which is required (but sold separately) for PlayStation VR will allow developers to keep track of players in a 3D area measuring approximately 2.4×1.9m.
As well as providing devs with the ability to create a wider variety of virtual reality experiences, the news also opens the door for ports of Vive games that rely on room-scale VR.
"It’s very important to clearly define the play space the player is going to be playing in,” Norden advised devs during his talk. “We want to make sure that your play area is kind of a sacred space, because you’re going to be flailing around, jumping, having fun.
“The developer should have complete freedom to choose how they want to define the play space. So if you want to have a smaller area, if you want to be seated, if you want to be standing, if you want to have people move around that’s great.
"We want [devs] to have the freedom to do what they want to do, and we have games that explore the entire range of that.”
Picture via Polygon