Sprint Vector is an extreme version of parkour you play in virtual reality and which won't, and this is a big deal, make you vomit.
Or so says the team behind the game, the same developers that created Raw Data, the first-person shooter that recently went cross-platform for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
They feel they nailed the experience of an action game with Raw Data, and now they think they have non-nausea-inducing sprinting in VR down too.
"We are really, really excited about this one," said Mike McTyre, design director at developer Survios. "The driving force behind this was that the team really wanted to tackle head-on the challenge of locomotion.
"And we believe we've solved it."
Internally, the team working on Sprint Vector calls it an "adrenaline platformer." Watching the videos I can see why. The game pits players in head-to head races across zany inter-dimensional courses that has them racing 300 miles an hour down hills, up skyscrapers and through twisting courses. There's also the occasional 1,000-foot free fall.
All of this sounds like a formula for motion sickness, but the team says their proprietary "fluid motion system" sounds and looks (I haven't tried it myself yet) a lot like it’s all in the arms.
A key part of the locomotive system is getting players to move their arms as if they were skating, said McTyre.
"You move one arm forward, hold the button and release and then the other," he said. "That was the easier of the two parts of the problem we had to tackle."
The harder part was getting the system and the game to correctly interpret anyone's arm movements and translate that into speed and direction.
"As players are moving their arms back and forth very, very rapidly, it controls your speed," McTyre said. "But we're humans, not robots, and we all move are arms in different ways.
"The intended motion part of the system, creating a bunch of tech to interpret what a person's motion is, was the hardest part."
The game is still in an early prototype, he said, but that version is playable at GDC this week. The demo has two players racing through what McTyre calls a very challenging course, which has you scaling 100-foot walls in seconds and flying through the air like Superman. While the game doesn't have a home platform yet, it will be playable on the Vive at GDC.
"Sprint Vector is the polar opposite of Raw Data," he said. "The theme is inspired by the humor and intensity of Japanese game shows."
The game was actually inspired by Raw Data in a way. In that game, Survios' first, players "teleshift" to move. They aim at a spot and press a button to teleport there.
For its second game, the team wanted to see how extreme they could get people to move without getting sick.
"We wanted to extremify running in real life," he said.
While McTyre said there are still a lot of kinks to work out, the team is very happy with what they have so far, and so far no one at the studio, including those prone to motion sickness, feel sick playing the game.
Sprint Vector's success isn't just about how well the game itself does, if it really nails movement, McTyre says he could see the studio looking into using the locomotion in other games.
"It's not just what it means for Sprint Vector," he said, "but what we could do for other games, for the whole industry."