CES 2019: 3DRudder On PSVR Turns Your Feet Into An Analog Stick

by David Jagneaux • January 9th, 2019

Despite the success its seen in its two years of life, Sony’s PSVR has a lot of problems. Being limited to only one single tracking camera is a big one, as-is the limited power of the PS4 and sub-par visual quality, but perhaps the biggest problem of them all is the reliance on outdated technology for the PS Move controllers — specifically their lack of analog sticks.

There are a lot of PSVR games that use the PS Move controllers and task players with pointing them and pressing buttons to move around in the game world, such as with Skyrim VR or Borderlands 2 VR. It works fine given the limitations, but it’s functional in spite of the hardware — it doesn’t actually feel intuitive or good. I’d rather use an analog stick than wave my arm around to move in a game and it seems like a lot of our readers agree. We’ve heard the next iteration could improve the controllers as well, thankfully.

In the meantime, some companies are trying to work on solutions. Obviously Sony created the PS Aim controller as an excellent solution for supported first-person shooter games like Firewall Zero Hour, Farpoint, and DOOM VFR. But not every PSVR game is a shooter so that’s where the 3dRudder comes in. The 3dRudder is a feet-based controller, designed to be used while seated, that lets you rotate your feet and move them front, back, and side-to-side to simulate movement inside the game.

Obviously the biggest thing to note here is that it’s never going to be an adequate replacement for standing up and feeling more immersed in VR. If you’ve ever played wireless VR in a Vive Pro with a Wireless Adapter or an Oculus Quest then you know what real roomscale VR is like. It’s mind-blowing, to say the least. So sitting on a couch and tilting your toes to slide around in a VR game isn’t quite the same, but the fact of the matter is that the PSVR is severely limited and could use some stop-gap solutions like this.

At my demo I tried both the PSVR port of The Wizards and Sairento. We’ve seen The Wizards on PSVR before and it played fine, but using the Move controllers for smooth movement was clunky and similar to Skyrim. Now with a 3dRudder I can focus on movement with my feet, just like I’d do in real life, and use my hands with the Move controllers. Since I don’t need to point my hand to move around this means I can do things like shoot a magical bow while strafing and back pedaling or moving around the game world while still throwing fireballs and holding up magic shields. In this way, it actually improves, enhances, and expands gameplay for PSVR.

When you’re playing a game with 3dRudder there are settings you can tweak in-game to adjust the dead zone and speed for leaning forward, back, side-to-side, and rotating. The default dead zone for rotating was way too high, but once I lowered it to increase the sensitivity everything seemed to work really fluidly…for what it is.

At the end of the day, I was still poking my feet around on a plastic circle to move in a video game. It’s gonna take some getting used to, but I can see use cases for it.

You can see in the images above they’ve adapted the design from the PC version of the 3dRudder to make it blue with a PlayStation logo prominently featured at the center. At launch it will support over 30 different PSVR games including the aforementioned The Wizards and Sairento, plus Red Matter, Ultrawings, Blind, Mind Labyrinth, Honor & Duty, Bow to Blood, and more. No official work on Skyrim VR yet, but it seems like a given eventually.

For more information on the 3dRudder you can check out the official website. The 3dRudder is expected to release for PSVR in April 2019 for $119.99. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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