One of the most frustrating things about playing first person shooters in VR is that the controls can often be difficult, especially when running fast and around corners. If you are sitting down in a chair (and especially using a keyboard) the task of simply turning around quickly enough to get an enemy coming from behind is often difficult to impossible unless your name is Patrick O’Brian. But Carlos Coronado, developer of MIND: Path to Thalamus has cooked up a solution that fixes all that, and while still not perfect is the most fluid first person running controls this reviewer has experienced.
With Carlos’ solution, turning is a breeze. When you want to rotate you simply look in that direction and press the “rotate body button” (currently set to “E”) doing so will rotate your body to where you are looking allowing you to turn easily. But where the controls get most fluid is when you hold down the rotate button, this allows you to move in the direction you are looking, meaning that weaving through cover in game you can simply move your head back and forth using it to turn.
Demoing this control set I found it simple to quickly turn around sharp corners, something that had been a struggle with other sets of controls. As good as it is, however, the controls aren’t quite what I would call perfect. For example, to sprint and quickly move around you need to hold down three keys (Shift + W + E) which is a bit of an uncomfortable hand position to hold for a long time. I think a simple solution would be to bind the held rotate function to the sprint key so that when you sprint you are automatically in that movement mode. Another thing was trying to balance on a plank was somewhat difficult, but it was certainly easier than other methods I have tried (like press to rotate 90-degrees).
Carlos says that he is planning on bringing this control method to his game MIND: Path to Thalamus which he is “currently doing in UE4 and VR.” The game is a first person puzzler that “throws you into a fantastic and surreal environment.” Currently the game, released in August, has received rave reviews, and based on the trailer looks like it will be a gorgeous game in VR.
Interested parties can download a demo of the VR Olive control set to try for themselves (and I highly recommend that you do).