Nov 1, 2019

Levels of Room Motion Intensity

For my Steam Curator VR Motion, I have had difficulty expressing the different kinds of Room Motion a game can have within the limited amount of text space available when posting a review. I've been toying around with the idea of different levels of intensity in Room Motion. For me, as the levels increase, the symptoms become more severe, and the less amount of time I can play the game.

If you play VR games, I am interested in feedback regarding these intensity levels. Is there a higher level that your mind can tolerate better than a lower level of Room Motion? Is there something not listed that you think should be? I’d love to hear your input!

Levels of Room Motion Intensity

Level 0: No Room Motion

If the player needs to move to a different location in the game, a translocation device or some sort is used. A common method of this is a “teleport here” selection, with either no travel time between the locations or a short fade to a solid color and fade back transition.
The game Budget Cuts has a neat way of handling this non-locomotion translocation action.

Some games will use an animated zoom effect between two teleported locations to help players understand visually where they are traveling. These usually have comfort blinders that reduce the view to a window for where the player is going. I consider these to be level 1.

Level 1: Basic player Enacted Locomotion

Traveling using a joystick, touchpad, or button press with the controller facing the direction of travel are common actions. There are requirements that when input from the player stops, the movement stops as well. This level allows for deviations in turning (yaw only), but not in roll (falling over), or pitch (walking up a wall). An example would be Rec Room’s default movement option “walkers.”

Level 2: Advanced Player Enacted Locomotion

Much like level 1, but after the player input ends an understandably expected direction of travel continues, such as traveling by vehicle or by maintained momentum. Jet Island is an example of a game that does this.

Level 3: Uncontrolled Locomotion Events Outside of the Player’s Direct Control

These uncontrolled events cause movement of the player’s POV (Point of View), but can reasonably be expected by the player. i.e. a user pushing their head into a wall, and their position is virtually held inside the room. Riding a roller coaster while being able to see the track, or at least having an idea of where the vehicle being ridden is taking you. A player’s room position deciding if they should fall down a cliff ledge.

Level 4: Space like player enacted locomotion

Like level 2, but allows pitch and roll room rotations as well. Generally, this only occurs in zero gravity space like simulations.

Level 5: Uncontrolled unexpected locomotion

Events outside of the player’s direct control causes movement of the player’s POV. An unseen NPC shoving the player around. A vehicle the player doesn’t control moving them. An otherwise level 0 game that has a trigger that pushes the user to a new location.

Level 6: Non-Euclidean

A level upon itself. The majority of players, even the most seasoned veterans of Virtual Reality, will have difficulty playing a non-euclidean game.

Comfort Options

A+: The developers display a clear understanding of Room Motion mitigation options, with options to provide additional room presence, reduce player vision during Room Motion, or remove Room Motion entirely by providing alternate control options.
A: Comfort options are available for the majority of primary gameplay. Room Motion unmitigated sections may exist.
B: Comfort options exist, but large sections of primary gameplay still has unmitigated Room Motion.
F: No comfort options available, and are needed for primary gameplay.

Games I've Reviewed for Room Motion

Check out my Steam Currator VR Motion to see games a list of VR games that have Room Motion, and what kinds of Room Motion they have.

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