Lu­cid Trips

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The chal­lenge for many VR teams is in cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the player to move with­out neg­a­tively im­pact­ing the 'pres­ence' which is so im­por­tant to the ex­pe­ri­ence. Most solve this by hav­ing the player fixed in one place, or tele­port from spot to spot around the game world. It's slightly jar­ring, but less im­mer­sion break­ing than us­ing

A body hAr­ness holds you At 30 de­grees And mod­i­fied quAd­copter ro­tors blow Air At you As you fling your­self Around the world

a thumb­stick on a con­troller to move around the world.

Lu­cid Trips, made by VR Nerds out of Ger­many, is tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach. The HTC Vive Con­trollers (or the Ocu­lus Rift Touch Re­motes when they launch) al­low a player's hands to ex­ist in and al­ter the game world. And so, us­ing these in­de­pen­dent con­trollers, Lu­cid Trips al­lows you to move around us­ing your hands, pulling your­self for­ward, left, right and back­wards.

The trick is to use your hands in a row­ing or ski­ing mo­tion, in­stead of step­ping for­ward one hand-foot at a time. Once you have the hang of it you can fling your­self through the air like a flying trapeeze artist, us­ing your magic thrusters to main­tain al­ti­tude. Soon you'll be ef­fort­lessy swim­ming un­der­wa­ter, climb­ing tow­er­ing moun­tains, and glid­ing through fluffy white clouds.

Still in Al­pha, Lu­cid Trips wants play­ers to feel like they em­body an alien form in an ethe­real, dream­like world. The grav­ity is low, the en­vi­ron­ment strange. Calm, gen­tle mu­sic plays as you throw your­self around the world. It's a ge­nius so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of lo­co­mo­tion in VR, although it has the po­ten­tial to be as tir­ing as it is fun.

One of the quirkier things the team at VR Nerds setup is a rig de­signed to fully im­merse the player in their world. A body har­ness holds the player at 30 de­grees and mod­i­fied quad­copter ro­tors blow air at you while you fling your­self around the world. This is the sort of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion which makes VR so ex­cit­ing as a tech­nol­ogy.

The game it­self is shap­ing up to be a hide-and-seek ex­plo­ration game, as play­ers roam gor­geous worlds in search of arte­facts hid­den through­out each of the lo­cales cre­ated for the game. It's a sim­plis­tic ap­proach to goal-ori­ented game­play which un­der­lines the real aim of Lu­cid Trips – to en­cour­age play­ers to ex­plore and ex­pe­ri­ence the gor­geous art on of­fer. If a world in Lu­cid Trips were a land­scape paint­ing, then VR Nerds wants you to be able to go into the can­vas to ex­plore the world cre­ated by the artist.

Still, some peo­ple need ob­jec­tives in their games, and oth­ers need com­pe­ti­tion. Be­fore launch, VR Nerds plans to add an asym­met­ri­cal form of mul­ti­player, al­low­ing play­ers to hide the ob­jects for one an­other be­fore shar­ing their chal­lenges. Hope­fully they don't stop there – with ro­bust enough mea­sur­ing sys­tems and even level de­sign tools, the game could eas­ily pro­vide a plat­form for quirky, im­mer­sive, oth­er­worldly com­pe­ti­tion.

It's great to see a game think as far out­side the box as Lu­cid Trips, even if it's tak­ing the ex­pe­ri­en­tial ap­proach to its game­play. There's oo­dles of po­ten­tial here, and the team is work­ing hard to se­cure more fund­ing to make their (wak­ing) dreams a re­al­ity. Still a few months off re­leas­ing a pub­lic demo, Lu­cid Trips is def­i­nitely worth keep­ing an eye on.

She was a day trip­per, a one way ticket yeah

♫ She was a day trip­per, a ♫ Sun­day driver yeah

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