20 bucks for three or 100 for 10
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