Right now VR has something of a conundrum. First-person action titles sound like a perfect fit for the medium, but once you add fast-paced action and jerky movement, lots of people start feeling queasy (and some people may actually lose their lunch). In probably the single most innovative VR demo we've seen so far, Epic Games showed developers a brilliant workaround.
With a single gameplay mechanic, it looks like Epic Games has solved the nausea problem in VR action titles. Epic's answer in its Oculus Touch demo, Bullet Train? Teleporting.
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Using the Oculus Rift's Touch controllers, the Unreal Engine 4-based Bullet Train lets you teleport yourself around a train station, fending off an attacking militia. The Touch controllers (which are a bit like more advanced Wii nunchucks) give you "hands" in the virtual world. Want to move someplace else? Point either hand at it, squeeze your finger and "zap!" there you are, catching your enemies off guard.
At that point you can grab a weapon that's lying around and go to town on the bad guys. With the Oculus Touch controllers you can pick up, hold and use the guns and grenades as you would with your own hands (it will even "let" you pick up a machine gun backwards if you aren't careful), adding to the lifelike feel of it all.
And since it takes time for your attackers to find you after each time you teleport, that becomes your only strategic advantage against an army that would otherwise finish you off in seconds. Well, there's also the fact that your teleporting abilities can slow down time, giving you the ability to snag bullets or rockets out of the air and whip them back at your enemies. It's great fun.
More importantly, it shows us that fast-paced action can work in VR. If you took the same game, only replaced the teleporting with walking, running and strafing, you'd probably need a barf bag. Teleporting lets you be stationary and mobile at the same time.
Right now it isn't yet clear if Bullet Train will become a full game, or if it's just going to remain in demo form, to serve as inspiration for the legion of developers at Oculus Connect 2. But it's clearly one of the more impressive – and probably the most innovative – VR demos we've seen, so we're crossing our fingers for the former. If nothing else, you can expect to see a flood of teleporting-based Oculus Rift titles a year or two from now.You can get a non-VR glimpse of the demo in the video below.