Epic's Bullet Train Shows VR Will Be Great For Shooters

Epic's Bullet Train Shows VR Will Be Great For Shooters

We got a chance to test out Epic's new Bullet Train and it could be a sign for the future of the shooter genre.

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The scenario looks mostly pre-rendered, justifying why you cant teleport anywhere.

It would have worked more interesting if the player could go anywhere by teleporting instead of fixed locations as it would give a better sense of the space around you (and making the game itself more interesting to play)

The scenario looks mostly pre-rendered, justifying why you cant teleport anywhere.

It would have worked more interesting if the player could go anywhere by teleporting instead of fixed locations as it would give a better sense of the space around you (and making the game itself more interesting to play)

Not a bad idea...as long as there's a minumum distance you have to travel so that you can't use a series of short hops to simulate running. That'd make the game look almost stop-motion. Minimum jump distance of 30 feet, or something.

That's a dutch train station. XD

I have a strong interest in VR, but I'm finding the accounts of movement schemes for it a little disheartening.

Yes, I have practical experience with VR sickness... But the solutions people are coming up with, while clever (and evidently good at helping to reduce the probability of nausea) feel very... Awkward.

So far, I've heard of the following

-> Walking around a room - With current tech, wires make that very awkward even if the tracking works. Not to mention, who has a 5x5 metre empty space? It's absurd. The size of the space also severely limits your movement options.

-> Walking around a room with directed walking - An odd quirk of psychology allows a system to trick you into walking in a circle while having you think you're walking in a straight line. It has some serious limitations, even though in principle it would let you walk an infinite distance... As long as you don't violate the situations in which it's possible for the system to trick you.
Aside from that it has all the space and cable management issues of just walking around a room. Perhaps more so, because the minimum empty space you'd need to get this working as intended is somewhat bigger.

-> Teleporting. Apparently, jump cuts work in VR, and don't cause much in the way of nausea. Who would've expected that? This is why the teleporting thing has come about. In conjunction with sitting at a desk, (or standing and walking in a small area), this kinda solves the moving problem, but... To me it feels absurdly contrived, and I really don't like it on a conceptual level.

-> Treadmill/walking frame - A few of these exist, but they're expensive, and awkward, and still take up a lot of room. They do solve a substantial chunk of the walking around related problems though.

-> Full force exoskeleton frame - This kind of thing is the 'ideal' in terms of function. NASA uses stuff like this at times for training purposes. A full exoskeleton like structure, with your feet on platforms, and the whole thing attached to a frame of some kind. (either a static frame, or one of those gyroscope frames with the rotating circles). This is very effective. However, it is also very expensive, and still takes up a lot of space. (especially the full gyro version. Basically you need a sphere large enough that you cannot touch the inner most surface of the rotating shell parts, either with your hands, feet, head, or any other part of your body. For most people that implies a shell of at least 2 metres inner diameter.
To account for even moderately tall people, you'd need more like 2.5 metres.
For exceptionally tall people, about 3.
And that's the inner diameter. The purpose of the gyro rings is that you can orient a person in any direction. That takes 3, if not 4 rotating rings, plus a support frame. If each is a roughly a 5 cm tube, 5 layers of that adds another 50 cm on to it.
And keep in mind the device ends up being spherical!
With safety margins, the 2.5 metre device would need about 3 square metres of floor space, and maybe a metre on each side for safety clearances, giving a 5x5 metre area devoted to such a device.
Worse, it is also about 3 metres tall, so you'd need a 4 metre ceiling height for something like that...
The space requirements are absurd, and the device itself would cost a fortune.
But... It is the ideal in terms of solving the innate problem of movement in VR.

-> large angle jump rotation - This is more like it on a practical level, but it still leaves me feeling rather awkward, and I dislike the concept. It's based on the observation that the worst nausea is caused by yaw movements that you do in the virtual world, but not the real one. Forward and backward movements are less of an issue it seems, and as long as your tracking is good, the rest can be managed with head movement.
So... For the same reasons as the teleport solution... One option is to set it so that trying to turn left or right 'jumps' your view by about 30-45 degrees.
You can see the inherent limitations here, but... It apparently works. Not as restrictive as the outright teleportation system, but it still feels... A little off to me.
Now, I imagine it doesn't literally mean you are stuck to moving along 30 degree lines, because you could do finer control with moderate head movements, but still... This feels quite off...

In any event, I don't like the sound of this much. The fact that nausea is such a big issue that you need such absurd workarounds does not sit well with me.
It's not what I would hope for from VR, honestly.

That preview only showed me that VR will be terrible for shooters. Traditional forms of movement are out, so we're back to rail-shooters and shooting galleries. Oh, except we can turn. How absolutely fabulous. I would have been enthralled if this was coming out opposite buck-hunter, and arcade machines were still a thing.

The amount of extra effort that has to go in to justify VR is ridiculous. Hey, you'll be able to control the camera with your head. You'll just have to forgive us while we try to completely reinvent movement systems in 30 directions at once with hokey controllers, disorienting keyboard cotnrols, and just saying fuck it, we'll just teleport everywhere! Hey look, here are some larger controllers! Hey, we could use one of them walking pads or something equally absurd and ridiculous! It's not like we can manage with much smaller, more efficient setups! This gimmick is really going to work!

It's all good, it's not like we're looking at a system where Doom, Quake, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Mirror's Edge, Battlefield, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., TES, Borderlands, Chivalry, Killing Floor, Wolfenstein, Halo, and fuck it, just about every notable first person game, particularly shooters, couldn't conceivably exist.

Sorry guys, I have to get off this hype train. This station is my stop.

Eh, this hasn't exactly shaken my already sceptical view of VR. As the technical aspects of rendering VR have more or less been worked out, and it moves closer and closer towards legitimate development, it's becoming increasingly apparent that VR will cost not only a hefty sum of money, but also the ability to move in any meaningful way.
At the moment, it seems it's either expensive, experimental peripherals, teleportaion and semi-stationary gameplay, or investing in a stockpile of sick-bags.

While all the elements in this demo sound really innovative, to me it seems more like the result of them saying: "Okay, so with the limitations of VR what can we do that won't require the player to scrub vomit out of their carpet? Teleportation and motion-controls? Okay, let's do that." It seems less like them coming up with the most creative game that they could, and more like them doing the only thing that's really available to them.

Motion controls themselves have been enough of a limiting factor when it comes to gameplay, and a lot of that isn't necessarily due to technological levels. Add in the constraints of VR itself, and the whole thing just become constraints atop constraints.

While I don't doubt that this sort of thing might be fun, it seems more like the kind of thing I'd play at a booth in a convention somewhere, not something I'd pay to play regularly.


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