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(Virtually) Real Gladiatorial Arena - Physical Combat Input

Posted on August 1, 2014

The video games industry has regularly taken steps toward virtual reality and motion-controlled gameplay. Virtuix, developers of the Omni multidirectional treadmill, have furthered gameplay without the press of a button by uniting player-controlled motions and camera controls with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

virtuix-chivalryVideo after the jump.

Some of our readers out there have likely seen games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Battlefield 4 being demoed on the Omni. This time, Virtuix has taken a Nintendo Wii Remote peripheral designed as a sword and shield, and they have mapped them to the Omni to enjoy a player-vs-player (PVP) experience with Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.



The Omni treadmill is a small platform that holds someone in place while she walks, runs, and even jumps. Any game that supports keyboard input can be mapped to the Omni. Apart from gaming, the Omni can be used for a variety of applications including physical therapy, fitness, and interactive training simulations.

Combined with the Omni, Oculus Rift, and the Wii Remote controllers, Virtuix has created a virtual, and somewhat physically taxing PVP experience that requires zero button-pressing. The Omni handles player movement, the Oculus Rift controls the camera, and the Wii Remotes are the combat devices. In this demo, the Wii Remote sword supplies the attacks, while the nunchaku shield is used for blocking.

What’s particularly impressive in this demo is how the Omni sensors worn on the players’ shoes can sense a change in speed quick enough for the game to reflect that without any (noticeable) input latency. The combination of a player-controlled camera also means that players can be facing different directions in real life but be face-to-face in the game.

Having four Omnis and Oculus Rifts set up to enjoy Halo would be otherworldly, but setups like this don’t come cheap, even for the PC enthusiast. The Kickstarter-backed Virtuix Omni is available for preorder at $499, and the current Oculus Rift dev kit 2 runs for $350.

With that said, which games would you shell out an arm and a leg for to experience full motion-controls and virtual reality? Mirror’s Edge? The next Fight Night boxing game? Give us your ideal button-less experience by typing a comment below. 

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- Nick "stuBEEF" Pinkerton.