Omni Virtuix – movement in the virtual world
Would you like to take your gaming experience to the next level? Then the Omni Virtuix treadmill is the perfect solution. This new product enables you to run and play all at the same time in the virtual world where obstacles and villains can be found. While running, you have to watch out for directions, avoid traps and shoot opponents when necessary. This really is immersive entertainment at its best.
According to CEO Jan Goetgeluk, the real virtual gaming adventure cannot be experienced just by sitting down and playing PC games.
“The real adrenaline can be found by actually running and jumping in virtual games,” he added.
This is the very reason why he worked so hard designing and testing the product. After two years of thorough study, the result was successful. He and his team were able to obtain funding of $500,000 when their goal was to have only $150,000 for the treadmill’s production and development to continue. Today, they already have millions in hand, and hopefully the product’s price will be cheaper for the next batch of Omni Virtuix Kickstarters.
For Virtual Reality fanatics who wonder how the product works, Omni Virtuix is a groove-like, friction-free surface with a ring that surrounds the gamer. The ring will make you feel like you are a starship commander or you are in a time portal about to teleport somewhere. On the other hand, the purpose of the harness is to support the ring from falling through. Like other VR motion equipment, the motion is translated into game movement as you try to run or jump in the surface. During demos, special shoes with sensors are used for the grooves to fit the platform, which will soon be out on the market along with the official Omni Virtuix Kickstarter release.
Omni Virtuix Development.
Previously the Omni Virtuix was just a wooden prototype. An item of virtual reality hardware which included clip-ons and magnets for the shoes. But now, the platform has been improved into much better hardware. Instead of using sensors that sometimes lag, Omni Virtuix Kickstarter now uses Kinect for tracking steps on the platform. The “W” button is also available, which when you press using your feet, you’ll walk forward and sprint across the virtual world. Upon starting the game, you can’t move backward, crouch or turn. The Kinect sensor at this point is not intended to be used in the final release.
There’s a bit problem with the W key though. Testers have found a bug in responsiveness. When equipped with a virtual gun, the aim for shooting does not reflect in the game. There are times when you will get stuck in the corner and you can’t do anything but to press the W key just to get out. On the other hand, there are times when you see yourself dancing on the wrong shoes because of the unwanted steps you are actually doing.
However the Omni Virtuix, is fantastic when it is paired with Oculus Rift headset. In a combat game, the presence of the headset allows you to look at your surroundings as if you are a half-life creature in their world. The trees, the combat area and the water forms all call for discovery. After all, you will realize that you’re a virtual character that bad guys are trying to hunt. So, you have no choice but to run and shoot them with your gun. You’re lucky if you hit them, but it would be an unfortunate thing to see a grenade at your feet when it explodes !
The mixed feeling of fear, curiosity and fun is what Omni Virtuix will give you. Just imagine being in a Team Fortress 2 game wherein you have to be strategic to win the game. However, it’s not just about winning. The experience with VR opponents is the one that truly counts. To begin the game, you have to pick a character from different options, including sniper, engineer, medic, machine gun, spy riffle man, etc. In every game play style, there is a mission that needs to be accomplished. Each team character comes with a different ability. The sniper can make long range shots, the demo man can create intense damage, the engineer can diffuse bomb and the spy can run fast. The medic has the most special duty as he needs to stay alive to heal injured team members.
More than the fun and excitement, Omni Virtuix has also brought solutions to individuals who dislike jogging outside. In fact, the treadmill does not just translate movements into game actions. It even tracks the calories burned and the distance that a player has already travelled. Also, the movement of the hands to shoot objects is an additional exercise. In an interview with Mr. Goetgeluk, said that the Omni Virtuix can help solve the problem of obesity. So why jog outside when you can do it at the comfort of your home?
Oculus Rift is also compatible with numerous virtual reality games like Half-life 2, TF2 and Boarderlands 3. In the near future, Omni Virtuix aim to improve their product to make it compatible with any game.
But more than just for gaming, the Omni Virtuix also suggests several functions such as allowing an architect to walk through 3D blueprints and enabling managers to train their staff using virtual simulations. For some who might get discouraged with the 122 cm size, you need not worry. As for storage, Virtuix ensures that the product can be disassembled to avoid taking up space if not being used.
In the past, Virtual Reality was just an unsure concept. However, with Omni Virtuix, the VR experience has been taken to the next level. It is not just about walking and running around the game world, but the feeling of immersion – joining other characters is truly mind-blowing.
Though Omni just has a limited market, it has successfully created a spark to a large number of audiences. For home gamers out there, this is your chance to experience a sci-fi-like technology like no other. However, if you can’t afford the price yet, just hope that it would get cheaper in the near future.