Design patterns for Immersive Tech

Virtual Reality patterns

Locomotion (a.k.a. VR floating)

User goals

Move forward continuously from point A to point B without missing out any part of the journey


  1. The user presses forward using the controller joystick or directional pad
  2. The avatar moves forward, usually at a continuous velocity
  3. The movement stops (usually abruptly) when the joystick is released
  4. Works the same way for moving backwards
  5. The movement is either smooth and at a consistent height above ground, or may be accompanied by bobbing or swaying to simulate the rhythm of walking


  • It’s a very simple and easy to learn mechanism to move around a 3D environment as it works the same as as the standard approach in video games


  • The visual sensation of movement often causes nausea
  • The rushing past of scenery in the periphery is particularly prone to trigger the feeling of sickness
  • The strange floating movement sensation caused by the visual information with no corresponding movement detected in the rest of the body, and in particular the vestibular system, is also a well known trigger for the nauseous sensation
  • For this reason this type of movement is not recommended in VR for most people

Design challenges

  • The main challenge is in making the movement feel realistic whilst at the same time reducing simulation sickness
  • Some experiences aim to neutralise the sickness effect through ‘Dynamic Field-Of-View Modification‘ using soft edge cut outs that obscure the entire peripheral field of view during movement. We’ll cover this in another pattern later on.
  • Certain VR experiences such as the game Onward have tweaked the standard locomotion mechanic to reduce the likelihood of VR sickness, to some level of success.

Linked to: Simple Teleporting


Onward (Oculus Rift): Some fans claim this approach has solved the VR sickness issue with VR locomotion, however our own testing with users has shown that many users still experience nausea

Locomotion ring the joystick to move continuously through the virtual environment