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