The biggest gripe that we have with VR is how limited it feels to be stuck in one room. If you want to explore a game environment, that means you need to use artificial motion on your thumbsticks. And that feels more like you’re sliding around on a conveyor belt than exploring a virtual environment.
Natural Locomotion, developed by Myou, is a SteamVR-based software overlay that offers a simple solution to this problem. Natural Locomotion gives you a faux sense of natural movement in a game’s world via repetitive motion. By pumping your arms and/or walking along in place, you will have a much more nuanced feel of a VR game world than if you were simply pushing your thumbsticks.
Here’s how to get Natural Locomotion set up in a game.
- First, go to the Software section of your Steam apps.
- Next, go to the left side of the screen where your Software library is shown, and activate Natural Locomotion before entering any of your games.
- Choose your game of choice.
- Let’s choose The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR as the game we’d like to play. Next, hit the “Start selected profile” button. You can find the complete list of Natural Locomotion-friendly VR games on the front of its Steam store page.
- Read the instructions and run the game.
But what if you want to configure the settings to your taste?
Keep in mind that each game has different settings. Natural Locomotion has been built with hooks for customizable profiles that you can swap out and change on the fly, and it also has global variables for certain gameplay integrations.
For Skyrim VR, this is what the global variables look like when you hit the “Open all settings” button:
As you can see, the GUI has a few different options here that affect your controls at a basic level. Most of the customization happens, however, after you press the “Edit profile” button on the previous menu.
When you go in and edit your current Natural Locomotion profile (for whichever game you’d like to play), this is the screen you’ll see first:
In this menu, you can tell Natural Locomotion three distinct things about the game you’re trying to play. Since each game is different, you should absolutely take the time to read through the instructions that Myou has set aside for you.
- “Configure buttons” — This is where you tell Natural Locomotion which buttons will toggle motion-activated movement.
- “Configure speed and trackpad/stick emulation” — This is where you tell Natural Locomotion how thumbsticks should behave inside the game. You can also entirely disable thumbstick movement in this window if you’d like.
- “Describe the original locomotion” — This is where Natural Locomotion gets its information about locomotion behavior from the original game. As stated in the image, this section doesn’t need too much tampering unless you use other software (such as a mod) which alters the behavior of the original game.
Natural Locomotion is a nifty way to get additional exercise from games that offer free exploration. We tend to recommend it as often as we possibly can, not only because it’s a quick way to burn extra calories, but also because it makes games way more immersive.
For example, I enjoy using Natural Locomotion when I play Skyrim VR (with mods). With it, and with the addition of my 40 lb weighted vest, I end play sessions feeling like I’ve taken a jog through Skyrim. It’s a really fantastic feeling.
Is Natural Locomotion a tool that you’d use? Let us know in the comments.