Infinite maze games in your living room.  Evan Suma and Mark Bolas of the Mixed-Reality Lab (MxR) have been working on techniques which would enable a video game player to walk through virtual environments within small physical spaces. Flexible Spaces is a novel interaction technique that can be applicable to a wide range of scenarios and systems. As the user moves forward, the virtual environment generates new hallways and rooms. Using their tracked head and body movements, the “procedural layout generation” technique guides them through an infinite set of virtual spaces, when in reality they are walking around in circles. The virtual space consists of multiple rooms that are connected by corridors. To connect these rooms, randomized corridor turns are produced to re-direct users back into the physical spacethey already once were. Overall, users don’t realize the re-directions or overlapping. They feel as though they are walking through a much larger environment that wouldn’t be physically possible in the working space.

Flexible Spaces has been getting a fair amount of attention, with featrued articles in New Scientist,, and Pressetext to name a few.


These techniques were presented in a paper titled, “Flexible Spaces: Dynamic Layout Generation for Infinite Walking in Virtual Environments,” at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference in March. Bolas and Suma were authors on the paper, along with Khrystyna Vasylevska and Hannes Kaufmann of Vienna University of Technology.