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First Person Shooters (Games) Games Technology

CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work 154

An anonymous reader writes Icelandic studio CCP is better known for EVE Online, but its first foray into virtual reality with space shooter Valkyrie has caused a stir, and is widely seen as a flagship game for the Oculus Rift headset. In a new interview, Valkyrie executive producer Owen O'Brien explains what advantages the game will have when played with a headset — and gives his view on why a dogfighter is better suited to VR than a first person shooter: "People have hacked it together, but it doesn't really work," he says. "The basic problem is Simulator Sickness. In Valkyrie or any cockpit game or driving game, what you're doing in the real world, assuming you're sitting down, more or less mimics what your brain is telling you you're doing in the game. So you don't get that disconnect, and it's that disconnect that causes sickness. So, the problem with first-person shooters is that you're running or crouching or jumping in the game but not in the real world, and because it's so realistic it can make some people (not everybody) feel nauseated if they start doing it for extended periods of time."
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

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  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:23PM (#47484113) Homepage
    The Virtuix Omni is basically an omnidirectional treadmill.

    You use it in a VR environment and to move forward, you walk forward on the treadmilll.

    This should solve the simulator sickeness issue.

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:39PM (#47484251)
    Changes in the medium can have massive changes in the message that is best sent through that medium. Before TV radio plays were huge, but TV simply was a better medium. It wasn't that radio plays sucked but that telling episodic stories was done so much better on TV. Also when TV first started much of it was simply radio plays put back into a stage format and videotaped. Moving the camera through the scenery with lots of outdoor locations were a while coming and again the flat play like structure is still used in sitcoms.

    Within even moving our internet browsing and gaming to mobile devices has resulted in wildly different usage patterns, there are the obvious ones such as using map tools more but Facebook does not seem to have translated to mobile as well as instagram, or twitter. Also the first person shooter largely has failed on mobile whereas I don't think that Angry Birds would have gotten much traction in a desktop only universe.

    So surprise surprise VR goggles aren't turning out to be a screen you wear on your eyes but a whole new medium. I am willing to bet that there will be a genre that takes off on VR and that genre might not even really exist right now. Something really different. A simple example of different was that Wii games had a wildly different flavour than anything proceeding them. I don't remember a game prior to the Wii where I stood on a platform eagerly flapping my arms to propel what looked like a guy in a chicken suit though the air. Yet the Kinect games never caught my fancy as the games were often too serious and made me feel like a fool flapping my arms. The Just Dance game was close but was probably too late.

    I am going to throw this one out there for free: Maybe the VR goggles will take off in Colorado and Washington with the blockbuster title being "The Stoner Olympics"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:51PM (#47484353)

    That depends on whether the sickness is caused by the lack of leg movement or not. It think there's a good chance the problem is tied to the inner ear (or more precisely your sense of movement vs. visual feedback), or possibly something else, in which case a treadmill might not help at all.
    This is only a guess, but I think the reason simulator games work okay is because real life piloting of cars and planes is actually what is outside our normal expectations for our physical movement versus our sense of movement. There's some good line by Seinfeld about how driving is us moving while staying perfectly still.

  • 3D viewing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18, 2014 @12:59PM (#47484411)

    There are two sets of muscles for eye movement - one for convergence, which rotates the eyes, the other for focus, which reshapes the eyes. These typically work in sync, allowing proper focus wherever one looks. In any given 3D system, however, the focus is fixed at the screen distance & never varies, while the eyes converge continuously for objects perceived at different depths. It is this disparity - one set of muscles attempting to remain fixed while the other changes continuously - that causes the brain to overwork, tire & cause headaches/discomfort, and is completely independent of any 'virtual disconnect' effects

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18, 2014 @01:18PM (#47484583)

    ...especially if you can aim independently from head tracking so that you can fire directly backwards at that guy just visible in the edge of your vision while looking over your shoulder.

    What you're suggesting presents a whole new class of problems actually (from personal experience from while messing about with the Rift). The issue is that from the VR's headset point of view, there is no difference between rotating your swivel chair and facing a direction and moving your head.
    The reason this matters is for having intuitive controls. When you push forward on your d-pad, and you're facing forward, you expect to go forward. When you press forward while facing right, you expect to go right. When facing forward with your head looking right, when you press forward, you expect to go forward, but instead you go right. The problem obviously exists with only slight head movements too.
    The solution seems to be to tie directional control to body position (or at least shoulder orientation or something), and view control to head position. This would imply that first person shooter, to be played how you expect it to be played, required additional sensors besides those found on the Oculus. The necessary workaround without the additional sensors is to tie movement to view direction most of the time, but that causes the problems you correctly identify.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday July 18, 2014 @02:00PM (#47484867) Journal

    I find that any kind of response time lag between my inputs and the real world, especially when it varies, is what makes me sick ...

    My wife has vertigo. Her attacks can be triggered by fluorescent or high-pressure arc lights where the flicker rate is above the flicker-fusion rate of the eye. (This makes trips to warehouse stores problematic - they have to be short or she'll be down for the rest of the day. That's hard at, say, Costco.)

    I used to wonder how this could be, and finally realized that the "strobe light" effect produces small, but significant, errors in observed position of the background items (shelves, etc.) that she uses for reference to balance despite the damaged inner ear.

    When they first began using fluorescent lights in factories - in the days before guards over moving machinery were common - the worker injury rate went 'way up. Turns out the lights made the AC-powered motors, turning at or near an integer fraction of the line frequency, look like they were stopped or only moving slowly.

    The fix was to build the light fixtures in two-tube versions, with a capacitor and an extra inductor in the balast, so the "lead lamp" and "lag lamp" would light at a quarter-cycle offset. In combination with suitably persistent phosphors this made them largely fill in each other's dim times, enough to make fast-moving parts blur and look like they were moving. For large arc lights, a similar fix was to arrange them so adjacent lamps were distributed among the three phases of the power feed, rather than having rows or patches of lights all flickering in unison.

    Unfortunately, this lore has apparently been lost - at least outside the specialists wiring factories full of moving parts. Warehouse stores have rows and sections of arc lighting all wired to the same phase. I'm not sure, but I don't think the new electronic ballasts for flourescent lights do the lead-lag thing, OR have enough raw filtering capacitance to power the lamp through the phase reversals. (And then there's LED lamps...)

    It's not a safety hazard these days, now that OSHA rules have all the fast-spinning machinery covered with guards. But for those with vertigo it's a big problem.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.