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Oculus Rift motion sickness could affect FPS gamers, says developer

Developers of first-person shooters will need to address the motion sickness issues with the Oculus Rift, according to an Elite Dangerous developer.

Elite Dangerous is an open-world space game currently being developed with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, and sees the gamer seated in the pilot’s cockpit for the majority of the game at present.

The first iteration of Oculus Rift had major issues with motion blur that was causing gamers to feel rather poorly, but this is being improved as the virtual reality system develops, especially with the new Oculus Rift Crystal Cove prototype.

However, despite these improvements, Elite Dangerous Designer Tom Kewell said FPS gamers will struggle with the motion sickness issues, unless developers specifically address them from the off.

Unless the technology for Oculus changes, anyone developing a first person shooter game for the Oculus Rift is going to have to have a bit of a think about how they’re going to solve the [motion sickness] issue,” explained Kewell to TrustedReviews. “If you’re playing the game where the fiction is that you’re static in a cockpit, you’ve got a much easier task in that regard. It just doesn’t seem to affect people as much.”

“There’s an experience where if you’re sat down with a controller, and that’s the context of the game, it makes sense to your inner eye. The experience you’re getting from your eyes isn’t too dissimilar to the experience that you’re expecting via the context of the game.”

Even if you stayed seated whilst playing an FPS title with the virtual reality headset, users are struggling to adjust to the experience, especially with the Rift as it is at its current dev kit level

“We’re tried playing Half Life 2 with our Oculus Rift at work, and it is a stunning experience – I love being able to turn my head and shoot at things – but then when you take a step forwards with the control pad or WASD [keys] you have to brace yourself because your inner ear thinks it’s wrong.”

“It’s because the resolution is lower and the ever so slight delay, which is pretty hard to avoid in  these dev kits, apparently that triggers an effect in your eyes that makes you believe “something’s wrong with my vision, I must have eaten something bad” and you vomit.”

Kewell added that in some scenarios, a little motion sickness could be a game enhancing feature.

“To be honest, if you’re pulling a rather stomach churning manoeuvre in a ship, then a little bit of motion sickness from that almost enhances the experience. Not entirely sure we want people throwing up on the cockpit or anything though.”

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