Rebellion co-founder talks about motion sickness in VR and circumventing other issues.
It’s been said several times already but for all the pre-orders that Oculus Rift sells out, the technology itself will need a number of factors to survive in the long term. Ease of development certainly helps and in that respect, it appears Sony has been making strides with PlayStation VR.
GamingBolt spoke to Rebellion co-founder and Battlezone creative director Jason Kingsley on the PS4’s graphics API and whether Sony has done any changes to better support VR. Kingsley responded that, “Well, the PS4 Graphics API is already very close to the hardware, so they were already off to a great start. PlayStation have been very proactive in taking some of the extra grunt work needed to support VR off the developers’ shoulders. They’ve been great at sharing techniques we can all benefit from, but I like to think our in-house engine team has a few tricks of their own up their sleeves!”
When it comes to concerns like motion sickness and other challenges, Kingsley says that with regards to Battlezone, there’s already plenty of comfort for players. “Chet Faliszek at Valve put it nicely when he said its software, not VR that’s making people ill, and developers are learning more and more about VR every day. Motion sickness will be a footnote for almost all gamers sooner rather than later.
“I think our team who went to PSX in December told me that they did about 400 Battlezone demos and only two people felt uncomfortable – I’d bet that’s not far off the number of people who feel funny playing FPS games, or watching movies like Cloverfield. I think the hands-on reaction to Battlezone has been so positive so far because it grounds you really well in the tank cockpit; we spent a lot of time getting the ‘on-boarding’ just right – that’s the process of getting you acclimatised to your virtual surroundings. The visuals, audio and gameplay then work in harmony to give you a really comfortable sense of presence.
“From a design perspective there are some absolute basics. The frame rate has to be high, has to be smooth. Avoid anything that that makes your brain go ‘hang on, I thought I was in control here?’ Camera shake, or anything that moves your virtual ‘head’ is a perfect example of something very common that is just a no-no in VR.”
Battlezone and PlayStation VR will be out this year so stay tuned for more information on how both fare in the mainstream.