Flying is legit. In fact ‘too legit to quit’ some might say. Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight takes you high into the air, and impresses with the ability to simulate smooth, gaze-based forward motion without a hint of dizziness.
Olivier Palmieri, game director at Ubisoft’s Montreal office, told us at Gamescom that “… I’ve been studying a lot on what causes nausea and what could be the solution. One of the key elements is to make it comfortable even if you have a lot of action like we have, and with this prototype we wanted to prove that we could have a lot of action and still remain comfortable.”
Windlands from Psytec provides some convincing soaring-jumps, a feat made possible by a pair of grappling hooks that let you go from cliff-to-cliff while maintaining a constant, predictable speed. Much like a cockpit, the grappling hooks act as solid items in the foreground while keeping you anchored in the 3D space as you drop from the skies in futility.
VR Comfort Mode
Standing VR experiences are an incredible way of creating immersion, especially if you’re meant to be walking on your little virtual feet. But from time to time we all need to sit down and take a rest, and that’s where ‘VR comfort mode’ comes it.
We know that using the right stick on a controller is hazardous to immersion, and while convention has us sitting straight forward and not moving our heads around, VR comfort mode gives us the opportunity to slip back into old gaming habits without too much detraction from the experience.
Featuring a sort of micro-teleportation, VR comfort mode disables the smooth, world-shifting pan you might make with the right stick, and replaces it with a ‘snap-to’ turn. Snapping your view, sometimes with a black frame spliced in-between to bridge whatever shock there way be of instantly changing your POV, provides the user with a quick way of turning around without tangling up cords around a swivel chair.
Gaze-based locomotion – i.e. ‘look there and go there’ – is also a popular choice among devs that include VR comfort mode in their first-person games, but is less natural than ‘snap-to’ turns.
Floating Head (Third-Person)
Third-person games like Lucky’s Tale, Chronos, or Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games afford great VR gameplay without the locomotion issues seen in first-person titles—potentially giving VR-newcomers something a little more familiar to deal with.
In traditional 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie, your POV will oftentimes trail comfortably behind your character. The same is true for Lucky’s Tale, Edge of Nowhere, and likely more VR 3D platformers to come, and is a logical extension of the genre.
In the case of Chronos however, your POV is teleported to a number of a fixed-position 360 vantage points. Playing the demo, it was a almost overwhelming to change scenery so quickly at first, but it eventually became a part of the game’s ‘wow factor’ as entirely new areas are splayed out in front of you.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe explained in an interview with Gamasutra at E3 2015 some of his thoughts on third-person games.
“I think people are underestimating the third-person viewpoint a little bit … There’s a ton of great content that’s in third-person, and it plays best with the gamepad,” Iribe said.
Gamers of all ages can appreciate the easily recognizable genre, and step into it regardless of experience.
It’s possible for a poorly designed VR system to make you motion sick when you shouldn’t be, but beyond a certain threshold, motion sickness is fundamentally a human problem, not a technical one. Even if we had the perfect VR headset, which showed us a virtual world that is indistinguishable from real life, there’s still potential for motion sickness. And that’s because humans get motion sick even without a VR headset. Driving in a car, riding a rollercoaster, sailing in a boat, or pulling negative Gs in a stunt plane—all of these things can make is motion sick, and some of us are more sensitive than others.
At this point in the development of virtual reality, making a nausea free experience is largely a design problem, not a lack of technological capability.