james-chung-150x150At PAX West, Reload Studios made a strong push for cultivating World War Toons as a VR eSports title. They were livestreaming a couple of shoutcasters announcing a four-on-four player capture the flag game of World War Toons, which is a free-to-play, VR first-person shooter. This was all preparation for Twitchcon this past weekend where they were on the expo floor with the same configuration, except with PlayStation VR headsets instead of Oculus Rifts.

I had a chance to catch up with Reload Studios CEO James Chung at PAX West where we talk about motion sickness with VR first-person shooters with different VR comfort options, their integrations with the Virtuix Omni, their free-to-play business model, and VR eSports as well as the future of streaming in VR.

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Here was Reload Studios’ setup at PAX West:


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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

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  • wheeler

    After hearing podcasts like this, seeing the range of reactions to artificial locomotion online as well as offline, and playing Onward, I’ve realized that a fissure in the VR community is pretty much inevitable with respect to tolerance of artificial locomotion. For me, Onward is absolutely incredible and I’ve never felt so immersed in VR (or any game). And, for me at least, that immersion entirely hinges on whether or not smooth translational artificial locomotion is an option. For example, I couldn’t really enjoy The Gallery as a result of its teleportation. This wasn’t even clear to me at first–something just felt “off”, and it wasn’t until I tried smooth locomotion VR games that I actually felt like I was somewhere else.

    There are going to be lots of games like Obduction where both teleportation and smooth locomotion are applicable, but there are going to be some where only smooth locomotion works. Onward, for example, would be ruined by a teleportation option. Despite the fact that Onward seems to be more tolerable than most of its kind and that things like FOV restriction can be very helpful to certain people, there will always be a certain (sizeable) portion of the player base that can’t tolerate any artificial locomotion.

    The World War Toons developer’s 5% statistic appears to be somewhat consistent with a study that was conducted by the US militiary (don’t have a link–it was floating around /r/vive for a while). I believe it was something like 5% to 10% could never adjust, and the rest was a split between a majority that initially experienced simulator sickness but could adapt and those that didn’t experience simulator sickness at all. Even 5% is a lot of people and then you also have to consider that casuals will have no desire to put in the work to adapt.

    Take for example a friend of mine with Onward. I explained to him very clearly what seems to be one of the most effective procedures for adaptation. That is, to only play up until the point where you feel uncomfortable (I usually tell people “uncomfortable enough for it to start becoming distracting”). Then wait 24 hours and repeat. If you play until you’re sick (or even just really uncomfortable) then it is counterproductive and your tolerance will likely get worse. His sessions went like this: Day 1: 10m, Day 2: 20m, Day 3: 3+ hours. And now there’s really no practical limit to how long he can play.

    But how many people will be willing to do this? And will headset manufacturers start shipping their devices with “artificial locomotion adapation best practices” as part of their tutorials? Because I am almost positive that if the aforementioned friend did not have any guidance he would’ve experienced extreme simulator sickness and perhaps never tried the game again. It’s not like everyone browses /r/vive daily and knows e.g. the correct way to adapt. There is certainly a more sane way to go about this.

    Regardless, I suggest that everyone at least give Onward a shot–even if it’s not necessarily your kind of game (e.g. I can understand people not liking FPSs / violence). There is something about the locomotion system that makes it pretty tolerable and easier to adapt to. Interestingly, it is also more tolerable when you’re in an actual battle vs the shooting range.

  • George Bayfield

    This one doesn’t play for me