Welcome to another informative edition of #VolumeFriday. The studio is completely flat out with the release of Volume:CODA, coming to PSVR soon! Sticking with VR, we look at a couple recent articles discussing the potential issue of headset induced motion sickness, and how good design is the key to avoiding this.
Here, Keith Stewart of The Guardian talks about how how E3 became the stage where the big publishers announced their foray into this exciting 'new' space. He cites an interesting yet troubling issue observed during some of the various demos, where players specifically felt nausea when using a traditional controller in tandem with a VR headset. This is thought to be caused by the 'separation of physical head movement from in-game motion...'.
Adi Robertson also mentions motion sickness when playing games on a VR headset as a significant downfall of the genre. Whilst suggesting the game The Assembly was one of the stronger efforts within VR to date, she also mentions how nauseated she felt after playing. Adi discusses an important point: 'designing for VR isn't just about tweaking how characters move or interact, but rethinking how designers construct the geography of video games.'
I think that point is crucial. VR is exciting, and Mike has iterated that he feels '...in terms of the games community, it's going to be massive'. However this doesn't mean that there aren't some problems that are going to take some elegant design to overcome. Several people have asked why Volume:CODA doesn't utilise a first person perspective. In part, I feel it was because Mike wanted to remain true to the original game. Instead he used VR to enhance the experience by allowing the ability to move the map in 3D space, whilst also incorporating the controller in the player's view.
To summarise, I personally feel the the motion sickness issue will be resolved soon, but this will only be achieved by strong design. We will then see VR being used in new and innovative ways, and begin to realise the potential of this truly exciting technology.