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Comfortably porting FPS games to VR.

MrMonkeybatMrMonkeybat Posts: 640
Brain Burst
edited November 2015 in General
I have been thinking the way to get an old style shooter like Quake or Unreal to work in VR without giving anyone motion sickness. Use a laser style bore sight on the weapon to avoid any weirdness with 3d cross hairs. Using the right stick to aim the weapon does not turn your view point, click the thumb stick to snap recenter your front with the weapons direction, and when you turn the weapon more than 90 degrees from your front (adjustable). Using the left stick to move sends the avatar off while the VR viewpoint remains stationary, but re syncs every second(adjustable) with the avatar or when you click a button. A small window in front of the player shows the first person aim point so they can still run an gun effectively as well as seeing the laser sight from 3rd person, horizontally the window should remain centered but rise and fall vertically with the aim point so the aim point remains the same place relative to you when you re sync. When the player is synced until they move the left thumb stick again you can use "meat hook avatars" or just show the weapon. This will allow you to play traditional FPS games with lots of jumping stairs and crouch button use, from the seated position with an ordinary game pad without any motion sickness.

If you have 360 standing VR with motion controls you dont need to worry about the snap turning, and you can use inverse kinematics to animate the avatar, but maybe just show the hands when you are synced if inverse kinematics is not convincing. The run and gun aiming window would stay close to your weapon hand, maybe still showing the weapon in your hand with an aiming portal in front of it, probably best to position the portal between the players/avatars head and the point the laser sight is hitting.

Follow this advice and traditional FPS can be ported to VR comfortably, without changing the game play design. But also allow them to be turned off in the options menu to keep the vocal minority with iron guts happy. Porting to standing VR with motion controllers will require a bit more programming especially on really old games without proper skeletal animation.

Comments

  • jngdwejngdwe Posts: 566
    Art3mis
    I think we'll be best off by simply allowing players to become acclimated to the current Quake II VR and HL2 schemes, with a warning. People had motion sickness with fps back in the day, and now we don't in general. Give it time.
  • RonsonPLRonsonPL Posts: 1,115
    Trinity
    jngdwe wrote:
    I think we'll be best off by simply allowing players to become acclimated to the current Quake II VR and HL2 schemes, with a warning. People had motion sickness with fps back in the day, and now we don't in general. Give it time.

    I don't think this is as easy and simple as that.

    I think many people had issues with 2D FPP games because they had bad framerate/display/mouse or they weren't accustomed to steering the camera with a mouse.
    My brained learned to deal with stereoscopic 3D very fast. But with HL2 on DK2, I didn't see a significant progress over a few hours in a few attempts done in different days.
    It might be that some people start from a different point, and the "learning" is not as good as they think. It might be that with even the little advantages that came from learning, they cross some threshold after which the experience is acceptable.
    But this is just a possibility, and a one that I think has better chance to be wrong than right, based on what you guys wrote and based on the fact that I didn't gave it enough time to draw solid conclusions.


    On topic: I'm afraid this will have to wait until VR is so popular that treadmills or similar solutions became cheap and lots of people have it.
    Or at least a system to hang the cables on the ceiling (probably not the CV1 cables though, since it looks like they'll be too short :/ ) and some way to allow the rotation. Then the Carmack's beloved swivel chair. With room scale tracking it might at least open some possibilities until treadmills went mainstream.
    Not an Oculus hater, but not a fan anymore.
    Still lots of respect for the team-Carmack, Abrash.
    Oculus is driven by big corporation principles now. That brings painful effects already, more to come in the future. This is not the Oculus I once cheered for.
  • MrMonkeybatMrMonkeybat Posts: 640
    Brain Burst
    I am skeptical about treadmills. I have not tried one myself yet but they let your feet move round a slippery disk but your vestibular system must still be not detecting movement.
  • VizionVRVizionVR Posts: 3,022
    Wintermute
    Treadmills will always be a niche peripheral and non FPS ports are a square peg being forced through a round hole. I hope for the day when gamers give up on this nauseous folly and play old flat-screen games on giant, VR screens.
    Not a Rift fanboi. Not a Vive fanboi. I'm a VR fanboi. Get it straight.
  • SalbroxSalbrox Posts: 250
    Art3mis
    jngdwe wrote:
    I think we'll be best off by simply allowing players to become acclimated to the current Quake II VR and HL2 schemes, with a warning. People had motion sickness with fps back in the day, and now we don't in general. Give it time.

    Really? It never affected me and I never heard of anyone feeling sick after playing FPS games on PC. (I'm not saying it didn't happen, i'm just surprised.)
  • MrMonkeybatMrMonkeybat Posts: 640
    Brain Burst
    When they first came out I remember games like Wolfrnstein and Descent making me dizzy. I think it may of been a mixture of causes like 2 point perspective, short repeating textures, and frame rate issues on early PCs.
  • AshlesAshles Posts: 515
    Art3mis
    I don't think there is going to be a simple way round this problem.
    While your vestibular system is not detecting the same acceleration of forward movement that your visual system is seeing via the HMD then there are going to be issues. This is a physiological issue, not a hardware of software one.
    I agree with mrmonkeybat, treadmills aren't getting to the root of the issue as you still don't sense that required acceleration matching what you are seeing.

    And any overly complex workaround like blink movement or elaborate head turning jump forward etc alternatives are still missing the point. VR is not a medium suited to First Person Shooters just as mobile phones and tablets were not the medium of previous game genres (even when mobile technology could in theory power them). If your control system has to be overly complex then it is unlikely to succeed. To gain mass appeal then people's first impressions should not be having to learn unintuitive control mechanisms, or building resilience to nausea.

    It's a new medium and the focus should be on finding the genres that suit the new form factor of VR naturally, not trying to force previous genres into VR when they just don't work as we would like them to.

    It seems most developers are moving away from FPS in VR as they aren't managing to solve this issue.
    "Into every life a little fantasy must fall..."
  • ThreeDeeVisionThreeDeeVision Posts: 2,087
    Wintermute
    I have found that a gradual increase/decrease in momentum can make a huge difference in a first person VR scenario. Windlands does this very well and I am able to stay in this demo for long periods of time with barely any discomfort (all while swinging and doing many crazy maneuvers). Older FPS games that weren't made for VR go from standing to running much too quickly and they don't allow the brain to account for the change in momentum.

    This is probably just a small piece of the overall puzzle though.
    i7 5960X @ 3.8 GHz | Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 PC2800 | GTX Titan X Pascal | Win 10 64 bit | Asus ROG PG348Q | EVGA X99 Classified
  • DaftnDirectDaftnDirect Posts: 6,507 Volunteer Moderator
    FPS's never affected me but they do with my brother... he's definitely gamepad and third person.
    There are subtle control variations though, some fps's allow for gradual changes in speed using analogue input, which is great for joystick/mouse combination, joystick for movement instead of keyboard, it's much more natural even if the game only allows 2 speed (walk/run) movement.
    Intel 5820K [email protected], Titan X (Maxwell), 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4, ASRock X99 Taichi, Samsung 500Gb 960 Evo M.2, Corsair H100i v2 Cooler, Inateck KTU3FR-4P USB 3 card, Windows 10 Pro v2004 (19042.662)
  • MrMonkeybatMrMonkeybat Posts: 640
    Brain Burst
    ^Interesting that you two prefer analogue movement and acceleration. Most people and the Oculus guidelines prefer instant acceleration to reduce the duration of the accelerating period.
  • ThreeDeeVisionThreeDeeVision Posts: 2,087
    Wintermute
    ^Interesting that you two prefer analogue movement and acceleration. Most people and the Oculus guidelines prefer instant acceleration to reduce the duration of the accelerating period.

    I think drawing out the acceleration is what allows my brain to accept it. I will need to try a few different first person games before I can really make the call on which my brain likes better. I just know that I started feeling a bit ill after playing HL2 for about 20 minutes but I can play around in Windlands for the better part of an hour and feel just fine swinging all over the place, running and jumping.
    i7 5960X @ 3.8 GHz | Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 PC2800 | GTX Titan X Pascal | Win 10 64 bit | Asus ROG PG348Q | EVGA X99 Classified
  • DaftnDirectDaftnDirect Posts: 6,507 Volunteer Moderator
    HL2 originally supported analogue joysticks along with all the other source games but was removed in a major source update a few years ago. I'm told you can use a 360 controller and get full control back but I don't have one so can't confirm... my Pinnacle software emulates a 360 controller for my joystick but I haven't managed to get that to work.

    Its a shame, not just because analogue is more VR friendly but being able to move in any direction at any speed is always going to be better than only having 8 directions and 2 speeds to move in.
    Plus when the game has vehicle to drive as HL2 does, lack of analogue input is awful.
    Intel 5820K [email protected], Titan X (Maxwell), 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4, ASRock X99 Taichi, Samsung 500Gb 960 Evo M.2, Corsair H100i v2 Cooler, Inateck KTU3FR-4P USB 3 card, Windows 10 Pro v2004 (19042.662)
  • I'm afraid this will have to wait until VR is so popular that treadmills or similar solutions became cheap and lots of people have it.
    I'm glad you believe in treadmills too RonsonPL, but we don't have to wait! There are developers making exploration-type games, including those who are providing optional comfort modes. For first-person exploration games to be successful, whether they're shooters or open-world adventures, the uptake of VR treadmills will be crucial. For that reason, I believe consumers will adopt them quickly, since these are the most popular genres. If you see someone having a lot of fun playing a game like Skyrim on the Omni for instance, and you're not, it's going to be the next thing on your shopping list. I don't think we'll have to wait too long. Eventually it will become accepted that an ODT and an HMD are an essential pairing, like a keyboard and mouse are today. Future generations won't even realize there was a time when people considered having one without the other.
    treadmills aren't getting to the root of the issue as you still don't sense that required acceleration matching what you are seeing.
    Acceleration isn't the real problem Ashles, but I understand why people think that. In fact, you do 'move off' on the Omni. The harness is not locked in the center, it moves back and forth. You also lean forward when you begin to run, and the vestibular system picks up on this. What's really causing people to feel unwell is the disconnect between what they see, and their proprioception. Proprioception is not as widely understood as the vestibular system, but it's very important. An easy way to explain it - imagine you've closed your eyes, and someone grabs your arms, moves them up and down quickly a few times and then stops. You don't have to remember the sequence - you know which arm is higher than the other. Proprioception is your body's natural positional tracking. When the feedback from this doesn't match what you're seeing; for instance when you appear to be walking forwards but your body knows your legs aren't moving in that fashion - that creates the disconnect which triggers sim-sickness.

    I've spent up to an hour running around on the Omni and never felt sim-sickness, but trying to do the same with a gamepad makes me nauseous. Unfortunately not many people have had a chance to try it like I have, but that will start to change from next year when they begin shipping. In fact, a few units are going out later this year. I've heard people say they 'got religion' when they tried the touch controllers (which I can't wait to try myself btw) - I'm sure people will feel the same when they get their Omnis.

    I do believe in the power of VR to change the world, and I honestly believe gaming is necessary to spearhead its adoption. So it's essential that the most popular gaming genres (including the FPS) can be comfortably ported to VR. That's why I'm a backer and passionate supporter of the Omni, and will do my best to promote it when I get mine!
  • snowdogsnowdog Posts: 8,122 Valuable Player
    Hopefully someone is going to get this sorted out. I'm really not too keen on this Blink-type movement because this only makes sense for futuristic titles where teleportation can be used. I'm thinking perhaps that Oculus raising the FPS rate from 75fps to 90fps may help matters..?
    "This you have to understand. There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken."

    Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever
  • DaftnDirectDaftnDirect Posts: 6,507 Volunteer Moderator
    I'd love to try an Omni.
    The problem is just that though... it's one of those bits of hardware you really have to try before considering buying.
    Before giving up the space needed (I know it's not massive but still, it's space that people need to put by) not to mention price, then there's individual tastes regarding how much physical effort they want to put into playing games and their individual views on how realistic it is. It's just not going to be an item that can be bought on the basis of reviews or recommendation alone.

    It will need analogue speed capability from the fps though, 2 speed walk/run won't be good enough, and not all fps's will allow that without modification, if at all.

    Be prepared for lots of people showing up at your door for a go sutekiB.
    Intel 5820K [email protected], Titan X (Maxwell), 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4, ASRock X99 Taichi, Samsung 500Gb 960 Evo M.2, Corsair H100i v2 Cooler, Inateck KTU3FR-4P USB 3 card, Windows 10 Pro v2004 (19042.662)
  • AshlesAshles Posts: 515
    Art3mis
    sutekiB wrote:
    Acceleration isn't the real problem Ashles, but I understand why people think that.
    I'm not sure why you don't think it is related to acceleration when in it seems fairly well accepted as the main issue - this is why perceived movement that just goes straight to the movement speed is far less nausea inducing that movement that accelerates up to the movement speed (which is how games normally show this).

    It's worth noting that the acceleration detected by the inner ear is actually part of proprioception - it's not just the senses in the tendons/muscles etc.

    I understand proprioception and, while matching it to what you see in VR will help, it still cant compensate fully for the lack of real acceleration (the movement in the omni will allow a little real acceleration which may well be what is reducing the nausea).

    ETA - Here is a study which has an interesting observation in the abstract (although I can't read the full study)
    "the observation that people without functioning inner ears do not get sick from motion, including visual motion"
    Theory on motion sickness
    "Into every life a little fantasy must fall..."
  • MrMonkeybatMrMonkeybat Posts: 640
    Brain Burst
    I tried out an electric wheel chair once, joystick based movement did not make me motion sick despite my legs not moving its the acceleration that is the thing.
  • jngdwejngdwe Posts: 566
    Art3mis
    Personally, I would want the option to play fps as it was intended, and not watered down movement speed with minimal controls. I don't want to play FPS if it isn't fast, and that's just personal preference. Quake 2 and HL2 both made me slightly sick at first, but it went away.
  • Lupus_SolusLupus_Solus Posts: 79 Oculus Start Member
    The blink type movement system is a great solution, but it's not a good fit for all games. In small contained playing areas it will shine, but I wouldn't want to try and blink my way across an open world playing area.

    There are players out there who want the freedom to walk around in a normal fps way, to explore large terrains (I know, I'm one of them). I love games where you see something in the distance, which is off the beaten track, and you can go and check it out (there is a reason why Skyrim and similar games are popular VR injection ports). I actively encourage this in Push. I want people to find those little rewards I've dropped in as payment for their curiosity. I don't want players to see something and then have them mentally calculate how many blinks it is to get there and whether it's worth the effort or not.

    A normal fps system will not be for everyone, but it will be self regulating. People will either hate it and avoid it, or they will just be fine with it because it's the mechanic they were expecting/wanting.

    Will a traditional fps system make new players feel queasy? Yes of course. It did for all of us (except for very very small percentage). Just how many of us walked up the stairs in the Tuscany house for the first time and had our first hit of VR motion sickness. And how many of us thought 'ok, I feel a weird in my stomach right now - but OMG!!! THIS IS AWESOME!!! - I don't care, I don't care, I'll get used to it, it's worth the spending time getting my rift legs if I can have this in my life.'

    Consumer rift buyers will be no different. We did not put up with 'having to get our rift legs' just because we are developers and early adopters - we did it because putting on a rift for the first time was truly amazing and we knew we wanted it. I believe the same will be true with VR consumers.

    I did a show just recently. I was strapping people into the game and they were running over large terrains, whizzing around in flying cars, looping the loop in space ships and strafing around enemies whilst shooting them in the face with a shotgun (the shotgun totally rocks). I ask each one of them how they felt and if they liked it. All of them loved it (I'd like to think it was the game they were talking about, but we all know it was the rift ;) ). Those players that did feel a little ill said that it was 'worth it for the experience'.

    I think we are in danger of wrapping soon to be consumers in too much cotton wool. We might find they are more resilient than we think....
    Lupus Solus - Lone developer of Push For Emor
    Push For Emor: http://www.pushforemor.com
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/pushforemor
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