The second day of the conference is where each company gave out a 45-60 minutes presentation about their company, technology, and vision. There are a lot of interesting talks, but the ones I find most interesting are the ones that talk about the problems and challenges they faced when building VR games.
This post is going to be about the compilation of those problems that we are currently facing on our game "VR Jurassic Island", as well as the general rule of thumbs when making game for VR that I learned from the presenters.
Minimum 60 Frames Per Second (FPS)
This is the general rule when making VR experience. If the game runs under 60 FPS, it will usually make most people sick. Some people can handle as low as 30 FPS, but lower than that is pushing it. Our game did not have much optimization done, so it ran at a whopping 28 fps... There were times when people put the head gear on for 5 seconds and gave up. This was a wake up call for us.
Dont F**k Around With The Camera
We wanted to show a couple different scenes in our game. The first scene was where you have to hide from the lurking T-rex, while the second scene is on a lake where you can see a Brachiosaurus eating from a tall tree. We needed a way to take the player to the second scene, but they are pretty far apart in the game world.
So we made a Magic carpet that moves the player to the lake scene, as if it's a vehicle. We had mixed feedback about it. Some people loved it, they said it made them feel like they're surfing. Others are either confused, dizzy, or worse, got motion sick.
Another thing we did was to set 1 meter in real life to be 4 meter in game, since our game world is pretty big. This also triggers confusion and motion sickness to some people.
The key learning here is to not modify the in game camera's position abruptly. If a user doesn't execute any movement but they see movement in game, it will mess with their brain's balance and visual system, which causes motion sickness. So just don't touch the damn camera.
Don't Get People Lost/Confused
When you start playing our game, you are dropped in the middle of a forest. Then suddenly a T-rex pop up. Do you fight it? Do you run? Do you hide? You don't know, since you don't even know the goal of the game.
We learned that since we are essentially putting people on an "alternate reality", we need to give them time to assimilate this new world. We can't just assume they know what to do. They dont. We have to ease the experience in. Start with a very simple world, then bring the intensity up incrementally. Don't make an experience that want to make people run.
Do you remember that moment when you're between dreaming and being awake? Where your dream is blending a little bit with your reality? According to the Zero Latency VR guys, it takes about 20 minutes for people to be immersed in VR games and starts to "forget" that they are in a virtual world.
The Zero Latency VR guys did an experiment where they put VR headset to people and show them a familiar scene. They showed them an apartment scene, where everything is normal. Then, after a while and the player started getting comfortable with the scene, they changed the scene to be the top of a mountain. They then asked the players to jump off from the mountain. When the players refused, they know that they have gotten them immersed into the virtual world.
Complete coverage of the second day: