palmstorm VR • April 15, 2016
No Vomit, No cry
– Bob Marley sings about VR nausea
I’ve lamented in my latest post about the usage of VR, so let’s continue with the search for the Ultimate VR App.
Lesson #2. Try Something Else. The obvious won’t work.
When VR was just a theory, everyone envisioned the perfect Virtual Reality experience with simple ideas.
Be Superman and fly over Manhattan!
Fight baddies as a marine hero on the battlefield!
Drive exotic cars at top speed in the Swiss Alps!
… that is: crank up simulation immersion to 11 with VR, and that’s it! Simple, isn’t it?
Well, no. Now that VR is reality, things turned out to be the opposite.
These ideas just won’t work.
Flight Simulation: high anxiety
First Person Shooter: nausea
Car Racer: motion sickness
Unless you want to physically torture your players (Dark Souls Next?), you should be very careful with these genres.
There is a reason why Oculus Store wisely labels such games as “intense”, and recommends a mere 15 minute long gameplay session only.
Definitely not an ideal setup for, say, an FPS junkie, who spends hours and hours in CS:GO honing his sharpshooting skills…
Heck, in a hardcore flight simulation, 15 minutes is barely enough to take off that plane!
In truth, the ideal VR app is slow, does not rely on constant head movement and won’t let you bungee jump down the Grand Canyon.
That is: the ideal VR app is a Rock Simulator™ (with a Growing Grass™ DLC!). Your avatar just lies on the ground and do… nothing.
Obviously, this won’t attract too many customers, so you have to figure out something else.
That’s why, we, at PalmStorm have started to work on three VR prototypes, to find out what would be the best.
Third-person action game prototype: an experiment for trying out an exploration/shooter hybrid.
Tower Defense strategy prototype: a case study to transform a well known genre to VR.
3D puzzle prototype: a quirky attempt on expanding a 2D puzzle game to 3D.
… and on top of it, all prototypes must have the least nauseating camera and the simplest control possible.
You might ask, why is this restriction? Are you guys masochists?
Well, no. There is a very harsh reason behind this decision. I’ll write about it next week.