Resident Evil 7 In VR Is A Nauseating Mess

I literally gasped when the Resident Evil logo came up at Sony's E3 press conference. A big budget horror game in VR?! My dreams came crashing down to Earth after playing it in VR, unfortunately. Right now, it's a mess. This isn't a critical analysis of the demo's content, or a musing on what it means for the future of Resident Evil. (I'll save that for later.) Rather, this is a guttural reaction to what it's like to play Resident Evil 7 in VR.

In short: Resident Evil 7 made me feel awful.

VR doesn't tend to elicit a nauseating reaction from me, despite the many hours I've spent with games across a variety of genres on a plethora of devices, some of them years away from being ready for consumers. And Resident Evil 7 isn't my first time with a first-person horror game, but it's definitely the the first time I almost took off a VR headset and tapped out.

In VR, a flashlight is controlled by moving your head around, but players can independently move with a controller. This means it's possible to move in one direction while looking in another. That's not a shocking combo for VR -- lots of games use it -- but the moment I did both at the same time, the banana I had at Starbucks was saying hi in my stomach.

There were two different moments where I had to stop moving around, take a deep breath, allow my stomach to settle and return to the game. It proved incredibly distracting from the otherwise effective horror teaser, and showed how quickly poor VR implementation can hurt immersion.

As for why this happens, it's unclear. Digital Foundry's analysis of the non-VR demo shows the game running at a solid 60 FPS. The problem may be that VR operates best when games are running at 90 FPS, while Sony only requires developers to hit 60 FPS in order to ship on PS VR.

100ft Robot Golf designer Dan Teasdale, whose game will also support PS VR, says it's a little more complicated than frame rate:

I asked Capcom what steps the company is taking to mitigate nausea, and it released a brief statement: "The title is still in development and is still being optimised across all aspects, including for VR. The development team's priority with VR is ensuring that players' comfort and ability to enjoy the game to its full potential is realised."


Comments

    If I can play an amateur modification of quake (shouts out to quakespasm) I can play god darn near anything.... if the FPS is there

    I feel a certain level of (lets say FPS, lamens terms) ATW, input lag.... has to be reached before a game stops being VR sickeness.
    Colour and brightness also have an effect...
    And of course the motion of the viewpoint (a important factor)

    and with Resident Evil Ill have a go at my first Horror VR experience

    Last edited 21/06/16 1:15 pm

      How do you find smooth yaw rotation to be? For me it seems like faster rotation can be less nauseating, while things that limit you to slow movement and rotation tend to be far more gut-wrenching (although once you get extremely slow it gets a little better again). I'm not entirely certain whether it's just because I've started to build a tolerance though.

        motion is odd in vr.... small slow movements can be more nauseating than big re-adjustment Viewpoints

        Im pretty sure that its got to do with ear balance just as much as anything
        edit: that is your eye movements have to be "felt" by the ear pressure

        Last edited 21/06/16 3:04 pm

    "60fps PSVR is actually 120fps to the headset, it’s just every other frame is reprojected instead of rendered."

    ... Well that's almost a completely useless thing to say.

      No, it's actually really helpful. It means that rather than drawing the whole scene again for the "even" frames, the previous/"odd" frame is warped to match the updated viewpoint for the current frame, so despite the game world being updated at just 60fps your viewpoint is being updated at 120fps. That high update rate is key for mitigating nausea. Only problem is it works really well with rotation, not so well with translation.

        Yep, just educated myself on reprojection and I can see what I was missing now - it's not simply frame doubling as I first thought. Valve's best practices say to use it as a last resort though, so not sure how much of a concession it really is.

          I believe with Valve's implementation, their reprojection doesn't kick in unless the frame rate drops so you might still get points of judder as that goes on and off, whereas PSVR's reprojection is always on and it's designed to be used that way. Plus there's no hard and fast rules with Valve, just recommendations for building to a whole spectrum of hardware unlike you get with console games where they have to meet certification and such, so I guess Sony would likely have a requirement that games can stick to these 60fps requirements before they get approved.

    One game to do both VR and on screen was always going to create problems. I was honestly surprised they let everyone try this game before VR is even a thing.

    At the same time I feel it was totally worth a try.

    This makes me curious as to exactly how many people would find this nauseating. Then, I'd like to compare that to how many people got nauseous when first person 3D games were originally developed.

    No surprise, VR is still a fairly new thing to mainstream gaming and far from mastered by anyone yet. Developers will work out how to make it work better over time.

    I wish I could get a chance to have a real go at one of these things. Every time I hear about the nausea I have trouble understanding what its like. The whole time I'm sitting here enjoying the idea of immersive VR games, including converted non-VR games but being constantly told that x or y doesn't work because sickness.

      Have you ever been sitting on a train at the station with another stopped alongside you, then the other train starts to depart from its platform and you feel a little weird and dizzy because it looks like you're moving when you're not? It's kinda like that.

    Actually meant to be replying to @mrtaco. Not really. When that happens I usually just wonder why they started departing early and haven't closed the doors!

    (btw I do know what nausea/dizzyness feels like, I'm just unsure how its so reliable with VR)

    Last edited 21/06/16 9:47 pm

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