Motion Sickness and Games


#1

Just wondering if anyone else here ever suffers from motion sickness while playing games, and if so, what games/any cures?

I love playing Overwatch on ps4, and yesterday I grabbed the pc version during the half-off sale so I have a copy I can play with my girlfriend. I just finished playing it with her for an hour, though, and now I’m motion sick as hell. Is it the muddier graphics? Framerate? Mouse and Keyboard vs controller? I don’t know.

I’ve gotten motion sick from other games before. The worst was when I played “Unfinished Swan”. In that game, you throw ink balls to color out the world. Something about the black on white aesthetic/throwing motion on that game really made me suffer.

What’s been your experience?


#2

I play games with someone who has a lot of issues with motion sickness.

When possible, play in third person.
When possible, turn the FoV up a bunch, or be further from the screen.
Smoother framerates and animations are better.
Lower input delay/display latency is better.

There’s a lot of stuff at play, so playing it by ear, and just factoring it into planning for how long you’ll play, etc. is a good idea. It also seems to improve a bit over time for them, as a slow adjustment curve which improves on a decent per game rate, and slower general rate.


#3

Yeah, I’ve commented about this before, but I get pretty significant motion sickness from most 3D games. I second @Anime’s comments and have also heard that dimming the monitor may help. Extra Credits made a video about simulation sickness a few years ago that may be of interest (that’s where the screen dimming tip comes from).


#4

It’s pretty rare for me but it does happen. Actually when I first started playing 3d games with the N64 I got motion sickness all the time. Eventually it just stopped happening and I’m not sure why since I can now even play the games that gave me trouble back then.

I think the most recent time I got motion sickness was with Saints Row 4. My computer wasn’t good enough to run it at a smooth framerate so I think that was the problem. I was so into the game that I kept playing for way too long while it was happening and ended up feeling terrible the rest of the day.

For me I think framerate is the biggest culprit. If it’s consistently dipping under 30 I may end up having trouble (especially if it’s a fast paced game like Saints Row 4). On that note I prefer to have a stable framerate rather than simply high. What I mean is if the framerate fluctuates between say 35 and 50 FPS I would rather just have it locked at 30 to remove any hitching. I don’t know if that actually has an effect on motion sickness but it makes sense to me that it could. There are a few ways to manually lock framerate on PC games. The way I do it is with a program called RivaTuner Statistics Server.


#5

For some reason, both Resident Evil 6 and 7 gave me violent motion sickness the first time I played them. I’m going to guess Capcom used a same or similar FOV/motion blur/camera speed/etc for both and it happens to be just the right parameters to get me straight to vom-town.

I’ve tested VR games for over six months and I still can’t do the “smooth” (1-to-1) turning in games, I need to use the “snap” turn option. The former always gives me the “spinning in an office chair” feeling.

I got used to normal movement locomotion though, that took a while to stabilize on. My bud who’d never used VR though, seemed to have no problems with smooth turn and normal locomotion. It’s really subjective.

Also a couple of VR experiences I really would not recommend: Elite Dangerous and Euro Truck Sim 2. Both of them got me horribly seasick for the next 2-3 hours.


#6

The only game I got motion sickness from was Killzone: Shadow Fall. It was the first multiplayer game I put a lot of time into, and for a while it made me consistently feel terrible and I had no idea why. Then the community brought to my attention the fact that the FOV is dreadful and, yeah. I eventually started limiting myself to 3 matches per session because it was so bad.


#7

I get motion sickness pretty easily if I play any old FPS. I can’t play the original Doom for more than 10 mins before feeling really awful. I don’t ever get it with new games so I feel like it might be a graphics thing, like to do with the way you experience fast movement in a game? I also got motion sickness from being in cars in the past just to clarify.


#8

My partner’s susceptible to motion sickness & discomfort in first person games, and funnily enough, a lot of the advice found here is the opposite for them. Lower framerates mean the motion looks less unnaturally smoothed, so 30 FPS with decent modern motion blur can do a lot better for them. FOV’s a tricky one depending on the game, remember that >90 FOV tends to distort like a fisheye lens around the edges, so it can exacerbate the problem a bunch, but being able to see more on the screen at once means less turning around just to get your bearings. Though even then, the sheer perspective change can have a subjective effect and some might do better with far lower FOV (and even more variable with distance from the screen)

On mouse & keyboard, check for mouse smoothing/mouse acceleration options (both in-game and in your OS’s settings), usually having these on makes people more sick but they can sometimes be on by default and might even help if you turn them up, it’s all subjective. The sheer pace of the game can also dictate the issues you got, I know Resi 7 is the only first-person game my partner’s been able to play for 8 hours straight, and they did it through a Steam stream from my computer at 30~ FPS (the muddiness of the stream in motion might have even helped them!)


#9

My girlfriend gets extreme motion sickness from any sort camera movement. She even has trouble watching modern movies. Even things like scrolling quickly through twitter or googlemaps can make her queasy.

I don’t have any issues myself and tend to spin cameras around and move very twitchy, so when it’s been challenging for me to change play habits if she’s watching. When looking for solutions online, I was sorely disappointed in lack practical solutions out there, but we found some things that help her.

  1. Turning down the brightness of the monitor.

  2. Taking frequent breaks.

  3. Lowering the sensitivity.

Even with these though, we usually can only play for like 40 minutes before she needs to lay down for like an hour. Not really the best solution. We generally just play 2D games with static screens. She loved Pyre for example.

One of the developers behind 100ft Robot Golf, Panzer, said she also suffers from motion sickness and found that playing games in VR doesn’t cause it. Not exactly a cheap solution though!!


#10

For me the most effective ways to combat motion sickness are to turn off motion blur, and always use a controller. Camera movement is so much smoother compared to mouse + keyboard.


#11

Interesting.

Actually, now that you mention it, some of the best games for the person I play with were older source games, at kinda bad framerates, like Left 4 Dead 2.

I suppose it makes sense that there’s a bad spot at some point where you get too many frames for that smooth low framerate effect, and then it just improves from there. Some kind of un-smooth valley.


#12

I was wondering about this too! Maybe there’s some sort of “sick spot” between low framerate, where the game looks obviously fake, and high/steady framerate, where the game looks real.


#13

The first time I played STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl, I didn’t notice anything wrong. I went back to it a few years afterwards, and the headbob got me nauseous almost straight away. I haven’t gone back to it because I still need to find a patch to remove the headbob.


#14

Not to derail this thread but this got me curious so I looked it up for you. Here’s a pretty simple fix https://steamcommunity.com/app/4500/discussions/0/846959998087813897/


#15

One other thing I forgot to mention that we keep meaning to try, but haven’t yet, is those motion sickness patches. Pretty widely available, and generally meant for travel, etc. but a patch you put behind your ear, and fights motion sickness for 1-3 days.

They… sound like they’re effective? But still haven’t actually put them to the test for video games.


#16

Aw, thank you so much! I deeply appreciate it. :slight_smile: Been putting that off for years. No excuse anymore!


#17

I don’t often get motion sickness while playing games, but I was unable to complete the demo for the original Mirror’s Edge because it made me so ill. I think Half Life 2 on Xbox 360 also made me feel a little weird.

Watching someone else playing a first-person game is more likely to make me queasy, but it seems to depend on the person playing.

A certain Dan Rykert playing VR games is pretty much guaranteed to give me a headache and slightly sick feeling. Dude just can’t keep his head still.


#18

This is something that’s been on my mind for a bit, as a game that made my partner immediately sick was the pre-alpha footage of the game Scorn [CW for lots of body horror imagery, if you look this game up). It has a whole bunch of modern rendering going into really busy scenery and the footage was 60 fps in first-person.

Part of it is that, despite the common complaint that this generation’s graphical gap from the last is small, there’s actually been a massive leap in tech to deliver more immediately convincing scenery. Even though most of it is still inherently unreal (heh), it’s a lot easier for our dang brains to reach closure in like, most any UE4 game as compared to UE3 games. When that’s smoothed out beyond what our eyes expect, it can create discomfort. Quality and technique in motion blur can make or break this, too.

While technically different, it runs into a similar reason for why the terrible modern TV trend of motion smoothing makes loads of folks physically ill, even when watching relatively static-shot old shows.

On another token: OP’s problem with Overwatch PS4 vs PC might also be due to the change in the language of input. Not because they can’t comprehend it, but because the movement on all axes is fundamentally different. Mouse movement obviously flows and snaps different to any analog stick movement, but something less talked-about is how a keyboard affects character movement. KB movement is digital, which means the inherent feeling that you can finely tune your speed and direction at any time on a stick is gone, or rather directly translated to either “all the way in 8 directions” or “stopped”, with maybe a clunky “walk” modifier nobody uses thrown on some pinky-reach-key or capslock. Strafing especially might feel jarring as hell if you’re used to feeling your windup (even if it’s in milliseconds, even if it’s just the impression that you feel it), and now you have controls that jolt you sideways right away when you jam the key down.

side note: fuck PC gaming for making peeps not appreciate how cool and good it is to slow the hell down in games, especially third-person dealies.


#19

I had to bump the mouse sensitivity down to seven, so you’re probably right there. And yeah, keyboard is incredibly strange after controller.

I’m grateful to everyone who’s chimed in with stories/advice. I’ve adjusted fov, and decreased graphical settings in favor of a stable 30 fps. So far those changes seem to help


#20

The thing that always immediately fucks me up in first person games is when you have to walk through an area where the room is tilted. This is usually in situations where you have to go into a beached/sunken ship, like The Brinehammer in Skyrim (image from this video* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXR_P0esEgE by way of Google Image Search)

*I haven’t watched any of the video with sound on, so I apologize if the LPer is screaming racial slurs or something the entire video