|Virtual Reality Games: How They Persuade You That Things Have Weight | Technology|
How Virtual Reality Games Convince You That Things Have Weight?
Immersion is by far the greatest strength in VR that can be described as flat gaming. When done well, virtual reality can take us to familiar worlds, storybook fantasies, distant galaxies, and even mountain climbs. By placing players directly in this 360-degree space, there is a complete enjoyment of media that cannot be played on TV or PC screens. Often this relies on intuitive use of motion controls – and in virtual reality, hand gestures are inseparable.
Some VR games support traditional consoles, but they’re honestly never compatible with the format. Direct hand and finger tracking turns the promised but limited motion control into an adaptive middle ground. Although they may not mimic our right hand, the grip and play buttons add great physical strength when holding things. But it causes other problems. For games that use the same controller to interact with the object, how would you express the object’s weight differently? One thing to pick up things, and another to throw them right.
After launching several physics-based VR games like Sister Works, I was curious to know more, so I spoke to a couple of developers. The first is Immersion Games, developer of Disk Ninja, where I spoke to CEO Bertoz Roslowski. His team is currently working on a major update to Disc Ninja’s “fly and throw model” that will allow them to expand their arsenal of throwables. Next, I spoke to Kaley Max Hoffman of Tunermaxx, Rainbow Reactor: Game Director of Fusion, an improved version of Rainbow Reactor. Currently, the team is developing Snow Scout, which uses a “physics-based approach”.
At first glance, Disc Ninja and Fusion are two completely different games. The core of Disc Ninja revolves around feudal Japanese disc golf, as in Fusion we recharge a power plant in Rain City and throw paintballs at a net in a match-3 puzzle game. However, they both share a common gameplay that involves throwing objects to reach your goal. So I asked about the design philosophy of each team so I could better understand what’s going on.
With Disc Ninja, Rosłoński emphasizes that immersion follows a “primary goal” rather than a specific philosophy, and focuses on engaging and fun gameplay. Extensive testing is required to recommend a ‘whole body experience’. They invite a Polish professional frisbee player to try the discus games. “Surprisingly, none of the titles tested were real,” Roslovsky tells me. As VR hardware continues to improve, he believes existing options “limit the sensitive experience and interaction for both game and player.” Accordingly, the goal of immersion is to maintain “arcade-like and simulated usability”.
For Fusion, Hoffman told me that the hard work of 2019 has begun, “a kind of rethink [like] how to render the player’s body in virtual reality.” “They work best to give that sense of connection to virtual reality” and how they are especially useful for newcomers, he told me as he put your hand in place of the controllers. However, there are problems. He told me, “Virtual objects cannot ‘close’ your hand when you walk through them, because no real-world reaction can hold them back.” Thus, a new method was created where “virtual hands follow physics and collision as in the real world or even a traditional game”. However, this can lead to situations where virtual hands are not in the same place as your real hands.
As for the weight of the object, Rosłoński referred to the limitations of the above devices. “The vibrations help add some ‘resistance’ to the virtual stuff,” he said, adding that it doesn’t feel different to the console. In the end he asserts that these factors make the visual component important when dealing with things. Throwing or locking on your side of the hammock, he explained, the immersion was meant to “provide an accessible way to learn, relax to the rhythm, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.” For me, the developers have a lot of hidden techniques, so “choose a more straightforward way to make throwing easier”, leaving the distance and height to the players’ skills.
For Fusion, Hoffman explains the design philosophy that if we synchronize a player’s hand with the real hand, “there is no chance of creating a sense of weight in something weightless.” Similar to Rosłoński, it ensures that you can only modify it through vibration behaviour. This is a widely adopted solution as Sony widely supports haptic response within PlayStation VR2. Microsoft isn’t interested in far-reaching VR games – apart from Minecraft – despite its use of the Explorer for touch controllers that previously included a wrist-worn device called a PIVOT.
Using a physics-based approach, Hoffman asserts that such toys “can visually show the weight of an object by showing how your hand is being pulled off the object once you hold it.” He described the method as “interesting” for experienced players, but cautioned that it could be confusing for new users. On throwing paintballs, he admits that “the process of throwing things in VR is very difficult to replicate correctly,” adding that everyone’s depth perception varies due to things like facial features.
Finally, based on the comments, Hoffman explains the uniqueness of Fusion as an improved version of Fusion. Although the paintballs felt heavy, Tunermax re-engineered them to make them even heavier. exchange? The paths are hard to predict. For example, Hoffman recommends moving the paintball forward “like a shot put motion” for best results. Apparently, when a tool is caught in the fusion, the scorpions disappear, replacing their original position with the player’s original hand. It’s hard to balance because Fusion was criticized at the time for its lack of paintball accuracy and feeling too light.
I’m not going to pretend there is an easy fix here, and for VR to continue to evolve as promised, it needs to be addressed in future devices. I doubt VR would be perfect – I’d say (perhaps arguably) that the perfect console doesn’t exist. But as devices evolve, the way certain objects are handled will also change. Until then, the developers are making commendable efforts and I’m excited to see what happens next.