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Minecraft In VR: A Dizzying Experience:

Minecraft is one of the most popular games on the market, and it’s no surprise that it’s making the jump to VR with a little help from Oculus. However, the experience might not be for everyone.

Two Options

The demo used the combination of the Rift HMD and an Xbox One controller. At the start of the game, you are transported to a virtual living room. You can use the screen in front of you to play Minecraft, or you can press a button on the controller to enter the game in first-person view. In this alternate view, you can look around by turning your head, but you can also use the right analog stick to rotate the camera by a few degrees.

The short demo was a tour of sorts. After learning the basic mechanics of the game, you would travel to other parts of the built world to kill a few zombies, watch a series of flaming arrows, and play with some chickens. The game would end after you reached a chest filled with priceless gems. Initially, it seemed strange that there were two ways to play the game, but after a few minutes walking around in the pixelated world, I found out the real purpose of the living room setup, the hard way.

The Nausea

On my first playthrough of the game, I briefly played in the virtual living room before hopping into the actual Minecraft world. However, the feeling of nausea came around after a few seconds in the unique VR view. Throughout the demo, I had to be cautious about the speed of my head turns and my character’s overall movement. When combined, those two actions can result in a dizzying experience.

Eventually, the nausea somewhat subsided near the end of the demo. However, there were issues with the game recording software, so video footage wasn’t available. I had a slightly better experience on my second run through of the game (which is the video included in this story), but my dizziness lingered as I made my way through the map.

Nausea has not been an issue for me in most of the VR games I’ve played. Even EVE: Valkyrie, with its fast-paced space flight action, didn’t make me feel sick, but Minecraft, a simple game of creativity and survival, gave me an uncomfortable experience in VR. It seems, then, that the virtual living room was created for those who might have issues playing the game in a true VR mode.

Back To The Drawing Board

Even though there are two ways to play the game in VR, Minecraft doesn’t pass with flying colors. There needs to be a way to fix the issue so that everyone can play the game as it was meant to be presented in VR instead of opting to play in a virtual living room.

We are now less than a month away from the release of the Oculus Rift, and the addition of Minecraft to the company’s VR content should attract more people to try out the device. But in its current state, the user experience for Minecraft needs to improve. Otherwise, there will be a group of players that will feel left out from the real experience due to the game’s nauseating effect.

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  • Joe Black
    I hear the nausea issue is much less pronounced for the Vive.
    Reply
  • DavidC1
    Nevermind VR. I get dizzy in Minecraft just playing on PC. I get used to it as I play longer, but usually no longer than 2 hours. Something about the game I guess.

    Remember the HL2 dizziness issue few years ago?
    Reply
  • 8R_Scotch
    I hear the nausea issue is much less pronounced for the Vive.
    In Minecraft or in general?

    Seems obvious that the principal factor is movement by controller, instead of some analog of walking or some way of detaching your movement from your body like a platform, cockpit or vehicle.

    Speed of movement is also an issue and acceleration moreso, your body doesn't move like FPS or Minecraft, when you walk you accelerate a bit before moving, then decelerate before stopping... the instant stops and moves don't accompany the expected G forces that your body expects. There's also the issue of lateral and backwards speed not being equal, but I believe that's secondary.

    Why on earth there would be a way to move your view other than moving your head and turning is beyond me, that's more or less guaranteed to cause nausea, like in first-person games that take over the camera all of a sudden.

    What's odd is that these things have been pointed out/discovered by Occulus itself, they mostly apply to FPS, but first-person whacker/miners are obviously just as bad. Shouldn't be a surprise for them, and I was kind of impressed that they announced Minecraft as a launch title for the Rift.

    It's not that easy an issue to fix, you'd need to overhaul movement, speed and acceleration in the game, which requires you overhaul and rebalance enemies and maybe distances. That'd take creating an alternate version of Minecraft, so not that simple to resolve.

    And I agree with DavidC1, I also get dizzy on desktop Minecraft, just try making a spiral staircase to your underground mine/tunnels and going up them fast, with the walls/steps hitting you on the face constantly as you jump. Imagine that on VR...
    Reply
  • 8R_Scotch
    Ugh, just watched the video. There's other stuff, like the fact that you jump when hit, carts bolt and deadstop all of a sudden and the fact that you have to point with your head to do anything, from placing torches to pressing buttons to mining blocks. This is a VERY agile and frenetic game and the "oculus edition" doesn't seem to alter any of that... good luck making this playable nausea free...
    Reply
  • hoofhearted
    Maybe they ought to throw in a bottle of Dramamine.
    Reply
  • hoofhearted
    Wonder if this has anything to do with VR coming soon?

    http://www.advfn.com/nyse/StockNews.asp?stocknews=JNJ&article=45691316
    Prestige Brands To Buy Dramamine For $76 Million From J&J's McNeil
    Reply
  • computerguy72
    I played minecraft a lot on the DK2. It actually has the most immersive feeling of any VR app I have. (The OVR version going way back is called MineCrift). When the zombies are breaking the door down the feeling is 100x more than just playing it on my monitor. None of us experienced nausea, though **special note: The sheer number of settings this version lets you change (fov, refresh rate and much more make a big difference, the version I had claimed to optimized for the dk2) so I don't know if the reviewer messed with any of the settings to his liking. Going down in a deep cave is freakishly cool or swimming. We built a train two travel between two houses and the experience is epic on the DK2. I ordered both the CV1 and the Vive - can't wait to try them both.
    Reply
  • MeeLee
    So, when is minecraft vr pr0n going to become available?
    Reply
  • MeeLee
    I even got dizzy playing Terminal Velocity on my pc in 1995, due to sprites, however the first 3d polygon games gave me the same nausea as the earlier sprite games.

    It gets better over time.
    And once you are over the motion sickness, that's when game addiction sets in.
    Reply
  • Jake Hall
    Good. I'd probably puke and shit all over myself, because Minecraft is actually a thing in 2016... may as well throw Pokemon and Lisa Frank into the mix :thumbsdown: :)
    Reply