Back in Action

Good news for me. For years now I have not been able to work in 3D, and for a while I couldn’t even play most 3D games because, while I have always been susceptible, I developed increased sensitivity to simulator sickness. This has been quite frustrating for me as I generally enjoy 3D games more than 2D, and because I felt like I was doing something worthwhile in working on my wheelchair sim project. I have been keeping up to date with Unreal installations, and continuing to move the project through each version to make sure it builds under the new versions, but I haven’t done much new work.

Fortunately, my sensitivity has abated somewhat and I’ve been able to play some 3D again, like Subnautica: Below Zero, Elite: Dangerous (except, the spinning when the ship goes out of control, that I cannot take and wonder if there is a way to suppress, it’s like the final minutes of “The Martian”, a movie I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed watching in 3D…I was never cut out to be an astronaut!), Yakuza 0, and some others. I still have to be selective, but it’s reduced. I looked for a resource for people with heightened sim sickness for games that they were still able to play. I found plenty of articles discussing the effect in general, but I haven’t found a list yet. GameCritics does a neat thing where they include the accessibility features, or lack thereof, in their game reviews, like colorblind modes, concerns for deaf & hard of hearing gamers (subtitles, whether there are audio-only game cues), and remappable controls:

Accessibility notes on a game review at gamecritics.com
Accessibility notes on the most recent game review at gamecritics.com at time of writing (https://gamecritics.com/brian-theisen/tetragon-review/ )

But game reviewers must be self-selected to generally be people that don’t get sim sickness, and if any site consistently mentions it, I haven’t seen it. Since I am quite susceptible, I’m going to try to point out on this blog which games I’m comfortable playing for extended sessions, in case it helps anyone else. I am, however, going to have to permanently forgo VR. This is a tough thing for me to accept, since I think it is so very, very cool, but it’s not worth the nausea. I will still leave VR enabled in Ayuma Project 1, but I’m not going to test it any more.

I’m also now able to work at least a little in Unreal and Blender again, though it’s been a long time and I have a lot to re-learn. The latest version of Unreal seems to have made substantial improvements that make the frame & movement rate consistent in my project build – a sort of stuttering, and weird speed-up/slow-down vehicle movement, were fast sim sickness triggers for me as well as just annoying and I could not figure out how to solve them, but my latest build in Unreal 4.27 is smooth enough on my system for me to work again.

Looking at a mobility vehicle I’m working on adding in, with glass that still has refraction enabled. (Ayuma Project 1 WIP)

Another issue was the reflection/refraction in glass surfaces was not working right at all, causing a sort of fun-house distortion of the world that I could not take. I’ve read quite a bit about why it happens, tried several methods of making alternative glass materials. Maybe it’s different with ray tracing, but for now my solution has been to switch entirely to glass materials that have no refraction at all. It still looks reasonable, and no more mind-bending warping.

Creating new versions of glass materials with no refractions served as a workaround to the kaleidoscopic problem. (Ayuma Project 1 WIP)

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