The Effect of VR

Concerning VR, I just have a hard time understanding how we could simulate a Bayonetta or Just Cause. The former would be physically impossible for one thing, and the latter would have us puking our brains out.

This video and other reports on VR make me feel very worried about how VR will influence what game designers make.

Have you ever used Second Life? I heard about it in a magazine a long time ago and thought it was a funny idea, letting people just make whatever world they want basically. I played with it a bit, went around to different areas in the world and looked at all the locations people made. Someone made this Mario castle where you could interact with various bits of it like warp pipes and collect red coins to get a star. Another person made a giant beanstalk you could climb. There was a museum of optical illusions. I got to see the gathering for gardener dragon illusion for the first time.

And it got boring. The most interesting things in second life were scripts other people made that could be interacted with, the rest was set dressing, you walk around and look at things and that’s kinda alright I guess, but there’s not much else to do.

The thing I tell myself is, if I were ever transported to another world outside our own, I’d still want to play games there. VR can’t take the place of games, VR can’t disrupt games. VR can be a component of games, but so can nearly anything sitting on your desk and any technology you can imagine.

The trouble is, I can see people ceasing to make a lot of game types so they can have their games in VR. Fast first person shooters are straight out, any game with sudden scene transitions, anything where the player is suddenly accelerated quickly, anything with warped, fixed, isometric, orthographic perspective, a lot of third person perspective games. The only game type VR really seems to improve are games where you control a vehicle and need to control the acceleration of the vehicle separately from the steering, because in VR you don’t need another stick for the camera.

We won’t be able to simulate things like Bayonetta in VR until we have better control systems. Not to mention that when you change the control systems that thoroughly, you change the game. Bayonetta wouldn’t work with any conceivable form of motion control, because its gameplay consists of triggering animations with digital (on/off) inputs. Motion controls capable of replicating and creating reliable access to all of Bayonetta’s possible digital inputs would not only create a poor analogy between your analog motions and their output, but they’d also be exhausting to use. A sim that actually does create an analogy between your motions and the motion of the character in-game wouldn’t be Bayonetta.

Also attaching your viewcam to Bayonetta’s head would make the game impossible to play, as a lot of things depend on seeing around you and correctly inputting directions relative to the camera.

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