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Old 06-20-2002, 12:05 PM
Anamorphic Anamorphic is offline
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First-person shooters and nausea

Anyone else have a problem with this? I was playing Return To Castle Wolfenstein on my computer a lot, and every time I'd play, I could feel myself getting slightly queasy. Enough so that I'd have to stop playing after about an hour or so. I was really enjoying the game, but it eventurally got too much for me and I just stopped playing.

I thought maybe it was something just particular to RTCW, but yesterday, I went over a friends house, and we played Halo on his XBox for a while. And I got it again, this time, much, much worse. It knocked me down for the rest of the day. I guess it feels like some sort of motion sickness, but I've never had trouble with that before. I have no problem with flying or being on a boat. I also never had this problem with the older first-person shooters, like Doom or Duke NukeEm. I'm not sure if it's happening now because the games are getting more realistic, or because I'm getting older.

So, anyone else have this ailment, or am I alone in my suffering?
Old 06-20-2002, 12:25 PM
Balance Balance is offline
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Do you wear glasses? I've occasionally experienced mild nausea while playing FPS while wearing my glasses. Your eyes flick around your field of view pretty quickly in newer shooters (lest something rush you from an odd angle), and slight variations in the lenses might have a disorienting effect. I've never experienced this while wearing my contact lenses.

Just a WAG.
Old 06-20-2002, 12:33 PM
Anamorphic Anamorphic is offline
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No, I don't wear glasses, so that can't be it.
Old 06-20-2002, 12:49 PM
Silentgoldfish Silentgoldfish is offline
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It must be a pretty common problem -- ever read the warning at the front of a manual for a fps?

I remember getting very queasy when I first played Doom, but that's because I'd been playing Wolfenstein3d lots and the head-bob through me for a loop. Course, I was 12 at the time.
Old 06-20-2002, 12:49 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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I've had a similar problem with Dungeon Siege, primarily when my party is at the top of a tower and I tell them to go outside. The spinning motion as the group heads downstairs is pretty disorienting.
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Old 06-20-2002, 12:51 PM
Silentgoldfish Silentgoldfish is offline
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Damn, shoulda been warnings. Perils of typing one handed.
Old 06-20-2002, 12:57 PM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Lots of people experience this with FPS games. My guess is that the eyes are telling the brain that you are moving, but your inner-ear says you are not and conflicts with this input. Nausea could be a response where the body is thinking that the "bad input" is caused from being poisoned.

Way back in the Mesozoic era when I was playing the original Wolf-3D on my 286, I never experienced it. But when I got a 486-66 and suddenly the game got MUCH smoother, I started to get nausea from it. I get it once in a while still on newer games, but it's pretty rare.
Old 06-20-2002, 01:02 PM
World Eater World Eater is offline
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I would always feel weird if I looked at anything except the screen. Of course that was after 9 straight hours of quake 3.
Old 06-20-2002, 01:19 PM
Bean Counter Bean Counter is offline
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Revtim hit the nail on the head. You are getting motion sickness. Do you ever feel sick while riding in a car?

Basically your eyes are telling your brain that you are moving around while your inner ear, stomach and apendages are saying, "No we're not!" The brain, not liking the conflicting messages, wigs out and causes all sorts of nastiness.
Old 06-20-2002, 01:23 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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I believe the semi-official term is "VR sickness." Like air sickness and car sickness its caused by a conflict between sensory input (I am going someplace) and inner ear input (I am sitting still in a chair).

I can't play any type of first-person style game for this reason. I think if you ask around most people who game a lot know a few friends/aquaintences who don't enjoy it for this specific reason.
Old 06-20-2002, 01:29 PM
Anamorphic Anamorphic is offline
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Originally posted by Bean Counter
Revtim hit the nail on the head. You are getting motion sickness. Do you ever feel sick while riding in a car?
I definitely do believe it's motion sickness, but the weird part is, no, I don't ever feel sick while riding in a car. I did get seasick once, years and years ago, but it was on a small boat in very choppy water, and I've been on other boats since with no ill-effects. So I don't seem to suffer from motion sickness under other circumstances, just while playing these video games.
Old 06-20-2002, 01:33 PM
Anamorphic Anamorphic is offline
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Thanks for the term, Hello Again. I googled 'VR sickness' and got a whole bunch of hits. I don't have time to go through them right now, but definitely will when I get a chance later.
Old 06-20-2002, 03:20 PM
rjung rjung is offline
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Just another victim of VR sickness here.

I find that my nausea gets stronger and arrives quicker if the game screen fills my entire area of vision -- that is, if I don't have a stable "framing area" around the screen. If I keep the game window small, or play the FPS on a TV and sit back from the screen (so I can see part of the room around the TV), the nausea is minimal.
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Old 06-20-2002, 03:24 PM
slortar slortar is offline
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You might try varying your gaming environment a bit--e.g. if you're in a dark room, turn on a light, if you're in a light room, turn off the lights/pull the shades. Some of it could be coming from eye strain. At the very least, you could try pausing the game every half hour or so and taking a quick breather.
Old 06-20-2002, 03:58 PM
HPL HPL is offline
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I had this problme at times as well, but only with certain games.
I think it only happened with the Lucasarts games Dark Forces and Outlaws.

Everything else works fine.
Old 06-20-2002, 04:14 PM
Max Carnage Max Carnage is offline
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It helps if you turn off the head bob. At least that's what I'm told; they don't make me ill.
Old 06-20-2002, 04:19 PM
Trion Trion is offline
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You are certainly not alone. I started a thread on this very subject many moons ago.

Here’s a link. Perhaps it will be of some help.
Old 06-20-2002, 04:45 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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I never had a problem until after I'd played a lot of Unreal Tournament. Then I tried to set up my sister's (older) computer with the original Doom and nearly threw up. For some reason, going from a high-quality to a lower-quality FPS, even one I had played to death a mere 5 years ago, was enough to give me headaches and nausea.
Old 06-20-2002, 04:50 PM
Amp Amp is offline
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Sufferer of VR Sickness chiming in. But its only when I play with my glasses on. If I play with them off then I'm OK.
Old 06-20-2002, 09:04 PM
widdershins widdershins is offline
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I don't get it, but one of my best friends does. He can't handle FPS games at all. He tried to play Colony Wars (my favorite Playstation game) once, but the first-person view point combined with zero gravity (meaning no real up or down) made him disoriented and nauseous. He could play Ace Combat 2 with no problem however. He wears glasses also and gets carsick only if he isn't driving.
Old 06-20-2002, 10:13 PM
Red 2 Red 2 is offline
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I got that alot playing Descent 3, in "no cockpit" mode. Not sure if this qualifies as a FPS but it's the same idea. It would be alot better if I used the cockpit. If Wolfenstein has some kind of setting like this you could try using it or use a smaller screen size.
Old 06-20-2002, 10:50 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
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Didn't get "VR sickness" but the cable car sequence in Return To Castle Wolfenstein where you're running around on the tower gave me a bad case of vertigo.
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Old 06-20-2002, 10:52 PM
clayton_e clayton_e is offline
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Originally posted by Silentgoldfish
Damn, shoulda been warnings. Perils of typing one handed.
Buy Whizzo butter.
Old 06-20-2002, 11:19 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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I'm over 40, and the only time I've experienced motion sickness of any kind was when I got slightly nauseous after playing Quake with 3-D goggles at an arcade for about an hour.
Old 06-21-2002, 03:18 AM
Sublight Sublight is offline
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I had this happen to me when I first played Unreal Tournament. I got over it after playing a few times, so I think either my movements became smoother, or I started unconsciously moving my head to match my character.

When my girlfriend (now wife) started playing, I sat next to her to show her how to use the controls. Within ten minutes, I felt sick as a dog. Something about the combination of her jerky movements and not knowing where she was going to move next just made me come close to hurling.
Old 06-21-2002, 09:28 AM
HideoHo HideoHo is offline
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I possible suggestion

For people playing on PC games that get sick only on certain games, not all, there is something you can try.

You can try changing the field of view. I know Unreal has this option, but I'm pretty sure Quake (and their engine based games) does too. Basically, when you're viewing a game on your monitor, you're seeing out at a certain angle from a single point. In unreal, people will change this angle from 90 (I think that's the default) to about 110 so that they have more 'peripheral' vision.

With only certain games giving vertigo/motion sickness, I'm guessing it has something to do with you seeing a wider or more narrow angle than your brain is used to and so it looks distorted as you move (similar to moving your head around while looking into a curved glass fishtank). I know if I make the field of view angle too high, it looks strange to me and I can't play very long, so it's something to look into on your favorite game. And, if it helps, just remember that angle and you can use it in other games that allow you to change it.

If this helps anyone, I'd be very interested to hear about it, as it makes me sick if I change the angle, so maybe it'll make someone better if they do the same.
As for people with consoles...well - you can always just buy a wide screen tv and see if that helps.

Old 06-21-2002, 11:33 AM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
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I think it has something to do with the jerkiness of the animation in FPS. I can play X-Wing for hours (an oldie but a goodie!) but a few minutes of Wolfie leaves me queasy. I'm okay with Gran Turismo, too, but probably that's because it's on the TV, rather than a computer monitor a few inches from my nose.

Anybody experience sickness with flight or driving similuators?


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