C4. Keep the Player Comfortable

“I love VR but sometimes I'm uncomfortable while playing. It can be jarring when someone else walks through me or invades my personal space by standing too close. When enemies jump out at me without setting the mood or without prior experience for how to handle the situation it is difficult to cope.”

During moments of gameplay, players may feel overwhelmed when enemies jump out nowhere without setting the mood or without prior experience for how to handle the situation. Having an object or other player pass through the player can be jarring and uncomfortable.

Players have a certain level of expected comfort when playing in a simulated world. Things like personal space can be violated (creating discomfort) when another player or NPC is standing too close to them or even walks through them.

Examples (adhered):

  • Batman Arkham VR: In the opening scene, the player plays as young Bruce Wayne and witnesses the murder of his parents. Joe Chill, the man who shoots them, then approaches the player, but lowers the gun so the player is not frightened by him. The player refers to the scene as “intense” but not “scary”.

Examples (violated):

  • John Wick Chronicles: The player presses an in-game touch screen to call the elevator and pauses for a moment, confused as to whether the elevator is coming or not. Then he is startled when the elevator appears directly on top of / within him, defying normal physics and disrupting the player’s comfort.
  • Farpoint: The spider enemy jumps at the player’s face. The player says, “Oh my god, did you see that? It jumped right at my face.” A few times, he mentions feeling paranoia because he does not know where the spiders will come from.
  • Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul: The player becomes so scared by an approaching figure that he throws off his headset and controller and walks away. He removes his headset twice more out of fear in the following few minutes.