General Question

bomyne's avatar

What causes motion sickness in video games?

Asked by bomyne (400 points ) February 16th, 2012

My girlfriend and I are avid PC gamers. We can spend quite a few hours in games like The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, Terraria, and other games of those types, but after an hour or so of games like Left 4 Dead 2, Urban Terror, etc she starts to feel motion sickness. I’m wondering if anyone knows what causes this and if there’s a way we can fix it in those games. Thanks.

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8 Answers

GrayTax's avatar

I’d say it could be something to do with the view-bobbing, or possibly the way the camera works in first person games in general (if those are the main culprits)? I had a friend that couldn’t play FPSs because of the mixture.

If you’re PC gamers then there may be mods (or configuration file changes) available for each game that turn off the view bobbing / motion blurring / other things that could cause motion sickness.

KoleraHeliko's avatar

It can depend on a few things. If you’re playing on a TV screen (in particular, plasma) instead of a PC screen, you might find that motion sickness type stuff occurs. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it definitely has a name.

But otherwise, you can usually tone down the shakiness of the camera in many games, or switch the camera following mode. Even if it’s not in the usual settings, you can generally find a way to alter it by googling.

ragingloli's avatar

Try increasing the FOV to 90 or more.
Google how to do that for the affected games.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It’s caused by the disconnect between what your eyes are siing and what your body is feeling. Your eyes are seeing movement that your inner ear is not feeling. I seem to recall a theory that this was an evolutionary protection against certain poisons that make you hallucinate so your body fights back by trying to vomit them out. How much truth there is in that I don’t know.

gambitking's avatar

It’s because you’re not moving, but your eyes tell your brain you are. The mixed signals, plus the swift pace at which the action on screen is moving and spinning can make you feel dizzy or ill.

Try adjusting your distance from the screen, changing the sensitivity on your look-around controls, and I’ve also found it helps if there’s a good amount of light in the room, and there’s other objects in your periphery to help dilute the action onscreen into the stationary setting you’re really in.

sydsydrox's avatar

I think it has something to do with looking at all the things on the screen moving around; this happens to me when I play too much on the Wii. Maybe all the colors and things moving around can cause a headache or something. Try telling her to take a break every half hour, and it should stop.

bomyne's avatar

Just thought of something. We both play the exact same games but i use a 24 inch monitor, she plays on a 15 inch laptop. I dont have any issues, she does. Could this be related?

Thammuz's avatar

The issue comes with her not being used to disconnecting her labyrinth from her eyes while playing.

In layman’s terms: the brain struggles with differentiating between the visual input of reality and game and always looks for feedback from the labyrinth, regardless of whether it should be there or not, causing her to feel disoriented.

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