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Players missing stuff in the VR game

Hey guys, we are play-testing our game and one of the most occurring things is that the players are missing (not noticing) a lot of stuff in the game.
Either because they were looking the wrong way, or not noticing items/interactables in the world. Even though in the “2D” editor this items are made more obvious by using extra lights/emissives to make them more noticeable. It’s like people are too overwhelmed in VR and are looking at the wrong things.

Do you guys have experience with this, and have any tips and tricks that you are using?
It’s tricky, because at the one hand I want people to explore/search the area, but it’s a bit frustrating if people walk past a button 3 times. (for example)

Hi there!

This is actually a nice perceptual challenge to tackle. Here some learning from our own experimentation:

  • to be noted in VR, objects in need in general to be a bit larger than in the real world, especially at a distance. This seems to be linked to the lower spatial resolution of the HMD (and UE4 LOD system if in use) which makes it difficult to spot something far away.
  • they also need to be more contrasted respect to the surrounding environment/background. Subtle contrasts will not work.
  • you can take advantage of some form of interaction-at-a-distance to make the object visible/recognizable upon visual exploration. Gaze activation is an example.
  • you can give objects a sort of “I am here” behavior, which attracts the attention of the player. For example they can wiggle or get some contour highlighting even if not looked at or interacted with. It is enough to attract the user’s focus.

To non experienced users VR can indeed be overwhelming, so you should also pay attention to not overload their visual system if not really needed.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Marco.

Spatial audio effect coming from the item can be extremely useful for this if it makes sense for your world and the item.
We basically have blinders on in VR since the fov is so small in comparison to real life, so the more you can make the item let you know of it’s presence when not looking at it the better. You could have it cast a moving shadow on the opposite wall for example (probably a bad example since dynamic shadows are costly in VR)
Another thought is to design your level in a way that the player will naturally see the item/button. For example, put it at the end of a hallway or make the rest of the room pretty much empty so it stands out.
You could also use navigation mesh pathfinding to draw a 3d waypoint path if you really need to guide them.

Thanks for the tips guys, I’m going to do some rearranging in the placement of the interactable objects