Playing The Witness in VR “is far from optimal”, VR version “problematic”

By Sherif Saed, Monday, 15 February 2016 17:12 GMT

The Witness is not designed for VR. Even though you could play it in VR, the experience will be “far from optimal.”

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Making The Witness fully support virtual reality represents a number of challenges, and some of them are due to how the game was envisioned. “VR is actually quite problematic for The Witness,” said Andrew Smith, one of the game’s programmers on Reddit.

“The current seated or room-scale VR is just bad for navigating any huge open-world environment in first person. Some of the alignment-puzzles in The Witness (I won’t go into spoilers) can be ‘cheated’ by crouching down, or tilting your head etc.”

Smith added that the game can be played in VR, but it was never designed with the tech in mind. “The VR games that will really convince people are those that’re designed for the format from the ground up,” he said.

“Any kind of free navigation in VR is a hard problem. If you move around with a gamepad, but can move your head freely, what happens when you move your character up to an in-game wall and then lean forwards to stick your head through it?

“Should we disconnect the camera from the head tracking before it passes through the wall? Or do we move the collision boundaries in so you can’t get close enough to any object to do that? Both are pretty bad options. Stuff like this is why most current games are designed around seated or room-scale, where the real bounds are known.”

The Witness has been out for a few weeks now, and has so far sold over 100K units.

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