Field of View

Alright, so I'm not all that knowledgeable about displays and such, being mainly a console gamer(boo hiss I know). One thing I've recently(read: saw it in a different thread) seen complained about is Field of View. Apparently, a small field of view is very bad. Now, I've done a bit of research and yeah, I suppose a comically small field of view is bad. But I've read here that some of you get legitimately nauseous from a small field of view.

So what I'm asking for is a calm and tactful explanation of this. Why is 90' FOV better than, say, 75' FOV? And why do some get sick from a small field of view?

[Bonus question: I've also seen people complaining that a lower framerate makes them sick as well. Why is that?]

Eh, it all has to do with perception and distance to the screen. On consoles a 75' FoV works due to the distance, if it was a window it would be the field of view you had from that distance out of that window. With PCs you have a closer distance to the monitor, a 90' FoV is more natural.

A narrow FoV on close distance is like wearing blinders. It limits your perception and depending on the pace of the game it can have negative effects. I personally get natious and headaches from a FoV under 85' on my PC.

The gameplay advantage is that you literally can see more. A wider FoV increases your awareness of the surroundings and the area you can 'cover' in your sight.

Well there is a really great video on this:

In short the nausea comes from the disconnect from what your brain expects versus what input it gets, low FoV especially on a screen very near you is a completely distorted vision of the scope you would normally see(like someone glued binoculars to your eyes), plus as you turn the scenery gets thrown around so quickly your brain can't piece together how it all fits into your orientation so it can lead up to a feeling similar to being spun for far too long.

And with low FPS it's a similar problem but there it is an issue of input/output, low frames means a long time between you moving and the game actually responding (a long time comparatively to our bodies sensory response).
So you move around but the game takes ages to get the visual feedback that you moved at which point you may have already overcorrected then start correcting again and again struggling to keep balance between where you want to be and where the game puts you, to your subconscious the feeling gets very close to being rubber legs drunk.

However most console gamers will not encounter these problems because you sit very far away and are only remotely engaged in the game, the letterbox FoV is as expected at that distance and the controllers poor input means you cant turn fast/get disoriented.
Also the analog sticks give no direct correlation between thumb movement and view updates so you notice no disconnect because it's all floaty anyway.

-shrug- I get headaches from high FOV as opposed to low FOV on PC games, so I never really 'got' the FOV complaints.

lithiumvocals:

So what I'm asking for is a calm and tactful explanation of this. Why is 90' FOV better than, say, 75' FOV? And why do some get sick from a small field of view?

The main deal with small FoV is that you feel like you have to constantly, hectically whip your view around for situational awareness. I can usually handle 70 and up comfortably enough, and in some games I can go as low as 60 and still tolerate it, but it's not *good.*

There are two disadantages with large FoV:
1-Bigger FoV means fewer on-screen pixels devoted to a particular spot, which can make it harder to make out details, and
2-The linear projection that games use sees increasing distortion as you get closer to 180 degrees.

However, as someone who found Halo 1's ~110-degree 2-player split-screen FoV reasonably tolerable (and in some ways beautiful in its own quirky way) under most circumstances on a 480i display (so 240i per 110-degree view), I find these issues can be pushed pretty far before becoming significantly problematic. In most cases, I find pushing up to around 120 degrees in wide aspect ratios fairly reasonable.

TheKasp:
Eh, it all has to do with perception and distance to the screen. On consoles a 75' FoV works due to the distance, if it was a window it would be the field of view you had from that distance out of that window. With PCs you have a closer distance to the monitor, a 90' FoV is more natural.

I've never been especially convinced by this argument. Yes, linear projection will project accurately back to your eyes if you view a flat screen like that, but in my experience the brain can comfortably handle massive deviations just fine. I mean, when I go play my sixth-gen games on a small SD TV from an 8-foot viewing distance, I don't think "hey, this would feel more natural if the FoV was only 20 degrees!" And when I'm playing newer games on our 37" HDTV, Halo 3 probably yields a more "accurate" viewing with its 70-degree FoV, but ODST's view feels a heck of a lot better at ~86 degrees.

[Bonus question: I've also seen people complaining that a lower framerate makes them sick as well. Why is that?]

Sick? I dunno. But higher framerates definitely have benefits.

Now, I'm of the opinion that the "latency" argument is seriously pushing it, as is the argument that you can clearly make out the time gaps between frames.

Here's the real issue: Go move your mouse around really quickly on your PC's desktop. Just shake that thing back and forth. Even at 60fps, which is supposedly sufficient for perceptably perfectly smooth motion according to many people, those jumps are going to be HUGE. The issue here is that it's much easier on the brain if the jumps are smaller, since it doesn't have to do crazy amounts of pattern matching and interpolation in order to decide what's going on. If you're playing a fast PC shooter at 30fps, when you whip the view around, there are going to be times when almost nothing of the previous frame is in the next frame. That's tough to deal with, and in some cases it can feel like you're playing blind and sometimes playing for substantial fractions of a second basing what you do off of what you saw in the last glimpse when you weren't jerking your motion around quickly.

Now, good motion blur implimentations can help fake the real motion blur caused by persistance of vision and give your brain extra information for decoding what's going on, but it's not as good as truly increasing the framerate; it's like comparing FXAA, which basically just blurs edges, to MSAA, which actually takes subpixel locations of things into account and results in far less obnoxious shimmering on objects in actual gameplay (at the cost of being much more GPU-expensive).
Slower gameplay can also reduce the need for high FPS, since the gaps in object locations are going to be smaller between frames. This is why console shooters, which already tend to require slower aiming due to the controller, tend to feel good at tiny fractions of the framerates that PC shooter players like to play at.

Kopikatsu:
-shrug- I get headaches from high FOV as opposed to low FOV on PC games, so I never really 'got' the FOV complaints.

Well this is highly dependent on the individuals setup, how big the screen is, how far away you really sit, or more importantly where you hold your head by default, heck even your eye optics factor in it all.

Tupolev:

TheKasp:
Eh, it all has to do with perception and distance to the screen. On consoles a 75' FoV works due to the distance, if it was a window it would be the field of view you had from that distance out of that window. With PCs you have a closer distance to the monitor, a 90' FoV is more natural.

I've never been especially convinced by this argument. Yes, linear projection will project accurately back to your eyes if you view a flat screen like that, but in my experience the brain can comfortably handle massive deviations just fine. I mean, when I go play my sixth-gen games on a small SD TV from an 8-foot viewing distance, I don't think "hey, this would feel more natural if the FoV was only 20 degrees!" And when I'm playing newer games on our 37" HDTV, Halo 3 probably yields a more "accurate" viewing with its 70-degree FoV, but ODST's view feels a heck of a lot better at ~86 degrees.

Then you are lucky. It is not like the brain can't process it, it is more that some people have less or no problems with it while others do. I had abysmal headaches after playing 1h of MW3 on PC and with FoVs around 80 or less I also get natious. And really, my biggest gripe during this whole time playing it was that I would like to take the blenders off because I could not see shit.

TheKasp:

I've never been especially convinced by this argument. Yes, linear projection will project accurately back to your eyes if you view a flat screen like that, but in my experience the brain can comfortably handle massive deviations just fine. I mean, when I go play my sixth-gen games on a small SD TV from an 8-foot viewing distance, I don't think "hey, this would feel more natural if the FoV was only 20 degrees!" And when I'm playing newer games on our 37" HDTV, Halo 3 probably yields a more "accurate" viewing with its 70-degree FoV, but ODST's view feels a heck of a lot better at ~86 degrees.

Then you are lucky. It is not like the brain can't process it, it is more that some people have less or no problems with it while others do. I had abysmal headaches after playing 1h of MW3 on PC and with FoVs around 80 or less I also get natious. And really, my biggest gripe during this whole time playing it was that I would like to take the blenders off because I could not see shit.

Are you sure that what's bothering you is the non-naturalness of the FoV, and not simply that the FoV is too low in some cases? Because the "blinders" effect that you're complaining about is something that I also feel and which I articulated in my post. Do you also get "abysmal headaches" when you crank the FoV up to 120 (or, if you have a huge monitor that you sit close to, something higher)?

This is my point: FoV feels good when it's big enough that you don't have severely impaired situational awareness and not so huge that distortion causes the image to look totally bizarre. This can be a pretty huge range; there are some games that I could probably play comfortably anywhere from 80 to 120 degrees, and do anything within that range over a huge range of screen sizes and viewing distances.

It has nothing to do with fitting in-game view with the real view of the screen in your vision. Otherwise 5th and 6th gen console gaming would have been completely unbearable, since people were regularly filling 10 degrees of their vision with 70-degree views, and playing it for hours no problem. At the very least, there has to be more to the issue than simply fitting view sizes.

I do think some people are more comfertable at their preferanced FOV/frames, but that its also slightly the new graphics over gameplay thing, I've seen people shit on great games simply because one menu isnt in the options screen, theres an element of placebo people have where they will convince them selves theres a bigger differance than the reality, I do feel there is an issue with those classifications but that they also are blown up to be bigger an issue than reality

(theres also the PC gamers who dont really care about the game as much as maxing out their PC, I play on PC but dont feel the need)

A higher FOV while sitting close to a screen is generally puts less strain on the eyes. I find that a low FOV while playing on PC that my eyes get heavy and I feel tired after awhile, something I don't experience playing on a console or just with a controller sitting slightly further back from the screen. It really depends on the person as some may not notice any negative effects from low FOV, while some might feel slight discomfort like myself and still others can get physically sick from the FOV being too low.

The reason I prefer a FOV of about 90 is because most games look weird to me now at lower FOV settings. It's fine on a tv across the room, but on the pc, it just looks wrong to me, and I have to change it.

It's not something I used to notice at all, but now that I'm aware of it, low FOV is unbearable to me.

Human brain is used to having peripheral vision. With a TV you sit at least 5-10 feet away and your peripherals are clearly available, you can see everything outside and around the TV. Therefore an FoV of 55-60 degrees fits perfectly because since you're sitting so far back, the TV fits comfortably within your 60-degree cone of view. There's also the added benefit of consoles having to render less stuff on the screen.

But things are completely different when a 23-27" monitor literally FILLS most of your vision you sit very close, 1-2 feet away), and suddenly the FoV makes no sense. Your peripherals are gone, your brain expects to see MORE of the game but that extra vision on the sides isn't there, it feels oddly squeezed and claustrophobic.

Long story short, the brain triggers an ancient mechanism in the human body - if something is feels wrong with your vision or sense of "balance", the brain automatically assumes you're hallucinating under the influence of poison. Ergo, some people start feeling dizzy, get headaches and even throw up if they push themselves for too long because the brain tries to reject that "poison" which isn't even there. Over time some people can get used to low FoV on PC games, but others can't (like me).

The only solution is to either increase the FoV to ~90-100 degrees to "cover" your peripheral vision and satisfy the brain that nothing is wrong (the corners of the monitor become your peripherals), or sit further away from the monitor - not an option with most computer desks. And of course there's the added benefit of being able to see what's coming from a wider angle, helps greatly with awareness.

It's the same concept as sea-sickness where the brain gets confused due to feeling everything "moving" even though the body is perfectly still, same scenario about hallucination/poison/etc repeats, people throw up.

lithiumvocals:
snip

I think that the best way to answer your question is for you to take a chair, place it in front of your TV, and play a lengthy gaming session of a First Person Shooter that you have played in the past without any problems. You should realize what people are complaning about after that.

Narrow FOV (usually with motion blur) make you look around faster and more frequently in order to compensate for it, which causes nausea/headaches/etc.

Low framerate makes movement seem jerky. frequent, sudden and sharp movements also cause nausea/headaches/etc.

 

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