Motion Sickness in FPS Games - Potential Solution

I heard in the latest podcast about someone (Mr. Ploppy?) getting sick playing Half-Life 2. I had the same problem.

Long Story short... try lowering your FPS to between 30 and 40 fps by adding +fps_max XX to your launch options on Steam for Source engine games. Mileage may vary, but worked PERFECTLY for me.

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The first time I noticed it was way back when I first got my Dell Pentium II 450 MHz desktop with a Diamond Viper video card and download a bunch of demos to test out my new rig. I was playing some version of Quake and noticed after about 10 minutes I wasn't feeling well. 30 minutes later and I was laid out on the couch sick as a dog. I assumed it was the flu or food poisoning. Later in the week I played again and got the same feeling and realized it was in fact the game.

I didn't really understand. I played those kind of first-person shooters before (if they were even called that back then) and never had an issue. Years later, I had played quite a few FPSs and never had an issue until my wife bought me the Orange Box and I fired up Half-Life 2. I felt the sickness coming on and stopped. The strange thing was I played a ton of Team Fortress 2 and felt just fine. I tried changing the FOV, aspect ratios and distance from the monitor—nothing worked.

Then I played TF2 on a different computer and I felt sick again. The difference: frame rate. I got sick with TF2 on the better machine which played the game at a much higher frame rate (60-ish fps). I found a setting in launch options to set the FPS max and set it to 30. No more sickness. I upped it to 40 and still felt fine. Anything higher and I am doomed.

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I know, I know. 30 fps?!? That's crap! Well, not really. Movie frame rates are 24 fps normally. It's a matter of taste in my opinion. But in the case of FPSs, if I can't lower it, I can't play it. I'd rather play it.

Hopefully this helps someone else out there. If anyone has anything else that worked for them, might as well post it to this thread.



I'm interested if when you were playing with unlimited frame rates if you weren't getting inconsistent frame rates that were giving you an issue. A consistent, low, frame rate would definitely be better than a high one that is all over the place.

Good advice though.

Setting FOV to 90 and (optionally) capping FPS at 35 is the Doom Standard(tm) which seems to reduce nausea for those with motion sickness.