Quick Tip: Fallout 4 - Playing Making You Dizzy? Try adjusting the Field Of View [Tutorial with Explanation]

[Currently, this post is in Text-Only Mode, to speed up the ability to publish it. 
I may return to add some Screenshots and a Video/GIF 'tutorial' for it, sharing it on Twitter after that...Soon™]

I'm having a lot of fun playing Fallout 4 lately - but like many other people (if perusing game forums [forii?] is any indication), this game is one of a handful of games that can produce "Motion Sickness" for me - resulting in dizzyness or a sense of vertigo (a sense that 'the room is moving'). Although since playing Fallout 3 and Oblivion, I have gotten into the habit of changing the FOV (Field Of View) in Bethesda games when I play them, it's not just theirs that cause this issue for me, as it also occurs in many Shooters and Racing games, from Unreal Tournament to Flatout and other games.

Before I ramble on about the mechanics of it in Fallout and get into why this happens to some people in some games (it doesn't happen to everyone and not in all games), I'll give the Quick Tip of the steps on how to change the Field Of View, in Fallout 4:

  • With the game running, hit Tilde ("~", the key usually to the left of the number "1" on QWERTY keyboards), which brings up the Command Console.
  • Type "fov 90 90" (without the quotation marks) into the Console and hit Enter.
    You should see the Field Of View adjusted dynamically (updated right away in your view).
  • Hit the Tilde key again, to close the Command Console.

That's it!

Adjust the FOV range as desired - if you need it to be 'less' (and more like the original FOV), or making it 'higher' (if you want more FOV to feel better for you personally, or more to be seen on the screen at once, on purpose (for Screenshots,etc)).

Note: Be sure to type in both numbers (that is, the same number twice, with the space in-between), as they are related to how the Field Of View acts when walking/running/in-third-person/in-Armor/looking-at-the-Pip-Boy/etc (they are both needed)

The Default Field Of View in Fallout 4 seems to be about 80, as I derived from my own testing of typing in various ranges of numbers as the FOV (eg. Starting the game then typing "fov 80 80" does not move the camera view at all). I personally prefer 90-ish in Fallout 4 [I haven't quite figured out my own personal number yet], although in Fallout 3 I seemed to prefer 85 and in Oblivion and Skyrim I seem to prefer just a bit less, around 83 or so.

Another note: Although it is possible to configure FO4 to 'do these steps automatically' whenever you start the game (via the configuration of .INI files) - it is not recommended here - as not only does it not work all of the time or on all systems, it can 'break' some of the other mechanics in the game, such as how the Pip-Boy works and other things. Therefore, I personally recommend using the commands above whenever you want to play Fallout 4. [It is slightly tedious, yes; but worth it, for vomit-free gaming, no? (At least, until a better way of rendering the world is found..).]

Even though I am negatively affected by this issue, I understand the mechanics and reasoning behind why game developers choose to restrict the Field Of View; as with a lower FOV, there is less to render on the screen at one time, resulting in less system resource demand (RAM, drive retrieval of the game material, etc) and achievement of higher compatibility and performance - indeed, it is the same reasons why many games restrict even 'top-down' views in other games (not allowing you to 'see more at one time'). However, this method of viewing the world (think of making an "O" with your hand and looking through that at everything) is not only unnatural - it is 'confusing' to the human brain - thankfully not everyone is sensitive to this and many people do not suffer from this 'confusion'..

Let me try to summarize what is occurring [I am not good at 'keeping things brief', but I will try, heh]:

Normally, when you move your head, turning it to the left or right, what you see involves 'more' or 'less' of 'what is around you'. You see things you did not see before and other things that were 'in your view' disappear [although we are mostly sure they are still there, theoretically...don't get into it...don't get into it..]. The human eyes can see nearly 180-degrees around - with many people seeing slightly less or more, of course. I personally can see my hands if I hold them up to the sides (forming an "L" with my arms), looking straight ahead, but I have practiced utilizing my peripheral vision growing up (the 'area of what you see around what you are looking at'). Most people cannot quite see that far around their head at one time while looking straight ahead, but many can. Many people can even see more than that, at one time, as well.

The difference when playing games is, the view of what can be 'seen at one time' is not the only thing that is altered; it is also the turning 'point' in space.

When we move the mouse (or joystick for Console gamers) the viewpoint in the game moves, showing us things to the left or right, for example. However, the turning point in a game (where 'the head would be') is not where our head actually is in real life; the turning or rotating point in the game is usually where the surface of the screen we are watching is, and sometimes it is farther back or farther forward [but it still differs 'from where our head actually is in reality'].

What this results in, is a confusion between the brain and eyes, which are used to "seeing the world rotate around from the point between our shoulders", as it is now "seeing the world rotate around from a point in front of us (wherever the screen of the game we are playing is)". It is like sitting in a carnival ride (or "a ride at Fun Fair", as Nico Bellic would probably say) - where we are spun around just for fun but we are not actually turning our heads around all the time, it is the world around us that is rotating, not us - which is also why many people experience dizzyness and nausea from carnival rides, as well. It is our brain trying to figure out 'why things are moving but we aren't moving our heads' - and the result is our brain basically saying, "Hey! Something's wrong! Things are moving but we aren't using our neck muscles to do it! ALERT! ALERT!" and we 'get dizzy' (and some people throw up..).

So, like carnival rides, games have our view 'moving around' (things are going in and out of our Field Of View - what we see) without us using our neck muscles to move our own heads. For many people (but of course, not all), this difference in what-is-happening-in-the-game-versus-real-life results then, in the dizzyness, nausea, vertigo, barfing and many other symptoms of 'Gaming Sickness' (if that can be a thing) [some people may even 'just get crabby and not know why'; this is also a symptom].

Sadly, there is no real 'cure' for this... Many have experimented I'm sure, like I have, of just 'powering through it' - trying to 'train the brain' to accept the new way of seeing the world move around us - and of course failing (the brain is very good at not being 'tricked'..). The only way that we have, as gamers who suffer from this - for now - is to adjust the Field Of View in games to try to lessen this effect of how we experience the two worlds colliding (the game world and the real world). [I have not tried much VR, other than in the 80s when it was 'new' and at Mall demonstrations here and there since then; but perhaps this is another way we, as gamers, can have less of an issue with 'Gaming Motion Sickness', in the future]

I hope then, that this little tip has at least opened the door to help those experiencing the issue of 'getting dizzy in Fallout 4' - remember, you may have to adjust the FOV value to your own personal liking... If you played with a high Field Of View in Quake 3 days, you might like a little more in Fallout, like 110 or even higher. If you aren't affected by this much at all, you might like only a little change in the setting, maybe about 82 or 83 (and you have my admiration at not being affected as much!). Whatever your need is, I hope this Tip helps you find something that is comfortable for you, dear reader - letting you continue to have fun in Fallout 4!

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