[1.3.7.1] New R&D Labs ground tiling pattern is probably a migrane (& epilepsy) trigger

ZeroGravitas

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Seeing this strong new grid texture, via social media posts, it immediately gave me a very similar sense of visual discomfort as I get when looking at the game "Production Line".

It's a fun automation game that I picked up in the middle of last year. But after a couple hours of playing it, for the first time, it gave me my first ever proper migraine (then again on 2 following occasions, before figuring it out and avoiding it forever). Pretty scary, in being proceeded by an blob of partial blindness slowly expanding out from the middle of my visual field (over ~30 minutes). But apparently pretty common, after talking to an optician and my GP.

The issue seems to be the strength (and spacing) of the grid pattern of the ground in that game:

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Now, again, I'm a sensitive case (probably due to my ME/CFS, etc). But from a quick Google search, it seems that totally healthy people often feel the visual discomfort too. And the same visual features that are common migraine triggers can also cause seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy.

What's happening in the brain: the neuronal layer at the back of the retina encodes *spacial* patterns (of light/dark contrast) into *temporal* patterns of neuron firing. The visual cortex (at the back of the brain, oddly) further processes these patterns. EEGs show that looking at certain, strong, striped patterns produces a characterist gamma frequency of synchonised brain waves. I think this is a resonance effect, when the firing patterns of the massively parallel architecture of the brain's visual system is processing the same pattern across many regions at the same time. Like an opera singer hitting that perfect note to vibrate (and shatter!) a delicate glass.

I'd expect not many player complaints, as vulnerable customers will either know to avoid looking at such patterns, or not associate the effect with this as a cause (especially if it's fairly mild). But it struck me as a big issue. Enough to come back to the game briefly to check directly and make this post.

It's an order of magnitude worst that the harshness of the new UI (which is still a significant factor keeping me out of the game, currently). The likely impact of being triggered by this is too bad for me to risk testing it out fully (and other new features). I don't want to go blind for a couple hours, and then loose a day or two to feeling unwell.

The grid of the R&D destination menu isn't great either, though not problematic in the same way and only ever seen briefly, of course.
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I don't see any point asking to reverting to the old (perfectly comfortable) ground texture - I'm sure that would be technically easy, but I expect the design team is already wedded to the idea of a strong visual rebranding. Similarly, a "visually safe" graphics setting tick box option might allow people, like me, to actually play the DLC they've bought. But (as with screen shake) other's YouTube content will still be a no-go with it enabled by default. So I guess I'm just making you devs aware, as usual...

It's sad to see this development pattern continue, of making the game harder/impossible to look at. It seems like self sabotage at this point, either accidental or otherwise.:confused:
 

Havok

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After playing a bit of the new R&D (well, actually lots) I've decided to abandon it completely. I'm going into creative mode.
The aggressive repeating floor pattern hurts my eyes and makes me feel uncomfortable after a while. Never had such problems.
It's also ugly.

First the terrible new UI, which feels like a terrible mobile game, now this. Why are you doing this? Is there any reason to butcher that little uncut and unpolished gem of a game we loved?
 

Rafs

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When designing a tile or a piece of something you know will make a repeated pattern, usually you try to make it smooth to avoid visual gore. The new RR tiling is far from smooth, it's also asymetrical. A single tile looks good, but the repeated one, is bad to the point of causing health issues in those who are sensitive.

I'd extend the critics to the new EXP Platforms, where a lot of previously existing Techs which used these blocks, which had a clean surface, now look horrible and need remake. It has broken entire Techs aesthetically. And the pattern repetition issue also happens here, so people will now avoid making carriers and such like they used to do with the old EXP platform, rendering the block completely useless.

When designing construction blocks, I always test repetition by placing a number of them next to each other. I suggest the art team add this step to the block making process, same for world textures.
 

ZeroGravitas

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Go vote on what floor you'd like to have in R&D then ;)
Oh, cool. I was just nipping back on to note that it's not necessarily a large expanse of grid pattern that's problematic, as even small sections, like in this image, are uncomfortable:

EPTbjyIU8AEbNKW.png

I think it's the strength of the orange line (with the parallel/concentric grey boardering lines).