Following the official launch of Cooler Master’s Motion 1 gaming chair—fueled by D-BOX haptic technology—we spoke to Félix Gervais-O’Neill, one of D-BOX’s haptic motion developers to learn more about how haptic technology is continuously evolving to revolutionize the gaming experience.
As Gervais-O’Neill explains, “haptics take advantage of a sense that’s often not used to it’s full potential in gaming. In the past, haptic technology was commonly used in the hands—but D-BOX takes advantage of it to stimulate the entire body to create a more immersive in-game experience.”
Haptic technology in coded, premium AAA games
One of the ways that haptic technology can enhance the gaming experience is with premium games, which are games developed by the biggest studios in the world such as Ubisoft. Thanks to D-BOX’s long-standing partnership with these studios, many of these premium game titles have D-BOX haptic motion codes integrated directly in the game’s engine—allowing for accurate feedback from the game in real-time.
When discussing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, one of D-BOX’s premium games, Gervais-O’Neill explained that it’s the lack of what he calls ‘haptic silence’ that truly takes the gaming experience to the next level.
“Since Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a game with a lot of history, scenic views and moments of transportation, we wanted to avoid haptic silence,” he explained. “This means we want to avoid moments in which there are no effects playing, so that there’s always a small vibration or a little something happening to your system.”
He went on to explain that this is different from a racing game in which you’ll have five minutes of action and then total silence, but that sometimes people have the false belief that the constant feedback will be overwhelming.
“We always strive to keep the experience comfortable and to avoid brisk movements that will make you tired of receiving feedback. We always have coherence and keep the game’s intentions in mind when we design. We don’t want to accentuate and necessarily put a spotlight the haptic feedback, we want it to compliment the sound and image,” he explained.
D-BOX’s motion code is currently implemented in more than 100 curated PC games from major studio partners such as Ubisoft, Microsoft and more. The list of compatible premium games is only expected to grow in the future, meaning that more players will be able to immerse themselves in their favourite games like never before!
Adaptive Gaming Mode: haptic technology for non-coded games
While the best haptic experience will come from games that have been hand-coded by haptic developers such as Gervais-O’Neill, those who game with a D-BOX enabled chair or sim racing rig can experience haptic feedback for any game—not just those coded by D-BOX—thanks to Adaptive Gaming Mode.
Adaptive Gaming Mode provides gamers with haptic feedback based on actions that users trigger through either their keyboards, computer mouse or game controllers. It also allows users to create custom feedback profiles based on in-game actions: if they want an in-game jump to provide a specific type of motion, then they can create a profile that will fine-tune the feedback exactly to their liking! This is done by assigning a touch (ex: pressing the ‘A’ key) to one of the haptic effects in D-BOX’s pre-existing library.
Increased realism & immersion
For haptic designers & developers, the true test of the quality of the feedback is how realistic it is. This is extremely important, especially in the little moments—which is why D-BOX has created over 65,000 unique motion effects to simulate ultimate realism.
“When you’re on a boat, for example, you can feel the waves hitting the boat,” explained Gervais-O’Neill. “You feel if the boat leans a certain direction, but it’s not distracting. It further immerses you in the game because it’s natural,” he said.
For Gervais-O’Neill,the ideal haptic experience is one in which ultimately users forget that the feedback exists because of how realistic it is.
“If they realize that something is happening in their seat, then that means the immersion has been broken,” explained Gervais-O’Neill. “That would mean that we didn’t do our jobs properly.”
“It’s when you don’t have [the haptic feedback] anymore that you realize how much you miss it,” he added .
Why the D-BOX haptic experience?
When it comes to explaining why gamers should choose D-BOX’s high-fidelity haptic technology, Gervais-O’Neill explained that D-BOX really specializes in all aspects of it—so not only will the chair be valid for games, but also for movies, television series, relaxation playlists and more!
D-BOX’s haptic technology also allows for complete immersion. As Gervais-O’Neill explained, in the past you would use a big screen, dim the lights and put on a set of headphones to immerse yourself, but with D-BOX you can add the component of movement to complete the circle of immersion.
“When your body is involved, you feel even more included in the gameplay,” he said. “The haptic feedback really puts you in the game’s environment. The more immersed you are, the less likely you are to tire of the game and the longer you can play. For a gamer, if you buy a game, you truly want to be in it.”
D-BOX’s haptic feedback is also incredibly realistic, combining a series of movements, vibrations and textures to accurately re-create exactly what the game’s character would be experiencing in any particular moment.
“People may be intimidated by the chair at first,” explained Gervais-O’Neill. “They worry that they’ll be nauseous or that it’ll move too much, but when they sit down, they’re like ‘whoa.’ It doesn’t shake it all, it fits with the game and it’s comfortable.”
The future of haptics in gaming
So, how will haptic technology further revolutionize the gaming experience in the future? With how quickly haptics have evolved, there’s a high chance that they’ll continue to expand over the next year in ways that will allow gamers to go beyond the haptic feedback they know now. D-BOX will continue to pave the way for haptic technology in the fields of gaming, cinemas, home entertainment, sim racing and simulation and training, being a pioneer for haptic technology and all its benefits!
“I think in the future we’ll see new tools that will allow us to code our motion faster and we’ll start seeing more collaboration with studios,” predicted Gervais-O’Neill. “This will allow us to code different types of games that we’ve never coded before and to introduce new ambiances and new effects.”
“The value of haptics will really go up in studios as they look for ways to keep gamers loyal and immersed in their games. More and more studios will adopt haptic feedback as the norm” added LaBerge.
Haptic technology: making gaming more fun
Despite the numerous technological advances in other fields related to gaming, haptic technology is truly the key to unlocking a fully immersive experience.
As Gervais-O’Neill and has explained, haptics have completely revolutionized the gaming experience.
While it may be considered an ‘up-and-coming’ technology by most, once you try it yourself, you adopt it as the only way to game—so it’s likely more and more people will be giving it a go and adding haptic technology to their gaming routines in the near future.
Note: this article was originally published in January 2022 and has been updated for accuracy and clarity.