As we move towards a new gaming experience built around virtual reality, the main players in the field of headset design Oculus, HTC and Sony are all struggling with a way to combat motion sickness associated with virtual reality games.
Oculus recognised the problem early on with their Rift Dk1 after users started complaining about feeling nauseous and immediately started work on the Rift DK2 by incorporating a better display replacing the old LCD with OLED.
Despite the LED screen having the advantage of using less power and a brighter screen, the decision to replace it with OLED helped to alleviate many of the earlier complaints of motion sickness because of the positional tracking of the new display and while this was certainly a step in the right direction it did still not solve the issue with all users.
Basically, it comes down to the tolerance level of each individual user with some being more prone to motion sickness/cybersickness than others. For example, we all know people who can go out and drink all night without throwing up and other who, after just a handful of drinks are as sick as a dog.
With most of the gremlins having been now ironed out 2017 looks as though it could be the breakout year for virtual reality and that this new technology will finally live up to all the hype we have been hearing from the companies at the forefront of its development.
With the motion sickness/cybersickness still a bit of an issue with some users, we have drawn up a list of eight points that if followed will help you alleviate that nauseous feeling.
1. When available try and use Q/E games. The developers over at Oculus know that motion sickness is a big issue with users and have done all they can to help by allowing you to focus on one particular point. This mimics real life where when we feel unsteady the ability to focus on a fixed point helps to bring our equilibrium back.
2. Move your game characters at the slowest speed possible. This can usually be done by turning down your FOV. Of course, people want to play at the highest speed possible, but slowing down the speed can really help combat dizziness.
3. Do not play games for long periods. It is easy to get lost in a game and lose track of time. If you can get in the habit of taking frequent breaks it can help immensely in lowering your chance of feeling sick.
4. When the camera is not being controlled by head movement, try and close your eyes for a few seconds as it allows your brain to recalculate that you are not in fact physically moving a trick that is being played on it by your vision.
5. This is kind of obvious, but we will mention it anyway. If you find that a particular game makes you feel ill, just don’t play it, as simple as.
6. When using the Oculus Rift headset, be sure to calibrate it correctly for your eyes. Blurring is caused when your IPD is either too wide or narrow that can lead to headaches.
7. Turn down the brightness of the game. Many games have brightness settings that allow you to do this.
8. Last and not least studies have found that eating or taking ginger capsules help to alleviate nausea, but will not take away the dizzy feeling.
Advances in virtual reality technology are being made all the time and with a bit of luck, scientists will find a way to take this nasty side effect out of the games.
Photos courtesy of TechStage and Notafish.