Some people have motion sickness with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, some people don’t. I’ll give you 11 different techniques to help you combat nausea.
When we had only Oculus Rift DK1, people were really unhappy with the sickness it gave to them. Oculus saw that issue as a big threat, and started to develop DK2 with a much better display.
LCD was replaced with OLED.
That reduced motion sickness by a lot. Although LCD screen on DK1 had some advantages like lower electricity consumption and a brighter screen, OLED pros outweighed everything that the previous model had. And it helped! By the time DK2 was distributed to people, motion sickness was a much smaller issue because of the positional tracking, and a new screen. But it’s still an issue for some.
It really depends on your level of tolerance to all kinds of nausea inducing things. For example when I got my Oculus Rift, I felt like I was immune to nausea and motion sickness. Nothing really got to me, not even some of the most poorly optimized games and demos for Oculus Rift.
Even when I am drunk, I don’t get sick to point where I want to vomit all over the place. It just doesn’t happen to me. But should we leave it at that?
Well, we actually could because I completely trust in capabilities of Oculus to release their CV1 with no problems in that area. People who have tried it at E3 2015 said that they did not feel any kind of motion sickness during their time with the newest head-mounted display prototype.
That is an absolute necessity if we want VR world to go mainstream.
How many times have you heard of people going into VR with scepticism and coming out believers? I read news about virtual reality day and night, and not a single day passes when I don’t see headlines in such a style: “VR is the future”. The amount of hype it generates is almost too scary, to the point that it’s actually dangerous for VR.
2016 is going to be the biggest year for VR. This is a year when the line chart will go up exponentially due to big companies releasing their hardware to consumers. If people are going to feel any kind of sickness with the Rift, HTC Vive, FOVE, or with Morpheus, they will think that it’s just not for them. That is why battling it is important for all the VR companies.
Until Then, How Can WE Battle Motion Sickness?
- Use Q/E in games when available. Developers of Oculus Rift games and demos know that sickness is a real issue that needs to be addressed somehow. That is why when you play demos you’ll notice that you can turn your character in the blink of an eye when pressing Q or E.
- When you turn in-game, lock your eyes on one point. This is actually quite interesting. Some people report that they didn’t get any motion sickness until other people started to complain about it in forums. They were naturally immune because they didn’t pay attention to it. And the method our brain automatically uses is looking at one spot while your body (in-game char) moves. Same happens in real life, our eyes are not parallel with our body rotation.
- Move the character at the slowest speed. It can usually be done if you lower your FOV. But you know how people love their high FOV. To reduce nausea, making your character move more slowly does help a lot. If the game has some character speed options, it would be even better.
- Take breaks. When we play video games, you don’t even notice how fast time flies by. That is why it is recommended to take frequent breaks, so you don’t get a headache or get sick.
- Close your eyes when the camera is not controlled by head movements. Sounds silly but it truly might help since motion sickness is eventually tied to misunderstanding between body and brain. Body thinks you are moving, and your brain doesn’t.
- Don’t play games that make you sick. Obvious one, but since it does depend on how well the game was optimized for VR, blame can be put on developers to some degree. Choosing the right games to play might help.
- Make sure the Oculus Rift is correctly calibrated for your eyes. When you play games, you might get blurriness and you don’t know how to fix it. That is probably due to your IPD being too narrow or too wide and isn’t calibrated accordingly. That can also be a reason that gives you headaches, and in the end, motion sickness.
- Turn down the brightness. Some games have brightness adjuster that you can play with for your own preference. Although I am not sure how it helps directly, some people have reported it being helpful.
- Eat or drink products containing ginger. It has been used as a treatment for motion sickness for centuries. Although it does not work for everyone, people have been using it with high success rate. You can read more about it here.
- Try not to move your head a lot. Since motion sickness is connected to movement, reducing your head movement left and right and up and down in one place can help you. However, rotating your head should not give any issues.
- Avoid moving backwards and strafing. If it’s a fast paced game like FPS shooters, it is quite usual for you to want to use strafing to avoid bullets hitting you. With Oculus Rift however, it might induce sickness. Be careful with that.
- Get drunk. Weird option but some people have reported it doing wonders. Just before putting on the Oculus Rift headset, don’t forget to consume a couple of beers, and you are ready to enter virtual reality.
- Buy a better computer. Getting a bad frame rate can also make you easily sick, and if you get yourself a beefy computer, nausea can be reduced.
- Updated on 04.01.2016 Try downloading some files. Check out these 2 reddit posts (one and two). Apparently this newly discovered method reduces motion sickness by a lot, but can break immersion to some degree. This technique is being studied for improvements. Will keep you updated on Rift Info!
- Updated on 19.04.2017 Just get used to it. I am not saying it in a “get used to it, you little crybaby” way, I am literally saying that you can get used to it after a while. Countless of people after VR was released have said that VR motion sickness is not an issue anymore because their body has understood the VR effects it gives, and in time, dealing with it has become easy. How do sea travelers battle with sea sickness? They just do it again and again till they are accustomed to it. Same with VR.
Updated: Added some more after getting more tips.
CV1 should not have these kinds of issues, especially now that the recommended specs have been released. It is not only good for users, but for developers since they are now aware specifically for what kind of specs should they optimize their games.
If you want to maximize your experience with virtual reality, just wait for Q1 2016 release date, and have a PC ready with the right specs. Once you have done all that, I am sure previous problems like this will be left in past.
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