Some people have VR motion sickness, some people don’t. I’ll give you 25 different techniques to help you combat nausea.
Compared to early VR days back in 2014, VR comfort has increased a lot. However, it’s not eliminated entirely. In fact, unless we find a way to play with inertia, the beginner VR motion sickness isn’t close to disappearing.
Will you get sick in VR?
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, until I tried some VR roller coaster games.
Here is what helped me and can also help you with this:
How Can we Battle VR Motion Sickness?
Blink when starting the movement. When you are standing in place, and you suddenly start moving, close your eyes for half a second and open them when you are moving at full speed. We all know that weird feeling when you start the movement, and it feels like the brain is in jetlag mode. Some of us are used to it, some of us aren’t. Try closing your eyes.
When you turn in-game, lock your eyes to 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. The same happens in real life, our eyes are not parallel with our body rotation.
Use the standing version of the game, if possible. Luckily, most games that are out right now, offer only a standing version. Yeah, you get tired, but the Touch teleport system truly is superior to any other movement. I feel for you if you want to play racing games. Since I am personally a huge fan of racing games, I can tell you that you truly get used to the madness. In the beginning, I didn’t really want to play racing for the sole reason of motion sickness, but over time the head just gets used to it.
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.
Turn the fan towards you. Believe it or not, room temperature plays a significant role in whether we feel sick or not. The flow of air towards you is refreshing and helps you endure nausea in VR.
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 a misunderstanding between body and brain. The body thinks you are moving, and your brain doesn’t.
Don’t play games that make you sick. An 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 VR headset 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 a 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. Take 10-15 grams of candied ginger an hour before your VR session. Although it does not work for everyone, people have been using it with a high success rate. You can read more about it here.
Use Q/E in games when available. This is for games that work with keyboards, not Touch. 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.
Try not to move your head a lot. Since motion sickness is connected to the 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 backward 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 VR, however, it might induce sickness. Be careful with that.
Get drunk. Weird option but some people have reported it to do wonders. Just before putting on the VR 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.
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!
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 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 seasickness? They just do it again and again till they are accustomed to it. Same with VR.
Chew gum. It’s a common technique that has helped many over the years in different circumstances. It’s a popular way to deal with motion sickness outside VR as well.
Close eyes as soon as you feel the sickness. You don’t need to hold your eyes open all the time, or only when moving. You can even take off the HMD and take a little break. You don’t have to push it, if you don’t want to, despite what advice nr. 18 says 😉
Try a medicine called Dramamine. No, it does not make you susceptible to drama. It has many different formulas. Choose one of your own preferences.
Peppermint scent helps. Apart from ginger, that is even easier to get than Dramamine. Just go to your local grocery shop and buy one. It has worked on many.
Use pressure point P-6. It’s a common practice for those that need immediate relief from constant nausea and vomiting impulses. What you do is: Place your thumb below your wrist and press on that point for 1-3 minutes. See the picture on the right. It has helped many people go through some therapies and don’t have medicine nearby.
Use a comfort rating system. For example, Oculus Store uses a rating system that checks the tolerance level for people. If the VR motion sickness on this game is low, it gives a mild rating on that. If it’s very bad, then it’s an intense rating.
Some never get over the sickness, as unfortunate as it sounds. But don’t lose hope yet! It’s very uncommon for people to stay sick while playing VR. Usually, it’s a matter of getting accustomed to it. Just keep using the methods above, and you’ll be right as rain in no time! If you don’t, do not push it. It’s not worth it to risk your health.
Updated: Added some more after getting more tips.
There may be many tricks to stop Oculus Rift motion sickness. I listed a handful of them. If you have any other tips or tricks that helped you, let us know down in the comments. I may add them to my list!
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