Tuesday, September 26, 2023

How to reduce motion sickness in virtual reality

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VR is more accessible than ever, thanks to affordable stand-alone headsets like the Oclulus Quest lowering the barrier to entry. And addicting games like Defeat Saber to immersive story-driven games like Half-life: Alyx, there is something to occupy you in your virtual world.

Unfortunately, virtual reality still has a few drawbacks, one of the most notable being motion sickness. Even if you’re not the type to get motion sickness on a boat or plane, some VR games can make you dizzy or nauseous, ruining what should be a fun experience.

Experts believe that motion sickness is mainly caused by a mismatch between the signals sent to your brain. If your eyes see one thing and your inner ear experiences another, you might be nauseous, explains Adrian priesol, otoneurologist in the Vestibular Disorders Division at Eye and ear mass. “Sitting in the backseat of a moving vehicle maximizes this sensory mismatch and can make symptoms worse,” he explains. “In the case of VR, the sensory mismatch is the other way around: visual stimulation sends a signal to the brain that the person is moving, while signals from the balance organs indicate that the person is not. . “

You might be more likely to experience this in some VR games than in others, depending on how the experience forces you to move. Almar Suarez is the R&D manager of Tapptic, a European digital agency specializing in innovative mobile applications, virtual reality, augmented reality and other connected experiences. In some of their experiences with virtual reality, they found that motion sickness was especially common in environments most of us are not used to – think weightless games (like ADRIFT) or scenarios causing dizziness (such as The climb). It can also happen if your frame rate is too low, which can be a problem on less powerful PCs.

In my own experience – I’ve owned and reviewed a number of VR headsets as a technical writer – games that require joysticks to move make me nauseous. If I move with my body alone, like in Space Pirate Trainer or Superhot VR, I’m perfectly fine – but throw me in Skyrim VR and I feel like I need to lie down after a few minutes.

However, you can alleviate some of these symptoms. First, Suarez says, make sure your lenses are clean and your IPD (interpupillary distance) is set correctly on the headset, if it offers an IPD setting. If you wear glasses, you can often find this value, in millimeters, on your prescription. If you don’t, you may need to adjust it during gameplay to find the right setting.

Speaking of goggles, if you can’t wear lenses, try housing your goggles in the helmet by adjusting the strap or using a goggle spacer on a helmet that offers them (they can be sold separately). Oh, and make sure the headset is comfortable and your PC – if you’re using one – is capable of running the games at a high enough frame rate. Sixty fps is fine, but the higher you can go the better. Most famous headsets can display 90 frames per second or more.

Once you understand the basics, you can start delving into your games’ settings. “The best way to avoid the disease is to use the control regimens that work best for each particular type of experience,” says Suarez. “In general, standard video game [thumb stick] the controls are the worst of all, especially when trying to change the view. It’s more natural to just turn your head. “Try to rotate your body instead of using the thumb stick as much as possible, and if your game has an option to go into teleport mode, where you indicate where you want to move and appear there instantly — it can shrink a bit. motion sickness, although it is a little less immersive.


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