How to Prevent VR Motion Sickness? Motion sickness in VR is a common issue that many people face when using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Unfortunately, this problem discourages some people from using VR, even though they could get better with practice. In fact, even experienced VR users can still experience motion sickness because they may not know how to prevent it.
But don’t worry, there are ways to improve your VR experience and avoid motion sickness. By following a few simple tips and tricks, you can enjoy VR without feeling sick.
What Is VR Motion Sickness?
First, let’s discuss VR motion sickness and its causes in Virtual Reality.
VR motion sickness occurs when your eyes perceive movement, but in reality, you are not physically moving. This inconsistency can lead to motion sickness. For example, in a VR game, if you are stationary but using the joystick on your VR controller to navigate and explore the virtual environment, it can trigger motion sickness.
In more detail, motion sickness is a condition that arises due to a lack of synchronization between the visual system, the balance system, and the touch system in the body. When what you see in the virtual environment does not align with what is happening in real life, it can result in dizziness and nausea.
When playing VR games that involve body movement in the virtual world while the physical body remains still, our brain may interpret it as walking or moving. This situation can evoke a similar sensation to being carsick.
The most common symptoms of VR sickness include general discomfort, eye strain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, pallor, stomach awareness, sweating, fatigue, drowsiness, disorientation, and apathy.
How Long Does VR Motion Sickness Last?
VR motion sickness can last for hours, but if it persists for an extended period or if continuous vomiting occurs, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Fortunately, not everyone experiences motion sickness, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, you won’t have to deal with it. This is because you have strong VR Legs, which refers to VR users who possess a good ability to synchronize their brain and body.
However, what about those who still feel dizzy and suffer from motion sickness while playing VR? In this article, we will discuss how to strengthen your VR legs and prevent VR motion sickness. These tips can also be beneficial if you have experienced motion sickness before.
How to Prevent Motion Sickness in VR
1. Take a Break
If you start experiencing VR sickness, take a break immediately. You might notice symptoms such as cold sweats or a general feeling of discomfort. Recognizing these signs is crucial because if you continue playing, the symptoms are likely to worsen and it will be more challenging to recover.
When you feel dizzy after playing the game for ten to fifteen minutes, it’s important to rest right away. Take a few minutes or even a few hours to lay down, have something to drink, eat snacks, and if dizziness persists, avoid continuing to play.
If you don’t have a headache, it’s generally safe to continue playing. However, it’s essential not to force yourself if you’re feeling dizzy. Pushing through can lead to nausea and vomiting, which is something we definitely want to avoid.
Furthermore, prolonged use of VR without sufficient rest can often result in dizziness. If you want to strengthen your VR legs, it’s important to take frequent breaks, especially in the beginning.
Taking breaks has also helped us develop stronger VR legs over time. By starting slowly and playing short sessions initially, you’ll gradually be able to play for longer periods.
2. Choose Games with Comfortable Ratings
Tip number two: look for games with a comfortable rating, particularly if you’re new to VR. When browsing through the Oculus Store, each game or application will have a comfort rating.
But what exactly is a comfort rating? It’s a rating that indicates the level of locomotion or the type of body movement involved in the game. There are three comfort ratings: comfortable, moderate, and intense.
For beginners, it’s advisable to choose games with a comfortable rating. As your VR legs get stronger, you can progress to moderate-rated games and eventually try more intense ones. Games with an intense rating typically involve more body movements that can induce dizziness, so it’s best to avoid them initially.
It’s worth noting that Steam and PSVR do not have a comfort rating system. Therefore, you’ll need to rely on other sources of information, such as watching game reviews or gameplay videos on platforms like YouTube.
Look for games that incorporate the teleportation system for movement, as teleporting generally doesn’t induce motion sickness like virtual walking using a controller. For beginners, virtual walking can often lead to dizziness.
Many games offer controller-based movement without causing motion sickness. Some games even provide options to customize comfort levels, such as adding a vignette effect in the VR game you’re playing.
By the way, if it’s your first time playing a VR game, you can try titles like Beat Saber or Superhot VR. These games are less likely to induce dizziness and provide a pleasant visual experience.
Alternatively, if you prefer games with movement, consider titles such as Vader Immortal, Arizona Sunshine, Robo Recall, and other games that use a teleportation system for locomotion.
3. Adjust Comfort Settings
Most VR games allow you to modify comfort settings. These settings are usually found in the VR or Comfort menu within the game. Take the time to explore each option and find the settings that work best for you.
Once you’ve determined the ideal settings, you can apply them to other games as well. For example, if you find smooth turning or non-head-relative locomotion uncomfortable, you can adjust the settings to enable snap turning and head-relative locomotion instead.
4. Setting Up IPD
Many beginners in virtual reality often overlook an important aspect: setting up the IPD, which stands for interpupillary distance. The IPD refers to the distance between your eyes. It’s crucial to match the IPD in your VR headset to ensure a clear display and prevent motion sickness. If you’re unsure of your IPD, you can measure it using mobile apps or a ruler, although the latter may not be as accurate.
For a precise measurement, consider visiting a prescription glasses store to have your eyes measured. Alternatively, if you know your IPD, you can input it into your headset. Different VR devices offer various methods for adjusting the IPD. Devices like Valve Index, HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift CV1, and Oculus Quest typically have a physical slider located below the headset for this purpose. On the Rift S, you can adjust the IPD through the Oculus app settings.
5. Wear Travel Wrist Bands
An effective remedy to combat motion sickness during VR experiences is using travel anti-nausea wristbands. These wristbands exert pressure on specific acupuncture points on your wrists known as the Nei-Kuan points, which have been proven to alleviate motion sickness.
To locate the Nei-Kuan point, place the middle three fingers of your right hand on the back of your left wrist, just beneath the index finger. You’ll feel a slight sensitivity or tingling when you press that spot. To prevent motion sickness, wear the wristbands on both arms before you start feeling any discomfort.
6. Eat Some Ginger or Drink Ginger Ale
Ginger is a natural remedy renowned for its ability to alleviate motion sickness, making it worth a try during your VR sessions. Ginger can be consumed in various forms, such as ginger ale (readily available online) or in the form of fresh ginger for making tea. You can also find ginger candy to chew on. Consuming ginger before or after experiencing motion sickness may provide relief and help you feel better sooner.
Alternatively, if you prefer a cost-effective option, you can make ginger water using sugar and continue drinking it before or while playing VR. Ginger ale is often recommended for treating individuals who experience motion sickness.
7. Use a Fan While Playing VR
To enhance your VR experience and reduce motion sickness, try using a fan while playing. The cool breeze from the fan not only provides a refreshing feeling but also creates a sense of bodily movement. If you’re flying in VR, the blowing wind from the fan can simulate the sensation of flying, enhancing your immersion.
8. Start With Comfortable Games
When trying VR for the first time, many people opt for intense rollercoaster experiences. However, these games can quickly induce motion sickness. It’s advisable to gradually build your tolerance by starting with comfortable games before progressing to more intense ones.
Begin with games like Beat Saber or Superhot, where you don’t have to move extensively within the game. Once you feel comfortable with those, you can gradually move on to medium comfort games that incorporate smart locomotion systems, such as Sprint Vector, where you use arm movements to simulate running. Another example is the stealth kayak game Phantom Covert Ops.
If you can handle those games without experiencing motion sickness, you can then explore more intense titles like Skyrim or No Man’s Sky. The Oculus Store often provides comfort ratings in the game descriptions, but for platforms like Steam or Viveport, you may need to rely on reviews or gameplay videos for information.
9. Check Your Setup
Before starting a VR game, ensure that your tracking setup and computer configuration are correctly optimized. Verify that your PC can handle running VR games at a stable frame rate. Additionally, make sure your tracking setup is accurately calibrated to avoid tracking occlusions. Disruptions in tracking can cause visual anomalies that may lead to instant motion sickness, so paying extra attention
10. Check Your Frame Rate
One common cause of motion sickness in VR is experiencing frame drops during gameplay. If you’re feeling uneasy after starting a new game, it’s essential to check the frame rate. In SteamVR, you can do this by right-clicking the SteamVR window, selecting “Settings,” then navigating to “Video” and “Advanced Frame Timing.”
11. Avoid Alcohol
If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s advisable to avoid playing VR games after consuming alcohol. Alcohol can exacerbate the symptoms of motion sickness, making it more challenging to enjoy your virtual reality experience.
12. Physically Rotate Your Body in the Real World
When you need to turn in VR, try to do so physically with your body. Instead of relying solely on the controller to rotate your character, physically turning your body provides a more comfortable and less nauseating experience.
While many VR games offer virtual turning options like snap or smooth turning, beginners without VR experience may become disoriented or uncomfortable when relying solely on these methods. For a smoother experience, physically rotate your real body. Utilizing specialized VR treadmills can also assist in easily translating physical movements into virtual reality.
It’s worth noting that this tip doesn’t apply to Playstation VR, as the Playstation camera cannot detect the controller’s sensor if it’s turned away from the camera.
13. Swing Your Arms When Walking in VR
When walking in VR, mimic the movement of swinging your arms as you would in the real world. It’s a natural tendency to have your hands move while walking, and replicating this motion in VR tricks your brain into perceiving the sensation of walking, reducing feelings of dizziness or disorientation.
14. Explore Alternative Movement Methods
Depending on the game and VR headset you’re using, there may be alternative movement methods available to alleviate motion sickness. Generally, increasing the physicality of your VR experience can help mitigate the issue.
For instance, jogging in place or moving around your physical space while playing can trick your mind into perceiving movement within the game world. Software solutions like VRocker and Natural Locomotion offer options to enhance physical movement during gameplay.
On the hardware side, there are devices such as Cybershoes, which allow you to sit and swing your feet, 3DRudder, which requires foot movement, and omnidirectional VR treadmills, which can minimize motion sickness but tend to be expensive.
These were some of the strategies we have used to overcome motion sickness in VR. Feel free to share your own tips and tricks to help each other in the comments below!
Conclusion – How to stop VR motion sickness?
Motion sickness is a common problem when using virtual reality (VR), but there are ways to prevent or minimize it. Take regular breaks, adjust headset and display settings, and try natural remedies like ginger or peppermint.
Choose VR content designed to reduce motion sickness and avoid intense experiences. Gradually build tolerance by starting with comfortable games and progressing to more challenging ones.
By following these tips, you can enjoy a comfortable and immersive VR experience without the discomfort of motion sickness.
What is VR motion sickness, and why does it occur?
VR motion sickness, also known as simulator sickness, is a condition that occurs when using virtual reality technology. It is characterized by symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and disorientation. This happens because the sensory inputs received by the brain in VR can conflict with what the body is experiencing, causing a disconnect and resulting in motion sickness.
What are the common symptoms of VR motion sickness?
The common symptoms of VR motion sickness include nausea, dizziness, sweating, headaches, fatigue, and in some cases, even vomiting. These symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person and can be triggered by factors like the type of VR experience, frame rate, and individual sensitivity.
How can I prevent motion sickness while using VR headsets?
To prevent motion sickness in VR, there are several steps you can take. First, ensure that you set up your IPD (interpupillary distance) correctly to match your eyes. This helps reduce eye strain and potential discomfort. Second, consider wearing travel wristbands that put pressure on acupuncture points known to alleviate motion sickness. Third, try consuming ginger or ginger ale, which has natural anti-nausea properties. Finally, take breaks when you start feeling any discomfort and gradually build up your tolerance over time.
What are some VR games or experiences that are less likely to cause motion sickness?
Yes, there are VR games and experiences that are designed to be more comfortable for users and reduce the chances of motion sickness. Games like Beat Saber or Superhot, where you have limited movement within the game, are considered more comfortable for beginners. Look for games labeled as “comfortable” or those that use smart locomotion systems, which provide smooth and less disorienting movement.
What are some natural remedies or techniques to alleviate VR motion sickness?
Apart from ginger, there are other natural remedies and techniques that can help alleviate VR motion sickness. Peppermint and aromatherapy can provide a soothing effect. Deep breathing exercises, focusing on a fixed point, and keeping your body hydrated can also help manage symptoms. Additionally, ensuring proper ventilation and using a fan while playing VR can create a more comfortable environment.
Can adjusting the display settings on my VR headset help reduce motion sickness?
Yes, adjusting the display settings on your VR headset can have a significant impact on reducing motion sickness. Increasing the field of view (FOV) and refresh rate, and reducing motion blur can help create a smoother and more comfortable VR experience. Experiment with different settings to find what works best for you.
Are there any recommended VR accessories or equipment that can help prevent motion sickness?
Yes, there are VR accessories and equipment that can aid in preventing motion sickness. Some users find comfort with anti-nausea wristbands that apply pressure to specific points on the wrists. Additionally, there are virtual reality treadmills and motion platforms that provide a more immersive and physically engaging experience, reducing the likelihood of motion sickness.
How important is it to take breaks while using VR to prevent motion sickness?
Taking breaks while using VR is crucial in preventing motion sickness. Extended exposure to virtual reality can strain the eyes and inner ear, leading to discomfort and increased susceptibility to motion sickness. It is recommended to take short breaks every 15-30 minutes to rest, reorient yourself, and allow your body to adjust.