How do you avoid VR Motion Sickness?

How do you avoid VR Motion Sickness?
You finally get that shiny new VR Headset that everyone tells you is amazing only to find that after 5 minutes of play, your stomach makes the decision that it would rather live externally to your body.

VR sickness is no fun and it is one of the problems that is preventing mass adoption of VR. I have a number of friends that simply cannot play VR because of motion sickness and I wish they could as VR gaming is an incredible experience.

So, let's first ask the question, "What is Motion Sickness?".

Motion Sickness is caused when there is a difference between 'actual' and 'expected' motion. This occurs not only in VR but whilst travelling in cars, planes and boats. In VR, when you move around using your controllers and not your physical legs, you are stationary in real life but moving in VR. What your eyes perceive and what you brain experiences are two completely different things. This causes nausea, dizziness and sometimes vomiting.

VR Players generally build up a tolerance over time and this is referred to as getting your 'VR Legs'. You essentially training the brain by slowly increasing the length of play sessions over time and stopping before the motion sickness kicks in.

Not everyone gets their VR Legs easily though, so what else can help with Motion Sickness for those affected? Here are a few suggestions :

In Game Settings
Most VR games have a set of 'comfort' options. For the best sickness reducing locomotion go with 'teleport'. Teleport enables you to instantly move around the game environment without any movement cues in your periphery such as moving walls or floors. The main one to avoid is 'Smooth Locomotion' which should only be used by those that have clocked up serious hours in VR, although you can add 'blinders' in most games that blank out the edges of your vision helping to reduce nausea. Snap turn is also a good option but can still require a cast iron stomach.

This is a well known remedy for a dodgy stomach and works in this situation too. Ginger can prevent the initial nausea feeling from rising due to it's anti-inflammatory properties and release of blood pressure stabilizing hormones.
Make yourself a Ginger tea in advance and see if it helps. I would get it into your system about an hour before your play session for full benefit.

Get a VR Treadmill
There is a price barrier to these as they generally start around the £1000 mark but can be a good option for those that can afford it. You are strapped into a chassis with 'slippery' trainers on your feet. You can move your physical legs as you would do normally when walking and the motion is translated to moving forward in the game. Essentially you mimic the action of walking and your avatar in the game does the same, meaning there is less of a mismatch between what your physical body is doing and what you are seeing, reducing the chance of experiencing motion sickness. The best consumer treadmills are made by KATVR 

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