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Best Practice Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

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Best Practice Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby OculusOptician » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:36 pm

(Update June 4th, 2013) *This guide requires substantial reworking and updating - I have a great deal of changing to make here and will update my findings in the near future once I have finished working with a senior vestibular specialist on the subject, stay tuned*

Motion sickness while using a VR HMD also know as VR sickness, is a problem associated by fooling our brains visually into believing we are physically established in a 3D environment but our brains are being conflicted as the interpretation isn't fully accurate compared to the real world therefore inducing nausea simply by perceived optical / inner ear conflict from within the brain. This was much more of a problem with earlier VR headsets and while it has been reduced drastically with the current Rift, it's still present for many individuals and effects everyone differently. Users who begin to experience motion sickness while using the Rift should limit their usage times to around 10 minute intervals in order to build a tolerance against it and consider the guide below. Don't try and fight it as conditions will only persist and you can literally get to the point of vomiting. This in mind, motion sickness is not a serious problem which has been brought up in multiple discussions as of recently. People who just put on the Rift for the very first time and don't have that proper sense of control are going to be the first ones effected by this. Previous gamers who are used to playing fast FPS games on large screens are going to have a smaller adjustment period and some lucky individuals who are impervious to motion sickness may not notice anything at all while using the Rift.

REASONS WHY THIS WAS MORE OF AN ISSUE IN THE PAST

- Games weren't actually real 3D environments at the time, they just appeared to be. A good example of this is Duke Nukem 3D which against common believe wasn't actually 3D. It was actually a cleaver representation of a 3D environment. Ken Silverman created a very effective engine that utilized this false imagery and people could get sick just playing his games on their monitor. A game he wrote called Ken's Labyrinth was the perfect candidate for brutal motion sickness even while playing from a standard display. Doom was also another VR compatible game that caused serious motion sickness issues with and without a headset. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson actually got motion sickness the first time he played doom on the computer back in the day.

- Latency and frame rates were much worse back then. This makes a huge difference influencing motion sickness.

- The 3D dual image setups were not as accurate in the past. Again this makes a large difference regarding motion sickness.

- Head tracking wasn't as accurate and calibrations were likely not as accurate either. If the motion calibration is not 100% precise, our brains will subconsciously conflict what we are used to in the real world. Also if the tracker isn't accurate enough, this further enhances the problem. OculusVR actually built a temperature controlled room with a 100% level test bench for testing their exclusive motion system during development to ensure their system was as accurate as possible for developer kits. This in turn will significantly help users combat motion sickness.

- Graphics were not as representative to what we have today, poor resolution and motion blur was more of an issue as well. This actually has an effect and has only been improved. While game graphics, even for today's standards are still not perfect and motion blur still plays a role on HMD devices, these are mainly the only remaining issues that can cause motion sickness for Rift users. As game graphics are improved and made more accurate, resolution is improved and refresh rates in the actual screen are reduced, this will significantly improve over time.

- No head sway tracking. This makes a big difference and the Rift is currently working on correcting this issue.

HOW TO REDUCE MOTION SICKNESS RIGHT NOW WITH THE RIFT

- *IMPORTANT* Properly calibrate the developer kit to your specific eye settings. Everyone has different eye measurements and these include pupil distance, distance from your eyes to the screen (field of view) and lens center (distance from the actual center of the lenses). This needs to be calibrated in the game and it's the number one contributor to motion sickness if not tailored to suit your personal requirements.

- Make sure that you deal with any additional visual issues relating to prescription eye wear and adjust in software if necessary.

- Make sure that your latency is within acceptable limits and your getting at least 60 FPS second. Any lower frames per second can create a subconscious conflict with your brain and can start inducing motion sickness.

- If the Rift developer kit brought you into gaming for the first time or after a long period away from games, it's suggested that you play some face paced FPS games on your monitor to build up an understanding of the game engines you will be interacting with inside the Rift. For gamers who are already familiar with the sense of awareness inside the game space and still feel nausea, familiarize yourself with the game you wish to play on your monitor before switching back to the rift.

- Play sitting down, playing standing up can make you lose sense of balance and can heighten motion sickness.

- Play more slowly, turn your brightness level down on the rift control module and turn the volume down. This makes a big difference.

- Eat ginger or ginger chews, this really helps reduce nausea. Is used to prevent motion sickness associated with flying and boating. Don't simply rely on this however as you need to give your brain a chance to catch up during VR sessions.

HOW DEVELOPERS CAN REDUCE MOTION SICKNESS FURTHER

- Make sure the 3D rendering and shaders are setup perfectly. Provide an option for users to access full adjustment of their eye configurations.

- Adding accurate head sway tracking to the Rift will make a huge difference on game perception and substantially reduce motion sickness further. Improving screen resolution and reducing motion blur will also really help.

- Make in game motions as close as possible to 1:1. Slow walking speeds, a sense of jumping and awareness need to be consistent with how we experience the real world, this one is pretty obvious.

- Make games where a fixed reference point can be observed in the game world. For example a cockpit that makes the gamer feel they are inside an actual vehicle. Provide some form of solid reference in the game that gamers can focus on and to mentally understand their surroundings.

- Use darker textures, this claims to make an improvement for many users.

- Don't use repeated patterns, like checker board or strips and lines. Make natural dark textures that flow with nature.

- Use a proper sense of scale. If you feel really small in the game world, the ground will move even faster below you and this also sends conflicting messages to the brain.

I WILL ADD TO THIS AS MORE POINTS BECOME AVAILABLE
Last edited by OculusOptician on Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:51 am, edited 18 times in total.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby joe » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:43 pm

A couple more things developers can do that I mentioned in my GDC talk:
* Don't ever change the horizon line.
* Don't ever take away headtracking and show a freeze frame
* Move the camera in the direction it is facing, or close to it. Moving the camera perpendicular to the direction it's facing seems to cause problems for some people.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby OculusOptician » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:53 pm

Couple other good points for developers to consider.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby Sawersadam » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:06 pm

Maybe this is the right thread to share an observation.

I suspect a number of people will have experienced sitting on a motionless train or bus looking out of the window at another motionless train or bus, when the 'other vehicle' starts to move off slowly.

There is very disconcerting moment or two where you perceive that you are moving but you don't 'feel' your movement. Usually I find myself looking out of the windows on the other side so as to check which of us is moving. It is physically quite confusing and dizzying.

Sometimes though, the train or bus I'm on is the one that is moving. In which case it's usually associated with a subtle, barely perceptible thunk, thunk or other vibration that kind of confirms what you are seeing and feels natural.

I'd like to experiment with a simple device that could be strapped to a users' chair that would generate a gentle pulse synchronised with game speed somehow (I'm thinking of the painted lines on a road that increase in frequency when nearing an intersection for example or the vibration of a car tires on a concrete road).

Even where in-world where one is walking or running rather than controlling a vehicle I'd bet this kind of physical feedback would help reduce nausea.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby alkapwn » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:58 pm

After using the Rift for a while and getting the hang of things in VR, I thought I would step the game up and see if I could cause myself to get motion sickness.Two things that I quickly noticed. Strafing and strafe walking were the biggest culprits.

Strafing left and right repeatedly had an odd feel to it, I think due to the fact that we don't do it fairly often in real life, especially at that speed.

Strafe walking, as best as I can describe it is when you're moving forward/backward while also strafing. This has a very un-natural feel to it and is accentuated when you start turning/rotating while doing this. Most of my co-workers seemed to be fine until they started doing weird combinations of strafing and rotating together which seemed to bring on motion sickness quite rapidly.

I don't know if there's an easy way to solve for this in software aside from possibly lowering the speed of lateral movement or something like that. I think that something that would help this from a hardware standpoint would be an additional tracker. This tracker could then be placed on either the chest, back, or waist. Then the player movement would simply be forward, back, left and right. When the user wants to turn their character, they would rotate heir body to turn the character in game. This would be in a natural way that the player's body and mind would be used to. For some reason I found it easier to get nauseous while sitting down rather than standing up.

I hope this helps somehow.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby vsn11596 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:36 am

My hope is that this becomes one of the most active threads. As an Indie developer, it's a big financial gamble to bet on the OR as an early adopter and Motion Sickness is a show stopper. All of your tips are super important in design/game play pre-planning and greatly appreciated. As an Indie with limited resources one of my concerns is that I will not have enough "virgin" testers during development, making this thread and improvements to the commercial version of the Rift all the more critical.

I ran across an interesting paper that I thought I would share - How to cheat in motion simulation (funded by the Max-Planck Society dec 2001). 8 pages, worth the read. http://kyb.mpg.de/fileadmin/user_upload ... pdf635.pdf . Of particular note were these 4 points:

Summary of most commonly used “tricks”:

• Moving the observer below detection threshold to gain additional simulation space.

• Trading the gravity vector for an acceleration. This makes use of the fact that the we cannot distinguish well between, e.g., an absolute constant acceleration of 1.0g or 1.1g.

• Masking not-to-be-detected motions by noise (i.e., vibrations and jitter).

• Guiding the attention of the observer away from the imperfections of the motion simulation, e.g., by involving the observer in a difficult task, providing attention-capturing visual and auditory cues etc. Results from change blindness and inattentional blindness studies provide insights on how to do that.

I think it is also going to be interesting to see what types of alternate input and/or accessory tactile sensory devices spin off as a result of the OR. Many thanks again to all that post to this thread. I look forward to the ongoing discussions.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby OculusOptician » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:23 pm

One good idea I have to deal with the strafing issue is when the head tracking consumer version roles out you will be able to simply move your head side to side at a 1:1 ratio to provide that immersive experience. However when you move your head to the sides even further you start to actually strafe in the game. This is a natural instinct I noticed when Imps were throwing fireballs at people playing Doom 3. I think this is the best idea and many people will appreciate it as it should seriously reduce motion sickness because this is a very natural concept and your brain will likely adapt to it very easily.

As for motion sickness being a showstopper for the Rift. It won't be a problem when people realize it's only because of how much more immerse and fantastic the experience is over existing technology. I'm confident a great amount of these motion sickness issues will be dealt with when the consumer version is released as well. Not to mention the fact that we can become tolerant to it over time.

I remember playing first person games on my computer and TV back in the day and getting sick to the point where I had to lie down. Although it didn't take too long before I never noticed it again.

If people complain about motion sickness, tell them to man up, drink a ginger ale and get back in the game. LOL. I can see it now, OculusVR t-shirts with a foaming ginger ale bottle on the front and a message saying "Ginger Ale - The Official Beverage Of VR" LOL. Technically VR should have an official beverage because gamers and hackers have Volt Cola, ha ha.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby vsn11596 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:34 am

vsn11596 wrote:If people complain about motion sickness, tell them to man up, drink a ginger ale and get back in the game. LOL. I can see it now, OculusVR t-shirts with a foaming ginger ale bottle on the front and a message saying "Ginger Ale - The Official Beverage Of VR" LOL.


Transcript from my first help desk call:

[me]: Thank you for calling Acme VR Games. How can I help you?
[gamer]: Uh, yeah, I just started playing your game and it made me puke. Can I have my money back?
[me]: Did you try drinking a ginger ale?
[gamer]: I'm only 10, don't you have to be like 18 to drink ale?
[me]: Man up kid - what size shirt do you wear?
[gamer]: Uh, small I think. Why? .... (click) .... hello? ....hello?

Last I heard his mom sold a slightly used, somewhat soiled OR on Ebay for $150. ("I went to Virtual Reality on vacation and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt") :D

In all seriousness, I am hopeful to see the Rift as a therapeutic and learning aid for visual-spatial learners (ADHD, ASD, Bi-Polar, Etc) - my target audience may not be as forgiving as hard core gamers so I am super sincere when I express appreciation to OculusOptician and all that post to this thread - I just couldn't resist having a little fun - sorry.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby SiggiG » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:06 am

Love the fact that you're collecting information, but I also think its counter-productive to have 2 posts on this subject :P
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby kingtut » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:55 am

I've just created https://developer.oculusvr.com/wiki/ind ... n_Sickness to summarise the discussions. Obviously feel free to edit.

Note that discussions etc should definitely take place on the forums, but I think the wiki is a better way to collect and collate the different threads which can and will pop up on this subject.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby SiggiG » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:09 am

kingtut wrote:I've just created https://developer.oculusvr.com/wiki/ind ... n_Sickness to summarise the discussions. Obviously feel free to edit.

Note that discussions etc should definitely take place on the forums, but I think the wiki is a better way to collect and collate the different threads which can and will pop up on this subject.


Great idea and I totally agree :)
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby SSJKamui » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:31 pm

I think One Question which would be interesting is also, how anomalities in perception and the processing of perception data might influence motion sickness. (I am thinking about differences in depth and color seeing and neurological phenomena like Autism Spectrum Disorders, which also influence how different sensory inputs are integrated into one "worldview".) People, who perceive their environment in a different way than normal people, might have differences on the occurence of motion sickness as well. (For example stronger effects or weaker effects or different effects.)
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby msat » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:38 pm

OculusOptician wrote:One good idea I have to deal with the strafing issue is when the head tracking consumer version roles out you will be able to simply move your head side to side at a 1:1 ratio to provide that immersive experience. However when you move your head to the sides even further you start to actually strafe in the game. This is a natural instinct I noticed when Imps were throwing fireballs at people playing Doom 3. I think this is the best idea and many people will appreciate it as it should seriously reduce motion sickness because this is a very natural concept and your brain will likely adapt to it very easily.



I had also thought along this line myself, though not just for strafing, but moving forwards/backwards as well. While I haven't seen a plot of accelerations for human gait, basic physics of motion can at least enlighten me somewhat. For a human walking at a consistent rate, horizontal accelerations will primarily occur when you start or stop walking (I say primarily because I assume the body doesn't move completely linearly so there will by cyclic accelerations), so leaning into the direction of movement might give the sensation of that initial acceleration. However, it seems to me that the greatest levels of acceleration while walking or running occur along the vertical axis. That makes me wonder if simply bobbing your body while you move in the game is enough to fool your senses, as you're not unnaturally gliding in the world anymore.. If so, what about a haptic device that does it for you, such as a backpack with a vertical moving weight, or something you sit or stand on? Could this also be applied to turning on the spot?
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby jwilkins » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:04 pm

Sawersadam wrote:I'd like to experiment with a simple device that could be strapped to a users' chair that would generate a gentle pulse synchronised with game speed somehow (I'm thinking of the painted lines on a road that increase in frequency when nearing an intersection for example or the vibration of a car tires on a concrete road).


I wonder if a sub-woofer would be enough for this.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby OculusOptician » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:07 am

Palmer was working on something like this with a Buttkicker strapped to his office chair.
Check it out here: http://www.thebuttkicker.com
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby OculusOptician » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:44 am

Will be updating this guide heavily in the next fews weeks. I'm currently compiling information and have a huge amount of changes to make here. Have been working with a software engineer and senior vestibular specialist regarding the matter of cybersickness and have devised a large number of hardware and software solutions into solving this problem as well. Ignore this guide for now until I make all the necessary changes, or send me a PM for more information.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby Species5618 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:41 pm

jwilkins wrote:
Sawersadam wrote:I'd like to experiment with a simple device that could be strapped to a users' chair that would generate a gentle pulse synchronised with game speed somehow (I'm thinking of the painted lines on a road that increase in frequency when nearing an intersection for example or the vibration of a car tires on a concrete road).


I wonder if a sub-woofer would be enough for this.



That could work, some cars use special type of subs under the seats build just to viberate to simulate strong base. So why not use a simular tech for this.

As long as head tracking is correct i have no sickes issues when just looking around. However One of the things that does make me sick when using the oculus, is suddent fast movement (like fowards or a other direction ). It feels very strange, and i beleave one of the things casing this is your missing the acceleration forces. Your eyes can see your accelerating, but you senses dont pick up anychange in your accual movement.

So Maybe by just adding some sensation, this could help to lower sickess.
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Re: Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby phillipfoshee » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:56 pm

Regarding what msat said about bobbing your head (msat: "That makes me wonder if simply bobbing your body while you move in the game is enough to fool your senses, as you're not unnaturally gliding in the world anymore..") Cymatic Bruce was talking about this in one of his videos (the one featuring an OR version of Unity's "Angry Bots" demo).

He said that it actually helps him considerably with motion-sickness to "act" the part will moving, even going as far as to increase bobbing frequency when moving down a slope, to simulate the shorter, heavier steps one takes when walking downhill.

He also mentioned something that points to how VR will need to be a VERY customizable gaming experience. I've seen many suggestions that any artificial head-bob will not be preferred for VR gaming, as it induces the motion sickness for some users. Bruce, however, stated that the head-bob is quite pleasing to him, and reduces sickness. Hence his decision to physically act out the head-bob in demos/games that do not use it. Some users will feel more comfortable with artificial head-bob; some will want to act it out themselves; others may want it turned off completely and to just sit/stand mostly still while using the Rift.

My Rift should finally be here Friday, so I can't wait to begin experimenting with this stuff instead of just talking about it and watching videos... :P
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Re: Best Practice Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby boggers » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:29 am

I'm making a little hovercraft tank game, and had some pretty good results so far with minimising motion sickness. Most of the main points people have brought up already - not accelerating or changing direction too fast, and having a static point of reference (ie cockpit interior) but a couple of other things I added seemed to help a lot. My static interior is not actually static... the camera is mounted on a sort of heavily damped spring which mirrors the vehicle motion... as you accelerate, the camera is pushed back a little, returning to center slowly as you reach full speed, likewise strafing throws the camera left and right a little relative to the tank, and hitting the ground hard causes a very distinct and visceral bump, as the camera suddenly moves a few centimeters toward the floor before springing back. The other thing that I can only get away with because it's a hovercraft game, is tilting the entire vehicle a little in the direction of travel, ie strafing causes a little roll, and forward / backward acceleration causes a little pitching. The strafe-roll kind of encourages you to lean your head a little in the opposite direction while strafing, so you intuitively keep the cockpit level and tilt the world by tilting your head. I found this to not only reduce motion sickness, but also provide a much better sense of immersion, not to mention that in combat you can usually tell exactly the direction you were hit from, when the camera lurches from the impact. I'm finding that I really get the sense of being there, to the point my stomach drops out as I launch over hills, and bounce around the sand dunes and I even brace for impact before hitting the ground or another tank... maybe I just got used to the rift (and it was never that bad for me in the first place) but it isn't making me motion sick at all anymore, not even while doing barrel rolls and backflips just meters off the ground or getting buffeted around by enemy fire.
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Re: Best Practice Rift Motion Sickness Guideline

Postby leftbigtoe » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:09 am

there is actually quite a bit of research done in that area, however mostly back in the 90s so I'd say it can only be applied to the rift to some degree since a lot of factors changed. Nevertheless I think when talking about VR we should definitely draw on that knowledge. I worked a bit on motion sickness issues and VR (actually in a lab headed by one of the authors of the paper vsn11596 posted above) and will try to compile a little list of interesting research papers soon. Just waiting for OculusOptician to post his guide and try to contribute to that.

Still I wanted to share the upshot of a conversation I had with an aspiring jet fighter pilot recently. He told me that some of the pilots have massive problems with air sickness which is somewhat related to motion sickness. He told me, they have a special program for pilots to help them cope with it, having a success rate of around 80% tho overcome airsickness. Interestingly, one of the major points of the program is to help the pilots deal with stress. Those guys are overwhelmed with a crazy amount of stuff to do in parallel and apparently this stress somehow makes them more prone to motion sickness. I would be interested if that matches somewhat with your observations. Could that be one the reasons why repeated exposure helps...not only because your perception learns to deal with the mismatch but also because you become more relaxed since you already know the game? This could also explain why playing the game on a monitor beforehand might help. You know the game mechanics and the interface, so more cognitive load is free to deal with the VR experience itself.
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