Monday, January 27, 2014

VR head movement momentum

So about 2 weeks ago I went to Steam DEV Days and had a blast! Valve's presentations where certainly eye opening on some issues. Can't wait until they put the videos only so I can see the presentations I wasn't able to attend, I'm sure they'll be great too.

Anyway, in one of the presentations (I think it was "wild west of VR") the guys behind AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA talked about their Oculus Rift version of the game and how they discovered this interesting trick where they would slowly tilt the world which caused the player to automatically compensate by moving their heads in the opposite direction. This made the players feel like they where falling downwards. Also interesting that they only had to do a 45 degree rotation to give the impression of a 90 degree turn so that the players wouldn't get neck pain while playing the game. Players would swear that they where looking straight down even though they weren't.

In other VR presentations they would talk about sideways and backwards movements making players feel sick etc. (which is sort of common knowledge already I guess)

After these presentations I was suddenly wondering... maybe we've got this all wrong .. what if it's not the movements themselves which make people feel sick? (or at least not completely)
What if the problem is that we're not simulating momentum for the head when doing these movements?
I mean if you move sideways in real life no way that your head will remain perfectly still, it'll bob slightly to the left or right (depending in which direction you're moving). Maybe our brain is expecting this and when these natural movements are missing people get sick?

Unfortunately this is very hard for me to test as I seem to be completely immune to motion sickness :-/