5 tips to fight motion sickness in VR

Jun 27, 2019 | by Sérgio Costa

Virtual Reality is a true game-changer in flight simulation, but a few users still struggle with getting used to it.

Nausea (motion sickness) is what strikes people the most when using VR. Getting used to this new world can be tricky and each one of us adapts differently.

Some don’t adapt at all. But others only need a bit of help and some strategies to overcome those issues. Hopefully, this article will help you with that.

Here are my five tips, as someone that has gone through the same experiences you have – but managed to never throw up.

Tip #1 – Do short sessions

It’s easy to get all excited about VR and try to do long sessions. But doing so will eventually get you tired and more prone to getting sick.

Also, motion sickness can set in quite quickly and you won’t even notice it. Do short sessions of 10-15 minutes and take a break for another 10 minutes. Then go back. After a few sessions, you can try to increase the amount of time you spend in the VR world.

After a few days, you’ll be able to endure 1-hour long sessions or longer.

Tip #2 – Watch your maneuvers

Don’t go all crazy and start doing autorotations, spinning around, flying backwards or landing in a frigate.

While all this sounds fun, you will not find it amusing once you get sick. Yes, you will eventually be able to do all this, but you still have to get used to flying in VR.

Start slowly. Do some basic maneuvers. If you are not very comfortable with your landings, you might want to skip those for the first few times you try VR. The idea is to reduce the amount of motion inside the 3D world so that your brain doesn’t go crazy.

If you happen to lose control and start to roll over or do any weird and drastic maneuver, close your eyes. I kid you not. Close your eyes and remove the headset.

You will not want to get yourself in one of those scenarios in which your brain and your body are so disassociated that you WILL get insta-sick. Trust me: it happens (again, still vomit-free here, but barely).

Tip #3 – Keep your head cool

Not as in “be cool” but actually keep your head cool as in with a lower temperature.

With a VR kit in your face, it’s very easy for the temperature to rise. Try and keep your face/head cool. Open a window, keep your room at a lower temperature or perhaps get a fan to blow to your face.

No, the idea is not to simulate the wind passing by. We’re just trying to control our temperature here.

Higher temperature may induce nausea.

Keep. Cool.

Tip #4 – Fly within your comfort zone

Don’t add up to the stress of using VR. Don’t go trying crazy helicopters in different scenarios, land on a ship and add workload to your flight.

Again, keep it simple and as much stress-free as possible.

Reducing stress means you will keep your body temperature lower, be less edgy and can focus on trying to relax. Sounds weird, right? Focusing on relaxing?

Yes. Keep yourself focused on the task of simply flying the helicopter around and getting used to the virtual world. That’s your #1 priority. All the rest will come later.

Tip #5 – Don’t give up

Yes, some folks never get used to it. I know of a couple that haven’t.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t either. Don’t give up right away. Relate to all my tips here and adapt them to yourself.

10 minutes is a long time for you? Make it 5. Make it 2! Or perhaps start with a non-flying game or application. Just walking around in your system’s Home/Dashboard will help you get used of the world.

In fact, I recommend you start there instead of jumping immediately into a flight simulator. If not done properly you might get motion sick really fast and give up on it.

Extra tip – enjoy yourself

Well this is not an actual tip, but you should try to relax and enjoy the sim and the technology before going all crazy and try to blow up some tanks or escape from incoming missiles, for example, if you’re into DCS.

Or do some crazy autorotations. Or some other aggressive maneuvering. VR is not going anywhere and how you start it will dictate how fast or how slow you’ll adapt to it – or if you’ll adapt at all.

Now get your virtual self in that cockpit and go have fun!

Got some extra tips? Add them in the comments section below for our readers to learn from your experience as well!

Sérgio Costa

About Sérgio Costa

Sérgio has been a flight simulation enthusiast for nearly 25 years. His passion with helicopters developed during MSFS 2000 when he discovered the complexity of these aircraft and the challenge it was to control them. Since then he has been primarily a helicopter flight simmer, trying his best not to crash and kill all his virtual passengers. Sérgio is HeliSimmer's editor and writer and one of the Three Grumpy Simmers, a YouTube series and Podcast produced together with YouTubers Bel Geode and NovaWing24, obviously dedicated to flight simulation.

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