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This is Twenty Milliseconds, a site documenting what works and what doesn't in virtual reality design.

Cockpits Work

Summary: Placing your user in a cockpit can help reduce acceleration-related sickness. If a cockpit isn't applicable to your environment, try adding other items that help fix a frame of reference. Reduce acceleration to help with sickness.

Probably the most take-away-able piece of Richard Yao’s talk yesterday was another endorsement of using cockpits in your game.

Vection is the illusory perception of self-motion from vision, and is a core problem in virtual reality, where an image in a headset may tell your eyes that you are moving, but you are definitely not moving around in real life. Unless people start flying around in real life, this problem is not going away any time soon.

Faceted Flight Cockpit

Cockpits help mitigate this problem. With a cockpit as a frame of reference, your brain no longer perceives you hurtling through the air (and the nauseating disagreements this causes in your brain), and instead seems to reinforce the idea that you are sitting in a chair, even if the chair is moving.

Many successful demos/betas launched so far - Titans of Space, Lunar Flight, Radial G, Elite: Dangerous are using cockpits to help orient users in a chair in real life, and in space in the game.

Another note is that acceleration is what causes sickness. Moving at a constant speed in a straight line does not cause as much sickness as turning, or accelerating. If movement in your game is causing sickness, consider reducing the rate of acceleration, either the rate of turning or the rate of speed change, and using a constant velocity wherever possible.

A cockpit is obviously not applicable to all environments, most noticeably walking around. You could consider having a fixed item in the screen, where it makes sense - the front wheel of a motorcycle below you, handlebars of a scooter, the barrel of a gun (which could be made larger than life), glasses on a cocktail tray, etc. Alternatively, you could use a third person point of view, as Luckey’s Tale will do when it launches.